1985 Oldsmobile 88 Royale Brougham 5.0L 307ci V8 from North America


It is an amazing, reliable, comfortable, and beautiful classic! I recommend it to anyone!


When I bought the car, the vinyl top was (and still is) sun cracked, the headliner (and still is) drooping, the oil pan gasket was leaking, the transmission pan gasket was (and still is) seeping, the water pump was going out, the belts were too loose, the A/C didn't (and still doesn't) work, and the differential housing gasket was (and still is) seeping, and the tags were expired.

General Comments:

It seems like a heap just by the description, but after replacing the water pump, getting the oil pan gasket replaced, and tightening the fan belts, it runs very strong and reliable!

I bought the car in August and have been using it as my commuter car every day. With all of the issues it has, due to age, it is still a great running and reliable vehicle!

I love this car! The design, both inside and out, is amazing in my opinion! And I'm not much of a General Motors fan, but I absolutely love my Oldsmobile! It still has the individual look of a classic car, not like today where cars are similar looking. It has the classic look with some newer features of its day!

The interior is beautiful and extremely comfortable. It is like a couch on wheels!

There are 2 cons that do suck about the car:

1. The gas mileage. If you don't know anything about the older cars, the older, bigger, higher end cars do not have great gas mileage. I gas up once a week and average about $30 per fill-up at around 3/4 tank already filled.

2. If you plan on working on this car, don't. The earlier smog regulation vacuum hoses are a mess and are in the way of everything, and there is like a foot of empty space in the grille right in the way.

Other than that, the car is absolutely amazing! I love the car and everyone who gets in it loves it too! IF YOU FIND ONE IN DECENT SHAPE, GET IT! IT'S AN AWESOME CAR! VERY RELIABLE, AND A BEAUTIFUL, COMFORTABLE CLASSIC!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2016

4th Dec 2016, 04:38

Nice review :)

Olds V-8s will go through water pumps. And valve cover gaskets are not exactly long-lived either.

5.0/307s run into intake manifold gasket leaks. To save weight, Olds went to a aluminum intake manifold with the introduction of the 307 in 1980. They then attached it to the pre-existing cast iron heads - which expand at a different rate. This made life fun for the hapless gasket caught it the middle. ;)

Hint: Keep up with coolant changes (to stop rot/weakening), and you'll send it to the junkyard with the original gasket :)

Olds fell in love with solving the emissions/fuel economy/drivability woes of the 1970s by adding vacuum device upon vacuum device to micromanage spark advance, evaporation emissions, EGR flow rates, and eventually even idle speed (Hint: Idle Load Compensators DON'T last). It all works great - until dry rot sets in on the various vacuum diaphragms that actuate the various devices. On top of which you also have to worry about the rubber hoses that connect them.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that the rest of the engine was the legacy brainchild of the cream of the crop of GM's engineers in GM's heyday of the 1960s when they brought out the Olds Small Block in 1964; it was the "last out, best dressed" of the GM V8s. An overbuilt, overachiever of an engine. Even cost cutting it by removing block material, crankshaft counterweighting, and minutiae like the lowering the number of valve cover to the point of premature oil leakage could not wreck the inherent goodness of the engine. Rock solid reliability coupled with smooth, and even powerful (in a mid-eighties context). In 1985, they updated it with roller valve lifters, and fast-burn heads to keep up with EPA fuel economy/emissions regs - on Regular fuel - unlike the competition who quietly resorted to Premium fuel to make the same targets :(

As for the rest of the car, the (initially) horrendous TurboHydraMatic 200-4R 4-speed automatic transmission was well sorted entity at this point. Good reliability coupled with good drivability - crisp, but smooth shifts, responsive to throttle changes, but not hyperactive in doing so.

Enjoy :)

6th Dec 2016, 19:59

My Grandmother had one of these back when they were still new. Not exactly the best car from the best era of GM. Amazingly large car with a giant engine that somehow only managed to eek out less than 150 Horsepower. Even as a kid the thing looked like a big brick on wheels. No curves, not nuttin'... Just a big slab of metal.

7th Dec 2016, 14:28

And we had an '85 LeSabre 2 door, the cousin to the Delta 88. Smooth, comfortable, elegant looks and reliable as they come. I remember it was driven everywhere and driven hard (100,000 miles in just over 6 years). It had 1 problem... the power antenna.

3rd Jan 2017, 18:24

Since the car is so old, you may want to replace the EGR valve with an OEM AC Delco unit and clean out the EGR ports. That may help improve the fuel mileage. These valves fail without warning on these engines, causing the carb to lean out. The computer then compensates by setting a rich mixture which reduces fuel economy and performance. Ignition timing is also very important on this engine. Check and if necessary, adjust to the factory setting according to the instructions on the emissions decal under the hood. A full tank of gas and a set of snow tires make it a fantastic winter beater. Have fun with this old tank. They were great cars.