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1975 Oldsmobile
Delta 88 Royale Convertible

Web Site and Registry

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Welcome to the 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible
Web Site and Registry

This site is designed to display, register and share information about Oldsmobile's "Last" Convertible. Contained on this site are pictures of my 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible, seldom seen documents, in-period Press Releases, GM Archival Pictures, Technical Data, Production Numbers, Owners Registry and an Original GM Marketing Film. I am always looking for any other info that one of you may have in your possession and would like to share with this site.

Original Images and Films are Courtesy of General Motors through a licensing agreement granted to this site. A very special thanks to John Kyros, who has been invaluable to me in my research with this and other web sites.

To fully enjoy and navigate this site, please use the click able links at the top of each page for more pictures and information. 


To quote the original Delta 88 Royale Convertible brochure; "Today, a beautiful Olds Convertible; Tomorrow, a Collector's Item" Well tomorrow is here! It has been 36 years since these magnificent big Oldsmobile's were built. Since that time the Brand itself has succumbed to history, ending in late April of 2004. 

Needless to say, not many of the last Fisher Body built Royale Convertibles still exist today. Of the 7181 produced most have succumbed to history themselves. Rust, rot and time has taken their toll. Finding one of these automobiles in a "as new condition" can be quite a challenging feat. 

The 1975 Convertibles were produced at two different GM Oldsmobile Plants;  Lansing, Michigan and Fairfax, Kansas. If registry information is any indicator, most were produced at Building 90 Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan.  The last car produced there was on July 11, 1975 while the last one produced at the Fairfax, Kansas plant was on July 8, 1975. 

There were 3 different engine options for the Royale Convertible; 350, 400 and 455 cubic inch, all of which are V8's. By most GM accounts 90% were produced with the 350 V8 or about 6463 units. The 400 V8, with 2BBL carburetor only, is a known number with 245 units, five (5) of which I have now come across. One is still with the original owner, Bill Stadter of Tinley Park, IL. This low unit count may be due to the fact that this engine option was not added until late in 1974 so not readily available until early January of 1975.  This leaves only 473 units to have the 455 V8 power plant. 1975 was also the first year for Catalytic Converters, Front and Rear 5 mile an hour Bumpers and Radial Tires as standard or mandatory equipment. 

While this site is dedicated to the Convertible only, I have included the full line of Royale production numbers below. There is a bit of contradiction out there about just how many Convertibles were actually produced. For example; The Encyclopedia of American Cars shows the production number at 21,038. This is strictly a typo as the author got the number transposed with the Town Sedan. As the next picture will clearly show there were only 7181 produced.

Oldsmobile Model Year Production - 1975

DELTA 88  ROYALE / B Body 

Hardtop Sedan   (N39)  32,481
Hardtop Coupe   (N57)  23,465
Convertible         (N67)    7,181
Town Sedan        (N69)  21,038

 

 

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The LAST one, VIN#  3N67K5M368746, rolled off the Lansing, Michigan assembly line on July 11, 1975. It was a Crimson Red Convertible with a white top and interior powered by a 350 V8.
The last one, VIN#  3N67K5X135099, to roll off the Fairfax, Kansas assembly line was on July 8, 1975.
Though it was touted as the "Last" convertible it was not as Oldsmobile brought out the Cutlass Convertible in 1990.

 


 

The LAST Royale Convertible

Somehow I always knew that this car would show up. Now where is the one built in Fairfax, Kansas?

Everyday I open my email to find someone has written me a line about something they are looking for or a Royale that they own or know of someone who did or does.
Anyone who loves old cars and there are many of us, knows the excitement we have when we find that special part, web site or knowledgeable person. 

So when I opened my email in late November of 2010 to read;

"I am happy to inform you that the Last 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible, #7181, VIN# 3N67K5M368746, the Crimson Red Convertible, is alive and well in Viera, Florida" it made my day!
Below is the history of the travels, protection, love, unknowing original ordering owner as to it being the LAST Royale, documentation and pictures. Enjoy!


Let's start on February 18, 1975. Mr. Ray Boehlke sent a hand written letter wanting to know if 1975 was truly going to be the Last year Oldsmobile built the convertible and if so, how much was GM going to give him to buy one since Chrysler was offering rebates.  According to the return letter he received dated February 26, 1975 from Mr. C.C. Rule the answer was no on both accounts. No more Convertibles and no rebate, but thank you for writing. To this Mr. Boehlke replied back on April 21, 1975 stating he had received the answer to his first letter and could he possibly get the LAST one produced? Probably knowing this was a long shot he also asked when was the last day in which to order one. Enter Mr. K.C. O'Donnell, in a letter dated May 5, 1975, stating that the above said letter had been referred to this department and that he could not guarantee the LAST one, but if he ordered before Friday, May 23, 1975 he could promise one built on the Last Day. Well, Mr. Boehlke stuck by his word and on Tuesday, May 20, 1975 at 4:38 PM, placed an order with his favorite dealer, Flaherty Oldsmobile in Port Washington, WI. The car, a 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible, color code #72, Crimson Red with a White Interior and Top. Not a loaded up, got all the bells and whistles car, (remember the rebate question) but a nicely equipped car all the same. According to dealer records, stock #614, the LAST one, was checked in and serviced on Wednesday, July 22, 1975. So on Friday, July 25, 1975, Mr. Boehlke went to Flaherty Olds to take delivery of his new convertible, as it was finally here. This is 2 weeks later, to the day, Friday, July 11, 1975 the LAST one rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan. The LAST one was met by throngs of media and dignitaries as "Oldsmobile says... So Long to the SOFT TOP". It could have been just another foot note in automotive history were it not for one stickler named Ray. Weeks later, in a standard form letter of the day that is undated, Mr. J.T. Abbett thanks Ray for his support and purchase of this new Oldsmobile Royale Convertible. I wonder if he knew? Hmmm....

