Rare Rides: A Pristine 1996 Oldsmobile LSS Guarantees Sports Luxury Enjoyment
An oft-overlooked offering in Oldsmobile’s product catalog, the LSS was available for a few short years as the Rocket brand headed toward closure. Comfort and sporty driving appeal awaited its customers then, and still awaits you today.
Come along as we learn about this very beige supercharged sedan.
The Oldsmobile Eighty Eight entered its 10th and final generation for the 1992 model year, and was the more affordable (and slightly smaller) full-size alternative to the Ninety Eight flagship. In 1992 Oldsmobile also offered one final year of a traditional large car, the rear-drive Custom Cruiser wagon.
Eighty Eight was one of the last Oldsmobile products to adopt a more aerodynamic corporate styling theme. Though it looked very different to the outgoing model, it remained on the H-body platform it used since 1986. In modern Nineties fashion, the only body style was a sedan; the coupe faded away in 1991. All Eighty Eights were powered by the potent Buick 3800 V6,with four different versions used throughout production. Two naturally aspirated engines, the L27 and L36, filled some engine bays, while others used the Series I and Series II supercharged L67 engine. Likewise, all transmissions were four-speed automatics, but three different versions of the 4T60 were used depending on specification.
A year of change occurred with Eighty Eight for 1996, as the model range expanded in trims. At introduction only the Royale was available, and LSS stood as an add-on package. In ’96 Royale vanished, replaced with the base Eighty Eight, the Eighty Eight LS, and the LSS, or Luxury Sports Sedan (brochure here).
With the introduction of the flagship Aurora in 1995, Oldsmobile had two “sporty” sedans on offer for 1996: Aurora and LSS. The gawky Ninety Eight Touring vanished after 1994, and the model itself was finished in 1996. Traditional Ninety Eight buyers were offered a carrot by Oldsmobile (more detail on that in a moment).
Because the Aurora already existed, it donated some of its parts and ideas to the LSS. The LSS had Aurora wheels, and its seat design was also inspired by Aurora. Fitting its upscale mission, the LSS had fog lamps, a console shifter, and offered electronic climate control. It also used the supercharged 3800, where prior to 1996 it was still an optional extra on the Royale with LSS package. GPS was also available in the vaporware Guidestar system.
1996 was the last year of the traditional Rocket logo for Oldsmobile products, as in ’97 all adopted the modern logo — except one. As a consolation offering to would-be Ninety Eight buyers in 1997, the Regency trim appeared on the Eighty Eight. With lots of standard power features and leather seats, it used the front fenders, traditional looking front clip, and Rocket logo from the old Ninety Eight. This trim was fazed out after the ’98 model year. The Eighty Eight and LSS continued on through 1999 alongside the Aurora. For 2000 Oldsmobile had no large sedans at all, as the second-gen Aurora did not arrive until model year 2001. And you know the rest.
Today’s Rare Ride is for sale at a small dealer in the casket town of Batesville, Indiana. In pristine condition, it’s priced at an optimistic $6,900.