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Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

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Ninety-Eight
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Wikipedia: Oldsmobile 98

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A car produced by Oldsmobile from 1940-1996. Originally the "98" until 1958, then afterward both name and number were used.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Oldsmobile 98 page on 28 April 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Oldsmobile 98 (sometimes spelled Ninety-Eight after 1958) is the full-size flagship model of Oldsmobile that was produced from 1940 until 1996. The name — reflecting a "Series 90" fitted with an 8-cylinder engine — first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II. It was, as it would remain, the division's top-of-the-line model, with lesser Oldsmobiles having lower numbers such as the A-body 66 and 68, and the B-body 76 and 78. The Series 60 was retired in 1949, the same year the Oldsmobile 78 was replaced by the 88. The Oldsmobile 76 was retired after 1950. This left the two remaining number-names to carry on into the 1990s as the bread and butter of the full-size Oldsmobile lineup until the Oldsmobile Regency replaced the 98 in 1997.

Occasionally additional nomenclature was used with the name, such as L/S and Holiday, and the 98 Regency badge would become increasingly common in the later years of the model. The 98 shared its General Motors C-body platform with Buick and Cadillac.

As it was the top-line Oldsmobile, the series had the most technologically advanced items available, such as the Hydramatic automatic transmission, the Autronic Eye, an automatic headlight dimmer, and Twilight Sentinel (a feature that automatically turned the headlights on and off via a timer, as controlled by the driver), and the highest-grade interior and exterior trim.

First generation (1940-1941)

Naming standards were in flux at Oldsmobile during the late 1930s and 1940s. From 1932 through 1938 Oldsmobile had two series: "F" and "L". Series F came with a straight-6 engine and Series L came with a larger body and a straight-8 engine. Series F was renamed Series 60 in 1939 and Series L was replaced with the Series 70 and 80, with the Series 70 and 80 being powered by the straight-6 and the straight-8 respectively. The Series 60 used the GM A-body and the Series 70 and 80 used the B-body. In 1940 the even larger C-body was introduced to Oldsmobile and it alone was powered by the straight-8. In order to differentiate it from the previous year's Series 80 it was named Series 90 (there was no Series 80 that year). The series were also given names for the first time that year with the Series 60, 70, and 90 being called the Special, Dynamic, and Custom Cruiser respectively. In 1941 both engines were offered on each series so to differentiate between the two the second digit was used to denote the number of cylinders, so the Custom Cruiser 90 was replaced with the Custom Cruiser 96 and 98. In 1942 Oldsmobile dropped the six cylinder Series 90 model leaving only the Custom Cruiser 98.

The new C-body that the 1940 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 90 shared with Cadillac Series 62, Buick Roadmaster and Super, and the Pontiac Torpedo featured cutting-edge "torpedo" styling. Shoulder and hip room was over 5 in (127 mm) wider, running boards were eliminated, and the exterior was streamlined and 2–3 in (51–76 mm) lower. When combined with a column mounted shift lever the cars offered true six passenger comfort. These changes had clearly been influenced by the Cadillac Sixty Special. The 90 rode on a wheelbase of 124.0 in (3,150 mm). A total of 43,658 90s were sold in four body styles. The rarest was the 4-door convertible with only 50 being sold.

Second generation (1942–1947)

In 1942 the Custom Cruiser 98 was once again the Oldsmobile entrant into the luxury market. Gone was the single year offering of the 96. All cars in this series were powered by the straight eight engine. Also gone in this shortened model year was the ultra rare 4-door convertible. An exclusive 127.0 in (3,226 mm) inch wheelbase was used in the series. A total of 6,659 98s were made before production was shut down due to the war.

Again in 1946 the Custom Cruiser 98 was the top of the Oldsmobile line. Three body styles were offered (a 4-door sedan, a 2-door Club coupe and a 2-door convertible) and all were eight cylinder powered. Technical features included electro hardened pistons, full pressure lubrication and automatic choke with fast idle mode. Standard equipment included front and rear bumper guards, vacuum booster pump, dual sun visors, cigarette lighter and plastic radiator ornament, wraparound bumpers, Deluxe instrument cluster clock, rear armrest, and foam rubber sheet cushions. Tire size was 7.00 (178) by 15 inches (381 millimetres). Available upholstery was either leather, broadcloth, or Bedford cord. 14,364 98s were sold in its first postwar year of production.