Of course this story could have ended there, but it did not. Mr. Boehlke obviously loved this car very much and it shows. As many a Northerner knows, winter time is a silent killer of our cars. From rust to accidents due to inclement weather, most have not survived. Not this one, Mr. Boehlke babied it. Driven only in good weather with a clear forecast, Spring, Summer, Fall and on Special occasions like his daughter's wedding in 1982. It looks new, and it ought to with only 12,556 actual miles. Being a stickler, it was placed on jack stands in the fall and always garaged under cover. As an Oldsmobile fan he bought many more over the years but never thought of selling this one. Mr. Boehlke passed away in 2006 never knowing he did in fact have the LAST one he so diligently pursued.
I thank him for being a stickler and preserving this piece of Oldsmobile history.

Fast forward, November 21, 2010. The day I got the first email about the LAST one.
The car is now owned by Don Medlin and his new wife, Darlene. Seems Darlene (Ray's widow) gave the Royale to Don for a wedding present after Rays passing. Don had heard the story about Ray requesting the LAST one, but no one knew for sure. With the internet at his finger tips he started a search and found this web site. Hey, a story about the LAST one, lets just see.
Checking the VIN against my post Don told me it was like reading the numbers on a winning lottery ticket! Ray had in fact gotten the LAST one, case closed.

The car was driven 1350 miles, not trailered, to Florida from Wisconsin where they now reside by Darlene's brother Dale. That says a lot for the care given, the reputation of Oldsmobile quality and a very lucky man named Ray! My thanks to the two of you Don and Darlene, for sharing the pictures, documents and story of this very special automobile.
May the LAST Royale Convertible and you both have many, many more wonderful years ahead.  

Oh, and by the way, this car is NOT for sale. Who could blame them!


Ok readers, before you start emailing me, it should be noted that the 1975 Convertible was NOT available with a Hood Ornament. That is not to say that many a buyer did not miss this item and had it added by the dealer. This is the case with Mr. Boehlke, see a copy of the invoice below. While I am a stickler for "From the Factory Correct", I can't find fault with his "Bit of Personalization".
Ever notice the "Personalization" going on these days?!!

Don and Darlene also added an NOS set of factory Simulated Wire Wheel Discs, an $89 option in 1975. But not today!


Following the Paper Trail....

Below are copies of the letters written back and forth that I speak about in the article above.......very interesting correspondence that I seriously doubt would ever take place today.

Original Window Sticker, EPA Sticker, Oldsmobile Broadcast Sheet and Hood Ornament Invoice are all at the bottom after the pictures of the LAST one.

"Please note that clicking on the image will increase the readability but may take a few seconds to load depending on your computer /internet speed."

 

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February 18, 1975 / Ray's First Letter To Olds

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February 26, 1975 / Reply To First Letter

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April 21, 1975 / Reply To Olds Letter

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May 5, 1975 / Reply To Second  Letter From Ray

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May 20, 1975, 4:38 PM / Signed Order Form 

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Undated 1975 / Thank You For Your Purchase Letter

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Now that you know the story, lets see pictures of the LAST one....

 

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Fisher Body #490266

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Original Documentation from the LAST one....

 

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Original Window Sticker / $6344.50

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Oldsmobile Assemble Line Broadcast Sheet Note: "Special Convertible"

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EPA Window Sticker Showing 14 City / 18 Hwy

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Invoice For Hood Ornament/Installation 9-24-1975

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This is a picture of the Oldsmobile complex located along the Grand River on Townsend Avenue in Lansing, Michigan. First started in 1902 prior to becoming a part of General Motors in 1908 this sprawling complex covered hundreds of acres.
Closed in 2005, demolition was begun in the spring of 2006 ending in 2007 with nothing left but the concrete slabs.
Oldsmobile, dead at the ripe old age of 106.  

This Lansing Michigan complex was broke up into many parts, here are a few of them. 

 Plant Number 1: Oldsmobile's Main Manufacturing Plant, housed the division's Engine and Sheet Metal manufacturing operations, molded plastics operations, car assembly operations and engineering / administrative headquarters. 

