1971 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight L.S.

Introduced in the fall of 1970, the 1971 Ninety Eight bore the usual Oldsmobile family resemblance to products past and sister model cars. It features twin headlights on each fender and the typical Oldsmobile split grill with rectangular pattern and trademark rocket in the center. The sides are styled in typical Olds fashion with accentuated wheel openings. The front and rear fenders had flared styling around the wheels.

The most interesting view of the car is the rear view which featured a pair of small tailfins (yes, small and subtle but definitely tail fins, and you thought that the '64 Cadillac was the last car with fins). The stylists did a remarkable job of turning what was a huge mass of automobile into a seemingly smaller car. They did this by way of tasteful usage of chrome trim. The pair of strips on the tops of the front fenders broke up the large mass, letting the sides of the fenders disappear out of view. The sides of the car were available with chrome strips option # B84 that made the car look longer and protected the sides from door dings. A vinyl top was also available option # C08 and most of the cars shipped were so equipped.

The cars were available in two levels of trim. The standard Ninety Eight and the LS (Luxury Sedan) The cars could be had in a 2 or 4 door hardtop body style. Production totals were as follows: 98 2 door = 8,335 98 4 door = 15,035 LS 2 door = 14,876 LS 4 door = 45,055. The same basic body was carried through 1976.

Options available on the Ninety Eight included: Four Season air conditioning (C60) which had standard slide lever controls and Comforton (C61), which was an automatic temperature controlled system where the driver selected the desired temperature and the system would heat or cool the car to maintain that temp. Cruise control (K30)which was a vacuum operated system verses the older electric units. power windows (A31)were optional on the 98 and standard LS. Power door locks (AU3) and trunk release (A90) were also available. The cars could be had with 6 way power seats (A42) as well as a 60/40 split seat(AM6) in the front. Tilt / telescope steering (N37) was available. A wide range of stereo systems were available from AM (U63), to AM/FM stereo (U58), and AM/FM 8 track stereo (UM2). An electric Rear defroster (C49) was available. Cornering lamps (T87) Door edge guards (B93) and bumper guards (V36) Some of the more unusual options include an outside thermometer, a center console to hold 8-track tapes, Nite Watch (T81) a delayed headlight off, Low fuel light (U41) safety sentinel speed alarm with Trip odometer (UB7) and perhaps the most unusual, a windshield washer that was activated by a button on the gear shift lever (CD3).

Things unique to the '71 include flow thorough ventilation with exhaust louvers in the deck lid. Early 71s had 36 louvers but it was discovered that under certain circumstances a negative pressure at the rear window area could draw exhaust fumes into the trunk and passenger compartment. Engineers decreased the number of louvers down to 18 and installed foam fillers in the two oval openings on the inside of the deck lid this modification eliminated the negative pressure condition. After '71 the venting system was in the door jambs. Geometric pattern wheel covers were optional (P03) and utilize a stamped cap with a cast outer section. The 71-2 Luxury sedan 4 doors with non 60/40 split seats had a panel on the back of the front seat that had assist straps, courtesy lights and a clock for the back seat passengers.

GM spent a great deal of time and money on the development of suspension systems for '71 with revised A arm design different bushings and shock absorbers with Teflon coated pistons and gas filled pliacel cushions. The results on the Oldsmobile were outstanding! Motor Trend in June '71 tested an Oldsmobile Ninety Eight, Mercury Marquis, and Buick Electra. They found the Oldsmobile to take them completely by surprise with it's agility. The article concluded that of the three cars the Olds was superior overall. Popular Mechanic's Uncle Tom found the same when he tested a '72 a year later.

The big Olds has a 455 cid engine with Rochester Quadrajet and for a car of it's size and weight moves out incredibly. The car cruises best around 70, which for the first time in a long time can be done legally. The car stops as well as it moves out, with disc front / drum rear.

I have owned the 71 98 LS you see here since 1983 when I was a senior in High school. I purchased the car as a driver while My dad and I restored my '55 Super 88 Holiday hardtop (boy I wish I still had that car!!). I purchased the 71 Olds for $200. with 96,000 miles on it. It was donated to the school shop, as the school principal who owned the car, had been told by a mechanic that it wouldn't last much longer. The car now has 416,000 miles and the engine was pulled this last Oct. for it's first rebuild!

If you are interested in these fine cars, or need any assistance with one please E-mail me and I'll be happy to help out. I also own a 72 98 Regency 75th anniversary special addition which I will post an article on when I complete the restoration of it. This car is Anniversary gold with the goldish beige top and Black interior. I have gathered most of the parts to restore it and will do so once I complete the restoration of my 71 Cadillac Coupe Deville. I love the giant luxury cars of the early 70's and hope to acquire a 71 Ninety Eight coupe and 71 Custom Cruiser or Buick Estate wagon within the next year or so.


Email: Chuck Noppe