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1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with 9k Genuine Miles!

Every classic car has a backstory, and some are more fascinating than others. The seller provides little information regarding the history of this 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, so we are in the dark about how a car with forty-five years under its belt could have only accumulated 9,247 miles. Some may question the reading, but its overall condition makes it plausible. Its next journey could be to a new home, with the seller listing the Olds here on Craigslist in Mundelein, Illinois. They set their sale price at $19,900, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this remarkable survivor.

Oldsmobile released its Fifth Generation Cutlass range in 1978, following the industry trend by downsizing the new model considerably. The smaller physical dimensions also reduced vehicle weight, allowing the company to improve fuel consumption figures and drag back performance lost to tighter emission regulations. The new model didn’t let the Cutlass recapture the performance potential available at the decade’s start, but it was a step in the right direction. This Supreme rolled off the line during the first production year, with its first owner ordering it in stunning Russett Metallic. The seller indicates it has been garage-kept since Day One, a strategy designed to maximize preservation. It was worth the effort because there is little to criticize about the car’s condition. The paint reflects its surroundings beautifully, and any imperfections in it or the panels are too insignificant to show in the supplied photos. The seller provides an underside shot confirming this Olds is rust-free. There isn’t even a sign of surface corrosion, let alone steel penetration, that might cause sleepless nights. The glass and trim are immaculate, while the Rally wheels are as spotless as the rest of the exterior.

The interior can reveal much about a classic’s life because abuse, neglect, and high mileage often reveal themselves in tired and worn trim, physical damage, or marked and stained carpet. Those aren’t issues with this Cutlass because it would not stretch credibility to describe this interior as in showroom condition. The Tan vinyl upholstered surfaces are spotless. The carpet is equally impressive, with no marks, stains, or other issues. The dash and pad haven’t succumbed to UV exposure, and there is no wheel wear. It isn’t highly optioned, but the buyer receives air conditioning and an AM/FM radio. The seller also includes a collection of original documentation that is extensive enough to cover most of the trunk floor. It appears that items like the Owner’s Manual and Window Sticker are present, and we can hope there is paperwork explaining how this Cutlass has remained so lightly used.

Buyers faced several engine choices when ordering their ’78 Cutlass, with this car’s original owner opting for the range-topping 305ci V8. They teamed this with a three-speed automatic transmission, while power assistance for the steering and brakes removes the physical effort from the driving experience. That V8 produces 160hp and 260 ft/lbs of torque, and while that doesn’t make this a muscle car, it should cruise effortlessly at freeway speed for hours on end. However, this is also where the mystery deepens with this classic. The seller makes their mileage claim without indicating whether they hold supporting evidence. We are also in the dark about how and why it has seen such limited use. I consider verifying evidence essential in cases like these, although the presentation of every aspect of the car makes the claim seem plausible. The seller states this Cutlass runs and drives as perfectly as it did the day it rolled off the lot. It is a turnkey proposition where the new owner could fly in and drive it home.

This 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme is a stunning survivor, and if its history and odometer reading are verifiable, it is an extraordinary find. That second factor is crucial because it determines whether the seller’s price is justified. It is well beyond the market average, but someone will inevitably be contemplating splashing their cash on this classic. That also begs the question regarding its future because a large percentage of its inherent value rests in the odometer reading. Every additional mile will potentially impact the value, which is a factor worth considering. If the odometer reading is confirmed, do you believe this 1978 Cutlass will see limited active service? Or do you think it will spend its life in a museum? That isn’t what its creators envisaged, but I can’t help but feel that will be its fate. Do you agree?


  1. Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

    Wow. I just looked at the ad to see all the pictures. This has to be the original mileage. Even the hood insulation is completely intact. Its incredible to find a Cutlass like this so well preserved. I hope it stays preserved and yet driven and enjoyed too.

    Like 28
    • KC

      The hood insulation is after market but the install was well done.

      Like 9
  2. CCFisher

    This is more convincing as a very low-mileage car than the Regal Sport Coupe featured yesterday.

    Like 12
  3. Greenhorn

    This gorgeous Olds will never be worth a ton of money, so sort it out, and take out on the nice weekends. What a sweet ride!!

    Like 12
    • Harry 1

      Agree. For that lover of Cutlass of that era. What a nice ride to enjoy on sunny days. The only thing I would add is a sound system to enjoy the music of that time!

      Like 0
  4. AndyinMA

    What a handsome car! And 160 horses is about 20 more than I expected.

