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Update: 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser With 46k Original Miles

UPDATE 12/16/2023: A recent trend has emerged where owners don’t taste success on their first attempt to sell their beloved classic. Some of this may be due to the general market downturn during the past year. However, with the situation beginning to turn, some owners have decided to roll the dice with additional attempts. They will often relist via the same website, but the owner of this 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser has chosen a different path. After receiving no bids in their eBay auction, they have placed the Wagon here on Facebook Marketplace. It appears nothing has changed since last time, although they have bypassed the auction process to set their price at $26,500. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Tony P for spotting this beauty.

11/08/2023: We’ve seen plenty of vehicles cross our desks at Barn Finds where a seller makes bold claims about its condition. However, this 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser is one of the few I have seen where the seller has used the word “outstanding” in their description. It doesn’t appear to be an idle boast because its condition is impressive for a family Station Wagon. The fresh paint immediately draws your attention, while the healthy drivetrain and tidy interior help its cause. Some potential buyers may find the claimed odometer reading of 46,000 miles the last piece in the puzzle that prompts them to pursue the Vista Cruiser further. It is listed here on eBay in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Whenever I see a Second Generation Vista Cruiser, I remember the Bamboo 1970 example Clark Griswold trades on the Family Truckster in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie. This 1968 model has avoided the crusher that claimed the movie car, and its Ocean Turquoise and Provincial White paint combination is undeniably more attractive than Bamboo. The seller indicates the Olds recently underwent a repaint, using enamel mixed to the correct shades. The impact is stunning, with no signs of flaws or defects in it or the steel beneath. The process included professional replacement of the faux woodgrain, leaving the new owner with no panel or paint shortcomings to address. There is no rust to cause sleepless nights, and the trim looks acceptable for a survivor-grade classic. Some pieces show deterioration, and the back bumper has slight damage, but nothing requires immediate attention. The defining feature of the Vista Cruiser is the glass roof inserts, and the ones on this Wagon are free from defects and leaking seals.

Some readers will consider I am marking this Vista Cruiser’s interior harshly, but I don’t believe it presents to the same standard as the exterior. The driver’s door trim is damaged in one lower corner, and the supplied images don’t reveal whether it is repairable. The rear cargo area has the typical selection of scratches and marks that family Wagons accumulate through regular usage. However, there are also plenty of positive attributes for potential buyers to consider. The Black vinyl seatcovers are new, as are the carpet and headliner. The air conditioning blows ice-cold, and everything inside this Wagon works as it should. It may lack the versatility of third-row seating, but this Olds will comfortably transport six people on their next adventure.

The original owner ordered this Vista Cruiser with the entry-level 350ci “Rocket” V8. They teamed that motor with a three-speed Hydramatic transmission and power assistance for the steering and brakes. The V8 produces a respectable 250hp and 355 ft/lbs of torque. This Olds won’t threaten muscle cars, but its performance would satisfy most owners. The seller indicates it runs and drives perfectly. They admit winding it out to 100mph and felt it had plenty more to give. It has a genuine 46,000 miles on the clock, although there is no reference to verifying evidence. The Vista recently received new tires, an exhaust, a master cylinder, and other mechanical components. Potential buyers should consider it a turnkey proposition where they could fly in for a family holiday and return home behind the wheel of this classic.

Station Wagons were once the orphans of the classic world, but that attitude is changing rapidly. This is especially true of the Vista Cruiser, which has enjoyed an enormous increase in value during the past year. Recent sales results suggest the price is competitive, and the only surprise for me is that it failed to sell on the first attempt. It will be fascinating to see if they taste success this time. Are you tempted to pursue this Wagon further?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Stan

    Dr Olds says this Vista Wagon is pretty outstanding 👏

    Like 13
  2. Avatar photo Nelson C

    “Once orphans of the classic car world”. Too many people have been traumatized by their upbringing. Anything and everything about their parents had to be banished. Then one day they see a car like this and all the fond memories come back. They stand around it and tell stories of the people and places that were.

    There’s no doubt that this is a great looking Vista Cruiser. One of my best friends parents had a ’69 VC in white with blue interior. I thought it was cool. Was replaced in ’77 with a 2wd Suburban. Still gotta haul 4 kids and pull a boat.

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo normadesmond

    For $35,000, you clean the car, outside AND in.

    Not that anyone asked me, but the white roof is yucky.

    Like 25
    • Avatar photo Bub

      Agreed, Norma D. “Leave the white, take the cannoli. I mean woodgrain.”

      Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Cooter Member

    I will only say this, you can spend $35K on a new Toyota Rav4…And I will GUARANTEE you that there WILL NOT be people standing around gawking at it when you come out of the grocery store! This looks like new, will still do a hunnerd…and will still be here in 20 years…Take your pick!

    Like 22
    • Avatar photo Nostromo

      “…will still be here in 20 years…”

      That it will, Cooter, that it will.

      Like 10
  5. Avatar photo Nostromo

    Own a real piece of motoring history. My paternal aunt and uncle, always in the vanguard (first color TV in the neighborhood and cool things along those lines), had a Vista Cruiser and it was undeniably cool. My uncle was a very good driver. My cousins, younger brother and I would pile-into that wagon and off we’d go to Greenwood Dairies in Penndel, PA, to get a softball-sized scoop of ice cream of our choice that had been made on-site.

    My uncle was a US Marine in WWII in the Pacific Theater. Uncle had a booming, authoritative voice that could really carry as he saw fit. Uncle was one of eight brothers from western Pennsylvania who had served in the Army and Marines during the war.

    Down the road we went and I checked out the vista of the sky out of that novel raised window. Very cool.

    Like 15
    • Avatar photo Cooter Member

      That’s awesome and your family’s service deserves a big thank you! I too had an uncle in Louisville Ky who took us to the ice cream parlor for one of those big scoops back in the late 60’s/early 70’’s. He had a white on black 67 Impala SS 327 4 speed. Then later he had a gold 69 Coupe de Ville with that 472 BB. My dad also had the 65 SS and then a 68 Sedan de Ville before him. Uncle Roger always 1 up’d my dad and dad always called him George Jetson. They had a central vacuum system, color tv, water softener and many other things you didn’t see back then. Those were the good ole days!

      Like 9
      • Avatar photo Nostromo

        Sounds very familiar. Yes, my uncle and his brothers. I met some of those men when they came east to visit from western Pennsylvania. It was a big deal, especially in the summer. One time the family roasted an ox and fed the whole street from the afternoon and well into the night. I was seven or eight watching it all go down. Might have been a little loud but no one complained because practically everyone was invited.

        I appreciate your affirmation, Cooter. Thank you!

        Like 5
  6. Avatar photo Allen L

    The 350 V8 in this car is a great engine, probably better than a 2 bbl 350 Chev of that era, and from personal experience, I know the 4 bbl version in a ’68 Cutlass is a real “Rocket.”
    The next owner of this Cruiser should be pleased with its performance.
    I’ve never seen a two-tone combo like this one, I could understand wanting a white roof if no AC, but this one has it!

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo OldsMan

      Agreed- I’ve had several Olds 330 and 350’s… apart from one that dropped a valve, they were all smooth, reliable and torquey…with the right heads, they run very strong

      Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Bing

    We owned one, a 70 model that gave my spouse six years and 125 K trouble free miles. Great kid hauler and made long drives a pleasure. When we sold it way back in the 70’s I said they would be collectible. However, for the buy it now price the car should be heavily detailed. When I’m a seller, I do so and it just makes things go a little easier.

    Like 7
  8. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    I have always wanted one of these based on one childhood memory when my dad borrowed his friends Vista to take the family on a vacation. Sitting in the back seat looking through the vista windows burned a very pleasant memory that will never be forgotten. I can’t remember if he borrowed the car for more room or the Toyota Corona MarkII was at the repair shop. Actually I wouldn’t mind having both of those cars today.

    Like 3
  9. Avatar photo Old Man

    “there is a BIN of $34,970 for those preferring to throw caution to the wind.” And have money to burn.

    Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Handsome Pristine Patriot

    What would I do with it?
    I’d do a remake on the nose to accommodate another set of headlights, remove the rear seat and make the back into a place to sleep, put a hitch on it to haul a small trailer just big enough to house cooking accoutrements, and take it on a National Lampoon vacation.
    With the cost of motels anywhere from $99 crackhouse two doors down to $250 fairly safe, and a meal at McDs for two hovering around $25 (if you can stomach it), that seems to be the only way to travel.

    Like 4
  11. Avatar photo JWK

    It’s a tri-tone! White/Blue/Woodgrain brown…And we thought tri-tones were only from the 1950’s. LOL

    Like 3
  12. Avatar photo Custom Cruise Reservation

    Not my color but WOW what a car. Prefer original paint being an Ohio bodyman

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Jim

    The condition of the interior makes me think the pretty paint is hiding a lot of deterioration.

