Thursday, December 29, 2016

Escape Machine

I was walking around the area of Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn when I saw this unlikely survivor in great shape:
This is a 1970 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Custom in Viking Blue Poly. Oldsmobile called all of the vehicles in their 1970 lineup Escape Machines. As large and in charge as this ride is it was still just the midsize offering from Olds in '70 with the colossal 98 being the flagship.
This is the standard 4 door car of the day positioned between Buick and Pontiac in the GM hierarchy. Power comes from either 350 or 455 V8 engines mated to an automatic transmission (the 4 speed manual was discontinued after '67 for the Delta 88). This ride was built in the same year that the Environmental Protection Agency was established which would go on to control the amount of pollution automobiles produce. However in '70 the engines were free-breathing without emissions controls and exhaust went through mufflers whose only purpose was to lower the volume. 
The panel fit is pretty bad on this ride as shown by the hood gap. This car gives the impression of being used as a daily driver parked on the streets even though it is in great overall condition.
There are aftermarket doodads on this ride I don't agree with like the wheels and that cheesy wing. The lines are great though with the flared fenders from the factory and integrated bumpers.  The lack of side trim going down the middle of the body makes for a clean look.
Like any veteran of the city streets this has an anti theft device. There is a heavy duty metal collar padlocked around the steering column holding the gearshift in place. We can see from this angle that the climate control systems are out of reach from the passengers. Cadillac had similar placement.
The vinyl roof is in perfect condition which is remarkable for a 46 year old ride. I'm guessing this spent its first few decades in a garage somewhere.
Somebody gave this beast a good knock, taking out the taillight in the process. I suppose the 3 is for the late Nascar racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. but it's not the correct 3. Who cares?
This is the pillared sedan where the door frame goes around the windows. There was also a 4 door hardtop where the opening would be unobstructed when the front and rear windows were down but they lack the rich chrome surrounds that this model has. From this angle you can see the rectangular pattern of the seat leather.
That's where we'll leave this blue beast. This is a 1 year only design as the '71 ushered in a different front where there was a pointed prow on each side between the headlights. The year before this had the headlights contained within the grill openings. 
To see a non-sexy body style like this standard 4 door sedan in great shape is curious in the States but that's not true around the world. In Australia and New Zealand 4 door sedans make up most of the classic muscle cars. Here in the U.S. convertibles, hardtop coupes, and station wagons are all more valuable and sought after than sedans, but that's what makes this one special. If you want a usable classic and one of these comes up for sale you can rest assured that all parts are still available and the price ought to be reasonable.

No comments:

Post a Comment