In this Plant the famous "Rocket" engines were produced, from unfinished blocks to completely assembled engines. The Oldsmobile engine blocks were moved automatically through a series of machining stations to transform them into precision parts. Once at the end of the line an inspector carefully checked the quality of work performed. Afterwards a precision gauge checked the cylinder bore dimensions and a qualifying mark was stamped next to each bore for selective fitting of each piston. As the engines move on from this station the timing gear and chain are installed. Other components already installed include the crankshaft, camshaft and bearing caps. Next up the intake and exhaust values are installed into the cylinder heads and then the heads onto the engine block. Once assembled these newly born "Rockets" undergo a computerized check for cooling system leaks, oil pressure and ignition timing. Compressed air is used as fuel to determine any problems. There were no fewer than 68 stations in this highly complex assembly machine, developed jointly by GM and Oldsmobile engineers.

The Pressed Metal section of this plant is where the new Oldsmobile bodies take shape. Hugh stamping presses use tremendous power to create numerous sheet metal parts such as the fenders, hoods and quarter panels. Also stamped and created in this area are the gasoline tanks and the dies for the presses themselves. Once the parts have been formed they pass through a series of sheet metal finishing departments. In these departments processes such as welding, buffing, sanding and polishing to smooth out rough edges and turn it into a usable part ready for painting. Many of the parts used at other GM assembly plants across the United States were produced here at the Lansing, Michigan plant.

The Final Assembly section of the plant is where it all came together. As parts and pieces from all over this sprawling complex were completed they gathered here for final assembly. The end result was over 18,000 individual parts to create each new Oldsmobile. As the frame moves down the assembly line the front suspension, rear end, engine, transmission and drive shaft start to make this an Oldsmobile. After this step is complete the assembly is sprayed with a rust resistant paint to give it a durable protective finish. The body is lowered onto the frame and secured. Then the front end and so on. Once assembled it is into a long infra red tunnel to bake the primer and paint coats to a smooth and lustrous finish. As each new Oldsmobile completed its journey down the final assembly line there were brief pauses for performance proving tests. Engine, power train, lights, windshield wipers and window regulators were all tested. Once testing is complete it is off the line and onto an Oldsmobile dealer and then a new owner somewhere across the nation.

 

Plant Number 2: Devoted to the manufacturing of rear axles, differentials and the forging operations. 

 Plant Number 2 covered more than 285,000 square feet. It was capable of producing rear axle, differential assemblies, including the limited slip, steering knuckles and a host of misc. cast and forged parts for use in new Oldsmobile's. There were 240 different machines in this area to produce some of the most advanced parts available. 

 

Plant Number 3: Housed the bumper plating facilities, crankshaft and front suspension machining operations.

Plant Number 3 is where the forming and chroming of bumpers took place. Bumpers started out as blanks and were then formed, polished and coated. Successive finishes of copper, triple nickel and chrome assured uniform brightness and beauty. Also produced here were crankshafts and suspension parts. These were machined and balanced as needed to become completed parts to be sent to the Main Assembly Plant where they were installed on new Oldsmobile's.  

Also on the grounds:

There was also an enormous GM Parts Division warehouse that held millions of replacement parts. As dealers requested them they were shipped out all across the nation. These were stored in towering bins and racks. Once a part was requested it would be transported via an electrically powered train to a shipping area and then on to the dealer.

The new administration building was located here as well. It housed over 900 employees and consolidated five major departments under one roof. The building was completed in 1966 and was quite advanced for its time. Advanced innovations included; scientific ventilation, glare proof fluorescent lighting, step saving escalators and a fully staffed / equipped medical clinic. 

 


Below are pictures of Original Oldsmobile Dealer ordering information, Fisher Body Broadcast Sheet and Temporary Drive Out Tag from my 1975 Royale Convertible.

 
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This is an original Dealer Ordering Card used to order a white convertible with Cranberry Interior and white top for dealer stock. Note the retail price of $7179.50

 
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This is the front of the above card. It would have been filled in with the owners information when the car was sold and placed in the selling dealers file for quick reference. These were supplied by GM Oldsmobile Division to their dealers.

 

 
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This is a original Order Invoice from GM Oldsmobile Division to the dealer once the order was placed and received. This sheet shows the options and prices of each including retail and dealer cost.  This was a floor planned car with the Promissory Note Info on the bottom showing when the interest would begin to accrue for the dealer. Sell this one fast!

 
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The back of the above document showing the dealer cost and when completed the potential profit or loss on this particular convertible. Hopefully when all the trading was done the dealer had made a profit.

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This is an original Fisher Body Broadcast Sheet. These can usually be found under the front section of carpet under the front seat. It shows the workman what interior would go in this Oldsmobile Body. In the upper left hand corner, box 2 and 3 will show the date the interior was placed in the body shell. This example shows the date 06 / 16. Also shown, the optional equipment so the worker would know what door panels, front seats, seat belts and dash to pull for this particular build.

 

 
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This is the original 7 day drive out tag from the Black 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible in the picture gallery. The car was purchased at Murphy Oldsmobile in Alcoa, Tennessee on August 5, 1975. This tag was used to drive the car home and put it away. There it sat until it was purchased from the original owner's estate, H. Morton Judd of Dalton, Georgia. I thank him for preserving this now very hard to find automobile.  

 

 

 


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