oldsmobile delta : A formatted version of this article with pictures can be found on:##################################### ######################################## Collectible Automobile, December-2001 issue.Cheap Wheels: 1978-81 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Holiday; Second HoneymoonOf all the many parts on a modern car, you'd probably expect the name badge on the fenders or decklid to draw the least attention from a manufacturer. Compared with alloy engine blocks, molded plastic interior panels, and engine-management microchips, a decal or a few cents' worth of plated plastic and adhesive is hardly worth a second thought. But give these lowly labels this: They convey a word the factory hopes will someday be on every motorist's lips. Everybody wants to build that segment-leading vehicle with a "must-have" aura, the one whose very name imparts a sense of status on anyone who buys it. When that happens, an automobile can become an icon for a particular set of values.Accordingly, names come and go, but reputations live on. Of late, some automakers have found it tempting to trade on these images by resurrecting notable nameplates. They hope you'll recognize the old car's virtues in the new one. That's why in recent years we've seen renewed Impalas and Malibus from Chevrolet, a brief Buick Roadmaster revival, a 300 "letter car" from Chrysler, and the late Plymouth Sundance Duster. Around this time next year, Mercury will have the Marauder-a souped-up big sedan-on sale as a 2003 model.
oldsmobile delta : Given its recent growth, this little movement may seem like a "Nineties thing." But, like the Internet or a latte at Starbucks, the idea is older than you might think. For instance, all the way back in 1978, Oldsmobile was already reaching into its past to pluck an old name for a fancy version of the scaled down full-size cars it was then building.The name Olds selected for this jobHoliday--lated back to 1949 and the marque's entry into the hardtop coupe field. Along with General Motors stablemates Cadillac and Buick, Oldsmobile offered the industry's first massproduced "hardtop convertibles" in that year's top-line 98 series (CA, February 1995). Like Caddy and Buick-and others that would follow their lead in the next few years-Olds christened its hardtop with a special name, selecting a word that suggested lighthearted relaxation.Once the novelty of hardtops wore off, some automakers extended the distinctive names they had picked out to a full series of cars. Others let the titles drop.
oldsmobile delta : Oldsmobile never lent the Holiday name to one of its series, but it did remain loyal to it. When four-door hardtops debuted in all three lines in 1955 (CA, February 1996), they were known as Holiday sedans. In some years, Holiday badging even appeared on various Olds hardtops, the last time on Eighty-Eights in 1963 (CA, December 1996). When two- and four-door hardtops were added to the intermediate Cutlass lineup, they were dubbed Holidays, too. In fact, the name was bestowed on Oldsmobiles in print advertising through 1970.Apparently, some ideas are too good to discard-or so somebody at Oldsmobile Division thought. Eight years later, when the folks in Lansing wanted to put some sparkle on the radically different cars they were making by that time, the Holiday tag came out of mothballs for a specially optioned Delta 88 coupe.Considering that they still had their engines in the front and their drive axles in the back, the Eighty-Eights and Ninety-Eights of the late Seventies wouldn't seem to be all that "radically different" from the cars of just a few years before. But they were. These were the advance guard of Detroit's "downsizing," a major reassessment of the traditional American car. After decades of operating to the contrary, GM seemed to be saying bigger was not necessarily bets ter with the smaller, lighter, more fuelefficient full-sized Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Cadillacs it turned out for 1977. The timing of their arrival on the market may have looked like a reaction to the first energy crisis of 1973-74, but their designs were in the works before OPEC temporarily turned down the oil taps. By 1980, every other domestic full-sizer had gone on the GM diet plan-and cars in other market segments were doing likewise or being replaced by all-new smaller cars.
oldsmobile delta : Here's a pertinent comparison of how different the new GM cars were: With a wheelbase of 116 inches, total length of 217.5 inches, and width of 76.8 inches, a 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88 was, respectively, eight, 9.2, and 3.2 inches shorter and narrower than a '76. Furthermore, the downsized Deltas weighed about 745 pounds less. As a result, the division felt comfortable adopting Buick's 231-cid V-6 as the standard engine in Delta 88s and Royales-making them the first full-size six-cylinder Oldsmobiles since 1950 (CA, August 2001). V-Ss were available in displacements of 260, 350, and 403 cubic inches. Body styles for '77 comprised four-door sedans and pillared coupes. Gone were genuine hardtop coupes and sedans, as was the big 455-cid V-8.The marketplace apparently approved. Oldsmobile had its first 1-million production year in '77 and held on to third place in the sales race. The intermediate Cutlass played the biggest role in that success, but demand for Eighty-Eights and Ninety-Eights was stronger than it had been in 1976-despite the nasty bruising the division took in the media and courts when some owners learned the 350 V-8 in their cars was a small-block Chevy not a "Rocket" Olds.
oldsmobile delta : This new type of family car certainly was as sensible as a pair of brown wingtips. But that left a little something lacking in a disco-suit world. Around Oldsmobile headquarters, the solution to this shortage of pizzazz seemed to be summed up in two words: bucket seats.The full-size 1978 Oldsmobiles bowed in the same array of models as in '77. There were cosmetic tweaks to the grille and taillights, and Eighty-Eights added a stand-up hood ornament. But shortly after the model year began, along came the Holiday Coupe package.Available only with the base two-door Delta 88, option Y78 started with front contour bucket seats, a center console, and a T -handle floor shift for the standard automatic transmission-all time-honored "sporty car" touches. (The buckets were a Holiday exclusive among full-sized Oldsmobiles.) A two-spoke, padded-rim steering wheel completed the list of interior appointments. On the outside, a Delta 88 Holiday could be identified by dual body-color sports mirrors, wheel covers with centers painted to match the car, and "Holiday 88" badges on the roof sail panels.Otherwise, the Holiday was pure Delta 88. Powertrain choices remained the same as in '77 with one notable exception-the availability of the world's first diesel V-8 for a production car. In the works since 1973, the 350-cid engine was created as an adaptation of the Olds gasoline powerplant of the same displacement. It had fuel injection and beefed-up components throughout, and required 7.5 quarts of oil. With a 22.5:1 compression ratio, it made 120 bhp at 3600 rpm (a gas 350 was good for 170 horses) and generated 220 pound-feet of torque at 1600 rpm.
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