1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale

Oldsmobile was down to one ragtop by 1975, a big, opulent 1975 Delta 88 Royale. Amazingly for those times, its sales soared by nearly six-fold over '74.

Detroit convertibles dwindled to a precious few by 1975, and the betting was that even those would soon go the way of the dodo. That they did, though some would be reincarnated a decade or so later (albeit in a reduced scale). But buyers couldn't know that at the time, so ragtops like Oldsmobile's 1975 Delta 88 Royale actually enjoyed one last sales hurrah, as top-down enthusiasts and fools with money rushed to buy what looked like surefire "collectibles." As a result, the big Olds attracted 21,038 orders as a '75 model, versus just 3716 as a '74.

1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic
The 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale attracted almost
18,000 more orders than the 1974 model.
See more pictures of classic convertibles.

Olds was at its zenith in the '70s, with the mid-size Cutlass Supreme consistently at or near the top of the sales charts. The big Deltas and Ninety-Eights were also quite popular, especially for medium-price cars not very different from cheaper full-size Chevrolets. True, the ragtop Delta had a longer 124-inch wheelbase and more "important" Olds styling, but its standard '75 engine, a 170-net-horsepower 350 V-8, was similar to Chevy's. So was the available 185-horse 400. But many, perhaps most, of the big '75 Oldsmobiles were ordered with the top power option, a burly, mildly tuned 455 with 190 bhp.

1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale
The top option on the 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale was a 455 with 190 bhp.

At $5200, the ragtop '75 Delta 88 cost some $400 more than the '74. Add in an unprecedented gas crunch that had many buyers scurrying to smaller, thriftier wheels, and it's amazing the model scored a near six-fold sales increase. But then, a few buyers were thinking "collector car," hoping to make a killing. With this Olds at least, they didn't.

For more classic convertibles of the 1970s, see:

1960 Dodge Polara
1960 Edsel Ranger
1961 Ford Galaxie Sunliner
1962 Dodge Polara 500
1963 Chevrolet Impala SS
1963 Ford Falcon Futura
1963 Plymouth Sport Fury
1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona
1965 Chrysler 300L
1965 Rambler American 440
1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
1968 Mercury Park Lane
1969 Plymouth Road Runner
1969 Shelby GT-500
1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7
1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic
1975 Pontiac Grand Ville 1976 Cadillac Eldorado

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