1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Convertible Barn Find

The Oldsmobile 442, understandably, gets its fair share of coverage here on Barn Finds but its lesser sibling, the Cutlass, not so much so. That being the case, its time to give the Cutlass its due, especially a convertible version. So, for your reading enjoyment, let’s take a look at a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S convertible, located in Townsend, Delaware, and available here on Facebook Marketplace for $8,000.

By 1969, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was in its second year of a complete redesign from the boxier first generation ’64-’67 version. Today, it seems more likely that one will encounter a ’70 to ’72 Cutlass/442 vs. a ’68 or ’69 example, and that probably the result of sheer production volumes. There were 154K copies averaged per year in ’68 and ’69 but a 198K averaged per year among the three years from ’70 until ’72.

This ’69 Cutlass S convertible is listed as a “find” that was pulled from a warehouse. Overall, it appears to be pretty solid. The body has surface rust showing but there is no sign of rust-through and there is a single dent showing in the driver’s side fender. The finish is similar to Oldsmobile’s Tahitian Turquoise Metallic though the trim tag indicates code “69” which is Platinum Silver Metallic. Notable, is the rust on the top surfaces, both hood and trunk, which indicates that this Olds has spent quite a bit of time out in direct sunlight, in addition to its time in a warehouse. Of course, being over a half-century old, this convertible could have spent a lot of time in a lot of places.

The underside of this Oldsmobile is in very sound shape, a bit surprising with convertible’s tendencies to leak. It is a non undercoated car, generally preferred by restorers, and there is no sign of corrosion other than the typical light, surface rust. It’s a curious matter, why auto manufacturers back in the day didn’t compromise and put a heavier coat of durable paint on the underside of the car and just be done with the entire matter. Undercoating became a dealer add-on and a profit item that was frequently applied poorly and created pockets that did a great job of trapping moisture.

Under the hood is a running Oldsmobile 350 CI V8 engine of either 250 or 310 gross HP. The seller doesn’t elaborate beyond stating that it “runs” and is currently tagged. The odometer shows 123K miles so the engine is probably a bit tired but should still have some life to it assuming it hasn’t been abused or poorly maintained. A Turbo-Hydramatic, three-speed automatic transmission handles the gear changes.

There are no images of the interior so that’s an inquiry item. As can be spied in this image, this Cutlass has bucket seats trimmed in blue vinyl, which aligns with its “933” identified trim designation and probably a center console. Beyond that, it is tough to tell any more about it or ascertain its condition. The seller does state that a new convertible top is included with the sale; it needs it.

Well, it’s not a 442 but the seller isn’t asking a 442 price either and the fact that it is a convertible just adds to its draw. This Cutlass is in pretty reasonable shape and it wouldn’t take a lot of effort or expense to make it presentable, seems like a worthy candidate to consider, wouldn’t you say?

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Comments

  1. flmikey

    I am guessing that since it has single exhaust, it is the 250 hp version…I love how, back in the day, auto engineers would design the floorboards with holes and plugs in them, so if the vehicle flooded, you would just simply remove the plugs, drain out your interior, and drive away with a smile on your face…things have really changed…

    Like 6
    • Suncoast

      Not necessarily 250 HP.
      I had a stock 70 Cutlass
      Supreme with single exhaust. 350 Rocket
      4 barrel Quadrajet 310 horse 390 Ft. Lbs of torque. I really never heard
      of a Olds 350 in those years that was 250 HP.

      Like 3
      • Poppy

        The 2bbl 350 had a lower compression ratio than the 4bbl. Both came with single exhaust. I’ve owned both types and the 2bbl engine is a good performer at the low end. Larger throttle bodies on the 2bbl vs. the Q-jet primaries gave excellent throttle response under normal driving.

        Like 1
    • Whiskytango

      I always thought the drain covers and plugs were there to drain the excess primer and coatings after it was dipped in a tank at factory before painting

      Like 2
      • GeneB Member

        But you COULD pop those plugs if you left the top down in the rain !

    • James Sterling

      How do you tell if a 1955 Oldsmobile 88 Holiday is a Basic 88 or
      Super 88.
      I was told that a Basic 88 has a 202 V8 Engine with a 2 barrow carb;
      and a Super 88 has a 324 V8 Engine with a 4 barrow carb.
      I bought a 1955 Oldsmobile 88 Holiday and the guy I bought it from did not know if it is a Basic 88 or Super 88.
      Mine has a 324 V8 Engine with a 4 barrow carb.It came with factory power steering and power brakes.
      Can anyone please help me verify if my Olds 88 is basic or Super?

      • Poppy

        From Wikipedia: “The 1955 models were heavily facelifted with new grillework, taillights and body-side chrome. Horsepower for the 324-cubic-inch Rocket V8 increased to 185 for 88s and 202 for Super 88s. At mid-year, Olds introduced the new pillarless four-door hardtop body, dubbed the Holiday sedan, in both the 88 and Super 88 series.” My guess is the only difference was the engine power. Judging from hp ratings, I assume that the standard 88 had a 2bbl and the Super 88 came with a 4bbl. They may have also had different compression ratios, so swapping a 4bbl onto a standard 88 might not get the same 202hp.

