Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Convertible week kicks off for Labor Day!

I've admired this big beauty for years now as it made its way from one side to the other in the alternate side parking shuffle. I even took these pics of it well over a year ago. I guess I took it for granted as it always seemed to be around so what was the hurry in featuring it? Well like the resurgence every band gets once their lead singer dies I'm shining the spotlight on the behemoth now that she seems to have disappeared.
This is a 1970 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight convertible in Platinum Poly. The sheer fact that the owner kept finding parking spaces for this yacht is impressive. The dimensions are downright majestic; just shy of 19 feet long, almost 7 feet wide, and weighing in at over 4,400lbs!
I call it Ninety-Eight as opposed to 98 because that's how it was written on the side of the car in this year when new. The emblems would be just behind the front wheel well but they seem to have gone missing during a repaint.
Look at this massive beast! Behind this hood lurks a totally free-breathing 455 V8 producing 365 horsepower and a whopping 510 foot lbs of torque. She may be big but she can get up and go no sweat; top speed was 124mph from the factory.
For domestic luxury cars 1970 is a tough year to beat. Technology was there for improved handling and creature comforts were similar to what we expect now. However we were still years away from safety and emissions regulations that, while saving the Earth and its inhabitants, make driving these cars decidedly less fun.
*That almost-square lens between the lower edge of the bumper and the wheel well is a cornering light. It lit up on whichever side turn signal was being used to show you what you were about to hit.
When you take in the overall scope of this beast be sure to think about the top being down. 6 people easily fit into this for a cruise to the beach. Besides the fact that this isn't a Chrysler this could be the whale Fred from the B-52s was singing about in Love Shack.
Awesome green and turquoise leather awaits inside.
A small snap is visible on the chrome trim at the rear corner of the rear side window. This is for a parade boot or tonneau cover. You can imagine a local beauty queen sitting on top of the rear seat waving with her bouquet at 5 mph.
The fender skirts are perfect as are the original wheel covers.
I took these pics so long ago that that's my old bike in the foreground. I replaced it after a repair truck backed into it, bending it into a pretzel. A local shop straightened it and sold it to the local pizza place so now I see it go by my shop every day delivering food.
You know you're in a nice neighborhood when this car can be parked for several years on the street and nobody cuts into the roof.
These taillights look more architectural than automotive. There are plenty of Brutalist* structures where the only windows on one side of a building would look much like this.
*Brutalism is a genuine architectural style from the '50s through the '70s (and beyond) comprised of unforgiving blocky structures with sharp angles, lots of concrete (or harsh surfaces like it), and very little in the way of glass or ornamentation. Of course all my architecture friends will bristle at this possibly inaccurate definition but suffice it to say I love the style!
The lines are clean as a whistle and the condition is close to perfect on this mastodon.
In the late '60s through early '70s GM furnished their rear quarter lights into the logo of whichever division the car came from. In some instances such as the Firebird the light was made in the shape of the models logo. I love these details!
As I said in my opening this car roamed within a 6 block radius for several years until not too long ago. Once I saw it sprouting a bouquet of parking tickets. Those were removed but soon after I saw it resting in a mound of cat litter. Before I could finish cursing out the thoughtless cat owner who would do such a thing I noticed a note on the inside of the windshield on the dash. It read something to the effect of "YOUR CAR IS LEAKING GASOLINE EVERYWHERE. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT CAME AND PUT DOWN STUFF TO SOAK IT UP. PLEASE FIX!!!"
A sad ending to a wonderful bit of Park Slope scenery. Hopefully I'm wrong and it will reappear but for now I'm going to regard it as the kindly old neighbor you never really noticed until they were gone.
R.I.P. Ninety-Eight

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