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Family Hauler: 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser


Featuring the iconic looks of a Cutlass, but with all the seating and storage you could want, this 1972 Vista Cruiser is just plain cool. Powered by a rebuilt 455 V8 and rebuilt automatic transmission, this Vista Cruiser is ready to roll. Fairly solid, with a little rust this Vista Cruiser seems reasonable at $7,000. Find it here on craigslist out of Omaha, Nebraska. Thanks Pat L for the submission!


The original and mighty 455 has been rebuilt, as well as the original transmission. The 455 likely propels this Vista Cruiser pretty well. Packed with a car load of family, and odds and ends, we are sure this Vista Cruiser would be the perfect family road trip machine. Air conditioning is installed on this Olds so your spouse and children wouldn’t melt in the summer heat.


From what we can make of the interior, it looks to be nice and original. The driver side of the bench suffers from some splitting, but the back seats and the door panels look very nice. The exterior is pretty nice as well. The red, with applique wood has a certain retro cool factor to it, and the paint looks pretty reasonable. The rear wheel arches have some rot, but the seller has mentioned that the floors of the Vista Cruiser are rock solid. For some, it would be a shame to lose the wood applique to fix the rot. While for others, it would likely be a blessing. To each their own.


With loads of space, good looks, and a rebuilt drivetrain this Vista Cruiser will make for an awesome vintage car for someone who has a family. What would you do, and where would you go in this Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser?


  1. Will

    This would be ideal for towing our camper on weekends. I think it would do the job our expedition does now just fine.

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    • Travis perry

      Yes they pull camp trailers well as a truck we have one that will out pull our Ford F-350 460 big block they are an amazing piece of Americana and something for family memories to be made

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  2. JW

    These cars were made popular by the 70’s show, doesn’t make me want one now or in the 70’s My 76 & 78 F-150 4×4’x did just fine thank you. JMHO !!!

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    • George

      Hardly a realistic comparison as those old trucks you mention have no rear seating for those with children.

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      • JW

        Back when I had those trucks my boys rode in the bed and loved it.

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    • Rick Rothermel

      I lived in Studio City when the word was out for a feature car for that series, the original request was for a Country Squire. One was tried, deemed too wide for the planned scenes, had room for 4 or 5 skinny actor kids in the front seat! The Cruisers were perfect, show had 3, one had a motor.
      Show used the same soundstage WKRP had used. Cool place!

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  3. Jeffro

    Only thing it needs is a 442 hood! That and me driving it!

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    It would be cool with a tremec 5 spd and 442 hood.

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    • Jeffro

      Damn it! I could of had a 5spd! But with a 5spd, I’ll need a butt load of cash cause it’s going to need lots of back tires!

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  5. ccrvtt

    “These cars” were first produced in 1964. Ford was “The Wagonmaster” in those days due to their forward-facing third row seats. GM’s wagons had the 3rd seat facing backward, sometimes inducing nausea in those urchins relegated to the “way back”.

    Ford used leaf springs which allowed for a full width, lower situated seat. GM used coil springs, which impinged on hip room for a seat essentially located over the rear axle. GM’s solution was to raise the roof to allow for headroom in the back with the seat located atop the spring towers. The side benefit was intriguing styling – something different.

    My mother had a 1965 Olds Vista Cruiser, Dad had a 1969 (same color as ‘That ’70’s Show’s’), and a 1971. They were built in Lansing with Oldsmobile’s traditional high build quality and were quite nice cars.

    The operative word here is ‘cars’. I’m sure F150’s are wonderful tow vehicles, but that doesn’t exclude a car with a 455 c.i. torque churn from accomplishing the same feat.

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  6. erikj

    I love these, I had 3 years ago but I bought a 76 dodge custom van that somebody grafted a roof from a vista cruiser ,so cool and lots of good vibe from others.

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  7. Wm Lawrence

    I believe this is a full sized body (the 455 is a clue) and not a mid sized (Cutlass) body. It was about this time frame that GM was producing their mid sized wagons with a sloped single piece rear hatch. I had one that was a Buick Century. My wife lost track of a can of frozen orange juice from the groceries carried in the rear (and rear facing) seat position and when, after a few weeks we found it it was a little ripe. The car never smelled right after that…

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  8. Nova Scotian

    Really like this road machine. It’s a cruiser. I’d fix the rust. To hell with fake wood grain.
    When I was younger (1978ish), wood grain was out of style with us teenagers. Though manufacturers kept making cars with this crap on the sides and interior. My pal bought a used Chrysler wagon with an acre of it down its flanks. Being a new car to him, a road trip with all us wild teenagers guys and gals aboard was planned. First order of business was removal of wood grain. Being seen cruising around in this with fake wood grain was out of the guestion. We spent nearly a whole week in the hot sun, razor blading this mac-tac off it…AC/DC Back in Black blasting out its new release. (and a few too many beers). ..The car looked beautiful in its sky blue paint…although everything stuck to the sides cause we hadn’t removed all the sticky glue. Who cares? Let’s cruise!!! You too?

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  9. Robbie

    Thankfully it didn’t end up like this. “Let’s go, Russ”

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  10. chris lawrence

    7K? No way. Lucky to get 4K.

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  11. JimmyinTEXAS

    I laughed out loud when I read Brian’s comment about losing the applique to repair the rot. As I was looking I was thinking about having to lose it to fix the rust and wondered if the car would look weird without it. What colors would look good on something that large and not be “too much” of one color, or would two tone work?

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    • Ricck Rithermel

      Depends on the quality of the paintwork under the vinyl. Not sure when the translucent NiLoc material came to use but like vinyl tops, wood paneling sometimes brought with it lazy finish work on the assembly lines.

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  12. Ck

    Really ?Remove the simulated wood grain siding. Nooooo !!!!The simulated wood grain siding must remain thats part of what makes this car so kool .These are my favorite wagons of all time .I want one of these in the worst way.

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  13. Jubjub

    The first thing I’d do is paint the Super Stock wheels matching red.

    Whenever I see these without the faux wood I assume Bondo. White, black or gold 442 graphics could be sharp though.

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  14. Chris

    Here a pic of my of my Olds Cutlass wagon daily driver. Note flat roof wagon. A little tougher to find than the Vistas are. Not sure why the pic is posting upside down but there it is.

    Like 1

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