Fresh Metal: 1972 Olds Ninety-Eight Regency
Oldsmobile’s 75th Anniversary Tiffany Edition…
Presenting the Ninety-Eight Regency
Once upon a time…America was the purveyor of the luxury car. General Motors was at the summit of the automaker’s craft. Luxury sedans like the legendary Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight powered by the formidable “Rocket V8” engine offered unpretentious, uncompromising luxury…unlike the luxury cars of today that lack the aristocratic flare. For the 1972 model year Oldsmobile offered “The Tiffany Edition” Ninety-Eight Regency to celebrate their 75th Anniversary.
This eminent series was registered with Tiffany & Company and built at a restricted pace to reflect its exclusivity. The illustrious Oldsmobile brand was America’s oldest automobile manufacturer. An Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight was the company Flagship. Oldsmobile built 121,568 Ninety-Eights for the 1972 model year and set a new sales record for the model. “There was a special feel…in an Oldsmobile…”
There was nothing quite like the traditional full-size luxury sedans. An Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, Buick Electra 225, and Cadillac Sedan deVille were GM’s luxury leaders. The Oldsmobile Series Eighty-Eight and Series Ninety-Eight were so forward thinking that they both were used as Cadillac’s “test car.” Before Cadillac would introduce a new feature or accessory it was first “test-driven” on the Eighty-Eight/Ninety-Eight Series first. The fabulous first generation front wheel drive 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado was actually “test-driven” as the Oldsmobile Toronado then refined.
Oldsmobile was the oldest American automobile manufacturer. Ransom Eli Olds founded the brand in 1897. During their 107 year history around 35 million vehicles were built. Oldsmobile was the first high-volume gasoline powered automobile manufacturer. It was originally named the “Olds automobile” and became the top-selling American automobile. From 1901 to 1904 the Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the first mass-produced car made from the first automobile assembly line.
Contrary to belief, as Ford being the first with the assembly line system, they weren’t. Ford was first to build cars on a “moving” assembly line. Whether one referred to it as an “Olds” or “Oldsmobile”…or even better “Rocket Olds”…the brand was an American institution. The Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight name was first used in 1941. The Ninety-Eight evolved more luxuriously each model year retaining its place as company Flagship.
For Oldsmobile’s 75th Anniversary in 1972, a very special limited edition luxury sedan was created. Built at a restricted pace of 2,650 vehicles, the Ninety-Eight Regency was the top of the line. With its posh limousine-style interior, the Regency was the most luxurious Oldsmobile ever built.
The Tiffany Gold beauty was powered by Oldsmobile’s Rocket 7.5 litre 455 CID 16-valve pushrod V8 engine. Style code RPO Y79 Regency trim package became a full production model for the 1973 model year due to its popularity. The Ninety-Eight Regency remained popular until the 1980s. The 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency hardtop sedan was the epitome of elegance and luxury.
The interior of the Ninety-Eight Regency rivaled that of a limo. Its hand button-tufted pillow-style contoured seating was available in either Black or Covert Gold. An embroidered design was stitched into the standard front and rear center folding armrests. The front seat configuration was the 60/40 divided lounge seats with standard 2-way power driver’s seat. Zippered pouches were affixed to the backs of the front seats for rear passenger storage. The warm look of French Walnut graced the dash, steering wheel, door trim panels, and seat back moldings. Power windows, deluxe cut pile carpeting, and Flo-Thru ventilation system were just a few of the many standard features and accessories.
The Ninety-Eight Regency was registered with Tiffany & Co. The Regency owner received a special set of keys cast in sterling silver. If ever they were lost, they could be deposited into any mailbox, Tiffany & Co would return them to the owner at no charge. The Ninety-Eight Regency interior featured an exclusive electric timepiece with its face styled by Tiffany & Co alerting the vehicle occupants to the fact that this was an exclusive luxury edition automobile.
The 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency was finished in a custom “Tiffany Gold” exclusive to the Regency. Vinyl roofs were standard and available in Gold, Black, or White. “Regency” nomenclature adorned the rear sail panels to further enhance the car’s luxurious identity. The 1972 Ninety-Eight Regency was available in the following color/trim schemes with Tiffany Gold as the body color: Black vinyl roof with Black interior, Black vinyl roof with Covert Gold interior, Covert Gold vinyl roof with Black interior, Covert Gold vinyl roof and Covert Gold interior, White vinyl roof with Covert Gold interior, and White vinyl roof with Black interior.
