What's It Like To Drive A Land Yacht?

We like to talk sports cars and other fun-to-drive lightweights, but let's not forget America's great modern addition to the car world: the land yacht. We know and love how big they are, but what are they like to drive?

While we were discussing cars that everyone should be forced to drive, Liberte for le Jetstar! chimed in with a description of what it's like to drive his (surprise) Oldsmobile Jetstar 88.

I've been driving a 1964 Oldsmobile 88 for 5 years now as a daily driver. Here's what I've learned:

Plan ahead when you're braking. Four-wheel drums will stop you relatively quickly...once. After that, it's fade-o-rama.

The steering is indeed nautical, but with over-assisted power steering and a surprisingly decent turning radius, low-speed maneuvering isn't too hard. I've done three-point turns on two-lane roads.

Reverse is your friend. I usually back into parking spots; it's easier to get in and waaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier to pull out.

J-turns are extremely useful, not just for scaring your passengers and bystanders, but for turning around quickly.

Don't be afraid of potholes and curbs. With tall tires, a tough-ass suspension with massive amounts of travel, and cushy springs, driving over deep ruts and speed bumps is almost fun.

Keep your foot in it if you get into mud/sand.

Drive on the interstate a lot. On inner-city expressways, you can easily clip along at 90 and get a feel for what these cars are really meant to do.

We all hear about the 30 dead hooker-sized trunks, but there's truth in the jokes. Especially in an older car with no frilly carpeting, it's really like having a little watertight truck bed. Just vacuum out the fur needles and oil every once in a while.

You can make it fast pretty easily. Through technique alone, I was able to bring my 1/4 mile time down from 21.4 to 17.685. That's with a 5.7 liter engine, two-barrel carburetor, a two-speed transmission, an open 3.08 differential, and a 4,200 lb. car.

In short, forget about gas mileage and buy one, especially anything from 1961-1967. You won't regret it.

Have you driven a truly massive American sedan? An equally-huge Russian sedan, perhaps? What tips do you have for driving one of these old beasts?

Photo Credit: Oldsmobile