- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2000

By the time Elaina Moy was a sophomore at George Washington University in 1992, she was ready for her first car. She decided on an older car perhaps an antique, and preferably a muscle car. With those parameters in mind, she went shopping.
Several cars proved to be disappointments. Then her father, Mike Moy, told her about a car one of his colleagues was selling.
The whole family drove to Damascus to investigate a 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 four-door Celebrity sedan. Of the 17 models offered by Oldsmobile in 1960, it was the best-selling one. A total of 76,377 such models were built.
Although it wasn't the muscle car she was looking for, it nevertheless caught her attention.
It was B-I-G.
The 4,091-pound Oldsmobile was well over 18 feet long and rode on a 122-inch wheelbase. Even so, the 371-cubic-inch V-8 produced 240 horsepower to move the car with ease.
The seller had bought it from the original owner, a physician in Maryland, and the odometer registered a mere 47,000 miles or about 1,500 miles a year.
The price was right, the car was right and the time was right. Miss Moy paid the man and directly faced the next challenge how to get the car to her parents' Fairfax home.
"I was scared the first time I drove it," she recalls. The speedometer wasn't working properly, but her father had come prepared with a pair of CB radios. "There we were," Miss Moy said, "driving down Route 270 comparing speedometer readings via radio."
Since then, she has had the 120 mph Safety Spectrum speedometer repaired. From zero, it starts out green, and then, as speed increases, the gauge turns orange. As the far right side of the speedometer approaches, the indicator becomes red. Before it was fixed, Miss Moy reports it was erratic, and once she saw the speedometer turn blue.
After graduation, Miss Moy made plans to move to San Francisco a graduation present to herself.
She drove cross-country in 1995 with her four-window air conditioning wide open. The Oldsmobile has a pair of under-dash air vents to assist in cooling the occupants.
On total highway cruising, the old Oldsmobile delivers up to but not more than 20 miles per gallon. Around town Miss Moy reports single-digit mileage figures. The capacity of the fuel tank, which is filled behind the rear license plate, is 20 gallons.
While in San Francisco Miss Moy discovered special routes around the city in order to avoid the steepest of the hills. "It might take me a little longer," she explains, "but it was easier on the transmission."
The shift pattern on the Oldsmobile left to right is: park, neutral, drive, super, low, reverse.
While in California, Miss Moy noticed the original blue-over-white paint beginning to show its age.
Oldsmobile offered 15 colors in 1960 and any combination of two-tone was possible. Miss Moy knows a good thing when she sees it and had the car repainted as it was originally.
In 1999, Miss Moy climbed behind the deep-dish two-spoke steering wheel and thundered back across the continent to the Washington area. The original AM radio is still in place, but a compact disc player hidden in the glove compartment helps make the miles go by more quickly
Miss Moy's Oldsmobile came from the factory equipped with power steering, power brakes and a radio. She has added an authentic rear-seat speaker. Abiding by an edict delivered by her mother the day she bought the car, Miss Moy had front seat belts installed.
Over the years, Miss Moy has had the brake system rebuilt and the transmission tended to. "I can fix what's gone wrong with this car," she explains.
Within a couple years she plans to make a coast-to-coast trek again. The car is approaching 80,000 miles and she says it probably will be nearing 100,000 miles by the time she is ready to drive it to California. Before that trip, she plans to have the sturdy V-8 rebuilt.
She wants to make certain of its reliability because she often takes the car out to remote areas on camping trips.
When she is camping, the nice thing about the car is that it is almost 7 feet wide, which means that if bad weather sets in, Miss Moy can move comfortably into the back seat.
From one end to the other, Miss Moy is comfortably at ease with her huge Oldsmobile. From the rear, the enormity of the car is accentuated by the 10 chrome-plated letters below the lip of the trunk and above the bumper spelling out 0-L-D-S-M-O-B-I-L-E.
At the front are two dozen sets of three chrome bars that make the grille appear to go on forever.
When behind the big steering wheel of this big car that once intimidated her, Miss Moy proclaims, "I can drive anything anywhere now."
Having acknowledged that she can drive anything, she hastens to add that she has no plans ever to sell her first car.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide