(Found In) Golden Gate (Oakland, California): 1964 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Holiday Sports Sedan

img_2769By 1964, General Motors premium efforts offered up a magic brew of marketing and moxie. Where Ford and Chrysler could only work their mojo into offering perhaps only 2 or 3 premium sedans, General Motors had a slew of them. Most credit Ford with starting the brougham brigade, in actuality Pontiac brought the bourgeois to more of the masses with their Bonneville Brougham.

Before you cashed in with a Cadillac, there were two steps that you could sit on up the Sloan Ladder. We’ve covered the Electra 225 already, but one favorite on Dynamic Drives is one of our favored subjects from after dark. Today we present yet another Oldsmobile Ninety Eight.

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(Found In) Tresle Glen (Oakland, California): 1959 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Holiday Hardtop Sedan

img_2284 Although the tidal change that the 1959 General Motors Full Sized line was, perhaps no marque needed that change more than Oldsmobile. The brand had gone from offering the most conservative offerings in 1957 to the most derided offerings for 1958.

Mocking came in the form of musical notes written on the chrome trim in comics of the period, mocking the excessive levels of trim of the loving motorboats on offer from Lansing that year. Fortelling a renewed appreciation for simplicity and decorum, the 1959 Oldsmobile line pointed in the direction of a series of ever increasingly elegant offerings for middle class buyers for the next decade.
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(Found In) Polk Gulch (San Francisco, California): 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible

image (5).jpegGeneral Motors’s status as the majority producer of Automobiles for much of the 20th Century meant it could waste time where other car manufacturers couldn’t. This meant that GM fielded no less than 3 automatic transmissions for shiftless driving throughout its 5 brands into the 1960’s. This also meant, as Air Conditioning became commonplace, and fun in the sun motoring became a thing of the past, GM fielded convertibles, full sized convertibles to boot, in all 5 brands way into the Disco Ball and Opera Window’d 1970’s.

Right in the middle of the pack, in the middle of the model generation, we have the Oldsmobile Delta 88. What’d you get over the other offerings at Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac? Who bought these beautiful beasts?

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(Found In) Temescal (Oakland, California): 1957 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket 88 Holiday Hardtop Four Door Sedan

image (22)Rockets start to fall back to the earth after they pierce their way into outer space. That’s pretty much the legacy of Oldsmobile during the second half of the 50’s. As the Overhead Valve V8 performance revolution Oldsmobile inspired in 1949 spread to all popular priced cars in the middle of the decade, the laurel brand of Lansing found itself in a dilemma.

Where was the athlete to go when so many challengers to the crown were on the track and field? Was it mission impossible to attempt to maintain the performance crown? Was adding luxury and maintaining consistency the key to longevity, success and praise?

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(Found In) Uptown-Northgate (Oakland, California) 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible

14870503304_33bc4e5b89_h The call to let the sunshine in and dawn the Age of Aquarius was a decade turning herald call. However, the sun was about to set on the American Convertible as the 1970’s plowed on. In the personalization and self-actualization days of the early 1970s, the coddling comforts of Air Conditioning, tinted glass and vinyl roofs conferred more savvy than free in-the-breeze sporty, top down motoring. Sunroofs and too many sunburns lead people away from top down motoring in the way it had been embraced in the past.

As sporting life gave way to laps of luxuries, convertibles fell on their swords one by one. One of the last rousing relative successes of the genre was the burgeoning darling of the middle of the market, the much beloved Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
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(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale 4 Door Sedan

imageIn so many ways for the last rear-wheel drive Oldsmobile 88, it was the same at the ending as it was at the beginning. Once the star of the horsepower race, over time the Oldsmobile 88 became your average middle class car for Ordinary People. It wasn’t so much a fall from grace one might expect. Moreso the manifestation was consistent conservatism for Lansing’s biggest bread and butter loaf.

For 35+ years, the 88 gave reliable doses of 6 passenger comfort, smooth rides, quiet operation and a decent surge of V8 power. Soon enough though, the double-eight badging would have little significance as the march of badge engineering acted as a stick of dynamite against the GM Sloan ladder from the 1920s. It continued to splinter and crack under the weight of more profits and more competition for a shrinking class of buyer.

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(Found In) Oak Center (Oakland, California): 1970 Oldsmobile Ninety – Eight Holiday 4 Door Hardtop Sedan

24201093003_f2e9738c84_kThe Oldsmobile Ninety Eight had made a career of stating “why buy a Cadillac?” The distance between what the Oldsmobile offered at a 25-30% discount over a comparable edition of The Standard Of The World often made the Ninety Eight seem like the most sensible sensation in the Near-Luxury field.

Quite often, the details of this most premium of Oldsmobiles actively upset product managers at Cadillac. The “Deep Discount DeVille” matched with the sterling reputation Oldsmobile cultivated for decades, but most importantly in the post-war market, set the groundwork for the brands stratospheric rise during the “me” decade of the 1970’s which found the brand even ahead of Ford at points for the #2 spot on the sales charts. Continue reading “(Found In) Oak Center (Oakland, California): 1970 Oldsmobile Ninety – Eight Holiday 4 Door Hardtop Sedan”

(Found In) Northgate (Oakland, California): 1965 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass Holiday Coupe

12387914_10153197929942201_1211070581_n At the center of the 1960’s, Oldsmobile was starting to find out Where The Action Is.  Swinging at the automotive discotheque with a full line of models of in sizes medium and large, Oldsmobile was poised to gain ground on the lessons they had learned during the first part of the 1960’s.

With two versions of their next generation Rocket V8’s soon capable of quite savage outputs, Oldsmobile, and their F-85/Cutlass line in particular, was ready to build a legacy that would storm the gates of the domestic family market. They were amply equipped to dominate it for the next 20 years. With a reputation for excellent quality, engineering and more than a minor bent towards total performance, the budding Cutlass line soon came to be synonymous with Middle Class Success.

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(Found In) Boise (Portland, Oregon) – 1972 Oldsmobile Toronado

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Although a technological tour de force showcase for General Motors, The 1966 Toronado wasn’t the sales success Oldsmobile was hoping for in the burgeoning “Personal Luxury” market.
In a market segment flowing with features to coddle buyers, few seemed concerned with the fact that it was the only mass market front wheel drive American Car for sale at the time. Part of the blame did go to Oldsmobile’s marketing for not knowing how to hype such a special product. Another piece would be its otherworldly suave, sophisticated quality in a growing sea of brocade interiors capped with vinyl tops in the burgeoning brougham era.

We know how this story goes.
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(Found In) The Bayview (San Francisco) – 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

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Forward thinking while referencing the past, that’s what the Oldsmobile Toronado wished to do as a new concept in motoring for 1966.

Whether it was fully successful is a question left up to interpretation. As it stands it was a technological tour-de-force, and tempting dead end. Stylish, Suave and Sexy, it was a surprise image leader for Oldsmobile’s Where The Action Is years of the mid 1960’s.
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