FE3 Equipped: 1989 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale

About 15 years ago, this Oldsmobile would have been considered to be a basic driver that you bought cheap, drove until it died and then you shipped it off to the wrecker to be melted down and recycled. Well, these late ’80s H-Body GMs still aren’t hot ticket items by any means, but they are actually great cars that are quickly disappearing. This example is said to have 117k miles, which is nothing for the 3.8 V6, and is a bit more interesting than your typical late ’80s beater, as it’s equipped with the FE3 handling package. You can find this affordable Olds here on craigslist in Penrose, Colorado for $1,800.

You don’t come across FE3 equipped cars very often, especially these days. This package was GM’s attempt to improve handling enough to compete against some of its European competitors and it really did improve handling, of course at the trade off of comfort. The sportier suspension included stiffer struts, bigger sway bars and quicker steering. I’ve yet to experience an FE3 car, although I’ve driven an FE2 equipped GM from this era and was quite surprised with it’s handling. From what I’ve heard, FE3 cars are a bit rough, but handle like they are on rails! Do any of you have experience with the FE3 suspension and care to weigh in on their handling prowess?

All 1989 Delta 88s left the factory with GM’s LN3 3800 V6. While it’s no V8, these engines actually produced decent power and have proven to be incredibly durable. It’s rated at 165 horsepower and 210 foot pounds of torque, which really isn’t too bad. Of course, if you want engine performance that matches the sport suspension, you could always install the supercharge from an L27. All the parts will bolt right on, but does require reprogramming the engine management system, and will bring horsepower up to a little over 200!

This Olds has some flaws (peeling clear, a few rust spots and some stains on the upholstery), but overall it looks ready to hit the road. The FE3 option is definitely a huge perk and would make an otherwise boring beater into something that would actually be fun to zip around town in everyday. Add some extra oomph to the engine and you’d actually have a sleeper on your hands!


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  1. Rustytech Member

    Nice car in its day, now just another tired old used car. No interest here thanks.

  2. Gbauer

    …so why is this here exactly?

  3. Jay M

    A can of lite beer will never age into champagne.

  4. LAB3

    Park it another 20 yrs, still a bit too new to be of much interest.

  5. David Frank David Frank Member

    I’m glad to see others, well, see the light. Here’s a 1988 Olds with 56000 original miles for $4500. No peeling paint. First car on the page of the local Craigslist.

    • BMW4RunninTundra

      That one I LIKE! Love the body style! Unfortunately – too much $$, far away, and no “Room at the Inn”!

  6. grant

    15 years ago, this was grandma’s car. Now it is grandma’s old beater car, and it isn’t worth $1800, any day.

  7. Todd Fitch Staff

    My boss had one (non FE3) and I drove it occasionally on long trips. It was certainly designed to *coast* well and laid down 30 MPG no problem. It was super-softly suspended but did OK on PA two-lanes. My daily driver at the time was a 5.0 Mustang which was light-years faster but the Olds worked well if you respected its limitations. The 4 sp AOD was easy to appreciate on the highway compared to my winter car, a ’78 LeSabre with no overdrive.

  8. Mike Butchart

    We were the ordinal owners of a 1998 Delta 88 Royale that was purchased to. Replace a Lemon Oldsmobile Ciera we owned and because it we available with ABS. We put over 160,000 miles on it and only got rid of it as the brakes would sporadically not work and that was traced to the ABS computer. As we stir had comprehensive insurance, I had the car out every evening hoping to hit a deer.

  9. RC46

    This car does not belong here.
    Nothing remotely interesting about it.

  10. jdjonesdr

    A friend had a two door. It could get up and go.

  11. Rhett

    I disagree with the disagreers – this car will be the B09 Delta of the future. I did drive FE3 cars, and the Buick equivalent Y56 Gran Touring package Lesabres and they were great handling cars. For very little money, GM included some terrific hardware that changed the character of the car. The Buicks did not compromise ride quality, but did firm steering and eliminate most body roll. They also came with 60 series “summer” oriented tires and all in all were pretty fun cars for what they were. The 3.8 produced terrific torque, and felt like a much larger engine to 50 mph. The point for those who missed it, there’s a little easter egg in these cars waiting for the observant and open minded.

    Like 1
  12. ChevyTruckGuy

    The “Delta” was dropped from it’s name for 1989. Simply becoming the “Eighty-Eight”. I always liked the styling of the Olds H-Body coupes of this generation (1986-1991). Handsome cars. Reliable.


    Barn find? Looks like grandpa was cleaning out the garage.

  14. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I had a 88 88, I remember it had the highest HP engine, and was pretty quick, no idea if it had F3 option. It cdid get a recall for bad clear coat, and I got a mew paint job.

  15. King Al

    “About 15 years ago, this Oldsmobile would have been considered to be a basic driver that you bought cheap, drove until it died and then you shipped it off to the wrecker to be melted down and recycled.” —– And it still would be for $800.

  16. Capnfantastic

    How about this one. I just got this here locally for 1k and love it. I’ll drive her for years to come. 49k miles, FE3 which really improves the handling, full gauge pkg. and every single thing works as it should. I like it!

  17. Shannon Hensley

    I too have just picked up a 87 FE3 olds touring sedan for 500 bucks, man I tell yeah, its quite the car, the seats are out of this world and The suspension makes it really fun to drive. Id take this over a brand new toaster camry anyday.

    Like 2
  18. oldolds88

    That’s a great find I bought a 1988 no FE3 a real floater on road. Cost me $250.00 plus 75 dollars taxes :(. had 212,000 miles when I bought it on december now has 216,000 miles all i done is change oil.

  19. Jon

    9/6/2020. I own a 89 Olds 88 Royale, daily driver. It was passed on to me after my Mom passed away. They bought it nearly new and my Dad had oil changed on it every 2500 miles, trans fluid changed every 30K with filter.
    Runs like a top 150K and 28mpg. Nice car. I’m going to see how many miles I can get on it.

    Like 1

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