1987 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham 3.8L FI V6 / 210 Horsepower from North America
Three Words: Class, Comfort, and Power
Well, first off, the car was treated like dirt from its previous owner, and I can tell that it sat for a long time. You must know that if you plan on keeping your Delta 88 around for a few decades, you need to maintenance it regularly. And even though you think that this car is maintenance-free, think again. After all it IS still a car. I suspect that major neglect and nonexistent maintenance was the problem with this car from the start.
Original Miles from Purchase: Approx. 90,000
Before I begin to discuss the negative, I must say that after cleaning up the car for the first time (wash, a bottle of STP Son of a Gun! on all of the interior plastic/leather surfaces, vacuum) and without replacing a single thing, my family and I took it on a three-hour ride. It was an absolutely fabulous ride.
However, it needed a lot of cosmetic as well as physical improvements.
Inside tail light (third light) was burned out as well as the two front sidemarkers, the right-side license plate light, one courtesy light, as well as the rear left fender sidemarker.
Antenna was stuck in the "up" position (a car wash nightmare) ; cassette deck was broken.
Air conditioning was dead.
Brakes were fried.
Needed new tires.
Interior was absolutely filthy and full of garbage (wrappers, I even found a hair clip).
Driver's side window rotor was burnt and window was stuck in a "down" position (and for some reason, the driver's control cluster for the windows was upside-down - I have since gotten the window fixed and the cluster correctly mounted).
Manual mirror adjustment plate was off the door, just dangling.
Markings on the turn-signal lever were faded, and the connection for the cruise control was broken, so it was nonfunctioning.
Lifters on the hood were toasted.
Also, the ignition key was difficult to turn (though now it is easy).
All of these problems have been addressed and repaired professionally except I used Bondini to glue the mirror adjustment plate into place.
When I was in high school, a teacher backed into it, smashing the front left headlight and grille (I was sick, to say the least). I also dented the rear bumper, but it is hardly noticeable, though I intend to undo this as well. I also took off the driver-side mirror while backing into the garage, which I had replaced with a new one. Also, the border around the back windshield is weathering, and I also intend to take care of this.
ONLY PROBLEMS FOR ME:
Since I got it, the alternator needed to be replaced this past month and it has gone through three Interstate-brand batteries in about three years, in part, I suspect, due to the worn alternator. Also, the catalectic converter had to be replaced because the innards were loose and rattling, no other reason (new converter, modified to fit this car). Last year, a brake line dripped liquid.
Ironically enough, with this car, the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light apparently comes on just before something needs to be checked or before something goes wrong.
The only other problems encountered were extreme wear and tear from the previous owner and trying to repair their damage.
But even though this car was in less than sales-worthy shape, it looked superb when my dad brought it home the very first time. I was amazed by all of the great features it had. He acquired the car from a local auto mechanic in July of 1999. I actually thought it was a late 90s car!
First time I drove it that was it. It drove and rode just like my dad's 1986 Grand Marquis, only with much better handling and, what I think is more comfort and MUCH MUCH smoother shifting - better than any car I've ever driven. It handled beautifully, and still does.
Side Note: My friend who bought a 1997 Blazer and just got rid of his 1991 (I think) Oldsmobile Eighty Eight about a year ago has said first, he is so sorry, especially regarding the gas mileage (his Blazer is a gas-guzzler). And when he rode in it for the first time, he couldn't believe how comfortable my Olds is, how well it rides, or how cold the air conditioning got. (Took the temp down to 54 inside the car on that day - we froze.) On top of that, his Blazer only has 190 horsepower.
Since it is the newest car my family owns (though it is technically mine), it has been treated like royalty from day one. I was and still am determined to make this car look like new, and after reading some of the reviews on this site I am once again inspired.
I currently use my Olds for daily commuting to college and my family and I still take it on two to three-hour drives (we only rent for longer drives to take the strain off of our 1985, 1986, and 1987 cars - that's right, we own no car older than 1987, but for good reason, especially since my Olds has a good deal of mileage on it). Original mileage when I got it was around 90,000 and is now at around 103-104,000 miles.
