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1975 Delta 88 Royale Convertible-Turquoise
Old 09-10-2007, 09:51 AM   #1
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1975 Delta 88 Royale Convertible-Turquoise

Like the Fed, I'm a sucker for an old car. And it is TURQUOISE! This picture isn't it, just one from the net that looks like it.

This one is sitting up the road from me, parked in front of the tire store. Here's the story: one owner, from Illinois, 75 yr old widow (husband's car who passed away). 70k miles, surface rust sprinkled all over, 350 engine (not the big 455), nice leather seats, those massive Delta 88 doors shut fine (no frame problems). Decent interior condition.

She wants too much for it--$7500, but what's a good offer? I looked up the NADA and the low retail is $2500, avg is $6670 and high is $8700.

It runs fine, the ragtop is electric and in good shape, but a paint job is needed soon due to the surface rust.

Anyone want to talk me out of it?
Sarah
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:25 AM   #2
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Older cars shouldn't always be bought based on a book price. If you like the car and it's in line price wise then get it. I also think you should'nt consider it an investment as the prices move all over the place. Don't see much upside price wise but it is a convert and that's cool.

If there's no rust through and only minor surface rust then I would consider it. You may have to do a paint job at some point to remove the surface rust spots and that can run some serious money if you do it right. Hard to get a good look at it with only one picture but if it's original paint and hasn't taken any magor hits I don't think you can get hurt in the 6 yo 7K range. But you gotta love it.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Like the Fed, I'm a sucker for an old car. And it is TURQUOISE! This picture isn't it, just one from the net that looks like it.

This one is sitting up the road from me, parked in front of the tire store. Here's the story: one owner, from Illinois, 75 yr old widow (husband's car who passed away). 70k miles, surface rust sprinkled all over, 350 engine (not the big 455), nice leather seats, those massive Delta 88 doors shut fine (no frame problems). Decent interior condition.

She wants too much for it--$7500, but what's a good offer? I looked up the NADA and the low retail is $2500, avg is $6670 and high is $8700.

It runs fine, the ragtop is electric and in good shape, but a paint job is needed soon due to the surface rust.

Anyone want to talk me out of it?
Sarah
Gotta go for it.........you have the money since your mortgage is burned............
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:30 AM   #4
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Older cars shouldn't always be bought based on a book price. If you like the car and it's in line price wise then get it. I also think you should'nt consider it an investment as the prices move all over the place. Don't see much upside price wise but it is a convert and that's cool.

If there's no rust through and only minor surface rust then I would consider it. You may have to do a paint job at some point to remove the surface rust spots and that can run some serious money if you do it right. Hard to get a good look at it with only one picture but if it's original paint and hasn't taken any magor hits I don't think you can get hurt in the 6 yo 7K range. But you gotta love it.
The guy down the street is selling his GTO, but he wants $17,000, and I'm not willing to bite on that......
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:34 AM   #5
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You better know what your looking at when you start looking at muscle cars. You say a GTO, well they can run the gammit on prices due to condition and how rare they are.
Muscle cars can really hurt the uninformed buyer.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:37 AM   #6
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Oooh, a GTO...FD, did you ever see that old movie with James Taylor, Dennis Wilson and Warren Oates called Two Lane Blacktop? It has the most awesome 1970 GTO in it! Worth checking out for the car scenes--JT drove a primer gray 55 Chevy.

Yeah 73, I don't consider cars investments (otherwise I wouldn't be caught dead in these Saturns), but if I can sell it for around what I paid, it isn't a bad deal. I was thinking of offering about $5k for the Olds, as it has been sitting there for about 3 weeks. Thanks for the input--
Sarah
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:55 AM   #7
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It has the much less desirable engine in it. For big Olds', the engine of choice was always the Olds Rocket 455. By 1975, horsepower and torque were way down from the earlier years due to attempts to improve gas mileage, and meeting tightening emission standards. Convertibles are usually significantly heavier than the full-roof car they were based off of, as even though it is body on frame construction, the roof of a car adds significant strength. Strength that has to be made up via more steel. So with a smogged-down 350 in it, it's going to be slooow. If it has the Buick or Olds 350 in it with a 4 barrel carb, we're talking only 160 Net HP or so. Hopefully the convertible wasn't sold with the Buick 2 barrel 350 in it!

I would expect most body and interior parts for this car to be very hard to find. However, parts for engine, transmission, axle, suspension, brakes, etc. should not be a sourcing problem. For cars of that vintage, most of the rubber will be shot. Things like the belt moldings, these fit inside the door and wipe the window glass as it goes down. When they're shot, large amounts of water course through the doors in the rain, rusting everything inside up pretty good.

