If there’s one thing the Oldsmobile Division did well during its final couple of decades, it was special-edition cars. Just looking at cars I’ve documented for this series, we have the XC Edition Cutlass Ciera (commemorating the 90th anniversary of Oldsmobile), the Wyoming Statehood Centennial Edition Cutlass Ciera, the Phoenix Open Edition Intrigue and the Final 500 Editions for the last 500 examples each of the Intrigue, Aurora, Bravada, Silhouette and Alero. Today we’ll be looking at one of the very last Oldsmobile Eighty-Eights ever built, with the incredibly rare 50th Anniversary Edition option package.
The 88/Eighty-Eight (Oldsmobile began spelling out the model name in 1989, just to be more classy) was one of the most legendary models in the Oldsmobile pantheon. The 88 was born in the 1949 model year, and it was most noteworthy for packing a brand-new modern overhead-valve V8 engine known as the Rocket. The early Rocket 88s were so renowned for their overwhelming power that the very first rock ‘n’ roll song ever recorded (by Ike Turner in 1951) had one as its subject matter. I feel a personal connection with the Olds 88 as well, since my very first car ride was in a rusty but still powerful 1956 Olds 88.
1999 was to be the final year for the Eighty-Eight, and so the 50th Anniversary Edition celebrates a half-century of the model just before getting the axe. The Oldsmobile Division itself got executed by The General five years later.
This car has ANNIVERSARY EDITION badges everywhere.
According to the official GM press release, the badges are plated with genuine 24-karat gold. It’s unclear how many of these 50th Anniversary Edition cars were built; the press release refers to “about 500 models available in Canada” but this one is a U.S.-market car.
Inside, it’s typical plastic-and-velour 1990s GM.
Power came from a good old 3.8-liter Buick V6 engine, in this case a naturally-aspirated version rated at 205 horsepower. A supercharged version good for 240 horses was available as an option. If you wanted one with a manual transmission, too bad — the last model year for a new Olds 88 with three pedals was 1971.
The MSRP for this car was $27,350, or about $51,216 in 2023 dollars.
So many standard features!
The time to buy is now!