This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1979 Ninety-Eight Regency

This week’s example of Broughams of Christmas Past was once again found on a FB group I’m in, Finding Future Classic Cars. I saw this and my Brougham Radar locked on and began beeping frantically. Especially love the black paint, no vinyl roof, rare factory accessory wheels and the red velour interior–with matching red exterior pinstriping, a Regency exclusive feature.

These cars used to be everywhere, and in my midwestern city, were still seen every now and then until around ten years ago. The 1977-79 C-body GMs, consisting of Cadillac de Ville, Fleetwood, Buick Electra and the Olds Ninety-Eight, were all strong sellers when new.

In 1979 91,862 Regency sedans and 26,965 Regency coupes were sold. The less-Broughamy “LS” was far less popular, with 2104 coupes and 6720 sedans produced. The Regency sedan started at $8,063 but of course myriad optional power assists, gadgets and appearance extras were available. What’s the modern equivalent? An RX or XT4? *shudders*

Anyway, it’s available in Willowick, OH by a dealer as of this writing. While the ask is up there, it might not be too out of line if the claim of only 13K miles is backed up by paperwork.

“Take a look at this incredible 13,000 original mile 1979 Oldsmobile 98 Regency. We purchased this from an Olds collector and it has been in our personal collection for some time and now it can be yours.”

“The black paint is gorgeous and mostly original with all of the factory painted on pin stripe. This 98 runs and drives like you would expect a low mileage vehicle to, and is equipped with the 403 V8, Dual Power seats, Tilt & Telescopic steering, PW, PL, AM/FM/Stereo, Factory chrome wheels and more.”

“Open the door and you are greeted by an immaculate and beautiful plush red interior. Put this RUST FREE survivor on your must-see list.”

It looks great, and I love the colors, wheels and options. It even has the tilting and telescoping steering wheel. I still miss Oldsmobile. And Pontiac.

18 Replies to “This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1979 Ninety-Eight Regency”

  1. Mark Brewer

    Wow, that steering wheel is mint, like “as-new”. Seems like most GM steering wheels from this era that I’ve seen are at least a little faded. And the faux wood grain is usually scratched to some degree. By the way, the thinness of the steering wheel gives them a sophisticated, delicate feel in my opinion. Especially when coupled with the light steering action. I can almost feel it! Contrary to what has become the norm, not every vehicle needs a super fat handful of leather…
    I have to say that I much prefer the look of the wire wheel covers on these cars.
    When I was a kid, the parents of every cute girl I knew drove either Ninety Eights or Fleetwoods. They were everywhere, and I always thought they were handsome cars. Thanks for sharing this one, Tom.

  2. Patrick King

    I’ll take the green ’70s convertible in the YouTube video but this Regency is very nice. A high school classmate’s family owned an Oldsmobile store so all the priests drove one model or other of Olds. The monsignor had a Delta 88 coupe in this color combo.

    Don’t remember those wheels; I learn new automotive trivia every day. Thanks Tom!

    Question: If these were C-bodies what were Caprices and Catalinas?

  3. John C.

    Tom raises the interesting question of what passes for a 2020s replacement for cars like this 98. He mentions the Rx and the XT4, that may work well for the ladies that have in so many cases taken the positions of men that drove 98s.

    Where does that leave John C, who will be ordering his next car this week in the $40,000 range that the basic 98 was in adjusted. My initial list of 4 cars has been witled to two. I thought the B5 S60 was too stiff and loud for my taste, ashamed since I could have got one below the 45k sticker. The 48k Jaguar XF S seems to be unobtainable as the dealer hasn’t had one in nine months, has no plans to get one, and if I ordered one it would take 9-12 months. Their website claimed one was in transit. Ashamed since Jaguar brought back British Racing Green. The Indian lady salesperson, I am not kidding, perhaps just didn’t think I was her type of customer, Crook era Bristol style. Fair enough in todays upside down world.

    That leaves the final two. A pentastar 300 Touring in Velvet Frost (dark red) with a linen cloth! interor. The dealer had several 300 Tourings in stock, but all had a silly to me package that blacked out all the chrome and put on oversized black wheels. Apparently the dealers order for a perceived market in not John C’s hood. Anyway they said 4-6 months to order it my way. It is the cheapest at 36k but it has an interesting old Detroit issue. The passenger side seat has no up and down adjustment so i will have to make sure the seat sits Mrs. John C. high enough. She has vetoed cars for me on this issue before.

    The last is the Cadillac CT5 Luxury in Midnite Steel (blue) and beige icky vinyl at 40k. The dealer thinks ordering only takes two months. The car has a weird flaw that I am not sure I can get past. Though quietish at idle and cruise. it pipes in lousy 2.0T engine noise through the radio speakers on even mild acceleration. There is a control to lesson it but not completely. Seems like a way for your car to call you stupid every time you accelerate.

    Any advice?.

    • Tom Klockau Post author

      Don’t get the turbo 4 if you go Caddy. I drove several CTSs with it before I got the MKZ and while it had plenty of power, I hated that it took premium fuel. For a lunchbox sized four. And it was buzzy.

      If one came in with the V6 I likely would have gotten it, But none did in my time frame (I was seeking certified preowned, not brand new).

      I still prefer the outgoing CTS to the CT5, but it’s growing on me.

      I love my MKZ, it’s had zero issues other than a bad valve stem. If you find a super nice certified one, check it out. Or Continental.

      • John C.

        Premium is only recommended, not required. The knock sensor will back off the power slightly if necessary. I had an earlier version of this engine in a 2011 Saab 9-5 and never put premium in it. My current car requires it and it is a real bummer at fill up.

