Clean Survivor: 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale

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Remember the GM advertising slogan, “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile?” In the case of this 1972 Delta 88, it really is the seller’s father’s Oldsmobile and looks to have been well kept over the past five decades. Other than some cleaning up and TLC, it may have a lot of life left in it for the next owner. Located in Raymond, New Hampshire, this big car looks to have avoided the New England rust bug and is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $6,750. Our thanks to Larry D for scouting out this tip for us!

The 88 moniker was a fixture at Oldsmobile for more than 50 years (1949-99). It was usually the General Motors division’s entry-level full-size car and even carried the Oldsmobile performance mantra for a while in the ‘50s. The seventh generation of the car began in 1971 was the last before the downsizing at GM began in 1977. But until then, they would be bigger than ever, still riding on an expansive 124-inch wheelbase and measuring early 20 feet in length. The Delta 88 Royale reflected the series’ highest level of trim before buyers would step up to the granddaddy of Oldsmobiles, the 98. Total 88 production would be more than 228,000 cars in 1972 and about 15% of that number would be the Royale 2-door hardtop.

The body and paint look solid on this one, with a matching vinyl top and interior. The paint has held up, although a good wax job would do wonders for its presentation. Rust was common under the vinyl tops of these cars, but we can’t see where any has been nibbling away on this one. The interior looks original, and we think it may be fine, but there are some throw covers over where the driver and front seat passenger sit, so we’re not sure if that’s to help preserve the material or camouflage some imperfections. We don’t see what the underside of the car looks like, but the seller says it could stand to be re-undercoated and the factory air conditioning needs charging.

The odometer reflects 75,000 miles, which seems to fit with the overall condition of the car. Used gently over the years but used none-the-less. The seller doesn’t mention how well it runs with its 350 Rocket V8 under the hood matched with a Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. These cars don’t seem to command big bucks on the resale market, with $10-15,000 likely the ceiling for one of these cars in sweet condition. If you wanted a big cruiser for Cars & Coffee outings, this one could be a good way to get started without breaking the bank.

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  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    Weren’t those wheels made of plastic?

    Like 0
    • Jcs

      These are the Oldsmobile Poly-cast Super Stock IV wheels, and pretty rare.

      Designed using much the same process as the old Pontiac Honeycomb wheels they are “soft” to the touch. Downside is that they are relatively heavy, adding the Poly-cast material over the top of a steel wheel, thus increasing their weight.

      Plus-side is that they are good looking, were only offered on the 71 and 72 Delta 88s and came in both 14×7 and 15×7 and were rarely ordered.

      Finding a clean set is becoming increasingly difficult, especially with the original chrome beauty rings intact.

      Like 13
    • Rick Rothermel

      Handsome car! The Olds was the best-looking of that era GM B-bodies. I had a beige Delta 4-door hardtop in the early ’80s, it was a great car.

      Like 2
  2. Sam61

    One of the coolest wheel designs by the General! Imagine a set of those milled from billet and polished. Hats off to the buck private designer who was promoted from air vents to wheels!

    Like 4
  3. Rhett

    in maybe 1983, someone traded in a 72 Royale Convertible at the Buick dealership I worked at on a new Park Avenue. it looked just like this car, Polycast wheels and same color combo. I made a deal to buy it from the used car manager for 300.00, but I needed a week to sell my 69 and 70 Electras to put the money together. Sold both Buicks and went back to finalize the deal, only to find he had sold it to our wholesale guy the day before… I wound up buying a 70 Cutlass S with buckets and console, but I never could get that 88 out of my mind.

    Like 4
    • Joseph Brown

      That sucks! In 1983 I was 16 and my parents bought a dark gray ’72 88 convertible. I still miss that car!

      Like 3
  4. local_sheriff

    It’s somewhat funny such an Olds should appear here today as I performed some work on this car’s sibling yesterday, a ’75 88 Delta Royale ‘vert. While cars like this normally are ‘too new’ to my liking they’re still striking once you see them IRL.

    Probably most striking to me is the overall size; as an owner of two ’64 GM fullsizers one might think I’m used to large cars but either of my ’64s would be completely DWARFED sitting next to this Olds, just its doors are much, much heavier. IMO this is almost a rediculously large battleship in any way but still fascinating on its own if a 70s cruising barge is your thing

    Like 2
  5. Gerald Prendergast

    We had a 70 Olds Delta88 with the 455 in it when it was a crazy teenage driver. My brother and I had to backtrack a number of times to go find a “escaped” hubcap after a long fishtailing burnout. And like father, like son, my first car was a 70 Olds 442 with a 455 and four speed. My father helped me buy it for the princely sum of $1200.00. Needless to say the burnouts only got better….

    Like 0
  6. Gerard Frederick

    To take a photo of car 4 sale with the hood not closed properly is a red flag! Whenever you hear the air conditioning needs recharging, there´s another red flag. Don´t trust this one for those reasons.

    Like 2
  7. Jonathan F.

    I learned to drive in a 1972 Delta 88 and the day I turned 16, in 1982, dad took me to get my license. I passed and he brought me back home and had to go back to work. He handed me a $20 dollar bill, got in his car and said try not to get into trouble.
    First thing I did once he was out of site was flip the air cleaner lid, put $10 bucks in it and proceeded to try and burn the rock hard snow tires off it.
    I managed no to killer ir myself and it got handed to my sister. A stout car indeed.

    Like 1
  8. Joe Sewell

    Love the body lines on this ’72. During the mid ’70s, I owned a ’69 Delta Royale Coupe that had nearly every option. 455 2bbl, power everything, AM/FM 8 track – gold with black vinyl top and deluxe gold cloth interior. When a door was opened, 13 interior lamps illuminated. Also owned the ’71 Sedan Deville and a ’76 C-10 SWB pickup during this same time period…

    Like 0
  9. David Alley

    I had a teacher in high school who had a bright blue one with white top and interior. Same wheels. It had a 455 if i remember correctly. Beautiful car.

    Like 0
  10. Keith D.

    That steering wheel…Nah

    Like 3
  11. Burt

    My Dad had an 88 of this era, most known for dieseling like Clark Griswold’s station wagon. Not a good way to make a first impression.

    Like 0
  12. normadesmond

    Having a ’73 convertible, I can’t keep my mouth shut.

    This car, that is sold, was awful. Interior has been redone, rugs too. (Original upholstery was fancy on these.) “Chrome” tape on dash is worn. Dash cut for newer radio? Noticed something to the right of the Delta Royale script (on the trunk) coming through. Yes, it’s a sharp looking model, but it couldn’t turn my head.

    Like 0
  13. 1-Mac

    Full size GM’s of that era are nearly indestructible. Heavy duty everything, built like a 3/4 ton pick-up. Proper care and it will last your lifetime

    Like 2
  14. Miguel - Mexican Spec

    I had a ’74 convertible and don’t want another one.

    I am shocked at what cars that have been worthless for most of their lives are bringing today.

    Does anybody remember anybody even paying 4 digits for one of these?

    Like 0
  15. Phil Maniatty

    My first car was a ’72 Delta 88 Holiday Sedan. It was a fabulous car and served me very well.

    Like 0

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