Tuesday, February 8, 2011

1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

When I was a kid I remember my dad bringing home a brand new Vista Cruiser for the weekend. At the time I thought it was one of the coolest cars I had ever seen. It had windows in the roof! I couldn't imagine anything cooler.

The Vista Cruiser actually was a cool car. Based on the Cutlass platform, it looked good and, depending how it was equipped, could perform very well. Options included the Oldsmobile "Rocket" 455 V8 and a 4 speed manual with a floor mounted shifter. (I don't know what engine the car my dad brought home that weekend had in it, but I know it didn't have a floor mounted 4 speed. I'd have remembered that.) If you knew what boxes to check on the GM options list, you could, for all intents and purposes, create a station wagon version of a 4-4-2. How cool is that? (Even a fiberglass "performance" hood, complete with hold-down pins, was available from Oldsmobile.)

One of the other neat features of the Vista Cruiser was the tailgate. It opened two different ways. You could drop it down like a regular tailgate, or open it from the side like a door. When you used it in "door mode" a little piece of the bumper stayed attached to the door, exposing a built-in step that made it easier to get in and out of the cargo area.

This Vista Cruiser appears to be in very nice condition. The 350 V8 was rebuilt 8000 miles ago. The seller says the body is rust free.

Located in St. Petersburg, FL, click here to see the eBay listing.

The starting bid price for this Vista Cruiser is over $13,000.00. That's very high and I would expect this car to be pretty close to perfect for that kind of money.

If perfection doesn't matter to you, or you don't mind a project, cheaper ones can be found. There is 1971 Vista Cruiser with a 455 in it listed on Craigslist for $3000.00. The seller unfortunately gives little information and included just 2 pictures.Click here to see the ad.


Anonymous said...

While the price may seem high, it is probably correct for a clean, well sorted Vista. Indeed, there are others to be found but most led a hard life and it shows.

Jon said...

It's pretty much the same vehicle my family had back in the day. The only differences being the lack of a roof rack and faux wood sides.

There is a picture in the listing of the "fins" on tail light lenses. I vaguely remember my father telling me that they were a costly option that was tagged onto the final car to inflate the price.

The following year, 1971, the power dropped as the engines were stuck with emissions controls. Soon thereafter, Olds came out with a real oddball, the Custom Cruiser.

While the Olds station wagon names were designated in a haphazard manner, this particular Custom Cruiser was huge and resembled the larger Olds 98. It even had finned body panels on the back!

It had a "clamshell" tailgate that folded into the roof and under the floor. Buick had a similar model. There are a quite few videos of these tailgates in action on YouTube. I guess they were the early 70's equivalent of "Stow and Go" seats later found on minivans.

I preferred the sleeker lines of the Vista. The tailgate folded flat and you could sit on it, or use it as a platform to load stuff into the back.