Would You Drive It? 8,600-Mile 1975 Oldsmobile 98

How low-mileage do you think a car needs to be to buy it with the intention of keeping the odometer rolling as slowly as possible? I’m pondering whether the 8,600 miles shown on this ’75 Oldsmobile 98 is too low for the car to ever be driven again, or if I’d feel comfortable piling on the miles after it’s seen so few. It’s not quite as amazing as 1,900 original miles, for example, but it’s still a matter of just a couple hundred miles per year on average over a 42-year span. If you want to decide for yourself, the Olds can be found in Reno, Nevada, via Hemmings, with a $9,500 asking price.

Then again, the mileage is immaterial if you think the 98 is just too darn big to drive. At 232.4 inches from stem to stern, it is almost certainly the longest Oldsmobile ever made, longer even than the Custom Cruiser station wagon built on the same wheelbase. Look at the length of that rear deck! I think that Subaru could almost fit in the trunk. The Cadillac-esque fins nod to the 98’s position as Olds’ flagship sedan. This was also one of the last years that you could buy a sedan in this pillarless hardtop bodystyle.

More relevant to the point of whether or not a new owner would pound some pavement and put on some miles is how well the car is running, and frankly, based on this ad, we don’t really know. The big Olds 455 V8 is shown in two pictures—under a layer of grime—and mentioned in passing, but nothing is said about its performance or condition. The only nod to maintenance is a mention of new tires; speaking of tires, the original Uniroyal spare is still in the trunk.

Frankly, as nice as it is, I think the low mileage might be this car’s saving grace. As an example of what a new car looked like more or less off the showroom floor in 1975, this is hard to beat, but as a piece of automotive history? There’s nothing particularly remarkable about its engineering, design, or equipment level, aside from its sheer size. Still, if you’ve got a soft spot for these dinosaurs, some fond memories of your father’s Oldsmobile, or just a preservationist streak, there’s a lot (and I do mean a lot) to like here.

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Comments

  1. jw454

    This car has the famous “Seatbelt Interlock” system. The belts have to be fastened before the engine will crank over. It failed on my friends ’75 Cutlass and it was very expensive to fix.

    Nice car though.

    • Leon

      My grandparents’ 74 Dodge had it. A recall I think. System was disconnected

    • Vince H

      You could start these without the seatbelt interlock if you did not sit on the seat..

      • jw454

        Not if it’s broken.

    • Charles Housman

      Hmmmm, maybe your friend had a 74 Cutlass. Seat belt interlock was 1974 only. Public outcry forced the fed to not require it. Most of them were (relatively easily) removed by onwers and dealers.

  2. MH

    One of my favorite cars of all time. It would have to be a weekend only car for me. They drive so nice its a shame to let it sit. Im currently looking for one not as nice with more miles that can be my daily driver. And cheaper of course. In my opinion its one of the best cars ever featured on your website!!!

    • Lord Humungous

      These Land Yachts in this condition will gain value and you can drive them sparingly. Olds, Pontiac’s, Mercurys and Plymouth’s are all gone now.

  3. sparkster

    I have been looking for a low mileage boat to troll around the lake. Didn’t know Hemmings sold boats on their web site.

  4. Steve R

    No tilt column.

    Buy it and drive it, if you can get past the price.

    Steve R

  5. Joeinthousandoaks

    The price would keep me from driving it

    • Gearjammer63

      The price of GAS would keep me from driving it very much. But I do love these ’70s geekmobiles!

  6. graham p

    I had a Custom Cruiser station wagon hear in the UK my kids loved that car could carry a lot a stuff in the back when we went out to car shows

  7. Rock On Member

    I’m sure that if you went to see the car that you could knock a grand off the price.

  8. Dave Sutch

    I just sold a 1979 Buick Riviera 2-door Notchback Coupe with 23k original miles; went to a major wine company for use in a TV advertisement. It was like-new and drove really great. Much better style than the Olds; and really super-low miles is not necessarily an advantage.

  9. CJay

    The 1975 Olds could tip the scales up to 5200 lbs. for $9500 that’s less than $1.83 a pound.
    A 2017 loaded Kia Soul cost $19,000 (twice as much money) and weighs about 2600 lbs.(half as much weight) that’s $7.31 a pound.
    Guys, explain the facts and figures to your wife that way. When you drive it into the ground and have to sell it for scrap, you’ll be getting a better return on your money.

    Like 2
  10. Adrian C

    I would drive it on long trips with that dual living room couch interior.

    Like 1
  11. DrinkinGasoline

    The bigger the better to fill up the sweater !

  12. Keith

    Absolutely love the 70’s Ninety Eight’s but it would have to be the 76 Regency model for me, not the base model LS like this one. Nice classic though.

