This isn't a story about a customized Oldsmobile, or a super car, or speed and ground shaking power.
Instead it's about a big ol' American-built cruiser, a 1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale, two-door coupe. And why is this special? Because this car is 100 percent original and in perfect condition?
That means the car has been so-well cared for that there isn't a hint of a blemish. The white exterior, and matching white padded cabriolet half top are dazzling, while the contrasting blue velour interior is in perfect condition - no fading, no wear areas, nothing. The carpets are perfect, not faded, no ground-in grime; the floor mats look as if they've never been stepped on.
This car looks like it was owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sunday. Actually, that's close; the car was owned by a woman who drove it occasionally.
The woman's husband bought the car for her new. But when he brought it home, apparently she wasn't as crazy about it as he had hoped. According to the new owner, Kevin Burgess, the woman was so opposed to the car that she would only drive it if necessary.
What's not to like, you'd ask? After all, this thing is beautiful! The answer, of course, is that the woman who owned it said the Olds was too big. The fact is it is big, 218.1 inches long. Think of it, a big car today may be 196 inches long, barely more than 16 feet; and the Olds is over 18 feet in length. Look at it another way; a Dodge Durango is pretty big, right? Well, it's 201 inches long, almost a foot-and-a-half shorter than the Olds.
For 1982 the Oldsmobile 88 was dressed up with a new grille, new headlights, not much really, but enough to keep it current among a herd of big American-made cars trying to remain relevant. The 88, a designation that appeared in 1949 as the Rocket 88, remained until 1999. The first Rocket 88 inspired music and is considered to be the first muscle car.
"The people in Navarino, are dairy farmers. The man I bought it from said his father bought it for his (father's) wife, but she didn't like it," said Kevin Burgess, the new owner.
Kevin said he was told the woman's husband put the car in the barn and covered it up. Years later the car became the property of the couple's son, a resident of Navarino, N.Y., who listed it for sale.
Fast forward to several months ago when Kevin was looking for a second car. As luck would have it, he saw an ad for the car in The Post-Standard. The car, by the way, was listed under antiques and classics, but Kevin was interested anyway, and called the number. The car was still available but Kevin told the owner he couldn't get to the car for a few days.
"When I did get there, he had the car covered, so I knew it was well maintained," Kevin said. But he didn't know the extent to which it was maintained until the cover came off and he inspected the ride.
"I could see what this car really was. The owner said he wouldn't sell it to anyone who didn't plan to take care of it. I said I would, and I will," he said.
"I told him I wouldn't drive it in the Winter, but I am using it as a daily driver so I'll have to get something for the bad weather," he added.
In other words, Kevin knows full well what he has, a rolling time capsule so to speak, and he has no intention of destroying it through careless wear.
The Olds did need a couple things including a new heater core, but other than minor work, it was good to go.
Q: Name of song believed to be first rock n' roll tune in U.S.?
A: Rocket 88, recorded by Jackie Brenston, and his Delta Cats. The lyrics were written by Ike Turner, although at the time Turner wasn't credited.
1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale
- Owner: Kevin Burgess
- Cost new: ,272
- Engine: 307 cubic inch V-8
- Transmission: 3-speed Turbo Hydra-matic
- Equipment: Power steering, power brakes, AM/FM, tilt steering wheel, AC.
- Color: White
- Weight: 3,723 pounds
- Length: 218.1 inches
- Trunk: 20.8 cubic feet
- Olds 88 production: 41,382 Royale coupes; 105,184 Royale sedans; 8,278 sedans
- Average auto cost: ,983
- Average home cost: ,200
- Average household income: ,050
- Gallon of gas: 91 cents
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