1987 Oldsmobile 88 Royale Brougham 3.8 from UK and Ireland


The best all round American car I've owned


When I bought the car, the speedometer didn't work and it ran a bit rough. When I got it home (a 150 mile trip), it hardly ran at all. I replaced the plugs & plug wires, which completely cured the running problems. I also gave the car a complete service, & replaced the blown cruise control fuse, which fixed the speedometer!.

Since then the muffler blew on the way to a car show (embarrassing), but that is all that has failed since I bought the car.

There are some faults I still have to fix; the A/C doesn't work (not a big deal in the UK), the central locking and power windows are both slow, and the hood needs a new strut.

General Comments:

This car has both the best performance & gas mileage of any American car I have ever owned. The engine & transmission are wonderfully smooth, returning 30 mpg in normal use, and 22 mpg towing a caravan, which it does with no stability worries, & deals effortlessly with hills.

My girlfriend loves both driving & riding in it, loving the smooth ride & comfortable seats; the only car I've owned that beat it for ride & seat comfort was a 1982 Lincoln Mark 6.

The only gripe I have with the car, is that being a 2 door, parking it in typical tight English supermarket car parks, opening the doors wide enough to get in and out easily, can be a problem. But what the heck; I bought it to go to car shows (there is a thriving American car scene over here), and although it doesn't compare with the fins'n'chrome of the fifties or '60s muscle cars, I am very happy with it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th November, 2010

1987 Oldsmobile 88 Royal Brougham 3.8L V6 from North America


They don't build cars like this anymore


Bought the car for $380 from a gent who thought the water pump needed to be replaced. Was actually the harmonic balancer - $60 from Ebay and only 20 minutes to replace.

Did usual maintenance items - as should be with ANY used car: plugs, wires, 02 sensor, serpentine belt and pulley, air filter, coolant temp sensor, brake pads and shoes. Transmission fluid and filter change. Added external oil cooler for $10 from junk yard. Coolant flush and fill.

General Comments:

Very comfortable car. Drivers side seat is power. Interior is functional but not gaudy.

3.8L has plenty of low end grunt. Not too hard on fuel - average about 23-25mpg hwy at 105 - 110 km/h (thanks to a good 4 speed overdrive transmission).

Very spacious. Fabric is of very good quality actually. OEM radio is not too bad. Headliner starting to sag in some places.

Car is actually well engineered. 4 wheel independent suspension. Adjustable camber on all 4 wheels. Non-ABS brakes have good feel and modulation (Discs up front, drums in rear).

Quality of materials is not too shabby for a domestic car.

I bought this as a winter beater. It has totally surprised me. It's not a bad car at all. No wonder the more mature buyer gravitated towards these models.

Handling is not bad. It's not sprung super soft, and has not too much lean when pushed in corners.

The 3.8L V6 is a fantastic motor. So simple to work on. Easy access to all major areas. Water pump takes only 30 minutes from start to finish to do. Power steering pump is 20 minutes. Lots of room in the engine compartment. Even the rear plugs are within reach. Replacing the 02 sensor is a snap as it is easily accessible from the engine compartment. Transmission is easy to set up as shift points can be set by TV cable.

It's OBD1 so it's very simple fuel injection. Very little to trouble shoot.

All in all, the car is rock solid reliable, and is very easy to work on. Parts are very cheap and plentiful.

Car handles very well in the snow (as long as you have the smarts to run real snow tires..)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2009

2nd Apr 2010, 00:37

This review is in regards to my 1989 Olds 88.

Let's start with the purchasing the Olds last year in June. My Olds only had 80,000 original miles on it. Most people would assume that a good and reliable automobile from GM with only 80,000 miles on it would be a steal of a deal, right? Especially for $1400.00.

Well I did as well for the first two months, then the plague started. What went wrong with the dear Olds!

1.) Both front brake lines rusted out, parking brake needed adjusted, as well again.

2.) Front pads and calipers; $330.00.

3.) Right outer tie-rod; $200.00.

4.) New winter studded snow tires $75.00.

5.) Exhaust system from the cat-back $226.00.

6.) Thermostat and coolant pressure check $190.00 Note: Includes labor, tax, and part pricing!

7.) New spark plugs self installed, air filter, PCV valve, and vapor canister make-shift filter price $ n/a.

8.) Now most recent, the car was having a fuel/air issue, stalling and surging. Now this only occurred once my throttle body was taken apart when my thermostat was retapped. I thought for the longest time it was my MAF sensor, but wrong. I had a engine scan today, and no trouble codes or error lights on, but ignition module replaced $120.00, fuel filter $15.00, and now the fuel-pump at $120-149.00.

Nothing really major wrong with the car, just frustrating objects that are very hard to figure out on your own, without having proper OBD tools.

Now the body is very clean, has no rust, paint is clean and clear coat in great condition, interior is red-cloth, as well very clean.

I'm hoping after these things are replaced, and other minor things like oil change and filter, rear brakes, but the normal wear and tear on any old and new car, I would like to think my 1989 88 Olds will last me until 200,000 plus miles before the famous 3800 needs TLC, but odds are the transmission won't last as its brother, LOL.