Oldsmobile’s full-size cars were restyled in 1965, including the flagship Oldsmobile 98. The 98’s hood center now extended into a V and a kick-up on the rear fender. The Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission was improved for smoother shifts and quicker acceleration, a split-back front seat with center armrest became available on two-door models, and the trunk space increased by four cubic feet. The gas tank also increased to 25 gallons, and the 394-cid V-8 engine was punched out to 425, with either 360 or 370 hp.
The Olds 98 came in five models: a two door Sports Coupe, a four-door Town Sedan, Luxury Sedan and four-door Holiday Hardtop, and a convertible. In all more than 90,000 were sold in 1965, with the Luxury Sedan leading the way at 33,591 units.
The 1966 98s were little changed from 1965, except for vertical “blade” front fenders, similar to what appeared on the new Toronado. There were still five 98 models, including three four-doors, a Sports Coupe and a convertible. Sales were steady, even as hp was raised to 365.
The 1967 model year saw a number of mechanical and safety advances in the Oldsmobile marque. Like the rest of the lineup, the 98s all received dual brake master cylinders, four-way flashers, transistor ignitions, energy-absorbing steering wheels, and shoulder harness seat belt anchors. Front disc brakes were optional.
For 1968, there were few changes to the Oldsmobile 98 line. All models received a broad trim piece along the lower sides, the grill was divided into two parts and side marker lights were fitted. Wheel cylinders were bigger, and the wipers swept a larger part of the windshield. The 425-cid engine increased to 455 but power output remained the same. Most of the 90,000 98s that were ordered were fully loaded with power steering, brakes, windows and seats, and air conditioning.
The 1969 Olds 98s were squarer and more slap sided, with the rear fender kick-up and “coke-bottle” curve removed. Encouraged by the success of the Luxury Sedan, Olds added a Luxury Hardtop and 25,973 were sold, boosting 98 sales to 116,708 examples. For 1970, last year of this generation of 98, the 455 engine was redesigned internally, with positive rotators to improve valve seating and improved connecting rods.
The 1965 to 1970 Oldsmobile 98 is a solid choice for a mid-1960s luxury cruiser. The cars are big enough to accommodate a family comfortable and they capture much of the era’s style, all while costing significantly less than the more iconic and powerful muscle cars of the day.