24k Genuine Miles: 1976 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

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This 1976 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser spent more than 20-years parked in a shed and has had extremely limited use over the past 5-years. As a result, it has only managed to accumulate 24,500 genuine miles on its odometer throughout its life-time. The current owner has decided to move the car on to an owner who will use the car more often. Located in Laramie, Wyoming, the Olds is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $4,050, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

Certain colors seem to suit certain cars really well, and the Cranberry paint on this Oldsmobile gives the car a great look. The owner says that there is some evidence of overspray, suggesting that the car has received at least a partial repaint at some point in time. Given the fact that he has owned the car for in excess of 5-years, it would seem that this pre-dates his ownership. He also points out that the car has some minor cosmetic flaws, but we really need to place emphasis on the word “minor” here. There is a rust bubble showing under the chrome on the rear bumper, and a couple of small trim items have signs of slight damage, but otherwise, the Oldsmobile presents very nicely. One great feature of this car is the power “clam-shell” tail-gate, and this all functions as it should. This represents a very clever piece of engineering on the part of Oldsmobile, and while it was originally an option on the Custom Cruiser, it eventually became a standard feature. Sadly, 1976 marked the last year that it was fitted to an Oldsmobile.

Powering the Custom Cruiser is a 455ci V8 engine, while the car also features a Hydramatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. With 190hp on tap, the 5,000lb Oldsmobile is never going to threaten over the ¼ mile, but 350ft/lbs of torque ensure that it is a car that will accelerate fairly effortlessly, and tackle the tallest hills with ease. The owner only brings the Olds out of the garage once a year for a drive. It is then cleaned, and back it goes into the garage. When you combine this with the previous 20+ years in storage, it becomes pretty easy to see why this car has only accumulated 24,500 miles throughout its life. It doesn’t appear as though this recent lack of activity has had a detrimental effect on the car because the owner says that it runs and drives extremely well. The only mechanical fault that he identifies is a leaking o-ring on the power steering reservoir, while the car has recently been fitted with new tires, new shocks, and new brakes.

Interior shots of the Custom Cruiser are a bit limited, but what we can see looks very promising. The only fault that the owner identifies is a crack in the dash, while the rest of the interior trim presents quite well. The vehicle features a forward-facing third row, adding versatility to the car. It means that the Olds is well equipped to transport the largest clan in relative comfort. Speaking of comfort, the car comes fitted with air conditioning and cruise control, making life a bit more enjoyable on those longer journeys.

When the curtain fell on the production of full-sized station wagon production, it left quite a hole in the market for people with larger families. Those people were left with little option than to plump for an SUV, and while some people embraced that idea readily, there were still people who felt as though they had been left out in the cold by the automotive industry. Their only viable option was to search for an older station wagon to fill the void in their lives. It is vehicles like this Custom Cruiser that have come to their rescue, and that makes me think that this is a vehicle that will probably have no problem finding a new home.

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  1. Steve

    That’s a 7.5 liter engine developing… 190hp. Yep, the malaise era poster child.

    Like 4
  2. normadesmond

    Another red Olds wagon…whodathunk?

    Like 4
  3. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972Member

    The first word that came to my mind when I saw this car was “enormous.” The second was “huge.” This is a really large wagon. At 127 inches, the 1971-1976 Custom Cruiser was the longest-wheelbase Oldsmobile ever produced by General Motors. This Olds Cruiser is also fairly rare being one of only 3,626 wagons with three-row seating and without the woodgrain sides. A very nice wagon in great shape. That is, if you like big.

    I like this wagon especially because you don’t often see the big ones without the woodgrain sides. With the 455, it’s probably a very thirsty beast, though. It will be interesting to see if the seller has a realistic reserve and what it finally sells for.

    Like 2
  4. Gasoline

    Nice find. Never seen one in this color combo and year body style.

    I think it’s safe to say that the minivan filled the void of the station wagon…actually they pushed them out of the way. Now the SUV / CUV models are doing the same to the minivans (which are not so mini BTW).

    In 43 years, will a barn find Chrysler Pacifica be the equivalent of this Olds?

    Like 5
  5. Poppy

    I never noticed what a HUGE hump these had in the floor by the third seat for the differential. Wow, they must expect some serious suspension travel in these cars when fully loaded.

    Like 0

    Look at this BARGE. Perfect tailgating car for football weekends in Lincoln Nebraska…Norman Oklahoma…Tuscaloosa Alabama.

    Like 2
  7. Mr.BZ

    IMHO, the coolest feature is that power clamshell tailgate/window combo! These gigantic GMs rode like you were floating on air, the exhaust note was a quiet “wooosh” and road noise was non-existent. If you gotta have the biggest, pre-smog is the only way to top this wagon.

    Like 2
  8. Darren

    I always loved the GM “Clamshell” wagons. Would love to own one just like this big old Olds, but bidding on wagons are going through the roof! People really like wagons and the memories they frequently conjure. I sure prefer the old family station wagons to all the boxy SUV’s & crossover offerings of modern times! Utility & style wins in my book! The Vista Cruiser in my eyes was one of most beautiful cars ever made… Also made by Oldsmobile naturally!

    Like 0
  9. Bob McK

    Interesting barge. This one shows like it truly does have low mileage. Someone is going to have lots of fun with this. Just be prepared to make lots of repairs when you put it into service. Driving it once a year is almost as bad as never driving it. If I were in the market for a wagon, I would consider this one.

    Like 0
  10. Stevieg

    The clam shell tailgate was never an option on these. From 1971 through 1976, that is what you got. Period. It was that way for ALL full size General Motors wagons, not just Oldsmobile. So saying that Oldsmobile developed this tailgate is inaccurate.
    Now that I am done being hyper critical, very elegant car. I believe the color is more firstborn red than cranberry, but looking @ pictures on my phone is also not real accurate lol. Whether firethorn or cranberry, it is a very neat red wagon!

    Like 1
  11. Bill Pressler

    I know they were going for the look of a Ninety-Eight station wagon, but skirts on a wagon bug me more than on a “regular” car (feel the same way about concurrent Town and Country wagons).

    Still, interesting car.

    Like 0
  12. tom heine Heine

    I owned a new one! It was a great car although under powered 350cc. It got 12 – 14 mpg which is good for a 5,000 9 passenger vehicle. It was exactly like this on which, if it were for sale now, I’d buy. Year late and a dollar short. I was very popular with friends who were moving – anything.

    Like 0

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