| 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983/1984 | End
of the Road
1980 -1984 Oldsmobile 98 Regency is one of the classiest
and most elegant designs to ever come out of Detroit. Debuting
in the fall of 1979, the classic design proved to be a very
popular seller at Oldsmobile and many hundreds of thousands
of vehicles hit the road in the first few years of the 1980s.
GM's love affair with front-wheel-drive (FWD), however,
eventually doomed the classic "traditional" rear-wheel-drive
(RWD) luxury cars which had been so popular on American
roads for decades prior to the 1980s. In 1985 the luxury
flagship models from Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Buick were
downsized, followed by their family-car counterparts in
1986. Only the full-size Cadillac Fleetwood and the various
station wagon models remained.
In 1991, responding to popular demand, GM updated
the classic RWD American luxury car in the form of an all-new
Chevrolet Caprice which, based on its appearance, could have been
an updated design for a new Olds 98. This was followed by the
Buick Roadmaster in 1992 and the Cadillac Fleetwood in 1993. These
vehicles were built on the same chassis which powered the classic
Olds 98 of the '80s. A lack of updates, however, coupled with
a general decline in demand prompted GM to discontinue all their
RWD sedans in 1996. After that, Ford became the only manufacturer
to offer a "traditional" American luxury car in the
form of the Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford
C-Body chassis or "platform" upon which the1980-1984
Olds 98 was based first debuted in 1977. Even though the vehicles
to be built on the new platform would some of the largest on American
roadways, the series was actually marketed as "downsized!"
This is true because the vehicles made prior to 1977 were even
larger than their late-'70s counterparts.