Third generation (1948–1953)

For the first time since 1940 Oldsmobile offered totally different styling during a single model year. The top of the line 1948 Oldsmobile 98 drew heavily from the Futuramic styling concept that would be used on all 1949 Oldsmobiles. Standard equipment on 98s included a solenoid starter, fender skirts, E-Z-l rearview mirror, and foam rubber seat cushions. The 98s also included front and rear bumper guards, vacuum booster pump, plastic radiator ornament, dual horns, dual sun visors, and cigarette lighter. Deluxe equipment added front and rear floor mats, Deluxe steering wheel, wheel trim rings, rear seat armrests, and hydraulic window, seat and top controls on all convertibles. Upholstery was either broadcloth or leather. The standard tire size was 6.50 x 16. With the introduction of new postwar styling Custom Cruiser 98 was renamed the Futuramic 98. The Custom Cruiser name would be revived to denote full-size Oldsmobile station wagons in 1971. The new styling was apparently popular with a record 65,235 98s sold, exceeding the number of 90s sold in 1940 for the first time.

Fourth generation (1954–1956)

In 1954, Oldsmobiles were redesigned across the line, with a three body style 98 series at the top. Convertibles were dubbed Starfires, after the previous year's Starfire dream car. A slightly higher horsepower 324 cu in (5.3 L) Rocket V8 was shared with the Super 88 series. Standard 98 equipment included bumper guards, rubber simulated carpets front and rear, electric clock, lined trunk, dual horns, cigarette lighter, aluminum door sill plates, turn signals, chrome rocker panel moldings, deck lid ornament, foam rubber seat cushions, padded dash, parking brake light, courtesy light package, stainless steel wheel discs, windshield washer, and Deluxe steering wheel with horn ring. Upholstery choices were nylon and leather, in a variety of colors. Standard tire size was 8.00 (203) by 15 inches (381 millimetres).

Fifth generation (1957–1958)

The Oldsmobile line underwent a sweeping reengineering in 1957, with a 3-piece rear window making a reappearance on some models. Once again the 4-door 98's were at the top, this year officially titled Starfire 98. Standard equipment included armrests, turn signals, rubber floor mats, sun visors, front fender chrome script, exposed chrome roof bows, side interior courtesy lights, electric windows, special emblems, power steering, power brakes, and Jetaway Hydramatic. Upholstery choices included a variety of cloth, Morocceen (vinyl), and leather. Standard tire size was 9.00 (229) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). The standard engine was now the 371 cu in (6.1 L) Rocket V8. A safety recessed steering wheel was added. Front leg room was 43.8 inches (1,113 millimetres).

A major styling change was seen in 1958. The 98 series again had its own exclusive wheelbase of 126.5 inches while sharing the more powerful Rocket V8 with the Super 88. Four body styles were available. Standard series equipment included four headlights, oil filter, turn signals, printed circuit instrument cluster, aluminum anodized grille, padded dash, foam rubber padded seat cushions, courtesy lights, parking brake light, special side moldings, chrome rocker panel moldings, Jetaway Hydramatic transmission, power steering and brakes, dual exhaust, electric clock, color accented wheel discs, and chrome wheel frames. Interiors could be ordered in a variety of colored leathers, cloth, and Morocceen. Standard tires were 8.50 (216) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). Air suspension was added as an option. Also new was a speed warning device, which could be set towards a certain speed and when the limit was reached, a buzzer would sound, alerting the driver of the vehicle to slow down.

Sixth generation (1959–1960)

In 1959, the Oldsmobile line-up was completely redesigned. However, unlike other GM makes (such as Chevrolet and Cadillac) Oldsmobile continued to use a full perimeter frame, instead of the GM X-frame. The 98 shared its appearance with the Oldsmobile 88. Oldsmobile stayed with its top series format by offering four body styles on an exclusive 126.3 in (3,208 mm) wheelbase. Standard equipment included oil filter, turn signals, air scoop brakes, Safety spectrum speedometer, rocker panel moldings, special emblems, parking brake light, sponge vinyl headliner, deep twist carpeting, electric clock, wheel trim moldings, power steering, power brakes, and Jetaway Hydramatic Drive. Interiors were selected from leather, Moroccean, or cloth in different colors. Standard tire size was 9.00 (229) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). The 394 cu in (6.5 L), the largest first generation Rocket V8, was used from 1959 until 1964.

