The 88 is a line of cars created by Oldsmobile, which is comprised of small and lightweight vehicles that were equipped with powerful engines. Offered in different submodels like Futuramic, Super, Dynamic, Golden Rocket, Celebrity, Royale, Delta 88, etc, it was considered as one of the most successful line of cars produced and sold by Oldsmobile. From the time it was released in the market in 1950 until the early 70s, it was the company’s bestseller, making it an image leader for the brand. Though it ended production before the turn of the century, it remains as one of the most iconic cars produced by the Oldsmobile until today.
50s: Early years
Powered by the new Rocket V8 engine, the 88 first came out in 1950, sharing the B-body platform with many other GM cars. Its sleek look and powerful engine helped Oldsmobile come out of its conservative image. The car also won several races in the NASCAR, and this helped boost its sales.
60s: All things new
In 1959, all Oldsmobile vehicles underwent a makeover and the 88 was restyled to have a longer, lower, and wider body. The change in appearance was also complemented with upgrades in the engine—the upscale Super 88 was given a new and bigger Rocket V8 engine, which could churn out 315 horsepower while the cheaper Dynamic 88 was powered by a Rocket V8 that could produce up to 265 horsepower. The longer and wider body of the 88 was reduced just two years after, but the wheelbase was retained. Throughout the 60s, new models of the 88 were introduced to the market.
70s: The birth of the Delta 88
In 1956, the Delta 88 was born. Initially, the car was released as the Dynamic 88 Delta, and it was meant to replace the previous B-body Oldsmobile vehicles. This vehicle, together with other Oldsmobile cars released at that time, featured new styling, having a more rounded look. The Delta 88 was also made available in a convertible option and it also had a new Rocket V8 engine that could churn out 300 to 370 horsepower. A couple of years after its introduction, several new versions of the Delta 88 were produced. One of them is the Delta Custom, which featured plusher interiors and Strato bench seats.
80s: Style improvements
Before reaching the 80s, the Delta 88 and other B-body vehicles were downsized, making them more lightweight. Though the downsizing changed the outer appearance of the Delta 88, its legroom was actually increased, making it more comfortable for passengers. New versions were also added to its lineup like the Delta 88 Royale Brougham, which featured soft, pillowed seats. In the beginning of the 80s, minor exterior changes were done to all Delta 88s, including grille modifications.
90s: H platform
Before its demise, the Delta 88 switched from its GM B platform to the front-wheel drive H platform, giving it a smaller wheelbase. It was also equipped with a new V6 engine, replacing its V8 engines in the past.