Jason Bagge, my compadre in Spokane, and refurbisher of all things Brougham, has once again found the opera-windowed needle in the haystack. This past weekend, he saw a medium metallic blue 1977 Chrysler Newport two door hardtop for sale. It looked good, so he went over to check it out. In addition to the Chrysler (which was pretty nice and priced right) he spotted a gold 1973 Fleetwood Brougham…and this green 1975 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight LS four door hardtop.
These cars don’t exactly grow on trees, outside of marque-specific national meets anyway, but this triple green luxocruiser was extra special, as it was equipped with the ACRS airbags.
Yes, starting in 1974 certain Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Cadillacs could be had with a factory airbag. It wasn’t particularly popular because it wasn’t cheap. Also, due to space, if you got the airbags you couldn’t get the tilt/telescoping steering column. And since ACRS was only available on the bigger, more expensive GM full size cars, that was another possible deal breaker. The air cushion was designed for all three front seat passengers, not just the driver.
At the time folks weren’t really sure of its value, and after a disappointing take rate, it was removed from the option list after the 1976 model year. I have seen various Eldorados, Fleetwood Broughams and Rivieras with the option online, but never in person.
As you can see in the photos, it had snowed. Jason noticed the car, since he loves these cabin cruisers, but you couldn’t see inside. As he related, “That Newport is cool. But once I saw that ACRS Olds 98 it was all over. The colors on the Olds are awesome too. I don’t know what it is-but its this super dark green metallic (ED: Forest Green metallic, per the 1975 Olds brochure)-with olive interior and matching top.”
“I guess the old man put a new 455 in it. So the car has 107,000 miles. The engine and trans have 800. It’s awesome. I couldn’t see in the car-with the snow. I opened the door and saw that steering wheel and went ‘Holy shit!’ out loud, LOL! I knew what I was looking at. Never seen one in the wild before.”
There’s a good chance I’ll do a follow up on the car once he starts fixing it up, but wanted to share it ASAP, as it’s a pretty rare birdie! Until next time, stay calm, do what makes you happy and always tip your bartender. And now, time for a drink!