In 1960, once again the top of the line Oldsmobile series was the 98. Standard equipment included Safety-vee steering wheel, turn signals, air scoop brakes, electric windshield wipers, safety-spectrum speedometer, carpets with rubber inserts, padded dash, courtesy lamps, wheel trim rings, Star-lite headliner, two-speed windshield wipers, chrome roof side moldings, Jetaway Hydramatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, windshield washers, electric clock, and deep twist carpeting. Upholstery was fabric, leather, or Morocceen in a variety of colors. Tire size was 9.00 (229) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). An anti-spin rear axle was optional.

Seventh generation (1961–1964)

For 1961 only, it was renamed Classic 98; nevertheless, most factory literature refers to the line as the Ninety-Eight. It offered five body styles. The sedan was now called the Town Sedan. The 4-door 4-window hardtop body style was now called the Sport Sedan instead of the Holiday Sedan. A new 4-door 6-window hardtop body style, previously exclusive to Cadillac and the Buick Electra was now offered and the Holiday Sedan name was transferred to it. This was the first time not all Oldsmobile hardtops were called Holidays. Overall sales plunged from 59,364 to 43,010, probably due to the introduction of the new Starfire series, the 98's low point following the production record set in 1955. Standard equipment included padded dash, Safety spectrum speedometer, floating propeller, air scoop brakes, two-speed windshield wipers, Safety-Vee steering wheel, parking brake lamp, courtesy lamps, oil filter, windshield washer, electric clock, Roto Hydramatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. Upholstery was vinyl, cloth or leather. Standard tire size was 8.50 x 14 inches. With the 394 cu in (6.5 L) Rocket now standard equipment on the Oldsmobile 88 a higher compression version was made standard equipment on the 98 and Super 88 with horsepower rising to 325 in 1961 and 330 in 1962. It was dubbed the "Skyrocket" from 1961-63.

Eighth generation (1965–1970)

The 1965 98 was completely redesigned from the ground up along with other full-sized General Motors cars but retained the larger C-body shared with Cadillac and Buick Electra in contrast with the B-body used in the Oldsmobile 88. The Ninety-Eight featured many of the lines found on 88s but with more squared off styling. The exclusive 98 wheelbase had five body styles. The Custom Sport Coupe was gone and the 4-door 6-window body styles were replaced with 4-door 4-window body styles. The Luxury Sedan was no longer a hardtop but featured a more luxurious interior along with more standard amenities than the Town Sedan such as power seats. Most 98 Luxury Sedans also had vinyl roofs, which were offered only in black that year. For the first time since 1962 all hardtops were once again called Holidays.

Ninth generation (1971–1976)

Oldsmobile built its biggest full-size car in 1971 although wheelbase was unchanged from 1970. The 98s were the roomiest Oldsmobiles ever built thanks to the new GM full-size bodies which, at 64.3" front shoulder room and 63.4" rear shoulder room, set a record for interior width that would not be matched by any car until the full-size GM rear-wheel drive models of the early to mid-1990s. The 1971 through 1976 Ninety-Eight was very similar to the Oldsmobile 88 (which by now was called the "Delta 88") except the Ninety-Eight had a longer passenger compartment owing to its 3" longer wheelbase, and had rear Cadillac-esque tailfins to better differentiate between the two full-size models. The standard 455 cubic-inch Rocket V8 was rated at 320 hp (239 kW) and designed to run on lower octane regular lead, low-lead or unleaded gasoline for the first time this year thanks to a General Motors-mandate that all engines be designed to run on such fuels in preparation for the catalytic converter equipped cars of 1975 and later years that absolutely required unleaded gasoline. Despite this, a few 1975 and 1976 Ninety Eights were released from this catalytic converter requirement in Canada and were given certification along with exemption from requiring unleaded gasoline. V8's were progressively detuned as production wore on in line with tighter emission standards. Trunk mounted louvers for the flow through ventilation system were only found on 1971 models (as in many other GM models of 1971). The louvers were moved to the doorjambs for 1972-1976 models.

Tenth generation (1977–1984)

The 1977 model was extensively redone and downsized, at the same time as the Delta 88. The new models, at around 4000 pounds curb weight, were over 800 pounds lighter, but headroom and rear seat legroom were increased compared to equivalent 1976 models. The 455 CID engine was replaced by the smaller 403 CID V8. The Oldsmobile 350 V8 was now the standard engine. The Ninety-Eight set a new sales record of 139,423. A four-door sedan and a two-door hardtop coupe were available.

