From Brooklands Books, Oldsmobile Muscle Cars. This is a reprint of a March 1970 Car and Driver article covering The 1970 Oldsmobile Delta Royale with B07 Package.


Police cars are just not like the regular cars made for we and thee, and the difference isn't all in the decoration. Paint a police car any color you like, hide the red light and hooter, and dress the driver in mufti. No matter what the camouflage, it will still come across like a police car. It will still have that flat- (you should excuse the expression) footed stance on the road; a kind of hunch-shouldered readiness to lunge and pounce. Your Aunt Maude might not see this, but it is unmistakable to those of us who occasionally do things pounce-worthy in the eyes of the law and have, therefore, come to scrutinize other vehicles on the road with more than casual interest. The difference is, we think, in the way a police car moves. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that most policemen are expert drivers, and drive more decisively (also faster) than your average man at the wheel. The rest of it is surely in police cars having what the manufacturers are pleased to call the "police package."
Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Police package! James Bond and his police package Aston Martin. Bullet-proof glass and a death-ray built into the headlight. Riot guns racked against the dash, and windshield washer nozzles rigged to squirt Mace. All very exotic and intimidating, that police package but only in the popular mind. We suppose that police cars are supplied with such equipment, but that's not what the police package is all about. Basically, it consists of items that have more to do with life than death; items that transform your average limp-spring floater into a taught, controllable, it-goes-where you-point-it CAR. A car that is stable in crosswinds, or on high-crown roads, and one that is safer at 80 mph than most sedans at a sedate 50 mph.
At least, that's the theory, and various police units-notably the California Highway Patrol run performance trials to insure that all the police package stuff does what it is supposed to do. And, as we couldn't really expect to wrangle an invitation to participate in the CHP trials, we decided to hold our own. With an Oldsmobile. Which is available to anyone, with police package installed. You don't even have to show them a badge or gun.
We ordered the police package with an Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale a nice enough car in standard form, but not what you would consider one of the all-time great, agile handlers. The big 88 carries lots of weight on a long wheelbase, and while it delivers precisely the kind of handling and ride most customers want ("Sure there's a road down there, but I'd rather not know about it" ), it isn't what you would pick for a serious game of lunge and pounce. Not in standard form. But when you add option BO7, it gets to be an entirely different car.
Here's what you get: stiffer springs; shocks with heavier damping; anti-roII stabilizer bars front and rear; and reinforced lower suspension arms at the rear axle. These last are U-channel pressings, as standard, and they weld on plates to completely box in the channel for the police package. And the cost? You get the police package suspension for a piffling $ 17.80. That's so inexpensive it sounds suspicious, but really all you're paying for is the slight difference in cost between standard and "heavy-duty" springs and shocks, a little welding, and one more length of bent steel bar. The price is for real, and it is more or less typical of what all the manufacturers charge for police package suspensions.
Oldsmobile also offers a police package engine, and we had that included in our test car. For $77.94, we got the W33 455 cu. in. V-8, which delivers 390 hp and 500 lbs-ft of torque-with the super-zoomy dual exhaust system. Now then, having ordered that engine we also had to take Oldsmobile's heavy duty 3-speed Hydramatic transmission, which cost another $ 15.84, and having gone that far with it there was no reason not to kick in a final $46.60 for the limit-slip differential.
We had a choice with disc brakes and power steering: We could have been dumb and asked for a car without them. Few people are that dumb, now, and all Oldsmobiles but the "little" F-85 and Cutlass will be sold only with these items. All to the good, we say, after having once tried an Olds 88 with out these options.
Recalling the days of stem-winder steering ratios combined with power assist, we marvel at the present Oldsmobile. The steering is fairly quick, and very light without any loss of road feel. You can actually sense what is happening down there between the tires and the road. The same could not be said of power steering in its infancy and it cannot be said of all the power-assist cars, even today.
Similarly, a lot of cars with a power boost for their brakes are still a disaster. About all that can be said for them is that very little foot-pressure is required to make them do their damnedest. Unhappily, in a hard stop it is often impossible to keep from locking the wheels; you can't modulate the braking properly. The general switch to disc brakes is improving the situation and the Olds is near-perfect. The pedal pressure required to bring about wheel lockup is high enough to provide a broad control range, and the retarding action you get between a touch and a mash is linear.
Handling was, we discovered, a tad short of perfect at the ten-tenths end of cornering, because really forcing the Olds would make it lean enough to use up all the travel in the outside front suspension and send it hammering hard against the stops. But that only occurred while running the car around a race track. In fact, not even some demon-eager trooper hot on the trail of a recidivist Willie Sutton would force the car that hard out on the public highways, and we would have to say that Oldsmobile's engineers have struck a good balance between cornering power and ride harshness.
