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Weekend Edition – Three General Motors Diesels for the opening of Diesel Weekend…

Jim Brennan December 8, 2012 For Sale, Weekend Edition 25 Comments

Welcome to Diesel Weekend, inspired in part by this post written by Kamil. Here at Hooniverse, we seem to have an irrational attachment to the unusual when it comes to our favorite modes of transportation. In no particular order, these include Jeep Wagoneers, International Scouts, any and all Malaise Station Wagons, Classic Muscle Cars, small Japanese RWD coupes, and on occasion, anything powered by a Diesel. So, to open Diesel Weekend, here are three Diesel Powered GM Cars that are currently listed on eBay…

This is a car that I never really knew existed… It is a 1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham Sedan, powered by a 3.8L Diesel V-6! This must be a rather rare setup, and from my research, this was the only year the FWD Ninety-Eight offered the Diesel. According to the listing:

1985 OLDSMOBILE 98 REGENCY BROUGHAM DIESEL, 50,457 Miles. This One Owner, Iowa Beauty comes to us Fully loaded with Diesel Engine, Automatic Transmission, Power Brakes, Cloth / Power seats, Power windows, Power door locks, Tape / AM / FM, Calculator and Air Conditioning.

Diesel Engine is in Good Shape, does not leak, nice and quiet. As quiet as Diesel engine can get. With only 50K miles on the engine, this engine can be considered to be like new. Transmission feels Perfect, shifts without any problems, without delay, and without noise. Suspension is in Excellent shape, Car tracks nice and straight. There is No Evidence of any Electrical problems.

The exterior is in Excellent shape for a 1985. The Paint looks Original with absolutely no evidence of Rust. Cloth Seats, Carpet Floor and Glass are all in Great shape. Interior of this car is Nice and Clean. This Sedan has 4 matching Tires with more then 85 percent thread left, that are mounted on Good straight rims.

This is a historically significant Oldsmobile (No, I am not kidding in the slightest) with a modern FWD Body Style, and a worked over Diesel Engine that was more advanced than the horrible V-8 Diesel produced only a few years before. What is really amazing is that this engine only produced 85HP. The Buy-it-Now price for this Regency is $4,400. See the listing here:1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham Diesel

The next Oldsmobile is a 1983 Toronado, this time equipped with the 5.7L V-8 Diesel. This car shows only 57,000 miles on the odometer, but there are cosmetic issues According to the listing:

Up for auction is a all original Toronado Diesel. This car has only done 50k and shows it. Been in indoor storage many years and is a great example of a well cared for, unmolested vintage classic. It’s weak points are the rear bumper has rust, the power antenna stays up, the bumper fillers are crumbling and the windshield has a chip. Besides that this car is straight and clean. I’ve included pictures of all these points so you can accurately see the condition. Besides the rear bumper and the plastic fillers the body is flawless, no rust, no dents.

Engine runs sweet and smooth for a diesel, fires right up. The overdrive transmission when cold holds 1st gear a bit longer than it feels like it should but goes away when warm, does not slip and fluid is not burnt. Factory fuel mileage for this car was 22 MPG City 38 MPG Highway. Interior is immaculate from the soft crack-free leather and flawless dashboard to the plush burgundy carpet the inside looks and feels brand new.

With about two and 1/2 days to go, this car has not received one bid. The opening bid is $2,500, which seems like a lot when you consider all the things you have too do to bring the exterior back to near showroom condition. See the listing here:1983 Oldsmobile Toronado Diesel

This is a 1980 Cadillac Seville Elegante, with the 5.7L Diesel V-8. This is actually a spectacular car, and according to the listing:

1980 Cadillac Seville from the upper South Carolina region. I bought this rust free one owner beauty in the late 1980’s, in the Greenville/Anderson, SC area. The car had 65,000+ – miles on it when I bought it. This fabulous diesel powered Seville was the personal car of the wife of a top executive at the Milliken Textile Company.

This Seville was garaged from new and has all original paint except for the paint just applied to all 9 replacement ABS plastic bumper filler panels. The original oxblood colored leather interior is immaculate and shows no damage or wear of any kind. The matching numbers 5.7 diesel engine starts and runs flawlessly. The transmission shifts flawlessly as well. This Seville is a joy to drive and be noticed in.

When I first bought the car, I drove it very little and only on sunny days. This Seville has been stored inside my warehouse for the past 25+ years. I felt it was collector quality due to the original condition, the fact the original diesel had not been swapped for a 5.7 gas engine, the fact it appears to have every option available that year and treated it as such. The car has been run regularly, but driven very little. This is apparent by the present original mileage, 67,274.

Recently installed 2 new batteries and drove the car out of my warehouse. A new fuel filter has been installed and everything has been checked from bumper to bumper. As mentioned above, Replaced all 9 original GM vinyl bumper filler panels, both front and rear, due to cracking and crumbling apart with 9 new ABS plastic replacement panels and both hydraulic struts on the hood and trunk lid, 4 total. You will find this 33 year old Cadillac Seville to be in impeccable condition. This Cadillac will go nicely in a museum or a private collection. This Seville runs and drives as great as it looks.

With a little over two days to go until the auction ends, there isn’t one starting bid placed (which would tell you something…). Anyway, the starting bid is $6,950, again a lot of money for what it is. See the listing here: 1980 Cadillac Seville Elegante Diesel

  • RichardKopf

    That Toronado has WAY more than 50k on it.