Eleventh generation (1985–1990)

1985 saw the Ninety-Eight downsized for a second time, this time switching from rear-wheel drive to a new front-wheel drive platform, with sales beginning in April 1984. Although this Ninety-Eight was nearly 25.0 in (635 mm) shorter in length and weighed over 700 lb (318 kg) less than its predecessor, passenger space was nearly equal to 1984 models. Buyers seemed to prefer this new, more manageable Ninety-Eight, as 1985 model year sales, at 169,432 units, were more than double 1984's 76,833 units, an all-time sales record.

Twelfth generation (1991–1996)

The final redesigned generation of the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight coincided with its 50th anniversary in 1991. The added length, rear fender skirts, wide tail, low nose, and split-grille with wraparound headlights gave this generation Ninety-Eight a more distinctive appearance than its predecessor.

Although wheelbase was unchanged from the previous generation, overall length increased by over 9 inches (229 mm). Most of this extra space was added to the rear of the car, resulting in a larger trunk.

The final generation Ninety-Eight was available in two main models: the traditional luxury-oriented Regency models and the performance-oriented Touring models. Regency models included 6-passenger seating in either velour or leather, column shifter, and the 170 horsepower (130 kW) 3.8 L Buick V6. Touring models featured the FE3 suspension package, a 205 hp (upped to 225 hp in 1994) supercharged version of the standard 3.8 L Buick V6, 18 gallon fuel tank, 16-inch wheels, and standard 5-passenger leather seating designed by Lear Seating.


Multimedia

1963 Advertisement
Duration: 1:50
Download 1963 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Advertisement from The Internet Archive


Photographs

2003 AACA Eastern Division National Fall Meet (Hershey) Poster - 1947 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 98 2003 AACA Fall National Meet at Hershey
Artist: Ken Eberts
Car: 1947 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 98
Image courtesy CarArt.us
View 2003 AACA Eastern Division National Fall Meet (Hershey) - 1947 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 98 - 99KB
1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight 1957
for $54,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 3.1MB
1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight 1957
for $54,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 3.4MB
1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight 1957
for $54,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 3.2MB
1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight 1957
for $54,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 3.7MB
1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight 1957
for $54,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 2.8MB
1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight 1957
for $54,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 3.2MB
Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 FITE Center for Independent Living Car Show
View photo of Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 5,597KB
Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 FITE Center for Independent Living Car Show
View photo of Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 5,334KB
Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Cash for Clunkers CAR Allowance Rebate System ("Cash for Clunkers") display at Reichert Chevrolet Buick in Crystal Lake, Illinois
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
August 4, 2009
View photo of Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight - 3,558KB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
1 March 1967NHTSA Recall 67V021000
1967 Oldsmobile 88, 1967 Oldsmobile 98
Steering:Linkages
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
19 December 1973NHTSA Recall 73V250000
1974 Buick Century, 1974 Buick Electra, 1974 Buick Estate, 1974 Buick LeSabre, 1974 Buick Regal, 1974 Buick Riviera, 1974 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1974 Chevrolet Camaro, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate, 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1974 Chevrolet El Camino, 1974 Chevrolet Impala, 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1974 GMC Sprint, 1974 Oldsmobile 88, 1974 Oldsmobile 98, 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1974 Pontiac Bonneville, 1974 Pontiac Catalina, 1974 Pontiac Firebird, 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1974 Pontiac Grand Safari, 1974 Pontiac Grand Ville, 1974 Pontiac Le Mans
Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Arm
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
2 September 1976NHTSA Recall 76V132000
1977 Buick Century, 1977 Buick LeSabre, 1977 Buick Regal, 1977 Buick Skylark, 1977 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1976 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Caprice, 1977 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1977 Chevrolet El Camino, 1977 Chevrolet Impala, 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1977 Chevrolet Nova, 1977 GMC Sprint, 1977 Oldsmobile 88, 1977 Oldsmobile 98, 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1977 Oldsmobile Omega, 1977 Pontiac Bonneville, 1977 Pontiac Catalina, 1976 Pontiac Firebird, 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1977 Pontiac Le Mans, 1977 Pontiac Ventura
Steering:Wheel And Handle Bar
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
classified date 1990Calspan On-Site Air Bag Deployment Investigation
Fleet - 1976 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 29.0MB - 162 pages
classified date 1994Calspan On-Site Air Bag Deployment Investigation
Vehicle: 1994 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Regency Elite
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 31.4MB - 123 pages
August 1998Calspan On-Site Driver Air Bag Deployment Fatality Investigation
Vehicle - 1996 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 341KB - 13 pages
September 2004Calspan Remote Air Bag Related Serious Injury Crash Investigation
Vehicle: 1996 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 271KB - 12 pages




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