I buried my old '88 today and what a sad day this is. This is probably less a review than confession -- confessions, that is, of an abusive owner.
I purchased the car sight-unseen for $2,500.00(USD) at just a shade under 60,000 miles. I wouldn't have considered buying this way, but I was crunched for time and I'd had such great luck with my Olds '98 that I figured it would be a safe bet.
When I first saw the car, I immediately disliked it, but mostly because this loaded '88 lacked the visual appeal and toys of my nicer, classier, Olds '98.
I never really fell in love with this one, and so I abused it terribly. Truly, it wasn't the car's fault... I know I was discriminating, but I refused to do the usual maintenance that owners might typically do -- things like regular oil and transmission fluid changes, etc.
My Olds '88 is actually a pretty good example of how far a car can go if you never change the oil (it was changed once when I purchased the car, and then never again), burn cheap fuel, and drive it like you hate it.
I only fixed the bare necessities, such as brake pads, and ignored the other little quirks (such as a nagging "search engine" light).
At about 100,000 miles, I broke a transmission line on the expressway in the middle of the night. Not wanting to stop and wait for a tow, I drove it the 150 miles to my house without any fluid. Ever since, the transmission slipped a bit in second and third gears -- but I figured I'd keep driving it as long as I could, and to my surprise, the transmission finally died last night -- at 270,000km (175,000 miles). Begrudging it the cost of a tow, I decided to try driving it the 30 km to my home with only 1st gear and overdrive. I manually shifted from 1st at 45 miles/hr, and I'm impressed to tell you that second and third gears, are in fact, optional.
Quite seriously, if you have the opportunity to move up to a '98 I would suggest that you do so. If you don't have the option, take the Delta '88 and know that you're getting a reliable (perhaps annoyingly reliable) car.
Prior to owning the Olds '88 and Olds '98, I owned a loaded Mercedes 300D. The Olds beats the Mercedes hands down, in terms of repair costs, comfort, driving pleasure, and so on. The only areas that the Mercedes beat the Olds on was mileage (thanks to a diesel motor in the Mercedes) and a power sunroof, which as far as I know, never was an option in the Olds.
Anyway, this was an all-round good buy, and if I had the opportunity to do it again, the only thing I'd change would be my attitude.