3,700 Miles from New: 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

This 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme has remained in single-family ownership for years, with the original owner passing away after using the car sparingly. His son inherited the Olds and used it for the occasional car show before he, too, passed away. Now, it is for sale here on eBay with a $5,000 opening bid and the reserve unmet. The car is located in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. 

The coupe bodystyle proved more popular with consumers than the Salon model, which attempted to compete with hatchback bodies made by upstart foreign competitors. Needless to say, consumers favored the traditional coupe bodies of the Cutlass, and examples like this Cutlass Supreme came well appointed despite the challenging era in which they were built. Unlike other cars sporting vinyl-covered roofs, this one doesn’t appear to be hiding any rust.

The light blue interior is what you’d expect for a car with such impressively low mileage, featuring a bench seat up front with color-coordinated dash and door panels materials. The wood trim inlays present as new and the door jambs are littered with stickers proving consistent oil changes. Ambient lighting also appears to function, and the seller says the only deviation from showroom condition is a replacement, non-OEM battery.

While the engine bay is spotless, the trunk is another area where the preservation factor is high – thanks to a spare tire that retains its OEM paperwork explaining how the compact spare works. While they made plenty of these Olds, the low mileage may entice someone to use this as a show car like the original owner’s son did; however, if the reserve is north of $10K, it will likely take a true fan of the Cutlass model lineup to fork over the cash for a mass-produced car.

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Comments

  1. Theodoric

    I think the Cutlass of that era (before they made it ugly and front wheel drive) is one of those classic body styles that will always be attractive. No idea what it’s worth, but I wouldn’t mind owning it!

    9+
    • Andre

      I have to agree.. I actually kept my first car (’84 Cutlass) and laughed at even myself mothballing it 16 years ago keeping such an awkward barge so dear to my heart.

      The styling of my own car has grown on me a ton over the last 5 years, and long with this blue one, I have to say may be one of the prettier vehicles of an otherwise turd era.

      7+
      • Andre

        I took it out for about 3-weeks in 2008 to install a number of Hotchkis suspension bits then a house move forced it to be backed back into hibernation. This is how it sat then, and well now, since it’s sat covered since this picture.

        11+
      • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

        Andre, your car looks phenomenal. I’ve never seen one modified in a way that I like, but yours just screams cool.

        3+
      • jdjonesdr

        One of the best styles they’ve come out with. I had one myself and loved the way it drove and handled.
        For many years this was the car of choice in Puerto Rico- seems like everyone had one!
        Gorgeous car.

        0
    • King Al

      A real beaut. Not quite a fan of cloth interiors, but this car would make a stylish, comfy faily driver. Its old tech. Pretty. But. Its time is past. Enjoy it now. As the first two owners would tell you now, if they could: Tomorrow never comes.

      1+
  2. Andre

    Thanks Jeff. I’ve accumulated all kinds of weird stuff for it.. from 17×8 Torque Thrust II’s, a unicorn km/h (I’m in Canada) 442 cluster, drop spindles, B body brakes, more suspension parts… LQ9.. the list goes on. Have a plan… but also have young kids, etc…

    One day. Regardless… I’ll always still have my first car.

    I love the blue one posted. Maybe one day I’ll do a matching pair of old GM land yachts for my daughters if they want to be cool like their old man.

    2+
  3. Utes

    Absolutely fabulous photos! Exemplary photography for this listing!

    0
  4. jw454

    I had a 1980 version of this car. Mine was silver w/black-half vinyl top, black buckets w/ console and rally wheels. It was a great car. When I saw what the “new” 1988 model Cutlass’ were going to be, I sold my 80′ and bought a 87′ Regal before the RWD’s were all gone.
    This is a very nice one. I like it.

    4+
  5. Steve

    “When Oldsmobile’s 260 2 bbl. V8 arrived on the scene for 1975, it was intended to satisfy the fuel efficiency requirements of the late 1970s yet provide the smooth acceleration most Oldsmobile buyers expected. In essence the 260 V8 was to have the fuel efficiency of a V6 while still providing the smoothness of a V8. On this accord the 260 hit a homerun. However V6 fuel efficiency also meant V6 type power output and the 260 V8’s horsepower rating of 110 and measly torque rating (for a V8) of 205 lbs/ft were indicators this motor had no pulse. The 260 V8 to its credit was a reliable motor and was found in wide assortment of cars from 1975 to 1982. However in an almost 4,000 lbs 1976-1977 Oldsmobile 442 (even with a 5-speed) it was far beneath par. Fortunately after 1977 the 442 continued on but the 260 would never again be a 442 engine option. By the mid-1980s a newer lighter much more powerful 442 would make the scene for a few years with a 170-180 horsepower 307 CID V8, the bad memories of the 260 V8 powered 442 were long gone.”