Figure at least a few thousand for a decent paint job. Decent means all chrome trim removed including door handles and lock cylinders, window moldings, fender moldings, light units and bumpers, etc. so that painting is complete, and not just a short-term "up to an edge" paint job. Existing surface rust means a lot of surface sanding, prep, priming, block sanding, etc. etc.

GM large hardtops of that era were known for leaks into the trunk and then down into the rear fenders, often via rear window seal. Since it's a conv., I don't know what leak paths to hidden rust there may be with that.

In later years, body side moldings, the moldings that run down the length of the car to try to prevent parking lot door dings, were glued on. Before that, the weld-stud method was used, with holes and through-fasteners on the ends of each piece. The old method was prone to rusting at the holes and at the weld-studs. A car that shows a pattern of rust ovals about every foot or so on the body next to the molding means a lot more rust enderneath. Fixable, but more $.

But the last naysayer item is the big one... I always get static for saying this, so I rarely get involved in these discussions. I believe that unless one is going to do most restoration and troubleshooting and maintenance work themselves, then buying an old car as a toy is a big money pit.
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:59 AM   #8
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Oooh, a GTO...FD, did you ever see that old movie with James Taylor, Dennis Wilson and Warren Oates called Two Lane Blacktop? It has the most awesome 1970 GTO in it! Worth checking out for the car scenes--JT drove a primer gray 55 Chevy.

Yeah 73, I don't consider cars investments (otherwise I wouldn't be caught dead in these Saturns), but if I can sell it for around what I paid, it isn't a bad deal. I was thinking of offering about $5k for the Olds, as it has been sitting there for about 3 weeks. Thanks for the input--
Sarah

Two Lane Blacktop... I love car movies, but that one.... zzzzzzzzzz..... the that '55 Chevy and Goat were pretty sweet. I've seen some tribute cars of that '55 at some car shows.

I immediately thought "if it only needs a paintjob, offer 4500 bones for it". 5k may well be worth it if you really like it.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:36 PM   #9
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Thanks guys, the royal we (DH) does all our car work, that is why I don't ever want to own a really serious collector car, that would require very high quality restoration work. I love to look at car shows, but I am a fan of owning what a friend calls 50/50 cars--those that look good from 50 feet away at 50 mph.

Telly, thanks for heads-up on hidden rust--I'm going to try to get by there today in my work clothes and get underneath it. I didn't see any rust in the trunk. I don't remember about the door guards--but again, thanks! Good to know about engine parts--I think the interior looks like it was garaged--not much sun damage to the dash.

Our last old car was a 70 Caddy that we struggled to keep running (before we had a shop at the house). The 76 motorhome has a big 454 Chevy in it that keeps DH off the streets and out of trouble, thanks to some pesky electrical problems!

Bow-tie, that movie is just eye candy--there sure isn't much dialogue!
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:04 PM   #10
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def. look it over well, crawl under and look at the wheel wells, frame rails, and even the gastank area can give you clues...you can also tell if there was water in the trunk by looking at the bottom of the car....check the bottoms of the doors for rust-it likes to start there. make sure it hasnt been painted...look for overspray under the hood, under the car etc.

take a magnet and run it down the length of the car near the bottom-if there's any serious bondo it will show...dont use a very strong magnet

i dont imagine that car will sell toooo fast at 7500, so dont hesitate to offer low, then check back in a week if it hasnt sold, offer again etc. you may have to do a little persuasion! i like to get to know the people on a level where they dont want to say no. condition them to like you. let THEM talk about themselves and the car...let them sell sell sell...they are preparing themselves for a sale...so offer what you wanna pay MINUS a bit. Then of course they will counter...the worst is making what u think is a low offer, then they accept with no thinking...im always liek 'errr...ummm... did i say $5k? i meant $4k" lol. for the record, id start by saying $5k, cash, have it in hand. show her.

also get on ebay, autotrader, muscle car trader, collectorcar traderonline, etc to see if theres any similar models for sale you can snag cheaper....close is convenient...but for a DEAL...im willing to drive 8 hours and get a solid car.




just my .02!!!
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:21 PM   #11
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Anyone want to talk me out of it? Sarah
Each to her own, but I wouldn't take that hunk o' junk if you GAVE it to me!

Just trying to oblige.
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:30 PM   #12
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Each to her own, but I wouldn't take that hunk o' junk if you GAVE it to me!

Just trying to oblige.
Now that's rude!
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:32 PM   #13
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She's just doing her job---saying I should be buying SHOES instead of cars!
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:15 PM   #14
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Didn't mean to be rude - - just don't like older vehicles, I guess! And trying to persuade Sarah that she doesn't need it. Guess I overdid! Sorry.
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:27 PM   #15
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Nah, wasn't rude...but I've got thick skin--when my mom asked me once if we were going to buy another piece of @#$% car, I promptly renamed everything POS 1 through whatever! It is now a standing joke!