    Like 1
    • RoselandPete

      I’d go with a Regency too.

  13. nessy

    Love these big 98s. The 75 had a very good looking front end. This was the first year for the more modern looking square headlights on the GM big luxury models and it was a big deal at the time. Almost like when the flush euro headlights came out starting with the 84 Lincoln Mark 7. The only thing that may keep this car from moving fast at that price is that it’s not the Regency model and it’s low on options from what I can see in the photos. The difference in the interiors was like a school bus seat next to your plush living room couch….The 98 Regency was the first car to offer the famous pillow interior. Even before Cadillac.

  14. Mr. TKD

    Is this really a 1975 model? I thought only Cadillac had square headlights in 1975 with other GM makes getting them a year later.

    Nice car.

    • nessy

      Yes, 75 was the first year for the square headlights. They were only on the Cadillacs, the Olds 98 and Toronado, the Buick Electra and Riviera, the Pontiac Grandville/Bonneville and the little Olds Starfire, Buick Skyhawk and Chevy Monza which were new models for 75. I think the 75 98 and Electra front ends are beautiful and better looking than the 76 models with the parking lights under the headlights.

      Like 1
      • WLT

        I agree. The 1975 Premium GMs did have better looking front ends than the 76’s..

        Like 1
      • michael hollis

        i have a 98 ls right hand drive come from hong kong 86,000 miles engine mint lots of rust white with black vinal roof black velour upholstery good condition body i am repairing need surrounds around tailights completly gone very rare down here in new zealand sorry not for sale my winter project

  15. Chris Kennedy

    Um….the engine screams many many many more miles then 1900!

    • WLT

      I would say the engine looks more like 80-85 thousand…I ve had a few in the past with high mileage which have looked very similar- all 455 ci-and if tuned correctly will run like brand new.

    • Tom Member

      …..not sure why the top of this commentary says 1900 miles, the sale ad says 8600 miles.

      Usually I am really skeptical on the low mileage claims but as a master detailer and having owned one of these in 1983 this engine looks like a 40 year old engine bay with 8600 miles on it that has NEVER been cleaned.

      Like 1
  16. Phil

    I owned one of these yrs ago. Nice ride, engine ran great at 85-90 on Interstate. Slower speeds, made it suck gas…real bad…15 mpg….was a max….high speed was 25 mph….the engines were jetted to run at high speeds….this car is only worth 5k…it has lost of abuse from just setting outside…..

  17. Brian

    I would question the 8600 as original miles based on the wear of the driver’s side carpet.

    • Tom Member

      You might question it BUT these 8600 miles were probably done a few miles at a time which means a lot more “in and out” over 40 years time. Plus, the condition of the carpet and pedals, in my opinion, are consistent with the mileage. Unless I missed something, I don’t see any excessive wear.

  18. Joey

    I’d absolutely drive it. Refresh it all around with the plugs wires filters fluids etc and enjoy it. For that price which I’m sure is negotiable, I think that it’s well worth it.

  19. D. Phillip Chandler

    The first new car I bought was a 1975 Olds 98 Regency Coupe, black on black. Great cruiser on the road but the 2.42 (I think) rear end made take offs leisurely to say the least. GM was trying to improve the mpg’s without cutting the weight so something had to give.

  20. Rhett

    I had a 76 Custom Cruiser, and it was a great car. Great ride, great engineering felt much smaller than it was. Was not fast, but would take on a significant grade fully loaded and not even think about it. Very torquey, very cool. I’d drive this no problem

  21. Casey Jones

    I know a guy named Ash who would definitely be interested. Lots of room for chainsaws and such. Lol

  22. WLT

    All the upper premium GM models received square headlights in 1975- the remaining GM models received them in 1976.

  23. Dean Prevolos

    I bought a 1990 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon last July from the original owner with 7,200 original miles. The car is brand new inside and out. I’ve only driven it 250 miles and the first 200 was driving home the day I bought it!

  24. Michael P

    $9500 for that? Please. It’s got 2 doors too many for me, and there’s absolutely nothing desirable about it for collector’s purposes. When I think of a barn find, this is not what comes to mind.

  25. Dennis

    I had the same exact car loved it I’m considering buying the car luxury and comfort

  26. Dave

    I had one years ago, not new when I bought it. I loved the car. That 455 engine would fly. If I were able to drive it, I would definitely buy it.

  27. Harvey Peever

    I had one of these. Green outside, green inside. I called it the green mile for obvious reasons. It was the ultimate pig on fuel. Ride was ultra smooth. Regardless of cubic inches, it was a slug. Zero to 100 km in an eternity. Still liked it.

  28. Harvey

    I had a 76 (I think) regency. I called the green mile. Green on green on green. I liked everything about it except the mileage. It was a hog.

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