The 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight shared its “C-body” with Buick and Cadillac. The Ninety-Eight rode upon a long 127” wheelbase and had the luxury length of 232.2” and a wide 80” stance. It was a large front engine rear drive luxury car. It was built as body on frame construction using GM’s perimeter frame technology.
The Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight came standard with power steering and power brakes. It used a dual master cylinder to facilitate independent front and rear braking system operation. The brakes were equipped with discs fitted to the front axle and drums fitted to the rear. New for the 1972 model year was a stronger front bumper system that yielded upon minor impact to protect the sheet metal.
1972 Ninety-Eight hardtop sedan
This is the base Ninety-Eight hardtop sedan interior
1972 Ninety-Eight LS
This is the Ninety-Eight LS interior
The famous Oldsmobile 7.5 litre “Rocket V8” engine
The Oldsmobile Division of General Motors celebrated their 75th Anniversary in 1972. A special limited edition called the Ninety-Eight Regency hardtop sedan was built at a restricted pace of only 2,650 vehicles.
The 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency hardtop sedan was the most luxuriously exclusive automobile in the history of the brand. The plush hand button-tufted contoured pillow-style seating for the interior rivaled that of a limousine. The beautiful all-nylon velour augmented the cabin gracefully setting it apart from the other Ninety-Eight models.
The 1972 Ninety-Eight Regency came standard with an electric timepiece in the instrument panel with a face styled by Tiffany & Co. The Ninety-Eight had always been a luxuriously appointed automobile. The Regency trim option package escalated the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight into further exclusivity.
The 1972 Ninety-Eights were powered by the 7.5 litre “Rocket V8” engine. The Ninety-Eight was a spacious six passenger luxury sedan designed to cosset its occupants in high style and performance unexpected from a car of such regal stature.
An Olds Ninety-Eight could “wear the kidskin gloves” when necessary for formality…but tap the accelerator to bring that 455 CID 16-valve pushrod V8 to life instantly, and you had the unexpected performance sedan. A Ninety-Eight Regency was satisfying enough to preclude the restless quest for something better to replace it with…
Special thanks to MJC Classic Cars for these rare photos
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I had a 1972 98 olds. Best car I ever had..
Yes indeed…those were the days my friend! I never thought I would see the day when Oldsmobile would no longer make an automobile! I drove my uncle’s 1972 Ninety-Eight…I loved the Rocket 455 CID V8. If you ever find a 1972 Ninety-Eight Regency for sale…buy it! It has historical advantages that will force it to appreciate rapidly. It seems that most of GM’s greats are gone forever…Olds, Pontiac…and Cadillac. Well…the Cadillac nameplate is still present but sadly…the car is not. I wonder will cadillac ever make another “Standard of the World” creation and regain their place as the most desired luxury car in the entire world?
Is this 98 available?
My dad had a 1940 black Olds 98 with a hydramatic transmission (which I only saw pictures of), a 1948 which he order after returning from war in 1945 and it took 3 years to arrive he told me because of post war retooling and market demand. I actually got to drive this one from the garage up our driveway to the front yard when he put it up for sale in 1964 or 65. What a thrill. Unfortunately for me, it sold almost instantly so I didn’t get to drive it up the driveway but once or twice. In 1957 he bought his third new 98, a white beauty with the classic red shoulder to tail stripe. Though it was the base 98 it had a heck of an engine and he loved nodding to guys that would pull up next to him at a traffic light, then leave them far behind with barely a touch of the gas pedal. Next new 98 was a 1963 Town Sedan. What a classic. I officially learned how to drive on this car and for some reason got to drive it to high school often as dad still drove the 1948 back and forth to work at the time and mom didn’t need the car often as we lived near everything and she loved to walk. I was in a Catholic high School 13 miles away so when I had a dentist appointment or something like it I got to drive to and from school in the Wedgwood blue 1963 Olds 98. I went to a commuter college and dad bought a beautiful new 1967 ivory 98 with gold brocade interior and a black vinyl roof in time for my 1967 commuting. Though I loved it, I needed my own car by now and though I looked high and low for a sporty car for a 19 year old, I wound up with a 1961 mist green Cadillac DeVille. It literally had been driven by a little old lady that I knew and needed a lot of tinkering because she never opened any window by the driver’s and never moved the electric front seat, I got to pull the doors and seats apart and free up all the motors etc. I digress, back to the Oldsmobiles. Dad followed up the 1967, (which by the way, along with the 1963 had been driven in literally dozens of weddings, often by me) with a yellow/mustardy colored full size Olds wagon with the clam shell “tailgate”. He had partially retired and had a ball with this wagon. He kept this mammoth vehicle for years and it never gave him a problem and it was the first time he opted for air conditioning for which he couldn’t believe he never did before. While still keeping the wagon he bought what he considered a more sporty Olds in 1980 — a maroon 2 door 88 top of the line Royale. I can[t remember what the full model name was called. ‘Then when he heard the body of the 98’s was going to be reduced again, he bought the last of the old body styled of the 98’s in 1985 which was really an 88 but really jazzed up and called the 98 Brougham LS. It was a beauty even though built on the 88 body theme. I eventually bought both the 1980 and 1985 Olds’ from my folks. I never though it would happen but dad’s last car was a new 1989 red Cadillac DeVille. He died in 1990 and my mother had it and drove it until she went into a nursing home 17 years later in 2006.