    1+
  6. RoughDiamond

    That is the cleanest ’78 Cutlass Supreme Coupe I have ever seen. I wonder if that color combo inside and out was rare? I have never seen one like it. Also has rear window defogger. The family was obviously partial to Olds Cutlass Supremes as they traded in a ’76 on this one.

    3+
  7. Herb

    Beautiful car. I had a 78 Cutlass Calais, so rare that when it suffered damage to the totally unique grille I couldn’t find the replacement parts. Somebody ran a red light and T-boned me, totalling the car so it was a moot point….
    Either way, LOVED those late 70’s mid size GMs, Cutlass & Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, not so much…..

    0
  8. scott

    Beautiful car

    0
  9. 86 Vette Convertible

    Having owned a pair of Cutlas’, a 79 and an 84 they were cars I wish I still had. The 84 was one of the best driving cars I’ve ever owned till I got the T-Bird but that was a different animal with a different driving style. When they switched the Cutlas over to a front wheel drive, that pretty much doomed the car to the soon-to-be-forgotten category IMO.

    That’s a beautiful survivor IMO.

    1+
  10. CCFisher

    My parents had a similar Pontiac Grand Prix. Same color, body-color wheels, but no vinyl top. THM-200 transmission gave up at 60,000 miles and the 301-4bbl had major blow-by issues by 80,000 miles. By that time, the car was six years old and the rear frame rails had rusted so badly that the car was simply scrapped. The mourning period was short, and ended when Dad brought home a Pontiac 6000-STE to replace it.

    0
  11. nessy

    I like everything about this car except it’s a base stripped down model. I have one too except mine is a fully loaded Brougham model and has the famous and troubled diesel V8 under it’s hood. My diesel Cutlass is trouble free and gets over 30mpg on the highway. I like all Oldsmobiles and I really like Oldsmobile Diesels.

    12+
    • CCFisher

      Yours is a ’79, then? Does it still have the 4.3 diesel, or did Olds replace it with a 5.7?

      4+
      • nessy

        No mine is an 80 with the factory 350 diesel. Those one year only 79 4.3 260 diesels are almost impossible to find. As soon as they blew up, Oldsmobile replaced them with a 350 diesel. I only know of 4 original 79 Cutlass diesels to still exist today but only 2 of them still have their original engines, one of them I have been trying to buy for a long time without luck as the original 85 year old owner will not sell it. It’s a 79 4.3 diesel Brougham with T Tops and get this, the factory 5 speed. Oldsmobile records state less than 200 5 speed diesel 4.3 cars were built. I would really like to have one with the 5 speed.

        4+
    • Mountainwoodie

      I worked for a while at an Oldsmobile dealer when I was in law school just a year or so later. Just seeing these gives me the willies. I never felt so old as I did repping these cars! LOL

      0
  12. KevinR

    Had an ’80 model in the same exterior color, minus the Landau roof. Mine was a V6 very few options, except it did have Super Stock III wheels. This post brought back a lot of memories…

    0
  13. Car Guy

    This one is a true survivior………

    0
  14. Howard A Member

    Man, might want to stay clear of this one. The owners have a habit of dying. I’m sure it’s the real deal, and if anyone ever has any concerns about what a low mileage vehicle looks like, this is it. Engine tells the whole story. It’s like new. I had a 4 door and a wagon like this, not that much different underneath. Good cars. Like nessy sez, at the time, this was a pretty basic 2 door, but today, it’s really special. Unbelievable find.

    6+
    • RoselandPete

      I was thinking the same thing about what happens to the owners. Call a priest before you buy that car.

      3+
  15. JimmyinTEXAS

    @Howard_A,
    You beat me to the warning…
    I really like these cars and love this color. Not real excited about the landau roof, and the cloth interiour isn’t a favorite but if this goes for the right money, it could be driven some as is and then retro-modded to comfortable cruiser status and enjoyed with newer technology.

