FEBRUARY 2024: KING OF THE ROAD AGAIN: A 1974 OLDS DELTA 88 ROYALE WITH 21,000 MILES IS BACK ON THE STREET

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1974 was a turbulent time for big domestic cars because gasoline was both scarce and expensive, two factors that worked against land yachts with an insatiable thirst for fuel.

A 1974 Olds Delta 88 Royale fit into the large American sedan category, but it did not fit into a world with long lineups at the pumps and very high prices when drivers finally got to the pumps.

Jim Sutherland

Cole Irving is only the second owner of a 1974 Olds Delta 88 Royale that was only on the road for one year before its first owner put it into long term storage, with occasional maintenance breaks during its 48 years in solitary confinement.

There is a yin and yang quality to long term storage for vintage cars. The good part is they are locked in a moment when they were no longer able to accumulate more wear and tear from actual use and are essentially frozen in time. The bad part is they are frozen from actual use and begin a slow death from non-use.

Cole got both the yin and yang when he bought his ’74 Delta 88 Royale from the late owner’s son and resurrected it for a return to the road. As mentioned, the car was given occasional maintenance trips to the GM dealership during its 48-year storage, an important factor for the low mileage (21,000 miles) car’s overall excellence when Cole bought it in 2023.

However, Cole was careful and took care of any long-term storage issues before he brought the ’74 Olds back on the road. The result is a spectacular example of a low-mileage survivor car that is an excellent example of a museum quality vehicle put back on the street.

Oldsmobile may be an extinct General Motors brand, but it was a big player in the mid-range price category for domestic cars during its 96-year production run within the GM family. Cole’s ’74 Delta 88 Royale is an excellent example of the Oldsmobile Division’s lean toward luxury because it has plenty of whistles and buzzers to enhance passenger comfort.

The car is a four-door hardtop model with power everything, including windows that roll all the way down at the push of a button. The list of options not included with Cole’s Olds is much shorter because it does not have a vinyl top or FM radio-but it does have a factory 8-track player.

The car’s factory V-8 took a hit in terms of performance due to automotive legislation that robbed horsepower from domestic cars during the early 1970s and replaced it with cleaner exhaust systems. The direct result was poor mileage, a grim fact with extremely high 2023 gas prices when your 1974 Olds only gets 12 MPG, according to Cole.

The big trade-off for Cole is the Delta 88’s incredible ride on the road because, in Cole’s words, ”It just goes”; a major nod to the car’s ability to handle modern highways with ease and a very generous amount of comfort.

Cole told MyStarCollectorCar that his family “think I’m nuts” to own a 1974 Olds Delta 88 Royale, but we respectively disagree with them because Cole owns an amazing low mileage survivor car that is both rare and cool in our opinion.

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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