  • Van_Sarockin

    I'd probably go with the Toronado, as the more significant vehicle, plus leather seats. That's assuming that the bumpers are the only things that have rusted out. I'd want to take a very close look at it below the waterline. I've also had a thing for the bustleback Seville, but this one isn't grabbing me. Lucky for me, I'll forget all of this once I sober up. These weren't great cars with gas engines. Adding those GM diesels really doesn't improve a single thing

  • TurboBrick

    I've had a gas-powered Olds 98 Regency Brougham of this body style, and it was a surprisingly good car. The 3rd gen Toro and Bustleback Seville are still too ugly for me, although I'm not as strongly repulsed by them as I was before. Perhaps that's the gasket stripper fumes working their magic on my brain.

    • njhoon

      I came to say pretty much the same. I had a 87 98, looking back it was a pretty darn nice car. It rode very well, and was reasonably quick, bordering on fast.
      I'd take the 98 or the Caddy. I think I have an unnatural like for that style Seville.

    • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Yeah, I had an '88 Bonneville LE for a few years in the 90's, and it was remarkably well done, for what it was.

      Also, hard to kill the 3800 V6.

  • I'd have to side with the Caddy, just for the inherrent wrongness of putting derv in a Cadillac.

    Truth is, though, aside from curiosity value, I can think of zero real advantage in buying any of these as a diesel rather than conventional gas. I mean, yes there's an incremental economy advantage but these are diesel engines OF YESTERYEAR.

    It seems a bit like buying a thirty year old television set, but specifically looking for a black and white one to relive the heady days when watching TV was crap compared to how it is now.

    • TurboBrick

      Curiosity and shock value are about the only reasons for keeping them as they are. Beyond that… grease-car conversion project?

    • Van_Sarockin

      True, but the kids these days all seem to be liking that Instagram thing pretty hard. Then again, one of these old diesels may be your last chance to old a loud, clattery, smoky, stinking, bog slow mess.

      • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

        Then again, one of these old diesels may be your last chance to old a loud, clattery, smoky, stinking, bog slow mess.

        No. The NA W123's will be around with the roaches, post-apocalypse.

    • Vavon

      We used to watch great TV in crap quality, now we watch crap TV in great quality… Maybe I'm just getting old.

  • racer139

    Id kinda rather a truck with a 6.2 diesel in it from this era. I cant imagine getting into one of these cars after having just filled the tank with fuel. especially since every diesel pump I have used over the years is a dribbly mess and always at the very least deposits a decent amount of liquid moose piss down the side of my truck unless you hold it at 90° to the filler neck and ram it into the thing. at least in an old truck it (diesel smell) wouldnt matter as much.

  • Jeremy Wilson

    For this kind of money, you can get a nearly perfect W123 Mercedes diesel, which is an infinitely better car in every measurable way.

    • stigshift

      And it will blend in everywhere, unlike these three oddjobs. Which is why they are kind of cool. Imagine taking that 98 to a GM dealer today!

  • I'd go for the Ninety Eight. The styling is clean, and I own a much newer C-body and I think it's a fundamentally good platform.

    Until today, I had no idea that GM used the 4.3 diesel (not a 3.8 as Jim wrote) in the FWD C-body. I double checked, and it was indeed 1985 only. Also for 1985 only, they offered the low-deck Buick 3.0 V6 that was used mainly in smaller FWD cars. Still, I'm sure the standard Buick 3.8 was the most common choice. And for 1986 onward, it was the only choice until the supercharged version came out in 1992.

  • david42

    WOW. I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable about GM's diesel misadventures, but that Ninety Eight is a new one to me. So I'd have to go for that.

    The Seville is OK, though I really prefer the two-tone blue exterior. Loving the oxblood interior, though.

    That Toro doesn't do anything for me. Sorry.

  • Vavon

    A 5.7 V8 that produces a whopping 85HP… I think I'll pass (albeit very very slowly with that engine)!

  • Jay

    There was a huuuge article on diesel Detroit barges in Sports Car Market sometime within the last 2 years, which totally made it sound as if they were a thing, and had any kind of organized following. Okay, so these do have an organized following, but it's of a kind similar to Yugos, in the form of making a contrarian automotive statement.

    Don't get me wrong, I can understand having something like a Tatra or a Wartburg in the US, or even a modern VeeDub visually converted into a CDM-spec VW Sagitar or Magotan, but a barely-moving diesel Caddy that is visually identical to gas-powered ones…. Maybe I'm getting old, and am not with it anymore.

    • stigshift

      The HT4100 wasn't much more of a performer than the diesel in these. The '80 with the 368 is the best of the lot for performance, and it wasn't particularly noted for that either. While the diesel may suck, it's weird factor and high mileage ratings give it just enough of a plus exponent now to be nearly cool.

  • stigshift

    I'd take the Caddy in a heartbeat, because sunroof. And I have always loved that body style, particularly in the two-tone metallic money green. But black does not suck either. I have to join the crowd and admit my ignorance of the V6 diesel fwd 98, so I am now intrigued and need to have one. How did I miss them? But I've had a weird 3rd gen Toronado already, and i think my 350 gas engined Hess & Eisenhart convertible '82 was a better all 'round experience than a tired looking smoker with a fixed roof.

  • Andy

    I remember these as a favorite of the farm kids in Nebraska when I was in high school. Not too many cops would think to pull a sample from the fuel tank of an Olds to check for pink un-taxed farm diesel…

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    The Caddy is nice, and based on my screen name, yeah, I'd have to pick it.

    However, the Olds has slightly higher, i.e. not as low, desirability.

    Pass on the Toro.

    Regardless, any of them are better than a machine with an LF7.

  • JB_Finesse

    These are all smog exempt in California thanks to the diesel engines, so I figure the Toronado is the easiest to build into a surprisingly quick, non-horrible vehicle. With some suspension work, a built 403 or a 455/TH425 combo from a pre-77 model and some fat front tires you could surprise people in a straight line and do some insane reverse donuts and hagwalah-esque drifting.