Rocket Rag Top: 1969 Oldsmobile 98

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Usually covering an Oldsmobile on BF means a 442, a Toronado, maybe a standard Cutlass, but a Ninety-Eight? Not so much so. Throw in the top-down feature, and now you have something really interesting – large and in charge I’d say! Found in central Georgia, this whammer-jammer from one of Detroit’s finest fallen flags is available, here on craigslist for $11,500.

Numbers matter, and in this case, this is not a common Oldsmobile. Of the 635K total units (sixth-place finish) churned out of Lansing in ’69, only 4,300 were Ninety-Eight convertibles. The lesser Delta Eighty-Eight also came in convertible form that year, and it fared a bit better but the handwriting was on the wall – full-size convertibles were falling out of favor.

The seller tells us, “Original lacquer paint… All trim and bright work still present. No heavy scaling or rust. Georgia Classic! Solid and straight. Solid floors, rockers, trunk pan, frame, chassis. NICE !!!“. He also tells us that it’s white and I honestly couldn’t tell that. The images are a bit dark but the finish flatness and surface rust had me thinking “beige”. The operable black convertible top shows well with no indication of rips.

Packing 4,500 lbs. at 224″ in length and spread over a 126″ wheelbase, is no worry for this Oldsmobile’s 365 gross HP, 455 CI “Rocket” V8 engine. The mileage is said to be “low and original” at 90K but no mention is made of operating prowess. Assuming proper maintenance, and an accurate mileage recording, a 90K mile accumulation should be of little worry on this vintage Olds engine. The sole transmission available was a Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed automatic.

The seller considers the black vinyl interior to be in excellent condition and it does show well though I imagine those seats can be real thigh scorthers on a top-down, central Georgia day. Obviously, convertible interiors can take a real beating when exposed to lots of open-air motoring but that doesn’t seem to be the case here – even the dashpad is intact. While convertibles from this era featured A/C as often as they didn’t, being a southern-based Oldsmobile-level car this one is, not surprisingly, so equipped. What’s not said is whether or not it’s operational.

The seller suggests, “Fresh paint and you’re ready for the back roads and car shows. SPRING IS HERE!“. I would agree, and a new coat of paint isn’t essential at first – it can wait until a later date as it’s gonna take a whole lot of expensive two-stage to cover a car of this size. Let’s talk price, what do you think at $11,500, priced right or not quite?

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  1. geezerglide 85

    I had one of these when I was 19, about 1979 or so. I paid 375 bucks for it, only had 79,000 on the clock. It didn’t have any out side rust but a leaky top had rotted holes in the floors. It was the only vert I ever owned, in NE Penn. you don’t get a lot of top down weather. It ran great but, at the time I really didn’t have the money to do everything it needed and after about a year I just got another beater. Except for the paint this one looks a lot better than mine did. I don’t know about $11,500 but somebody will want this and there ain’t many left. Strange thing is if were a Chevy it would be double the price.

    Like 1
    • Marv the maverick

      Well, now, that 1969 Oldsmobile 98 convertible, she was a real beaut, let me tell you. Not like the souped-up, chrome-plated jalopies they churn out these days. Back then, cars had some class, some presence. That 98, with her butter-cream paint and cherry red interior, she could turn heads on Main Street faster than a politician with a scandal.

      I still remember the day I brought her home. Saved every penny for months, working double shifts down at the mill. Finally had enough to walk into that shiny showroom and point my finger, “That one there, sonny. That’s the one for me.” The salesman, slicked-back hair and a smile wider than Texas, he tried to push all sorts of fancy options on me. But I knew what I wanted. Just the base model, nothing fancy. Just pure, unadulterated American muscle under the hood.

      That 455 Rocket V8, oh boy, that engine was a symphony. A deep, guttural rumble that sent shivers down your spine when you turned the key. And when you put that petal to the metal, well sir, you were off like a bottle rocket. Top down, wind whipping through your hair, that 98 could eat up the highway miles like a hungry catfish at a buffet.

      We had some adventures in that car, me and that 98. Took her on countless road trips, windows down, radio blasting out tunes that would make your ears bleed today. Cruised down the coast with the top down, the smell of salt air and sunscreen thick in the air. Watched Fourth of July fireworks explode over the lake, the reflection shimmering on the 98’s chrome like a million scattered diamonds.

      Of course, she wasn’t perfect. Had her fair share of breakdowns over the years. Remember that time the radiator blew on a dusty backroad in Arizona? Sweat dripping off my brow, the engine sputtering its last breath, me miles from nowhere. But that 98, she had a fighting spirit. Towed her into a rickety garage run by a one-eyed mechanic who knew his Fords from his Chevys. By nightfall, we were back on the road, the 98 purring like a kitten.

      These days, my legs ain’t what they used to be, and climbing into that 98 ain’t as easy as it once was. But I still take her out for a spin every now and then. Cruise down memory lane, past the old houses and shops that haven’t changed a bit. The kids on the sidewalk stare, all confused by this old car and this old man. But I don’t mind. They got their fancy gadgets and their self-driving contraptions. Me, I’ll take the rumble of a V8 and the open road any day. Because that 1969 Oldsmobile 98 convertible, she ain’t just a car. She’s a piece of history, a reminder of simpler times, and a loyal companion who’s seen it all. And as long as this old heart keeps ticking, she’ll keep turning heads, one slow cruise at a time.

      Like 25
      • ccrvtt

        Awesome Marv, just awesome! Thank you!

        Like 6
      • jetfire88

        Thanks, Marv. Brought back memories of my ’56 Starfire, one of the few cars I had that I still miss.

        Like 6
      • Utesman

        Well said, Marv……..
        You remind me of me……a not-so-aspiring shade-tree autophile.

        Like 2
      • RICK W

        MARV, 🏆 YOU are truly an American 🇺🇸 CLASSIC! As a Vintage Rolls Canardly (Roll down one hill and Can ardly get up the next), I believe we were extremely fortunate to have lived the bulk of our lives at the BEST times in the GREATEST nation in the history of the world. Too many youngsters drink the KOOL Aid and have an ORANGE Julius believing they know it all. Just Makes 🤮 American 🤮 Gag 🤮 Again! Wishing you and your 98 many more Happy Trails! 👍

        Like 3
  2. Bill West

    My mother bought one of these new in the spring of 69. Dark blue with a black interior and a white top. Gorgeous car and very fast with that 455! Made many trips to Florida and back from Connecticut. It actually got decent gas mileage on the road, about 16. I got my license in that car. This example is simply priced too high for it’s condition. $5k max.

    Like 2
  3. St.Michael

    425 or 455 ? My family had a DYNAMIC 88 with a 425…same orange air cleaner with USE PREMIUM FUEL ONLY ULTRA-HIGH COMPRESSION

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      The seller says it’s a 455 which makes sense as it was introduced in ’68. The 425 got the boot at the end of the ’67 model year.


      Like 9
  4. Nelson C

    Great car that must be rather rare these days. This one is leaning towards Uncle Buck, but a shot of paint would fix that. I hope someone saves this one from extinction.

    Like 2
  5. Zen

    Maybe it looks better in person, but in the pics it’s way too rough for that price. I think he’s dreaming. It would be worth that if it didn’t need so much body work.

    Like 1
  6. RICK W

    🎵 Come and ride with me, Lucille 🎶in my merry Oldsmobile 🎵 . Had a 66 Dynamic 88 convert,red with white top. Great car and only convert. Sadly a careless driver ended that. Next up 69 Delta Royale 4 door. Great cars. Often felt OLD in the name helped put the final nail in the coffin, despite advertising Youngmobiles and NOT your father’s Oldsmobile. 🤔 This is definitely a rare survivor, but it seems like you would need much time and money to RANSOM 😉 it! Right ELI?