My first new Olds was a 1975 Toronado which I had dreamed of owning since they came out a decade before when I was a senior in High School. It was baby blue with a white vinyl top and the loose pillow leather like interior. It had all the bells and whistles and got a lot of catcalls. I loved it and kept it for 19 years giving it to charity in 1994 or 1995. When I drove it to the charity place, the guy said he hadn’t seen a tow truck. When he realized I drove it he went out to see it and could believe how great it looked. They gave me a receipt for it and I later received an appraisal for it and a tax credit of nearly $5000.00 as I recall. I still think it was worth more than that.
I kept and drove the 1980 and 1985 Olds’ from my folks until 1994 when I bought a Cutlas Supreme for myself and sold the 1980 the first day I put a sign in the window. My wife would not give up the Brougham LS until 1996 when we started to have some gasket leaks in the engine. The car still looked brand new and though I had the leaks fixed, she had her eye on a 1996 Cadillac DeVille which we bought. My wife was a nurse and when the other nurses found out the 1985 98 Brougham was up for sale they had a bidding war. The nurse that bought it had it for years as their “good” car, mind you it was 11 years old when she got it.
My last Oldsmobile sadly was a 2004 Alero that I bought when I heard the bad news of GM’s stupid decision to cease production. I had the Alero, and it was my daily driver until 2017. It had 180,000 trouble free miles on it. It was a beauty with every option that was offered. Unfortunately they were prone to rust and my mechanic said he was afraid to put it on the lift anymore. He remarked that it was seldom that he saw a car with that many miles that still had everything that worked. The sunroof, the 8 speaker cassette/CD player, the electric windows and seats, the A/C everything. I never got stuck in our very snowy winters and drove it on the salty turnpikes over 120 miles a day during its last days to and from work. I still miss the little bugger.
Well that’s the end of my Oldsmobile tale. I now have had a couple of Cadillacs. If they still made Olds I would still be driving them. I tried a Buick and it just didn’t make it. Though the Cadillac is a beautiful car it really doesn’t make it either. They made it too European and I am still holding out hope that Cadillac will get back to the old days and offer a real flagship combining the best of today’s technology with yesteryear’s panache.
Hello Jack! I know how you feel about Oldsmobile because when I heard they were going to discontinue the brand I almost got sick! I couldn’t believe it! My uncle was the Olds man in our family of GM owners. His car too was the Ninety-Eight. I owned one, a 1975 Ninety-Eight Regency in silver with a black vinyl roof and black velour interior. I wish I had kept that car…it was a real beauty! The last car my mom drove was a 1984 Ninety-Eight Regency coupe. I miss the big cars…sounds like you do also! Thanks for sharing your story with the world! This is just what my readers like! The real life stories is what makes the site interesting. As for Cadillac…it would be nice if the brand could return as the “Standard of the World” once again – but they cannot if they continue to build make-believe luxury cars!
My grandfather bought a new Oldsmobile Regency Brougham Tiffany addition in Montreal in 1972. Supposedly, it was one of only 3 sold in Canada. It was his special occasion car. He had daily drivers from his gas station that he would drive the rest of the time. I remember visiting my grand parents during the summers as a child. I would sneak into the garage to look at the car, because it was ‘special’. If I was lucky, I would get to ride in it when we would go visit an aunt in another town. My grandfather passed away in 1998. I got a chance to see the car in 2019 when I went to visit for the first time since 1995. The car is up on blocks in the garage with only 9,321 miles on the odometer.