Like New 1989 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight!

Andrew TannerBy Andrew Tanner

When I saw “1989 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight,” I knew it was going to be good! Sure enough, this might be the mintiest example of one of these in existence. With only 21,000 original miles and one family, this could be a bargain. This is one of those cars that makes you look at it and think “oh yeah, there was a time when those cars were nice,” since we are all so used to seeing them run around as beater in the winter. The seller has included many photographs as well as a walk around video that can be found here on YouTube. Find this car here on eBay in California with bidding at $2,050 and no reserve.¬†

The interior of this car is just about as nice as it can be! The cloth seats and carpet all look like new, and all the little plastic bits that are normally worn are broken are in place and look unused. There are some things on the inside of this car that are shiny chrome that I didn’t even know were supposed to be chrome, based on the condition of the majority of these cars. It also has both power front seats and power windows! The only defect I noticed on this car was the headliner is beginning to bubble and sag, which can be seen in the video. This is unsurprising given this era of GM cars was extremely prone to headliner sag. The other issue mentioned by the seller is that the passenger power window is slow to move.

As soon as I saw the 3800, I was excited! If you haven’t owned a first series GM 3800 engine, then you likely do not understand my sentiment, but these are wonderful engines. These are relatively easy to maintain, given their transverse mounting, and need little maintenance save for the occasional intake gasket and regular service. Not only that, but these engines provide a surprising amount of pep for an otherwise unexciting vehicle.

This car is nearly perfect, especially for a car built during the “throwaway era” of American automobiles. This is a prime example of what I would consider Malaise era, and I have a strong desire to purchase it. Fortunately for me, it is on the wrong coast! This car will undoubtedly go to a collector, and yes collectors for vehicles of this era do exist. It is nearly perfect, save for dull roof paint. This is really a nice vehicle and a time capsule, for better or for worse, of the late 1980s. As pedestrian as it may seem, I would be proud to own such a nice example of a car that so few remain fully intact.

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Comments

  1. Miguel

    I think you meant to say they are wonderful engines when they work correctly.

    I shied away from them when I was buying used cars because of the distributorless component.




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    • Rick Rothermel

      The motors are fine. The main issue in the few of these cars I’ve had is the valve in the transaxle that dumps trans fluid into the engine and turns the car into a crop duster. Likely to happen if the car has been sitting for a while.




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      • Miguel

        I have had a lot of these when I was buying and selling.

        I didn’t like the engine because it’s use was based on sensors and not a distributor.

        When they go wrong, it is not cheap to fix, or at least it wasn’t.




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  2. Adam Clarke Adam T45 Staff

    I hope that I’m wrong because I really like this car, but compared to the condition of the rest of the car does the engine bay look surprisingly dirty? Maybe it’s just me, but something doesn’t seem right. I hope that I’m wrong because the remainder of the car is in amazing condition.




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    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

      Adam, I noticed that as well! I am a little suspicious, but here is why I think it is like it is: The issue is that the valve covers and engine cover are made of an off-white/light gray material that holds in dirt and is very difficult to clean. If this car was used for lots of short trips, which it probably was, it isn’t impossible for the covers to have collected a lot of dirt. Really all it would’ve taken was someone doing a messy valve cover gasket replacement!




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    • jw454

      Adam, I was thinking the same thing. We’ve seen cars with twice the mileage that looked better under the hood. The rest of the car looks right but, that engine bay doesn’t look like 21K garage kept to me.




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    • CanuckCarGuy

      Maybe a rural owner, unpaved roads could be the culprit?




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    • Jack

      @Adam T45, I think you are spot on about the dirty engine bay! I thought the same thing as soon as looked at it. Not sure how much dust you would find on the roads in northern Los Angeles. Lipstick on a pig? Comes to mind…




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    • carsofchaos

      Agreed. A little Purple Power followed by a power wash would have really helped that engine bay




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  3. SAM61

    This would be a hoot if you added a “supercharger” from a newer 3.8.

    I had a mid 90’s Regal GS sedan with a 3.8. Comfy, nice power and options, reliable…drove it up to 140,000 miles.




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    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

      I had a 1993 Regal GS with the 3.8 from September 2016-January 2017, and I feel the same way as you do! I bought mine with 239,000 miles and put frequent highway miles on it up to 242,000 and then sold it for what I paid for it. Never required anything from me except rear shocks and spark plugs. We always talked about adding a supercharger to it for laughs!




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  4. Maestro1

    Andrew, thank you, good car from Olds, fix the headliner, drive and enjoy.




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  5. jdjonesdr

    A friend of mine had one of these in the two door version. Loved it. Comfortable and smooth ride.

    I bet an afternoon with some bio gradable degreaser and a hose under that hood would make it look a thousand times better.




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  6. Pete

    The front seat leg room in these things is phenomenal! I’m 73″ tall, most of it from the waist down, so I always notice leg room. After my stint in the military, and during my first dod contractor job, my new boss had one. A new one at that. He was 6′ 7″. Occasionally, for business, we’d ride in his Olds to go tither and fro… Man was that thing SUPER comfortable. No wonder he bought it!




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  7. DR

    My Dad had one when it was only a year old. A very comfy road car that passed slower vehicles on the highway with ease. The body roll was off the charts, however. When you went into a turn at full pant it was like a cartoon car where the body detached from the chassis and the coil springs stretched out 20 feet. His ’83 305 4bbl Cutlass G Body with optional suspension was a much better road car.




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  8. Thomas Dolby

    It has power windows!!




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  9. Todd Zuercher

    Nice looking example of the breed – still occasionally see some on the road here in AZ.

    But again, I take issue with this being a car from the ‘malaise’ era. Malaise era ended several years before this – by ’89, life was pretty good again in the car world!




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  10. Matt St

    Is anyone else reminded of the movie Fargo?




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  11. Alan (Michigan)

    Oh Man…..
    The seller also has a ’92 Chevy 2500 pickup with a big block, and low miles….




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  12. DweezilAZ

    I think it’s entirely possible that there’s a natural buildup of dirt and dust under the hood after 21,000 miles and 28 years.

    It seems they keep the car maintained and clean in the interior and and exterior.

    Not everyone concerns themselves with having an immaculate engine compartment, yet they’ll go to great lengths making sure the rest of the car is presentable.




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  13. Alan (Michigan)

    Right now at $4K, with about 18 hours left.




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  14. Alan (Michigan)

    How could anyone go wrong at $4800? I like this car.




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  15. Jim

    something is not quite right with this car. I have a 1989 Olds 98 and the grill and tail lights are not the same as mine. The grill on mine has little square openings. But the grill on this one has more vertical lines. Also the tail lights on mine are thinner. This one has much wider tail lights.




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    • Jim

      her is the grill on mine.




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    • Jim

      OK, OK, It is late here and I miss read the ad. I thought it said olds 98. MY BAD sorry. I am going to bed LOL




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