    Like 12
    • Stan

      305 ain’t that bad i always thought. Add dual exhaust and cruise. 😎 this Oldsmobile.

      Like 7
      • Kevin Parrish

        Hello. Stan , i had a 79 olds cutlass supreme , bough it with 19,000 miles. I crush velour interior with a 262cid V8 , definitely one of the best & solid cars ive ever owned ,enjoy your evening & Merry Christmas to you & ur family

        Like 4
  5. Cam W.

    My buddy’s elderly father had one like this in light blue metallic. He bought it new, and babied it for 20 years+. It was immaculate. A film company convinced him to rent it to them for a period show. It was supposed to be used only for close-ups, and not driven. There was another (crappy) duplicate car that was to be used for the “action” shots. The 2nd car was the wrong colour, and was quickly sprayed blue to match. The action scene was at night, things got rushed, and a picture car wrangler assumed the shinier(freshly painted crappy) car was the good one, and my buddy’s dads car got used for the stunts. It was trashed. He was heart-broken. BTW, this happens more than you think, so don’t be so quick to rent your ride for film/TV (unless you are paid to drive it as an extra).

    Like 22
    • Burt

      What movie or show?

      Like 5
  6. Robert Proulx

    Absolutely fantastic looking. Even the underhood pad is incredible. I’m surprised to see a Harrison type compressor instead of the Fridgidaire unit. The 305 and Hydramatic 350 combo will last forever given proper maintenance. Its a keeper. 19 g’s a bit high but at 15 it should find a nice home

    Like 6
    • duaney

      Most of these only came with the metric 200, the ad only says “automatic transmission” If it were a wagon with the 5.7 and towing package, then I could believe the 350 hydro.

      Like 3
  7. A.G.

    The driver’s side striker bolt shows it has been painted. Make a PPI of this “survivor” and bring a coating thickness meter.

    Like 5
    • Poppy

      I think the striker bolts were painted at the factory. Nothing to see there.

      Like 11
      • T Westrup

        I have a 17K mile virgin ’77, and the only part that was masked off on the striker bolts is the peg where the latch actually hits it.

        Like 4
  8. Harrison Reed

    Exceptionally nice car! My brother-in-law, who resently passed and would be 95 now, had one of these, new, and for numerous years thereafter — but his was in 4-door sedan form. I’d love to find a car of this vintage in this condition! — a bit less “sporty”, though — a nice 4-door sedan would do me. Oh…I already drive one of those! — a 1988 Mercury Grand Marquis with 361,000 miles on it. So far, so good and reliable. Only one problem with my Mercury — and that difficulty is I — I am becoming so crippled with arthritis, that climbing UP-OUT of it has become a painful chore. Why did Ford make the full-sized Panther cars so LOW? They LOOK good — but every S.U.V. on the road blocks your view, and you have to manage to GET DOWN INTO one! No problem, if you’re not “old”.

    Like 10
    • Ashtray

      This one could actually be a vehicle for sale with the milage listed being correct/actual?
      The paint looks good and uniform with no mismatched panels. The interior looks spotless with no signs of wear.
      I do believe they recently sprayed undercoating on the underneath side? But, that’s ok if that did happen?
      It’s actually a pretty nice vehicle. Perhaps worth the asking price?
      So, I’m going to vote yes (actual) on the milage.
      Just my oponion!

      Like 9
  9. Budlar

    Nineteen Seems a little much. I would Turbo LS the baby

    Like 4
  10. Bj

    Nice car, only thing I don’t like is the stick to your backside vinyl upholstery

    Like 5
  11. JimB

    Back in 1980 I bought a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass four-door sedan with 14,000 miles. The previous owner and his wife bought it in 1970 and he died about a year later. It stayed in the garage for nine years until she died. That’s when I bought it. Even though it had low mileage, the car required a lot of restoration. I probably doubled the $1500 I paid for it in repairs and deferred maintenance. It was a great first car for me. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the 1978 if I were in the market for another Cutlass.

    Like 7
  12. Nelson C

    Back when cars changed a little every year this year these changed a lot. Still a great car that would regain its sales crown after the ’81 refresh. Whoever ordered it did a nice job of including all the little things like deluxe belts, S/S wheels, sport mirrors, the big V8 and a good color combo. Hopefully it will be appreciated in its next life.

