Great deal and what a great car. The Olds 307 may not be the fastest V8 engine off the line, but it's totally reliable so long as it's looked after. If taken care of, you should have this car for a long time.
The "pristine peak of Detroit elegance and strength" was actually about two decades before this car was built.
You have a point, I suppose - I owned GM cars from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and it is true the older ones were perhaps a bit more interesting and certainly more powerful. However an 80s Park Avenue, or other full sized GM was probably easier to live with on a daily basis than those older cars - very pleasant to drive, nice high gearing for the quiet, economical highway cruise, and a few other little positive innovations.
However one thing's for sure, everything's gone shockingly downhill since the early 1980s.
Yes things have certainly gone down hill!! The mid-80s was the start of the downfall, but you could still choose several traditional full-size cars at both ends of the price scale well into the 90s. After GM discontinued their big cars and Ford ruined the Town Car, things really started to get bad. Of course up until about 5 years ago there were still a few very nice competent traditional larger car offerings from Detroit. Now we big, traditional car lovers are all but forgotten in the automotive marketplace.
Unfortunately at 29, I almost totally missed the era that these cars thrived in. I was fortunate enough to own 2 Park Avenues that I loved though, and I will always miss the last one I had. I wish I could come to the point of driving older cars like you have and not care what others think. I would enjoy driving them a lot more and it would be a financial dream! I live in an upscale golf community, and the temptation to try and keep up with the Jones' is always hard though.