Real Barn Find! 1971 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Drop-Top

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For the second half of the 20th Century, the 88 nameplate was a mainstay of the Oldsmobile lineup. It was often the entry-level “big” car (but it was still nicely trimmed) and several variants were included over the years, including the popular Delta 88. This 1971 convertible is a one-owner automobile that was last driven in 1980 and maybe kept in this barn since then. Perhaps it will clean up well enough, but the car doesn’t run. Available here on craigslist, this convertible can be acquired in Amsterdam, New York for $9,500. Barn Finder T.J. comes up with another gem!

These cars were known as 88s for some 40 years and as Eight Eights for another 10. They were roomy, full-size cars that were positioned below the luxurious 98s (or Ninety Eights). A flock of surnames was used over the car’s long run, including Super, Dynamic, Jetstar, Delmont, Starfire, Holiday, and Delta, perhaps the more common. All of GM’s B-body vehicles were redesigned in 1971, including the seventh generation of the 88. Those would run through 1976 before a downsizing took place and convertibles were last offered in 1975. There was only one drop-top in ’71, the Delta 88 Royale and it saw the production of only 2,883 units, so they don’t turn up very often today.

This car probably has an interesting story (as most do), but we don’t know what it is. The Olds had one prior owner before being rescued from the insides of a genuine red barn. It was last driven in 1980 and is said to only have 33,000 miles, but we don’t know if that’s accurate or why the car was put into hibernation. We’re told it doesn’t run and no photo is provided of the engine compartment, so we must assume there’s a 350 cubic inch “Rocket” V8 hiding there along with an automatic transmission, which was standard equipment by 1971.

This car has the one-year-only flow-thru ventilation with vents in the trunk lid that was employed by GM on all its full-size cars. It didn’t work then and it’s doubtful that it would work now. The body looks decent for its age with no immediate signs of rust although we’re told there’s a small hole in the floorboard on the driver’s side. No sheet metal rust is noted and there is only one dent that we can see on the snoot. We’re told the interior is complete and quite nice, but again, no photos are offered. This would be a cool land yacht to restore, and the seller does have a walkaround video you can get upon request.

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  1. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Oh for the love of Mikey, PLEASE wash your pig before you ask anyone to make a wild guess as to how ugly it is…or not. And maybe it was put away because it came with a super-slurper 455.

    Like 7
    • 8banger 8bangerMember


      Like 5
  2. Snotty

    Aaah! One of my favorite Olds. Love the tailgate configuration, perfect symmetry, almost pontiacess. Front way nicer than ’70’ not flat. Have another closer to home, it too is a vert..

    Like 2
  3. Snotty


    Like 1
  4. Red Riley

    I thought for sure that was my old car until I saw the location. That would be a 455, not a 350. Two barrel carb and single exhaust, with AC and tons of smog stuff. I swapped a four barrel into mine when I had it apart for a valve job. Life was good when gas was a buck a gallon.

    Like 5
  5. Troy

    Wonder if that was like a alien abduction or wizard of oz storm thing for the mice living in it one minute they are in a dark and dusty barn then flying down the highway now they are someplace else a long ways from their friends.

    Lots of body damage to it makes me wonder why they stopped driving it

    Like 1
  6. Daniel Blancher

    I had one of them 455 cu in 4 bbl. automatic transmission, posi rear ens 2door hard top. Black interior, green exterior. Nice ride. Probably should of keep it. But you know back then they all over the place.

    Like 3
  7. gearjammer

    FAR too much money being asked for a car that doesn’t run, and that the seller made NO effort to make presentable for sale.
    Why do people think they can get maximum reward for minimum effort?
    The seller also used the word ‘unique’ in the description. What a trite, and often misused word. Unique means there are NO others like it. I’ll bet there are, and better buys than this one.
    Hard pass.

    Like 1

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