- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2001

Alvin and Elizabeth Moore of Manassas, Va., always drove Chevrolets until Nov. 3, 1967.

That Friday is the day they drove their four-door 1964 Chevrolet Impala to the Prince Pontiac-Oldsmobile dealership in Manassas. There they selected a top-of-the-line willow gold 1968 Oldsmobile four-door Luxury Sedan.

The car, which stretched 18 feet, 7 1/2 inches between its massive bumpers, was supported on a 126-inch wheelbase by a set of 8.85-inch wide white sidewall tires that highlighted the deluxe wheel discs.

Additionally, the 4,273-pound Oldsmobile, one of 40,755 manufactured, had chrome door moldings, auxiliary floor mats, soft-ray tinted glass, deluxe push button radio with bi-phonic rear speakers, four season air conditioning and the almost obligatory vinyl top roof covering.

The base price — in 1968 dollars — was $4,471. To that figure was added $781.58 for accessories and $108.25 for freight. The dealer thoughtfully added $35 to fill the gas tank and another $35 for undercoating.

The total price for the elegant Oldsmobile came to $5,430.83. Because the dealer generously allowed $1,905.83 for their 1964 Chevrolet the total owed was only $3,525.

Mr. and Mrs. Moore picked up their Oldsmobile the next day, Saturday. They frugally transferred the rubber Chevrolet front floor mat to the rear floor of the Oldsmobile.

The car was used sparingly for the next 30 years. From 1998 until 2000 the mighty 455-cubic-inch V-8 was silent, no longer producing 365 horsepower as it had for three decades and 74,000 miles. At that point Mrs. Moore determined the time had come to find a new home for her beloved Oldsmobile.

Through church affiliation, as well as several relatives, Mrs. Moore met Norris and Betty Waterfield, also of Manassas. Mrs. Waterfield's family has a long history of Oldsmobile ownership.

Mr. and Mrs. Waterfield went to inspect Mrs. Moore's Oldsmobile the first week of July 2000.

Driving up the driveway, they saw the Oldsmobile and were smitten. Mrs. Waterfield walked up beside the car on one side while her husband went up the other side.

About that time, Mr. Waterfield recalls, Mrs. Moore emerged from the house.

"We'll take it," he remembers telling her. He also recalls her response. "Sonny, you make hasty decisions. You haven't even listened to it run."

She insisted that he start the engine and listen to it for a suitable period before he got out and repeated his earlier statement.

"It was never driven in the rain or snow or after dark," Mrs. Moore said. That helps to explain the fabulous condition of the car. Sunlight was never permitted to work its damage on the car.

Mr. and Mrs. Waterfield bought the spectacular Oldsmobile July 10, 2000.

Once they got their gem home, Mr. Waterfield gave the car a mechanical physical examination and found almost everything as it left the factory down to its original 32-year-old wiring.

The vintage wiring was replaced as was the entire exhaust system along with the brake system.

The Waterfields remain in contact with Mrs. Moore who is still upset about the singular dent on the Oldsmobile.

Mrs. Moore remembers it like it was yesterday. "It happened in the Leggett's Department Store parking lot in Manassas," she remembers. The result was a small dent in the rear bumper.

Untouched by the mishap were the two backup lights in the rear bumper, one on each end of the license plate.

Inside the spacious Oldsmobile is a built-in vanity in the rear of the front seat. The car features stainless steel window frames and pull-down armrests in both front and rear seats.

Power steering, power brakes, power windows and a power seat are amenities expected in such a top-of-the-line vehicle.

The turbo-Hydramatic is controlled by the usual lever by the two-spoke steering wheel next to the 120 mph speedometer nestled in one of the three instrument pods.

The Waterfields are very involved in antique automobile events and have long sought an air conditioned antique car to use on tours. Their new/old Oldsmobile precisely fits their needs.

They packed their bags in the 20.1-cubic-foot trunk of the Oldsmobile five weeks ago tomorrow and drove 382 comfortable miles to Rochester, N.Y., where the Antique Automobile Club of America was to commence this year's Founders Tour. About 230 cars ranging from 1936 to 1976 models took part in the six-day event.

By the time they returned home they had driven their handsome 6-foot, 8-inch-wide Oldsmobile 1,394 miles. They report fuel economy of about 17 mpg on the highway except when the air conditioner was employed, which brought the figure down to 14 mpg.

Perhaps that is why the car came equipped with a 25-gallon fuel tank.

Despite the fuel economy the Oldsmobile performed exactly the way the new owners had hoped for. Mrs. Waterfield proclaims, "It's a beauty."


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