And you should know, before you rush right out and buy one of these police package cars, that the ride is harsh by showroom stock standards. The Olds isn't exactly a spine-shortener, but it does jounce around a good deal at low speeds. Aunt Maude wouldn't like it at all.
Where the Olds really lives is cruising at 70 mph, at which speed the wheels seem to follow ripples in the road without transmitting their motions to the rest of the car. That's a big improvement over the standard floater, which tends to be up on tippy-toes and lurching with every change in road camber at Interstate speeds, and it is a quality we find well worth a little jouncing in city traffic.
People who like to drive and have always found their enjoyment in Porsches and such will be greatly surprised by the Olds, for the car is not only enormously agile, it is arranged inside to convenience its driver. All of the controls and instrumentation have been placed within the driver's reach and vision, and the relationship between steering wheel and pedals (gas and brake) is perfect, so that when one's legs are stretched comfortably, the wheel is right there where itshould be. And a little toggle on the side of the driver's seat trips serves to move the seat fore and aft, and to adjust it for rake.
The whole thing will seem very Hero Driver if you get wheel and seatset to your liking and then close your eyes. Leaving your eyes open will not help the illusion: First,the instrumentation consists mostly of idiot lights, and these are stuck in clusters into holes that look like they should be filled with genuine gauges. Second, the interior decor features a depressing amount of glittering chrome and fake burley walnut and (in our car) "tooled" white vinyl lhat would be more appropriate on one of Roy Rogers' saddles. In fact, the whole thing tastes of Roy Rogers and Buck Rogers in equal, overwhelming parts. In all, the interior appears to have been done either by, or for, Aaron Slick from Punkin' Creek (pronounced "Crick").
But if you can forget about the awful appearance, the Olds' interior is highly livable, with every creature comfort known to automobiles. A heating/defrost system that works well in the worst weather. Air-conditioning that will, if operating full-blast, turn the car into a giant beer-cooler even in summer heat. Stereo tape deck. An AM/ FM radio. Cruise control. Lots of elbow room (which keeps the driver from caring about the acute shortage of back-seat leg room). The car even has a clock that keeps accurate time.
Of course, there are a couple of little flaws in all this loveliness that we must mention. That AM/FM radio has tremendous tone, but we found that Oldsmobile may have made a mistake with the antenna, which is a couple of wires laminated into the windshield. When it rains, and you turn on the wipers and the radio is playing, you hear this funny "skritch. skritch, skritch" from the speaker as the wipers sweep across the buried antenna wires. We don't know what causes this perhaps magnetic pulses getting from the wiper motor up into the blades but it is there and it's annoying.
Another disenchantment is that cruise control, which we don't like on principle and because it doesn't work as well as a skilled driver. It's tricky: You flick the panel switch to activate the governor, and push the button set into the end of the turn-indicator wand when you get to the speed you want to hold. After that, you can sit back and let the black-box control the engine if you don't mind it doing a moderately lousy job. The box is blind, you see, and it does not anticipate the greater throttle needed to hold speed when the car starts up a hill: neither does it know that the car has crested the hill and will shortly go past the desired speed. The accomplished driver will do these things much more accurately and smoothly, and without giving the job a thought. We wonder, too, about the safety aspect of the thing, for while the cruise control disengages at a touch of the brake, we wonder about these people who fall asleep at the wheel.
Despite that side of it, people will still buy the cruise control and ignore the police package. Which is a shame, because in the case of the Oldsmobile Delta Royale, at least the police package makes a great big car into a great, great big car. The steering is light and precise, and the car has the property someone once called "swervability." You can yank the Oldsmobile around in remarkable fashion, and place it where you want it to be with comfortable assurance. It is a pure tiger in traffic; punch it, and the cubic inches take over and the car simply lunges ahead and it's a shame that private citizens are not also allowed to pounce. The performance, as is so often the case, is a lot better than our quartermile times suggest, and with the Olds the times are really quite good. Even with the "long" 2.93-to-one axle ratio, the Olds does step out very smartly the Hydramatic in our test car giving the smoothest shifts in our experience.
What we're trying to say here, sports fans, is that the police package Olds is a sports car and not just a sporty car. It's huge, in a manner that makes one very glad that the fenders have raised edges to sight along (to tell you the location of the car's sides) and it's heavy, but it is also very quick on its wheels just as some very fat men are marvelous dancers. Only the Oldsmobile has an aura of a beefy, very quick, off-duty cop. You meet guys like that at parties, and you know what they are even when you can't see the badge. You can see it in their manner; in the way they move. The police package Olds moves that way, too, and while we drove it various people we were about to overtake would slow suddenly and crane their necks at the rear-view mirror. It's OK, guys; it's only us.