      • Poppy

        I found this in oldcarbrochures.com:

        http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Oldsmobile/1955%20Oldsmobile/1955_Oldsmobile_Brochure/1955%20Oldsmobile-02-03.html

        Regular and Supers differed by the engines. 2bbl for the regular and 4bbl for the Supers. both had 8.5:1 compression.
        I see minor trim differences in the brochure, too. The “Regular” 88s appear to have two individual “8” digits in chrome on the front fender. The Super 88s appear to have a round medallion with the 88 emblem built in, so if your fenders are original, you ought to be able to tell by the emblems or the number of trim holes if they are missing.

  2. bone

    Looks like its been repainted in that same light metallic blue color that hundreds of cars seemed to have been sprayed in the 1980s . Not my favorite body style for the Cutlass , but the right color and some brighter rims would really make this look a lot better

    Like 3
  3. Wade Treadway

    I bought a new 1969 Olds Cutlass S convertible in the summer ’69 as I was heading back to college in Colorado from Connecticut. It was the same color as this model but had a bench seat. It was the most uncomfortable car I had ever driven on long distances. A few trips back and forth across the country was enough. I traded it in for a 1970 442 with bucket seats and that made all the difference. Great cars all the way around but the bench seat was a killer.

    Like 4
  4. 19sixty5 Member

    I had a 70 442 convertible in platinum with a dark blue top and the medium blue interior, it was a really nice color combo, this car should go back to silver. Repaint the wheels to the argent (68-70) color with the trim rings and you have a nice looking car. Too bad there weren’t more interior photo’s. I love the 69 and 70 442’s and Cutlass convertibles, I’ve had quite a few.

    Like 1
  5. ccrvtt

    I’m a huge fan of the 1969 Cutlass having had a coupe through college. I agree that the bench seat was a killer and the buckets are far better. You already have the rally wheels and a new top, but $8K is too rich for me considering it looks like it would take every bit of $25K to make this into a nice $20,000 car.

    Like 2
  6. Paolo

    I’ve owned a bunch of 65 and 67 F-85s, Cutlass, Cutlass S, and 442s. Coupes, hardtops, convertibles, sedans and a wagon with bench and bucket seats. I found the bench seats superior to the buckets for both driving position and comfort.
    This example has good bones under that $49.99 Earl Sheib paint job.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkdtOOYdQOs

    Like 1
  7. Vance

    Had a 69 in 1979 that I bought for 500.00 with around 60k on it. It was silver with a black interior that had bucket seats but no console. The exterior had rust in the way most Michigan cars do, behind the wheels, but it wasn’t real bad. Slapped some bondo on it, had it painted and it was a great car. The interior was like new but the no console thing was kinda weird. Base 350 was a little anemic but ok. One February morning it was below zero, both of my parents new cars wouldn’t start, but my exposed Cutlass fired right up. Never let me down and I ignorantly sold it for 500.00. One of my best cars ever.

    Like 1
    • Paolo

      I had a 65 442 Convertible with column automatic and no console and I agree that it was kinda weird.

      • Poppy

        I, too had a ’70 Supreme with buckets and column shift auto (with no console). Build sheet showed that was original.

  8. Joe Padavano

    The air cleaner is for a 4bbl, the 250 HP version was a 2bbl. Of course, that’s not an original air cleaner either, so who knows if the carb and intake were swapped. Single exhaust was base equipment with the 4bbl motor also. You needed to also order RP N10 to get duals. And the disc brake M/C is a replacement, not the original. Looks to be solid, particularly for an east coast car.

  9. James Sterling

    How do you tell if a 1955 Oldsmobile 88 Holiday is a Basic 88 or
    Super 88.
    I was told that a Basic 88 has a 202 V8 Engine with a 2 barrow carb;
    and a Super 88 has a 324 V8 Engine with a 4 barrow carb.
    I bought a 1955 Oldsmobile 88 Holiday and the guy I bought it from did not know if it is a Basic 88 or Super 88.
    Mine has a 324 V8 Engine with a 4 barrow carb.It came with factory power steering and power brakes.
    Can anyone please help me verify if my Olds 88 is basic or Super?

  10. TimM

    These were great cars and even if only 250 horses it hasn’t been customized at all!! It’s still looks pretty stock!! It doesn’t take much to wake up a 350 GM motor!! And being it’s one of the most popular motors of all time the parts are cheaper that most anything else!! I think this is the buy of the week for $8000! Sure it’s not perfect but it’s a good start with a solid body and a convertible to boot!!

    Like 1
  11. Paolo

    That’s an Olds 350. It is unrelated to the Chevrolet 350. Nor the Pontiac 350 nor the Buick 350. All different. Olds 350 is a very good engine for sure. Very tough and robust. Look up Joe Mondello for more information.

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