    Like 6
  14. Avatar photo JimmyinTEXAS

    35K for a cheap respray over who knows what.
    As much as I would like to have one of these, it won’t be this one…

    Like 4
  15. Avatar photo Zen

    Looks beautiful in the exterior pictures, but the interior pictures aren’t as impressive. I’d look it over very carefully if I were interested. It could be just age, but under the hood isn’t as clean as one would expect on a 46,000 mile car. I find it hard to believe that it still has the original R12 in it from the Nixon era, so I’m just not sure. I want to believe it’s all original, but I’d have to look it over very carefully.

    Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Bill McCanless

    I just can’t believe the outrageous prices sellers are asking for these cars! For the asking price this Olds needs to be spotless inside as well as out and especially under the hood!! Painting a car with single stage enamel is the cheap way out. The car should have been painted with base – clear.

    Like 1
  17. Avatar photo Barry

    Worth maybe 18k at best!

    Like 3
  18. Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    This car has become an icon in my mind for two (2) reasons. First, a friend’s mother owned one in this exact color, complete with the stick-on faux woodgrain sides, before she traded it in for a newer, 1976 edition, in off-white (the same color as the Clark Griswald edition that was sent to the crusher) with faux woodgrain appliqué. Second, in its role as Eric Foreman’s ride in “That 70’s Show”!

    “Piece of crap? That’s a Vista Cruiser! You could literally cruise the vistas!” – Red Foreman in “That 70’s Show” Season 2, Episode 1 “Garage Sale” (28 September, 1999)

    Like 2
  19. Avatar photo Tahir Khan

    Nostalgia of boring family trips and cool uncles aside, the bidding on this land boat should tell you the financial value people put on these memories, it’s not much. The owner must be charging by the square inch or by the number of bad memories! It’s fools like this that have made the classic car market a joke!

    Like 2
  20. Avatar photo Eric

    My parents never owned a wagon, but my cheap boss did.

    I didn’t get to go wild for spring break in Florida as a broke college junior, so I found a part time gig working maintenance at a local beach resort instead.

    Boss told me to move this huge gravel pile next to the shovel and wheelbarrow over to another part of the parking lot.

    After a couple wheelbarrow loads I decided to load the back of that shop wagon with all gravel she could hold.

    After hitting max reverse velocity and slamming the brakes the gravel flew out the back.

    Great tool, but it was unremarkable to drive around.

    Like 1
  21. Avatar photo ClassicP

    Absolutely love the olds but the way things are going in this market this car will be $50,000. Personally I think it’s outrageous. This car should realistically be $15,000 at the absolute maximum.

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo George Mattar

    Way too much money even for a cool wagon. I can have a low mileage Lincoln Town Car for that and $20,000 in the bank. Gonna be a long winter.

    Like 0
  23. Avatar photo Harrison Reed

    I am with those who have their doubts on this one. Given the interior problems and that engine-compartment, I would suspect 146,000 family-used miles, and an attempt to dress it up on the cheap with a nice exterior face-lift and some inside work. I would wonder just where and how this car “survived” before it was dressed-up to sell. We all know the difference between a well-cared-for low mileage original, and a car made to LOOK “fresh” when it is not. Don’t let nostagic emotion over-rule common sense. I ain’t buyin’ it!

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Nelson C

      Sage advice to the novice and experienced alike. Every vehicle should be approached with a healthy dose of skepticism. Some are a silk purse others a sow’s ear. Surely all are just old cars.

      Like 0
  24. Avatar photo Ward William

    My two cents worth.
    Swap out the carb for full after market electronic injection intake system, better headers and exhaust system, redo the interior with front buckets, reupholster it all in something cloth or alcantra and and add a center console with a T-bar and call it done and drive the living daylights out of it. Lovely car but my solution makes it more reliable, comfortable and drivable.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      I couldn’t have said it better myself! I’d consider one (1) additional upgrade if your bank account can stand the strain. I’d want to replace the stock ladder frame with an aftermarket version, featuring a new rack & pinion steering gear to replace the OEM recirculating-ball steering, and replacing the stock live axle and leaf springs with either a four-link rear end or a full IRS setup. In effect a full “pro-touring” build! The aftermarket frame is both lighter and stiffer than the stock piece, albeit at a significant penalty to the bank balance. One thing’s for sure, your wallet will be lighter along with the car, LOL!

      Like 0
  25. Avatar photo Barry

    If it checks out, worth maybe half of what they want for it!

    Like 0
  26. Avatar photo Harrison Reed

    I agree on the electronic ignition and fuel injection. But I would HATE to see bucket seats and a centre-console. I LIKE bench-seats, and the shift on the steering-column. This is a STATION WAGON, not a G.T.O.!

    Like 0

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