Manufacturer: Oldsmobile Division
                      GeneraI Motors Corporation
                      Lansing, Michigan
Vehicle type: Front engine, rear-wheel-drive,
                     5-passenger, hardtop coupe
Price as tested: $5955.02
(Manufacturer's suggested retail price includlng
all options listed below Federal excise tax, dealer
preparation and delivery charges, does not include
state and local taxes, license or freight charges)

Options on test car: Base car, $3964.00; deluxe
belts, $12.11; electric windows, $110 59; air
conditioning, 421.28; console, 61.09; disc brakes,
78.99; HD auto transmission, 242.88; tilt steering,
$45.29; variable ratio power steering, 115.85; hood
lock 10.53; stereo radio, 238.02; accessory pack,
11,80; tinted glass, 44.23; power seats, 73.72;
electric trunk lid, 14.74; front floor mats, 7.37;
remote control mirror, 10.53; limited slip differential,
46.60; cruise control, 63.19; oil cooler, 15.80;
deluxe steering wheel, 15.80; white wall tires, 33.70;
tape player $116 91; police engine, $77.94; special
paint, $83.20; heavy duty engine cooler, $21.06;
police suspension, 17.80

Type: V-8, water-cooled, cast iron block and
      heads, 5 main bearings
Bore and Stroke: 4.13 X 4.25 inches
Displacement: 445 cr in.
Compression Ratio: 10.25 to one
Carburetion: 1x4-bbl Rochester Quadra-jet
Valve gear: Pushrod operated overhead
            valves, hydraulic lifters
Power (SAE)   390 bhp @ 5000 rpm
Torque (SAE)  500 lbs-ft @ 3200 rpm
Specific power output 0.86 bhp/cu in.

Transmission: 3-speed, synchro automatic
Max. torque converter ratio: 2.3 to one
Final drive ratio: 2.93 to one
Gear    Ratio    Mph/1000rpm     Max. test speed
I       2.48     11.4            56 mph (490 rpm)
II      1.48     19.1            94 mph (4900 rpm)
III     1.00     28.3            113 mph (4000 rpm)

Wheelbase......................124.0 in
Track F/R......................62.5/63.0 in
Length.........................219.1 in
Width..........................79.9 in
Height.........................54.7 in
Ground clearance...............5.9 in
Curb weight....................4535 lbs
Weight dlgstributlon, F/R......56.84/43.2%
Battery capacity...............12 volts, 73 amp/hr
Alternator capacity............504 watts
Fuel capacity..................25.0 gal
Oil capacity...................4.0 qts
Water capacity.................18.0 qts

F: Ind., unequal-length control arms, coil
   springs, anti-sway bar
R. Rigid axle, trailing arms, coil springs,
   anti-sway bar

Type: Recirculating ball, power assist,
Turns lock-to-lock: 3.8
Turning circle curb-to-curb: 45.4 ft

F: 11,8-in. vented disc, power assist
R: 11.0 x 2.0 in cast iron drum, power assist

Wheel size: 15 x 6.0 in
Wheel type: stamped steel 5-bolt
Tire make and size: Goodyear h78-15
Tire type: Polyglas, tubeless
Test Inflation pressures, F/R, 23/24 psi
Tire load rating..1770 Ibs per tire @ 32 psi

Zero to                              Seconds
       30 mph........................2.5
       40 mph........................3.6
       50 mph........................5.0
       60 mph........................6.9
       70 mph........................9.2
       80 mph........................11.9
       90 mph........................15.3
      100 mph........................19.6

Standing quarter............15.4 sec @ 90.6 mph
Top speed (estimated).......140 mph
80-0 mph ...................271 ft (0.79 G)
Fuel mileage................9-13 mpg on premium fuel
Cruising range..............225-325 mi