By 1964, General Motors premium efforts offered up a magic brew of marketing and moxie. Where Ford and Chrysler could only work their mojo into offering perhaps only 2 or 3 premium sedans, General Motors had a slew of them. Most credit Ford with starting the brougham brigade, in actuality Pontiac brought the bourgeois to more of the masses with their Bonneville Brougham.
Before you cashed in with a Cadillac, there were two steps that you could sit on up the Sloan Ladder. We’ve covered the Electra 225 already, but one favorite on Dynamic Drives is one of our favored subjects from after dark. Today we present yet another Oldsmobile Ninety Eight.
The Oldsmobile Ninety Eight had spent 6 seasons refining its seasonings to make for a better witches brew in the near-Luxury market of the mid 1960’s. More discreet, refined and even a dash dapper and sporting, details cloaked the exuberant size and length of these frisky beasts ready to travel United States Interstates and beyond.
Newly skirted and shorn of even more brightwork, the Ninety Eight, like its sister ships the Electra 225 and all Cadillacs believed discretion was valor, setting the trend for American Luxury cars for the better part of 25 years. A softer face for ’64, less in the way of taillights, a little more reflective tinsel for a mirror effect in between. More popular was the private C-Pillar lit with courtesy lights within, not sunlight outside.
The long slide into personal bordellos was on, however, it thrived in an elegance between mid-century detail and me generation opulence to come. Like any good broomstick, the Ninety Eight remained swift to tradition. The last year of the 1949 Vintage original Rocket V8 offered 330 horsepower as standard, with the Starfire V8 being a 15 additional horsepower option click away.
Although many deride the “Slim Jim” Roto-Hydra Matic, it didn’t hamper the brute force and locomotive torque of the old iron cauldron. Axle ratios be damned, a typical Ninety Eight could slink across the pavement at 60 mph on either side of 9 seconds, and pull fearlessly into the night to 125 mph given an open enough stretch of road.
At a price starting at a captivating $4,200 and change, far lower than a related Cadillac, it was exactly the magic potion nearly 25,000 motors took to in this body style during 1964. Of course people couldn’t resist the sweetness of the brew, and the Ninety Eight found even more followers as the years spun further into the future.
Sadly, we haven’t had the evolution of these witches of the road for twenty years, however, on this hallowed day, we praise this living dead specimen that still haunts us in the cover of night.