    Like 5
  13. Rusty

    Bought a ’78 ,slightly used in 79,to replace a underpowered ’65 Volkswagon, beautiful two tone blue gray paint till I took it to the carwash, paint came off in sheets. Wonderful GM paint job.
    Called it the Gut-less Cutless, looked great but no go.Still couldn’t pass on two lane road.

    Like 1
  14. darasdad

    I’m always skeptical when I see cars like this with such a low mileage claim. The interior looks great but if it’s a truly garage-kept 9k mileage vehicle, would the sun visor covers look like that? Also, do you think the headliner is starting to sag there in the middle? Like another person stated, I do believe the undercoat to be new and there’s a good chance that’s new paint. I’m fairly familiar with these (my 1st car was a new ’79, loved it!) and I believe the side trim color generally matched the color of the car. Anyway, it looks great and if the info is correct, I’d love to have it!

    Like 0
    • Ashtray

      I a somewhat ‘ skeptical’ myself?
      But, without seeing it in real life I gave them the benefit of doubt and called it original?
      I am always skeptical of these low mileage, hardly used vehicles popping up on Craigslist and used ca dealers.
      If I had five minutes just to look it over in real life I could give you a professional yes or no.
      I don’t need a paint meter depth guage either to know if it’s original paint?
      Just my oponion!

      Like 0
      • Ashtray

        Sometimes the headliners and material on the sun visors did come unglued. Almost all did over time.
        I have bought these cars before and used safety pins to attach headliners in place so it didn’t look so bad until I could flip it.
        I would have had the headliner replaced if I were the seller?
        Just my oponion!

        Like 1
  15. Harrison Reed

    To Rusty: OUCH! — on the paint peeling-off in the car-wash! Have you noticed how many white Chevy utility vans have paint peeling off the front these days? Wonder what’s up with THAT?

    Like 1
  16. ClassicP

    I had a 79’ brougham with 260 V-8 no speed demon but could hold highway speed without a problem. Very good looking and comfortable. I don’t understand why these low mileage cars are always plain Jane’s. Still can’t beat an Oldsmobile.

    Like 0
  17. Harrison Reed

    Classic P: I might be able to shed some light upon your question. The fancier and more interesting/desireable cars got DRIVEN: the original owners took pride in being seen in them. Whereas, the plainer models tended to be purchased for practical transportation as necessary, by more frugal, often older, owners, and/or schoolteachers and clergy — people who drove only as necessary, and hadn’t a flamboyant bone in their body. So, that base model four-door post sedan, is the one you will find in near-showroom condition; whereas that flashy and sporty model you’d rather have, got used-up decades ago. Make sense? Frustrating, perhaps — but of such are the comparative market prices made. Probably, you knew all of that, and your query was more of a rhetorical expression of disappointment., that an actual request for information.

    Like 2
  18. Bill

    One of the pics on Craigslist of the trunk lid show an ‘Oldsmobile’ badge that was carelessly placed crooked. Factory? I don’t think so. The mileage may be accurate, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had paintwork done to it.

    Like 1
  19. Harrison Reed

    Bill (and everyone else here): Whenever a classic car shows up that’s simply a bit too good to be true, BEWARE! I think Bill is ON to something, here. It is amazing what a dealer can do, to re-furbish used parts that show wear, so a buyer thinks the car is virtually brand-new — including new old stock foot-pedals and kick-panels. That crooked piece bespeaks a re-paint, which a car such as this, if genuine on mileage, and virtually always kept indoors, shouldn’t need. This is a more sporty model, and those are RARELY found in near-pristine condition, because of who tended to buy them, new. If this were a base or mid-line sedan, I would be more inclined to believe it. But flashy cars were not purchased by frugal seniors or others who drove only when necessary: these sporty models got USED. Let’s just say, “I have my doubts”, as the 1948 hit song, “You Came A Long Way (From St. Louis [pronounced “Saint Louie”])”, said. Thank you, Bill, for examining the original listing more carefully, and cautioning us! SOMEone, no doubt, will get hood-winked by this one!

    Like 0
  20. Bobch

    It looks like this is a resale. Sold in July at gaa auto auctions. Do a quick google search 1978 cutlass it will come up

    Like 0
    • Burt

      50% mark up. Not bad.

      Like 0
      • Travis Jon Powell

        These especially were really nice cars when they made their debut back in September ’77. Especially in a sea of bloated road tanks and imports that resembled cartoonish fleas. Now I don’t have a problem with someone making capital.. But these dealers 🙄

        Like 0

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