    1+
  16. Matt

    We had one exactly like this, then one was silver and blue. My Dad said it was too small. We also had the 77 cutlass with the 5 speed. Real slow. Frame rusted out

    0
  17. Matt Colla

    We had one exactly like this, then one was silver and blue. My Dad said it was too small. We also had the 77 cutlass with the 5 speed. Real slow. Frame rusted out

    0
  18. victor sanchez

    I bought a new 1979 Cutlass Salon/ Hurst Olds, great car black with gold should have kept it. The Olds wasn’t terribly fast but it comfortable beyond compare. I hope whoever buys this will take care of it as it is like new condition. Nice car

    0
  19. Tom Member

    We had a new one of these in 1980. Dark Blue Metallic with Dark Blue Interior. pretty car but that 260 V8 could not get out of its own way! = Get out and walk faster!

    0
  20. Rock On

    Make sure that you buy the Saint Christopher statue for the top of the dash.

    3+
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Rock On, quite frankly, I’d feel better with the “Hula Girl” on the dash. 🙂

      1+
  21. Twisted bowtie

    Had a 79 Calais in the early 80′ s black with black half vinyl top .
    Tan interior with bucket seat’s.
    Love the car but hated the color.
    Wish I had kept it , got married and started a family , wife wanted a more door and ended up with a Chev Celebrity
    Jus saying😎

    0
  22. Keith

    1978-1988 was indeed the best body styles to ever represent the Cutlass brand..this is indeed a beautiful automobile.

    0
  23. KEITH UTLEY

    car is a beautiful example or originality. only question is: how many oil changes could this 3,700 mile car possibly have had in order to litter up the door jamb,, as told in the article referring to this vehicle ?

    0
  24. Superdessucke

    Beautiful example but I’m not sure what you do with it. With the 260/auto combo it is going to be slooooow, and it’s really too nice + low mileage to drive everyday anyway.

    My guess is it will go to a persnickety collector and sit in a garage some more until that guy dies and his kids list it on bring a trailer with 150 more miles on it or on the west side of Chicago hooned up with 9 inches of extra ride height, 25″ chrome dubs, and a massive subwoofer system. Two vastly different fates obviously. I know which one I’m pulling for!

    0
  25. Jen

    Very nice find! Love these!

    0
  26. irocrob

    I had the same colour and model except mine was a 1989. Bought it in 1985 and drove it 2 years. It had a 305 that worked well but after towing cars with it the engine got tired.Put lots of miles on it and very reliable. Love this car and if was in Canada closer to me I think I would grab it.

    0
    • BMW4RunninTundra Member

      One question: how did you buy a 1989 model in 1985? I’ve heard of getting the next years model early but not THAT early!
      Too funny!!!! I’m dyslexic so I am used to it!!

      1+
  27. Don H

    Some body,is dying to get this

    0
  28. David Miraglia

    always like the Cutlass weather it was the 1960 design, the groovy early 1970’s design or the late 1970’s-early 1980s version. The Cutlass was just good taste.

    0
  29. Matt

    Anyone know how many 5 speeds were built in 77

    0
  30. Chris

    Gas Monkey garage had one on the show with low miles I think it was a 78 or 79 looked like this one & it sported all original paint. Aaron & the boys lowered it put hydraulics in it & a custom paint job on it & sold it for a pretty good chuck of change on epay.

    0
  31. Bryan

    GM did a nice job of downsizing the Cutlass, Grand Prix, Regal, and Monte Carlo for 1978; all were trim and handsome cars. The problem was that weak and trouble-prone Metric-200 automatic transmission!

    0
  32. John T

    I had a 1979 Cutlass … same 2-door body style but was black with a full black vinyl roof and red interior with bucket seats. Had the same reliable 260 2-barrel V8 but mine featured the delightful 5-speed stick. While far from a dragster, this very smooth comfortable coupe served me well in my younger days as I drove the wheels off of it. I finally had to let it go due to the frame rusting from the New England winters. Too bad, I am in shock to see the money they are getting now. The EBay auction on the blue one featured above ended with a high bid of $12,150 and the reserve was not met. I am stunned that $12k was not good enough for the seller and there was NO SALE. I can not imagine what the magic number is for the seller but I fully expect that this 1978 Cutlass will be re-listed somewhere in the very near future.

    0

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