    Like 2
    • RICK W

      Guess I am becoming an OLD semi MOBILE myself. Somehow I forgot about my 72 LTD convert, another great vehicle. As I have said before, I am now a Vintage Rolls Canardly. Roll down one hill and Can ardly get up the next! 😮

      Like 1
  7. timothy r herrod

    I saw Rocket in the opening line and it made me think back to about 10 years ago when the 16 year old neighbor kid brought home a 79 firebird that was really a nice car if you could look past the primer and crappy seats that someone put in it. It was rust free which I thought was unbelievable for a car from this era. I even gave him a trans am hood and shaker for a christmas present so imagine my surpise when I came home from work and the firebird was gone and a rusty 69 cutlass was sitting in the backyard. When I say rusty the back half of the car was gone, the backglass was laying on what was left of the trunk floor. No it was not taken out and placed in the trunk, everything rusted away underneath of the back glass and gravity took hold. Later that night I heard a loud vehicle reving up outside in the neighbors driveway so I went out to see what the hell was going on and it was the kids dad. I forget to mention the parents were divorced. He was loading up the hood and shaker and some other parts, I asked what the heck was going on and he told me that Jason had traded the firebird for the cutlass and I asked why the hell would anyone want that cutlass as it was a rusty pile of crap and the firebird was a decent car, he said it’s a rocket. I then told him all Olds motors were rockets and someone just screwed this kid bigtime. Turns out it was the POS dad that did the trading. Screwed his own kid

    Like 0
    • Poppy

      My guess is the ’79 Firbird may have already had a 403 “rocket” in it??

      Like 0
  8. Utesman

    Once owned a ’69 88 Custom coupe. When I arrived to pay the elderly widow of the owner who’d recently passed, it was later that night. She met me @ the door in a ghostly white kimono w/too much ferrari-red lipstick applied a bit off target. Don’t ask me what was on her mind but I just paid & skedaddled!

    My then-girlfriend henceforth referred that Olds as my ‘late-caller car’.

    Like 1
  9. MLM

    We use to have a 4 door ’70 Olds 98. That was one sweet car that my dad brought from a lady down the road. My sorry father could never keep any good cars and we had plenty of them.

    Like 1
  10. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

    Love the GM 455-4
    All my cars had that, my 70 Riviera, my 71 Riviera and my 72 Riviera. Also my 72 Olds 98 LS Regency. One of the best engines to come out of Detroit. All with duel exhaust and power on demand.

    Like 1
    • Steve

      FYI: GM had 3 completely different 455’s in the 70’s. Buick, Olds, and Pontiac 455’s were built by their respective divisions and completely different.

      Like 0
  11. Mitch

    I bought a 1967 Delmont 88 convertible from the police auction in Denver. It was hit by a city snowplow and ownerjust let her go. Cars were so close together that I could not look at rear fenders. I crawled through the window and the 425 roared to life and a mere $500 later I was on the road. When I got home I noticed a broom handle protruding from the left rear fender
    So I popped the trunk lock and found three sets of Minnesota license plates…where they mix a little ice with their salt each winter. But the top worked so a set of brakes, a JC Whitney replacement top, and some radial whitewall tires and I was slapping on the ray bans and level 50 sun block. I enjoyed the car for 5 years never fixed a rust spot but I did duct tape (the handy man’s secret weapon) the hole in the fender and put the broom out in the shop. I sold it for $800 to a poor soul who thought he could resolve the rust issues. Still love rag tops. Hopefully somebody will love the big 98!

    Like 0
  12. ClassicP

    I had a 70’ Delta 88 in 77’ bought it from mother’s aunt it had 32,000 miles on it and that 455 purred. I like the front end of the 69 better than the 70’

    Like 0
  13. John D

    This was a really nice car when new, still looks decent sans the much needed paint, it’s certainly a must see in person before making a decision to buy. Still if it really only needs paint and a good amount of basic maintenance it would be worth it if you planned on keeping and driving, I don’t think it would be a flipper money maker but a really nice enjoyable driver.

    Like 0
  14. Ralph

    The full “Tijuana Taxi” upholstery kit…..

    Like 0
  15. Steve

    In High School I had a 69 Delta 88 convertible, only 2 yrs old with a 455 and am/fm stereo and factory 8 track. Loved that car, blue over blue. Totaled when moron passed me at high speed and cut back in too soon and hit me. Not a lot of physical damage but pushed me thru a barb wire fence which scratched every piece of glass on the car as well as the paint. Too bad insurance wouldn’t let us keep it because it still drove and ran perfect.

    Like 0

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