42k Mile Survivor: 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass 350

All the General Motors intermediate-sized cars were redesigned in 1973, which would begin the era of Colonnade styling that would last through 1977. This would include the Oldsmobile Cutlass. These cars weren’t quite as popular as the generation before and after, but the rise in fuel prices in 1973 (thanks to the OPEC oil embargo) was moving buyers to smaller, more efficient cars. This 1976 Olds Cutlass Supreme looks to be a beautiful survivor with just 42,000 miles on the clock. It’s been in the same family since it was new and is located in Milford, Massachusetts. It can be found here on craigslist where the asking price is $11,800. Thanks to NHDave for finding this jewel for us!

The Olds Cutlass is one of the most iconic nameplates within GM, with a near 40-year run between 1961-99. It started as the top trim level in the F-85 series, then evolved into its own while also spawning the 4-4-2 muscle car in 1964 and the Cutlass Supreme premium model in 1966. The Cutlass was named after a type of sword, which was common during the Age of Sail. To emphasize how popular the Cutlass Supreme was in 1976 alone, out of 875,000 total cars built by Oldsmobile that year, the Cutlass Supreme 2-door coupe was more than 186,000 units or 21% overall. Pretty impressive.

This 1976 Olds Cutlass Supreme is unusual in several ways. First, it’s been in the same family since it started out new. It’s only now offered by the estate of the original owner’s son. Second, it has just 42,000 miles on it, which means it has averaged less than 1,000 miles a year in the past 44. And third, it resides in Massachusetts, which is known for its harsh winters and yet this car appears to be rust free. The seller says it has always been garaged and babied and that effort clearly shows through. You would be hard-pressed to find another original example as nice as this one as they tended to rust. The Alpine Green paint is nice and shiny, the contrasting vinyl top in in great shape, and what we see of the chassis looks clean.

Inside the car looks equally as sweet as the outside. The interior is original and looks to have been barely used. While it’s not as plush as the Supreme Brougham, it’s certainly inviting but shy of a few things we take for granted today. For example, you actually have to roll the windows up and down. Oh, the horrors of it all! But it does have power steering and brakes and factory A/C, so it should be quite comfortable cruising down the highway at 18-20 mpg.

Under the hood is the second biggest engine you could get that year in a Cutlass, a 350 cubic inch V-8 with 4-barrel carb good for 170 net horsepower. It’s mated to a 3-speed Turbo-Hyramatic. If you wanted more power, we suppose you could have ordered a 455, but those engines were getting rather anemic by then with all the detuning for emissions and the like. The 350 would be quite capable for a larger mid-size car like this (they would be downsized in 1978).

The Cutlass of this era seems to be caught between collectible and used car in status as far as resale values are concerned. NADA says that a top Cutlass Supreme from 1976 should go for no more than $18,000. Since this car seems to be as close to excellent as you could find, the seller’s asking price looks to be a fairly reasonable way to acquire an older car to take to Cars & Coffee. What kind of car, any decent notable car, can you get for under $12,000 these days?


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  1. Moparman Member

    Another NICE Cutlass! It’s a shame that the interior plastic colors tended to “go their own way” with the passage of time. The new owner should ne quite happy w/ this beauty! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 14
  2. UTG

    I knew the guy who’s selling this Cutlass. He seems to be the only one on Craigslist, who has always has classic cars, of this caliber, for sale. He only buys the best, and even with his profit, are fairly priced. Punch in Milford, MA, and you’ll see a few others.

    Like 1
  3. S

    “These cars weren’t quite as popular as the generation before and after”… WHAT?? These cars were the MOST popular Cutlasses ever! This was the best selling car in America in 1976!! It marked the only year an Oldsmobile model was the #1 selling model in the U.S.! It was always a Chevrolet or a Ford other years. It was these cars that propelled Oldsmobile ahead in the sales race, to #3 for several years! Oldsmobile sold over 1 million cars in 1977, thanks to these cars and the new for 77 Delta 88. These cars were wildly popular – they were also the best selling of the colonnade cars – definitely better than the Buick and Pontiac offerings, but even Chevrolet, which you wouldn’t expect from a GM corporate design. And this example is beautiful! Back bumper looks a little rusty (unless that’s just a reflection from the top of the bumper?) – but the interior is really nice! That light tan material usually gets dirty quite fast. And the color keyed sport wheels look great too!

    Like 18
  4. John Oliveri

    Nice car, too bad no power windows and nicer interior found on the Brougham,

    Like 2
  5. ChevelleSS

    Gee… I guess I’m jaded. My memory of these cars is, big, slow, and sloppy. The anemic 350 was further strangled by the ‘economy’ 2:41 rear screw and with all that weight to haul, nothing moved very quickly. MPG 18-20? Maybe going downhill at part throttle! Yes, not bad to look at. Just don’t expect anything from the ‘go’ pedal and you’ll be fine. Pass.

    Like 1
    • Moe Moe

      Nice Cutlass. Yes these cars were no speed demon.
      Buddy in highschool had 1 Metalic blue, air shocks crager SST’s 50’s on back 60’s in front loud radio.
      Girls loved it.
      Still couldn’t get out of its own way. Lol

  6. wjtinfwb

    I had the ‘77 version in Salon trim, same color with the half vinyl roof in the same buckskin and the buckskin buckets inside. 350, p/windows and the standard Rally wheels and suspension that came on the Salon. A great driving car, not fast but not a slug and with the addition of firmer Gabriel shocks and GR60-15 Goodyear GT Radials it handled decently well. Sold it to buy a ‘79 TransAm, WS6/L78. The TA was fun but the Cutlass is the one I wish I had kept.

    Like 1
  7. Michael

    Not an exciting car to drive. As evidenced by the mileage.

    Like 1

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