Grandma Car: 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale

The year was 1985, and the full-size B body was coming to an end at Oldsmobile, as well as Buick. But there are those that would have no part of the downsized front drives that General Motors was beginning to offer. My mother was one of those. In fall 1984 it was time for her to trade her 1978 Oldsmobile 98 Regency, but the 98 had already been downsized, so she opted for a 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham LS. None of that smaller front drive stuff for her. This is a 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale 4 door sedan for sale here on Craigslist in Middleton, Michigan.

After my mom died five years later, I inherited her 1984 Oldsmobile. One day, a part-time young lady that I supervised asked me “Mr. Owens, why do you drive a Grandma car?”. A supervisor of mine at a later job told me my car was big enough to live in. I didn’t care what people said, I liked the Olds. This particular car appears to be a basic Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale with no exterior options except bodyside molding and tape striping, so I’m guessing it probably has few power options inside. Even though the seller doesn’t show us any interior pictures, he/she describes the interior as unbelievable. Well, can you show us what unbelievable looks like?

The left side of this gray car appears to have had the rear door replaced with a silver door, so I’m guessing there was a minor accident at some point. There is also something going on with the left front fender extension that I can’t quite make out, and the rear bumper filler, although there, has lost its color just as mine did about 30 years ago. The paint is described as gone. The car has been collecting dust and is described as having been an “old lady’s car”. OK, a 34-year-old car, at what point was she an old lady? I was 34 years old when I got my Oldsmobile, and if I still owned it I guess it would be described as an “old man’s car”.

What’s amazing about this car is that it has spent so much time sitting around gathering dust, that it has been driven less than 28,000 miles. With all the maze of hoses and wires, I’m having trouble deciding if this is the standard 3.8-liter V-6 or the optional 5.0 liter V-8; a 5.7-liter diesel V-8 was also optional. However, with no pictures out of the garage, I suspect it won’t start so easily. It’s normally hard to get good full pictures of cars while they are still parked in a garage. This Georgia car has no rust, runs good, and comes with the original sale receipt.

If you can get past the grandma/old lady image of driving a car like this, is this something you would be interested in? This seller has one of those “$1” prices so I’m guessing maybe they aren’t expecting anything too high.

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  1. grant

    It’s a long term parked Georgia car, in Michigan? Huh?

    • Billy007

      Sure, I believe everything I read.

  2. John m leyshon

    Tough to determine. Appears to be a survivor in decent shape. Looks like a 305. I would look at it sitting at a car show as nostalgia. Appreciate the folks who bring them out. Love of the car trumps value. I see a future of 30″ rims, air shocks/bagged, subwoofers and amps…

  3. Tony

    The diesel option was not available after 1983 I believe. Discontinued after many problems.

    • Kevin

      “Discontinued after people stopped caring about fuel economy.”

      The 5.7 diesel made it to 85 but only just. It wasn’t a popular option to begin with and was killed early in the model year.

  4. John T.

    The Craigslist ad states that the seller is asking $4,000 (obo) or best offer. Without substantiation of the low mileage (28k) claim or the documented history of what otherwise appears to be a solid desirable full size old school rear wheel drive American car and not knowing how much work if any the undisclosed V8 engine with automatic transmission needs, it is impossible to justify the asking price or even to determine what is a fair and reasonable offer.

  5. 68custom

    For some crazy reason I want to buy this bucket and install a 6 litre Ls and nine inch rear , big quiet mufflers and go on the prowl

  6. Willie

    That’s a 307ci engine in your Oldsmobile no diesel

  7. Maestro1 Member

    Bill, if the Seller won’t cooperate by getting the car outside, cleaning it, and showing decent pictures don’t buy it. A lesson to the Seller. Do it right or don’t do it.

  8. Robert L Roberge

    Seller is expecting $4,000.00 per C/L ad. Kinda high given such little info. Thinking 1/2 of that might be a good starting point.

  9. Andre

    Man.. memories. I spent a lot of time as a youngster in between my grandparents in the front bench of an ’85 Delta 88 Brougham.. Same silver, but theirs was a coupe with a burgundy vinyl top and burgundy interior.

    Growing up in a GM family I remember curiously observing the amber in the taillights as that was weird to me.. I guess now looking back that was GM’s attempt to give their land yacht some euro flair.