But c'mon Want2, don't you have any buying weaknesses? If not shoes or old cars....I know I don't need it, but well, isn't that the point?
And I did ask for the help to try to be talked out of it!
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:49 PM   #16
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Heck, I have to admit that one of my dream cars is a '75 Buick LeSabre convertible, in that same shade of light blue! With a white interior and white top. Preferably with a 455.

The biggest thing I would be concerned about is the rust. First off, ANYTHING from the 70's will rust, given time, and the most common areas are basically any low point on the car...rear quarters, rocker panels, lower edges of the doors, lower parts of the front fenders, etc. There was something about the way Oldsmobiles were styled though, with those skegs or whatever you call them along the bottom, that seemed to catch dirt and mud and gunk and lead to faster rust-out.

As for engines, engine swapping really didn't run rampant until 1977, so chances are that '75 Delta will have an Olds 350. The quickest way to tell an Olds 350 from a Buick 350 is that the Buick 350 has the distributor up front, cocked at a slight angle, while it's in back on the Olds 350. I doubt that a Pontiac 350 would have ended up in there, but if it did the quickest way I could always tell a Pontiac 350 is that the upper radiator hose just seems obscenely long. Also, the Olds 350 has a long tube up front to put the oil in, whereas the Pontiac doesn't. Pontiac engines were usually painted light blue, but I forget what color Olds engines were. I think Buick engines were a dark red and Chevy engines were more of an orange-red, but at some point I think they started just painting them all black.

Anyway, keep us posted on that car! I remember seeing a '75 LeSabre convertible, exactly the way I wanted it, at a swap meet in Carlisle PA back in 2002. I think they wanted $6995 for it and it was SWEET! Seemed in great shape...nothing bad really jumped out at me, other than the typical 70's build quality.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:20 PM   #17
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Ooh, I just thought of something. I was surfing around on the web, and noticed a site that mentioned a 400 CID engine being offered on the Delta 88. Looks like a 170 hp 350 was standard, a 185 hp 400, and a 190 hp 455 being the top option. The site is Howstuffworks "1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale", if anyone wants to check it out.

Anyway, does anybody know where that 400 engine would have come from? I don't think it was based on the Oldmsobile block. Chevy and Pontiac both made their own 400's, so I'm guessing it came from one of those two? Oh, as for engine swapping, while it didn't run rampant until 1977, but it did happen occasionally. I know a guy whose uncle had a 1974 Impala that had a Buick 350 in it. I think there was a strike at a Chevy engine plant and that might have caused them to start swapping in Buick engines.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:24 PM   #18
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I know at one point GM started painting the engines black and interchanging them between divisions but can't remember when.

Olds had a 403ci block. Olds also used gold paint years ago.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:31 PM   #19
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I know at one point GM started painting the engines black and interchanging them between divisions but can't remember when.

Olds had a 403ci block. Olds also used gold paint years ago.
Not the same thing, but I remember working at a GMC truck dealership and we got an entire transport full of GMC trucks, the left side had GMC truck emblems, the right had Checy emblems, the grille was GMC, but the emblem on the steering wheel was Chevy.........

It took awhile for the factory to beleive that had happened.........
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Old 09-12-2007, 04:47 PM   #20
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I know at one point GM started painting the engines black and interchanging them between divisions but can't remember when.

Olds had a 403ci block. Olds also used gold paint years ago.
Yeah, that's it, gold! Now my memory's getting refreshed. I dated a girl back in college that had a 1978 or 1979 Olds Ninety Eight sedan with the 403. Say what you want about 70's cars being fat and slow, but that sucker could MOVE!

The 403 was based on the same block that gave us the 350, 307, and even the tiny 260. However, the 403 had siamesed bores, just like the Chevy 400. I think the 403 was still more durable, though. The 403 was used in 1977-79, mainly in Oldsmobiles and Buicks, but Pontiacs intended for California, high-altitude areas, and other strict emissions areas (Massachussetts, I think?) got the 403 in places where a Pontiac 400 normally would have been used. In most cases, like the '77 LeMans/Grand Prix or 1977-78 Catalina/Bonneville, it really didn't matter, but in some cases it did. The 1977 Can Am and the 1977-79 Trans Ams normally would've had a high-output 400 with 200 hp, but California cars got downgraded the 185 hp 403. The regular 400 just had 180 hp. 15 hp probably doesn't make much difference, but I imagine the HO 400 still probably had a broader torque/hp curve.
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