Unlike most of the Delta 88's I have seen, mine is truly unique. It has all of the standards of the Delta 88's - Power Windows, Power Locks, Tilt Wheel, Cruise Control, a Power Driver Seat, and trunk release. It is actually more along the lines of a Cadillac with a digital linear speedometer (press a button to switch from English to metric), Cadillac Brougham-like seats, a totally electronic instrument cluster (fuel, engine temperature, inside/outside temperature, trip odometer) with a climate control system. (Only drawback to the electronic control cluster is that GM took off the accessory function of the ignition key because of battery consumption if there were, as per the instruction manual.)
Also, this car has spoke wheels. Its color is mint green and a mint green interior with speckled black in the seats (where there exists additional padding) and a darker green for the upper dash.
COMMENTS ABOUT ITS PERFORMANCE:
The car runs very smoothly and is superbly comfortable. Balance the wheels and you're riding on air.
I can sneak in the driveway and back into the garage without anyone even knowing I am home, so it is very quiet. Engine-wise, it's extremely reliable and extremely efficient on gas (27-30 mpg).
Didn't think its power was exceptional until I read others' reviews. So I looked at its specs under the hood. It really is powerful - 210 horsepower. Eat that, Ford Focus!
And it is very strong. The pickup will shock you - so don't hit that accelerator too fast. I've never floored it because I'm afraid of what will happen, and thanks for cautioning me, fellow-reviewers.
And those are just the original goodies.
I have since replaced the old power antenna with a new professional one, the cassette deck now works and I now use a portable CD-player with a cassette adapter for CDs (and this sound system is the best I've seen - we rented a 2003 Lincoln Towncar Executive, and this sound system gives the Lincoln a run for its money - bass is unimaginable). The driver's window now works, and since the alternator was replaced, it ascends and descends much better as do the other windows.
All lights on the car now work, and it now has two sets of BRAND NEW headlights, grilles, and sidemarkers - first the accident victim side was replaced, then the other looked so bad next to a new grille and headlight assembly, it was also replaced. And these are brand new, not from a junkyard.
The air conditioning now blows cold, though utilizing the old-world Freon is virtually a money pit, needing to be recharged every year. My dad's auto technician put in a newer type, which caused the entire air conditioning system to be refueled, but it seems to hold a charge longer - only time will tell.
Brakes were replaced not even a month after I got the car.
A transmission expert replaced the cluster for the turn signal, and the cruise control was good to go.
Lifters for the hood were replaced about a year ago.
All other problems I am still working on, though all problems are mostly cosmetic improvements. I intend on getting this car as close to perfect as possible.
Paint is impeccable - that was one thing that I immediately noticed about this car. It has been buffed twice, polished with an expensive premium polish, and receives an exterior-only wash with paint sealant and wax once a month from our local carwash, and is hand-washed as often as possible. It shines, to say the least.
The styling of this car is very beautiful. Original taillights are very bright, and I have had new bulbs put in them.
If you can find an Oldsmobile Delta 88 that has an accident-free body and runs well no matter what the mileage, restore it as best you can. You'll be glad you did.
If you have a Delta 88, treasure it. My personal opinion - treat it like a king (or queen, if you personify your car as a woman) and settle for nothing less. If something breaks, fix it professionally (with a technician or auto mechanic you TRUST) and with NEW parts, no matter what the cost.
Use mid-grade ('89) fuel in your Oldsmobile for years up to at least 1991. Try it, if it performance is no better, it doesn't matter, no loss, no gain. I've found my Olds HATES '87 fuel.
If you have a Delta 88, put white-wall tires on it. Black-walls do it no justice - it'll just look like any other car.
Overall, I love my car. I have yet to see another car that remotely compares. It is my first (maybe my last), and I hope to keep it for a long long time and will keep working until it's perfect!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th July, 2003
5th Dec 2006, 20:33
I bought my 1985 Delta 88 from my aunt about 10 months ago. It's got a 307.5 engine and the paint job is really bad. this is my first personal car I have ever owned. Everything that you have done to your car I am currently working on except I got some really nice beat in my car. My only problem is interrior and exterrior work, a little engine work, and some old school white-wall tires. Maybe I'll go with some 17-18 inch rims. By the way if you use 93 ultimate fuel your car will run better than ever.