1988 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham 3.8L "C" from North America

Summary:

Fun to drive, but acknowledge the fact that you will need to make an investment for its age

Faults:

Radiator had a slow leak, and was replaced soon after purchase.

Transmission seals leaked, and were replaced soon after purchase.

Alternator replaced at 65,000 miles.

Cooler fan sensor failed, and was replaced at 67,000 miles.

During a full brake inspection at 75,000 miles, a mechanic found that the rear drum brake cylinders were seized and were replaced.

Driver's side power window motor failed, and was replaced at 77,000 miles.

Heater core leaked, and was replaced at 78,500 miles.

Climate control module malfunctioned (probably due to the leaking heater core) at 79,000 miles, and cost over $450 to replace. (This vehicle was originally equipped with an upgraded optional A/C system.)

Currently replacing spark plug wires, ignition coil, and ignition module to address intermittent "stuttering" problem.

General Comments:

This car, my first ever GM car, was purchased at an estate sale from a widower for $2,000 the summer of 2008. This car had always been garaged, was driven infrequently and on short trips, and was washed and maintained regularly. It had absolutely no rust! The metallic gray color was in great shape (not faded or peeling) and it test drove well.

Having driven it now for almost 30,000 miles, I can say that it runs well and is a pleasure to drive (with Goodyear Assurance tires), although I do not drive it more than 50 miles from home because of its age.

The seats are comfortable, owing to their pillow-top upholstery, but it is a pain to enter and exit the vehicle.

The cabin is surprisingly roomy, but lacks cupholders that newer vehicles have more of. It only has one, which is part of a center fold-down armrest.

You might think that because of all the items/problems I have had to address, that I might be wanting to get rid of it, but this is a vehicle that is truly fun to drive, and is great in snow or heavy rain. It is the perfect expendable second car, but you will have to acknowledge that some parts will fail simply due to age.

Incidentally, I have been able to get most replacement parts (all AC-Delco brand) off E-Bay for less than 50% for what parts stores charge.

The trunk is spacious, but I am disappointed that the spare tire well cannot handle a full-sized spare.

Safety-wise, I feel safer driving this vehicle than all the other cars I own, because of the heavy well-protected doors, and the fact that you have so much front end metal in front of you. Unfortunately it does not have an air-bag.

You will need to replace the wipers about every two years, because they fail to fully retract when not in use. (They wear as they retract over the bottom windshield retaining molding.)

Be sure you install a strong battery, as this vehicle does draw a lot of juice during operation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th April, 2011

1988 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham 3.8 liter from North America

Summary:

Reliable and comfortable ride

Faults:

HVAC vacuum hose was deteriorated, causing the vents to default to heater outlets. Replaced 2" hose, works now.

Headliner sags.

Both front power windows go up and down slowly.

General Comments:

I have a 1984 Olds Delta 88 that is very reliable, but with todays fuel prices I began a search for a more fuel efficient car. I looked at many different makes and models, preferring a GM vehicle, but when I found this 1988 Olds, I felt comfortable buying it, even though it is 20 years old.

I did a complete tune-up, including filter/fluid changes, replaced burned out lights and other minor fixes. It does not leak or burn oil, rides very good, has more power than my 1984 (307 V-8) and much better mileage (18-20mpg).

For being a 20 year old car, the styling still compares favorably to todays cars, albeit conservative and slightly "boxy". Lots of room inside, large trunk and nice seats.

I was hesitant to buy a "newer" front wheel drive car (I'm old school) but this one seems well built, the 3800 motor is supposed to be reliable, and to my surprise, the engine is somewhat uncluttered so a backyard mechanic can actually service it!

It is too bad Oldsmobile is gone, I have had good experiences with all that I have owned (4). If you are looking for a good used car, consider one of these, they can still be found for a good price, parts are still available and compared to other cars the same age, you get more car for your money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th September, 2008