Friday, December 14, 2012

Alameda Street Sighting - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Holiday sedan

Rounding out this week's trio of beat-up 1970s Oldsmobiles is a 1973 Eighty-Eight Royale Holiday four-door hardtop. If you're familiar with the work of director Sam Raimi, you may know that he owns a yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight sedan. The car featured rather prominently in the Spider-Man film as Uncle Ben's personal vehicle. This is not that car!
I have to ask: why aren't big family cars offered in cheerful colors like this anymore? If anything, it would give more people reason to refer to their car as the Banana Boat. There aren't many ordinary cars that wear the color yellow very well, but I actually like it on this one. Most family cars these days are beige or some greyscale tone between white and black. It's boring. Then again, the last custom-painted yellow late-model Honda Accord I saw looked stupid.

This 88 is arguably in the best condition of the three featured this week. Damage is confined mostly to heavily sunbaked paint on the roof and trunk, though there is some body damage present on the right front and a nice crease in the right rear passenger door. The new-for-'73 large bumper has taken one on the chin, perhaps at a higher speed than the then-federal mandate for no damage in minor collisions up to 5 mph. The heavy black rub strips seem to have fended off further incursions from shopping carts or smaller vehicles. All ornamentation is present, including the stainless hash details on the fenders and all four hubcaps.

This is still a solid car, albeit not the straightest example. If that means anything it just won't find itself painted candy purple, thumping bass from the trunk and rolling on giant chrome wheels with a ridiculous product theme or mural painted on it anytime soon. I hope. Differences in taste aside, I really don't like seeing custom cars built from super-clean original examples (for one thing, it makes the builder appear lazy). It's all too common to hear about a low-mileage and rust-free car getting hacked up because someone was afraid to do a little metal work. Even something like this, a little rough around the edges, is better off providing daily transportation for a family who perhaps can't afford anything newer. Perhaps one day it'll be rewarded for its service.


  1. Enjoyed this weeks Oldsmobile blogs, I guess the problem with most families they do not want to stick out from the crowd, I can imagine kids getting teased and school if there folks have a banana yellow, apple green or my favorite plum crazy @-)

  2. Wow! This car really is yellow. Much more so than the yellow Olds I wrote about in my comments on the '72 Delta 88 you featured earlier this week. I googled 1972 and 1973 Olds colors and found that the '72 Olds 88 I remember was Sunfire Yellow, which was a more calm yellow than the name implies, while this '73 Olds is painted Omega Yellow, which to me is almost a "look at me" yellow. Since I didn't know who Sam Raimi is, I googled him as well. I think it's a hoot that he uses his hand me down '73 Eighty-Eight in his movies. This, to me, demonstrates love and dedication to keeping it alive. His bold yet endearing name for it, "The Classic", is almost ironic since he is said to have admitted that very little of it is original. Long live "The Classic"! The '73 Olds sedan featured here is proudly soldiering on. The presence of bruises is understandable given it's environment. I can relate to this. Finding a parking spot for my '64 Olds 88 sedan, which I was driving just a few years ago, was a real challenge since parking spaces are now sized for today's econoboxes. However, that car was quite easy to maneuver in suburban areas due to its front fender peaks which continued back to the ends of it's subtle tail fins plus aided by a 360 degree view provided by an expanse of glass. I knew exactly where the corners were. It now awaits a restoration decision. As for my Olds, this '73 sedan, the '70 Olds 98, and yes, the '72 88 coupe you featured, they belong to a group of cars which are becoming more desirable as the remaining coupes and convertibles become less affordable. I too hate to see these cars chopped up and bastardized by people who want to express their individuality but, often times, in my opinion, create something which is very repetitive and predictable. To quote a fellow automotive enthusiast, " Rust never sleeps, and stock never goes out of style." Lastly, you probably guessed that I'm an Oldsmobile fan. I believe that If GM's downsizing had occurred when these cars were built, with Olds being their 2nd largest seller, Oldsmobile would not have been the first to go. Thanks, Jay, for featuring these cars.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your stories and experiences with me. Since you like Oldsmobiles, perhaps you'll like some of the other cars I've featured. Off hand I can recall a '58 Dynamic 88, '61 Ninety Eight, '64 F-85 and a '77 Cutlass S.

  3. Thanks, Jay. I've recently checked out your postings for several cars after not visiting your site for many months. I'll be sure to seek out these Oldsmobiles.