1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight coupe – Gray Ghost of Broughams Past

EDIT: This is actually a base Ninety-Eight coupe, I checked my ’72 Olds brochure and this car has the base interior.

Here it is, another Saturday afternoon. Sunny, mid to high 80s. And here I am, out on the deck, intermittently reading a book, working on gin and tonic #2  (#3 will be on the way quite soon) and playing with my smart phone.

Today’s land yacht was one I’ve had in my phone’s picture folder since May, and forgot about. A pre-emissions, pre-giant bumper, Olds Ninety-Eight hardtop coupe.

In that bygone year of 1972, the Ninety-Eight was top dog in Olds hierarchy, save the personal-lux Toronado coupe.

It was the biggest, baddest and Broughamiest Lansing offering, with an impressive 455 CID Olds V8 under the pool table-sized hood. Ninety-Eights came with a 225-horse version as standard.

Riding a 127″ wheelbase, it had room to spare for you and five of your closest pals, and ash trays and lighters aplenty for your trip to the Moonlight Bay supper club, golf course or marina.

For ’72 they came as a standard 98, LS, or a special edition, sedan-only Regency model.

Regencys came with floating pillow seating, zippered storage pockets on the back of the front seat, and a Tiffany-signed clock. It was built to commemorate Oldsmobile’s 75th anniversary.

Even the standard coupe was pretty nice.

But for those seeking luxurious but perhaps not as ostentatious seating, the LS was a fine choice.

An LS coupe went for $5009 before options, weighed in at 4428 pounds, and 24,453 were sold.

The LS sedan sold much better, with 69,920 built. The base Ninety-Eights were less numerous despite being around $250 cheaper, with 13,111 coupes (like our featured car today) and 17,572 sedans adding to the total Ninety-Eight tally.

This fog gray coupe was featured on Finding Future Classic Cars late last spring, but of course the Craigslist ad is long gone now.

I don’t even remember what state it was in, though the period correct Kentucky license plates offer a possibility.

So many early ’70s cars were sepia toned-brown, green, yellow, that this gray coupe with black top and silver-gray interior really appealed to me. It didn’t hurt that I love pretty much all Oldsmobiles. All in all, a really nice survivor!

14 Replies to “1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight coupe – Gray Ghost of Broughams Past”

  1. Sal Darigo

    I love the “miniature floodlights” Olds and Chrysler used in their big cars of this era. They create a nice effect on the dash.

  2. Wayne Krennerich

    Brings back memories or borrowing Mom’s 1970 Olds 98 Regency, The hours I spent washing and waxing that long car for dates and of course for mom. I felt I could pick up any girl driving that car but once I met my now wife at 17, I was hooked and still am. Bamboo Cream I think with a Tan/Gold vinyl top and Gold Brocade upholstery. My 2017 Genesis G80 has many terrific features, safety and comfort but doesn’t evoke the magic of those Cadillacs, Olds and Buicks from late 50’s to mid 70’s.

  3. John C.

    To be frank, this example doesn’t do it for me with it’s modern color and those generic 70s vinyl seats that were so horrid in the South. What I love though is the catalog shots of the car with the vivid colors and the drivers idealized but not unrealistically so. It was how the buyer saw themselves.

        • John C.

          Thanks for showing those better cloth interiors. This one still has nice door panels but imagine the challenge of what, 5 levels of interior niceness on the full size Olds’ line. Given the volumes, a powerful indicator of the care being taken to preserve the ladder of success.

          Thinking of Stingray’s relative who was about to make the switch to German offerings. Assuming he was staying in the same price range, he was probably moving to a 100LS Audi. That model too had a quite nice cloth interior available. Can you imagine though going from a 455 V8 to a 2.0 liter engine and thinking of the hype you just bought that this tiny engine was designed by Mercedes to tackle the highway and thinking of the 455 you had just left behind?.

  4. stingray65

    I vividly remember an uncle who traded his 69 Pontiac GP for a 72 98 Coupe – what a huge disappointment to him and me. As the pictures illustrate, these things had a cheap looking interior, but what the pictures don’t show is the poor structural integrity of the huge hardtop that rattled over every bump and allowed wind whistle through every window seal. My uncle didn’t keep it very long, and it was a long time before he bought another American car after the General let him down with one of its “premium” offerings.

  5. Robert Rex

    Various friends and famiily members had these, all in sedan form and all as LS trims. A few youthful memories:
    1. The mini-spotlights on the dash controls (as mentioned by Sal Darigo) and interior lighting that was indirect but bright;
    2. Door courtesy lights that’d spotlight the ground for 6 feet on either side of the car..,perhaps optional, but worth it to keep your feet out of wet/soggy ground);
    3, Air conditioning that even in Louisiana cars (complete with black vinyl roofs!) on the worst summer days could conjure crisp Arctic days;
    4. An accelerator pedal twice the wide of my size 11 foot that’d seem to encourage you–“push a little harder, I got this”;
    5. Capable, but not remarkable handling with ride smoothness and quietness the priority;
    6. Thick brocade or ultra-plush velour (velvet?) seats that made you forget about cornering forces–grabbing and holding you securely and ultra-comfortably in place; and,
    7. A trunk vast enough that if anything rolled to the front (next to the back seat), the only option to collect it was to crawl inside and s-t-r-e-t-c-h to reach it.
    Although these were sometimes used as “around town” cars, I still think of ’em as perhaps he last of the generations of original American “road cars”,,,.cars designed to be pointed toward the horizon, eat 600 miles in a day, with you arriving still crisp and fresh at your destination, with only the muscles of the one hand used for steering even somewhat uncomfortable,

  6. Shocktastic

    I think Jack used the publicity still featuring the gold-colored 4 door in his “If CAFE never happened” essay on TTACsome years ago.

  7. David Stanley

    My parents owned a dark green 4 door ’72 98 from 1973-76, when I was in 2nd through 4th grade. I remember it breaking down quite a bit. Late one night it left us stranded on a road trip when the alternator went out. Another trip it overheated in stop and go driving when the clutch fan wouldn’t work. After the engine started running like crap and my dad was told that three exhaust valves were burnt, we got rid of it in ’76. Shame too as I have many good memories from that era and in that car.

    • Jack Baruth

      The massive handwave in the middle of Seveneves or whatever it was called was enough to cause me to give up hope on him, having already suffered through the ending of Anathem.

  8. Brandon H

    Emissions requirements in the US were first put in place with the 1968 models. Catalytic converters were required in 1975. This ‘72 would’ve been pre catalytic converter but not pre-emissions. Good write up though — appreciate the detail about the interior packages.


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