JUNKYARD THERAPY: 1980s Buick And Oldsmobile Fanciness

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This time in the junkyard, we’ll take a look at two 1980s luxury sedans from Buick and Oldsmobile. They are similar, but their fanciness is expressed in different ways.

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Let’s start with the Oldsmobile, in this case a 1990 Eighty Eight. It still counts as an Eighties car, as this body style debuted for the 1986 model year.

It’s not a Delta 88; the long-running Delta name was dropped for 1989 as one of the measures Olds undertook to attempt to update its image. “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile“, etc.

Find an Oldsmobile Delta 88 near you with BestRide’s local search.

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All Eighty Eights in 1990 were Royales, and its $15,995 base price for the four-door sedan would be about $29K in today’s dollars.

Add the Brougham series, and you’d start at an adjusted $31,800.

Funny that the Royale and Brougham trim level names seemed much more traditional than the jaunty Delta 88 did, but they persisted while the Delta name died.

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Oldsmobile was going for more of an international look for its cars, and so the Eighty Eight got these slick smoked tail lights.

Find an Oldsmobile Eighty Eight near you with BestRide’s local search.

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Inside, the Brougham’s split front seat is upholstered in red leather, an option that would cost about $800 in today’s dollars. The driver’s seat also has the optional power adjusters and manual seatback recliner.

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Also optional were the extra gauges, trip computer and automatic climate control. It was the start of a trend at Olds to load the dashboards with buttons that looked alike and felt alike.

Nice if you’re wanting a high-tech look, but not so good if you wanted to keep your eyes on the road as you redirected the heater’s air.

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Over at Buick, there’s an Electra Park Avenue that’s based on the Eighty Eight’s platform.

The Electra rode on the same 110.8-inch wheelbase, but it amped up the fancy with a formal roofline and a posher interior. It would have competed directly with the similarly more upscale Olds Ninety Eight.

The adjusted-for-2015 base price for this Electra Park Avenue would be just under $40K.

Where the Eighty Eight went for a cleaner look, the Buick has more complex surface detailing.

Find a Buick Electra near you with BestRide’s local search.

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The Buicks had this tricky front-pivoting hood, in a bid to add a bit of Euro inspiration.

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Here’s the impact that snuffed out this Electra.

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Opera lights were a hallmark of traditional Detroit ritziness.

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The bluff-faced instrument is loaded with wood-toned trim.

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Pillow-top seats are another Detroit styling cue, and they make the Buick‘s rear bench look endlessly comfortable.

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The front seats were out of the car…

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…although the decent-condition power passenger seat was still nearby.

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Door panels were rooted in the 1970s, with more wood-tone trim. They also had casket-style door pulls and thick-pile carpeting.

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The Concert Sound audio system was typically bought as part of an option package.

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Both this Olds and Buick were among the last of the boxy GMs from the 1980s, and they exemplified the stuffy formality that ran through the the various divisions’ lineups. Where Olds aimed to give the Eighty Eight a modern touch, Buick doubled down on familiar fanciness for the Park Avenue.

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Find a Buick Park Avenue near you with BestRide’s local search.

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1 comment

  1. i’d pick the Olds. A bit less stuffy than that ‘too formal’ Buick. My dad had a ’63 Olds convertible when I was a kid. It was boxy but pretty cool.

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