The 1975 Delta 88 Royale: Oldsmobile’s Last Convertible King
"The historic and once-popular convertible era is nearing an end for Oldsmobile Division." This was the king's welcome the 1975 Delta 88 Royale received when Oldsmobile introduced the model in a press release.
Instead of an extravagant reception, it was greeted with a last call, the kind reserved for barrooms after midnight, when the owners simply want to clear out the riffraff. And with that announcement, the Delta 88 Royale line followed in the footsteps of Oldsmobile's 98 convertible in 1970 and the Cutlass Supreme in 1972, both of which were phased out due to declining consumer interest in the convertible.
Still, like any great king awaiting his conquerors, the Royale did make one final stand. With the help of an army of consumers, the 1975 Royale's sales "soared by nearly six-fold over '74," according to How Stuff Works.
But, while valiant, the Delta 88 Royale was defeated in part due to its many signs of age and the changing times. The source indicates that despite the overall aesthetic appeal of these models, they weren't much different from more inexpensive options from other automakers. In particular, the Delta 88 Royale's 170hp, 350 V-8 was similar to the engines in less pricey Chevys. And since the model cost $5,200 in the middle of a gas crunch, many consumers who would have been interested in the vehicle turned to the more affordable alternatives.
"We realize that a lot of people will be saddened by the passing of the convertible," William Buxton, a divisional sales general manager for Oldsmobile, said in the release.
However, what Buxton didn't know was that like every broken line, the lifeblood of this model would live on in the collectors who would maintain and restore these beauties for years to come. And while the convertible has yet to reclaim its throne at Oldsmobile, the Royale is still providing riches for those who were lucky enough to own an original model in pristine condition.