When it registered just how huge this ’72 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight LS (Luxury Series) is when we happened upon it the other day it was kind of shocking. The thing measures 19 feet from bumper to bumper, weighs 4,431lbs and its tank holds 25 gallons of (premium) gasoline. The pistons on that massive V8 displaced 7.5 liters and fuel consumption was, on a good day, in the 14 – 15 mpg range though miles per gallon was a term never used in Olds advertising or promotional literature because nobody really cared. Soon came the OPEC oil embargo and a very rude awakening.
Still, we love its over the top excess. Fender skirts? Check! Vinyl-clad roof? Check! Insanely long hood? Check! Rear deck big enough to land a small helicopter? Check! Vestigial tail fins? Check!
Yes, it’s actually been suggested that this generation Olds Ninety Eight sported the very last tail fins appended to any American car. This was a mere thirteen years after the ’59 Cadillac marked the apogee of the upswept hind quarters school of design. Insert obligatory Kardashian reference here.
Olds’ top of the line model lumbered on until 1996 and, as we know, the Oldsmobile brand was deep-sixed by General Motors when the very last new Olds (oxymoron, anyone?) was built in 2004. It made us sad in light of the fact that, until that moment, Oldsmobile was the longest lived domestic nameplate. Founder Ransom E. Olds had started his namesake company way back in 1897.
Public Enemy, the much lauded hip-hop practitioners, celebrated the best of the Oldsmobile range with their 1987 rap rocker “You’re Gonna Get Yours.” The lyrics include the following verses which enumerated the vehicle’s many attributes most emphatically:
“My 98 is tough to chase
If you’re on my tail – better watch your face
Smoke is comin’ when I burn
Rubber when my wheels turn
A tinted window – so super bad
Lookin’ like the car the Green Hornet had
It’s the reason I’m ahead of the pack
It’s the reason I left them back
It’s the reason all the people say
My 98-O blows ’em all away”
Swedish pop-rock group Melony chose a big, bold “triple black” Ninety-Eight to adorn their 1996 album release Satisfaction on the Minty Fresh label and the inner sleeve is festooned with images of the full line of Oldsmobile’s offerings for 1971. It’s a mystery why the band’s Peter Kvint, Mana Eriksson and Gunnar Norden chose this graphic approach but we’re glad they did. The album makes no specific aural Oldsmobile references but does include a track entitled “My Corona.” For a compact alternative, give it a listen.
We’re pretty sure Chuck D, Flavor Flav and the others in the PE crew did not have this Ninety Eight-based family values laden ’76 Custom Cruiser station wagon in mind when they recorded “You’re Gonna Get Yours.” Just the same, we’re pretty lyrical about its massive presence.
What a delight it is to have found a commercial for Gulf’s low lead gas starring Dick Van Patten and a 1972 Olds Ninety Eight. Nixon was in the White House and all was well.. until it wasn’t.
OK, that’s enough traipsing down memory lane. Why not bring a gigantic ’72 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight into your life like this one in nearby Manhattan, KS? Purchase price is a measly $7500 but, of course, you’ll have to fill it up every now and then.
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