    They traded it in in 1997 on a then-new LeSabre Limited, it was very low miles and meticulously cared for. …Wonder if someone preserved it, or it was promptly turned into a pancake.

    • MiataNut

      My friend’s Mom had the same 88 coupe, but all red. Nice car. Dad was a firefighter so you know how it was kept up. I also loved the amber turn signals as a kid, and to this day I prefer them for visibility. My first “nice” car as a kid was a Pontiac STE and it had not only amber turn signals but SMOKED taillights – so cool. Not to mention digital dash…..ahh the 80s

  10. Steve

    When I was in high school in the 80’s, my mom owned a 1983 Olds 88 (not a Regency like this one). I found it to be sort of an oddball. It had a vinyl bench seat with no arm rest, but power windows locks and cruise, 307 olds v8 and a TH350 auto trans and no vinyl top, It was sort of a Champagne/ gold color, but not quite the same as the 88 Regency my grandmother owned. Grandma’s had more metallic. (Grandma’s Regency had a 307 Olds, 200r4 od trans velour interior with power seats and a dark brown vinyl top.) My grand dad liked mom’s better, as he was a “plain jane” car guy, but when he saw that the o/d in their car returned 2-3 mpg better mileage, and their car had better acceleration, he decided against it. My mom hit a deer with hers and had to have the driver side repainted. The body shop must not have bothered to check the paint code and painted it the code for grandma’s car. My dad wouldn’t sign off on it and asked them how they planned to fix it. They ended up painting the passenger side the same champagne metallic color. Later, as it got a little over 100k miles, the engine started running poorly so we pulled the valve covers to see about adjusting the valves, only to find that they were non adjustable, and the stems and/or keepers were so worn, it was about to drop several valves. My mom really liked the car, it was paid for and clean, so we pulled the engine, had the machine work done and reinstalled it. We deleted the smog pump, egr and a ton of hoses. We also installed an HEI and non computer controlled Q jet out of another olds 350 from an earlier model (late 70’s) Cutlass I came across in the wrecking yard. (we had already had the 307 rebuilt or we would have swapped the 350 instead. I tried to talk mom into dual exhaust, but she liked it quiet. It ran a lot better than even when she first bought it, and that was with a stock type cam. Oddly enough, during the engine swap, I was surprised to learn that the car had an aluminum hood. During one of my trips to the wrecking yard, I came across a similar year model Le Sabre with the same dark brown power velour seats for $100 for front and back. We were in the 88 at the time and didn’t have a way to haul them home, so I swapped them out in the parking lot. I went in and asked the guy if he would buy the old vinyl seats, and he gave me $50 for them, so I think we came out OK! Later, I had to run a power wire to enable the power function, as I forgot that detail when I pulled them. (I had to drive home because whoever drove the Buick before it was wrecked must have been tall like me and had the seat all the way back and my mom couldn’t reach the pedals!) LOL

  11. Steve

    About the same time, I also had a buddy with a similar year model 98 Regency brougham that he inherited when his mom passed away. We called it the “White Swan”. Nobody wanted to ride with him, (until it was time for a road trip!) It was white with a white vinyl top and a dark blue velour interior, power sunroof, 307 old v8 and a 200r4 as well. He had the trans rebuilt and just a few months later totalled the car. The scrap yard offered him $300 for it, and I knew the 200r4 had the dual Chevy and BOP pattern, so I gave him the $300, pulled the trans, parted a few things and sold it for scrap for $200.

    Just a few years ago, I came across a nearly identical Regency Brougham, white with a RED velour interior.(Talk about straight up pimpin’!) for $2,000. It was super clean, and hadn’t been subjected to the “DONK” treatment. I told my buddy about it, but his wife said no (BOO!) and I already had too many cars, so I passed.

  12. Steve
    • MiataNut

      Love it – one of my G’pa’s was just like that but a very pale beige – non metallic, I was not fond of it as a kid but now all the solid Grays like Destroyer Gray and Anvil are all the rage…..

  13. Kenneth Carney

    Great stsrter car for Sis. If it were closer,
    I’d borrow Cousin Ted’s F-350, rent a towing dolly from U-Haul, and go get it.
    Shouldn’t take much to get the old gal
    running again but I wouldn’t pay him
    that much for it. $1500 tops–no more.
    Besides, it might cost that much to put
    gas in Cousin Ted’s truck!!

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