        I like the MKZ and nearly bought one in 2014, but the dealer wouldn’t dicker or give me what I wanted on the trade. To be fair, trading in a Saab post bankruptcy was hard.

    • LynnG

      John C.
      Use this site to search for CT5’s with the larger engine.
      You should be able to find a CT5 that meets your requirements as I have seen quite a few being delivered in the past few weeks at the local Cadillac stores.

      Also, I read this past week that Chrysler has filled their allotment of C300’s and are not accepting anymore orders. You may be able to do a regional search and find one that meets your requirements and see if your local dealer could work something out or call the dealer with the one you want and deal directly. That is how I had to get the Grand Charokee his past spring, I found one that meet my requirements and call the dealership as asked for the Sales Manger by name and told him he has a white Grand Charokee Limited on order and I was a cash buyer and if he wanted to sell the car the minute it was unloaded I was a buyer, I went the day it was delivered and purchased the car before they even pulled the plastic off the carpet and seats. Jack said that was the way to do it in one of his articles and it worked.

      • John C.

        Thanks Lynn, but I won’t be getting a Ct5 V6. Remember this gen, the V6 is a twin turbo and over 50k. It too has the pipe it in sound, perhaps greater quality but also higher quantity. In the C/D test of a CT5V, 86 decibels at the exhaust low setting at full throttle 92 decibels after you turned up the volume control. Most people who had Rocket V8s in 98s liked the burble of even the slow CAFE ones. It is however hard to imagine the local bank president or clergyman rigging up an engine bay microphone connected to the Delco radio to listen to it loud on your loose pillow seat. We now have designs for the clown world.

        I will go to the Chrysler dealer today with my wife. If she gives the thumbs up on the seat, we will try to place the order. If it is too late the dealer may already have a place in line that they could reconfigure to my build. If not, it is not meant to be. If it doesn’t work out, my wife wants me to drive the new C class MB before buying the Cadillac.

        • LynnG

          John C
          Happy Holiday shopping… but remember what Jack has told us repeatedly, the C/D, MT, testers do not really drive the car and if they do, it is around the block under close supervision of the PR Deptment lizards…. Drop by a Cadillac store with your wife and take one out for a long test drive (maybe up to SC Exit 5 and down Rt 17 back home). You will get a much better fealing for the noise from the 3.0L in real world driving. Don’t be bashful, you are spending real money as prices touch $50K. It is a significant investment so you should be able to drive the car for enough time to see if it meets your expectations. Also before you invest in a MB talk to people that own the model looking at and find out the plus/minus of the model as MB is not in my lane. Also, I know it is a little out of the way but if you deside on a C300 my i recommend Santee Chrysler Dodge Ram at SC Exit 119. My prior Grand Charokee had an “O” ring falure as I crossed the bridge over Cantey Bay and I lost all my oil and the car went into limp mode on I95 North and they got me in and back on the road in two hours. They did not know me from Adam and they helped me like I was a regular customer.
          Good luck with the car shopping…

          • John C.

            Chrysler is now out. My wife’s objections were beyond the seat position. She felt the car exists for an entirely different demographic than us. A less shuck and jive dealer might have helped, but she resented me even bringing her there, so a two hour drive in each direction to Santee likely would have made it worse.

            The MB C300 is also out based on my research. $6000 more than the bigger CT5 while looking like a 98 Altima wearing uncomfortably the 55 300SL grill isn’t going do it. This gen there is no longer even the option of the traditional radiator grille and three pointed star ornament. It is sad watching a storied automaker lose it’s mojo the way Caddy and Olds did 30 years ago.
            Next I will be researching the VW Arteon. Strong product leadership in the form of Prof. Peich seems a less distant memory there.

            I am also wondering if that gee gaw on the CT5 that pumps in engine sound can be disabled. It was mostly fine other than that and the HH dealer won’t give my wife the vapers.

    • Christopher Laflam

      Take a drive in a low milage Caddy XTS VSport Platinum. I have a 2014 model that I bought in 2019 with less that 13k miles and less than half of its original MSRP. It has absolute no compromises. Beautiful well crafted interior of leather, real wood, alcantara, and nickel silver trim. Silky smooth 410 HP twin turbo V6. The car has a stunning presence, and has terrific lighting elements inside and out.

      • John C.

        I don’t buy used. Used car values being what they are, I expect your 2014 is worth now more than you paid for it, there is no longer much of a financial reason to deprive yourself of the pride of pulling the cart instead of just riding. If we are lucky, the current incentive to buy new may pick up orders and stay the executions like it did for domestic RWD cars in the 80s.

        • Christopher Laflam

          I don’t usually buy used either. But the XTS is out of production. I got mine at about 1/2 of its original MSRP and it did not have a scratch. With 12,660 miles on it it was practically new and man did I save a boatload of money buying used! I like the CT5 and CT4 but they just don’t have the elegance, IMHO, of the XTS, CTS, ATS, or CT6 which have all been discontinued.

  4. Carmine

    This 98 gives me the tingles in all the right places, its exactly how I would have ordered it except I would have added the gauge package and the built in CB radio to keep track of Smokey, though looking at the auction pics, it looks like it might not have cruise.

    Olds with an Olds motor, and “the big one” at that, at least the biggest you could get for 1979 and the last over 400cid engine in any GM big car period.

    It’s pricey, but it looks clean, you know it was well kept because none of the red interior had faded to the trademark “GM Magenta Pink” that 70’s red GM interiors would fade too. There is a burgundy 77 98 with 6K or so miles that keeps popping up for sale as well and they’re trying to get $35K for that one, this is a bargain compared to that.

  5. Idaneck

    This buyer would now be getting a Yukon/Tahoe LTZ because they value V8 and a frame.

    Good luck John, too bad you won’t consider an ES. The sunlit green is a nice color.


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