Almost Showroom: 1975 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

033016 Barn Finds- 1975 Oldsmobile wagon - 1

This classic wagon is in fantastic, original condition and it could be yours on Thursday May 19th. This 1975 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser Wagon is in almost showroom condition and it’ll be at the Mecum Auction in Indianapolis, IN this May. What a car!

033016 Barn Finds- 1975 Oldsmobile wagon - 2

This is a first-generation car, made from 1971 to 1976 right before GM downsized their lineup. I assume that these cars are the most sought after, they certainly have the most “design” to them, if a person likes curves and angles and little fins in the rear, etc. This beautiful car is Spectre Blue and it looks perfect; this can’t be a Midwestern car unless it was never driven in the winter. Although, with only 16,493 miles on it to date, maybe it is! This is as close to being in showroom condition as it gets. Oldsmobile made 9,458 of these woodgrain wagons in 1975.

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You could dang near fit The Waltons in this car with the rare 3rd row seat in the back. Or, you could fold it down and haul enough groceries to feed your hometown football team for a week. This car is over 19 feet long and it weighs over 2.5 tons, about 5,400 pounds. They’re the heaviest Oldsmobiles ever made! That’s one heavy cruiser.

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These cars had the unbelievably cool and unique clamshell rear hatch system as seen in this YouTube video. I have no idea how either the glass or the painted lower section stays scratch-free when they open like that, but I guess it’s the same basic idea as side windows. It sure is unique and it’s shared with Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Buick wagons of this vintage. The switches for the rear hatch system are shown here below the radio.

033016 Barn Finds- 1975 Oldsmobile wagon - 5

There aren’t any overall interior photos showing the dash, but the seats definitely look like new. This car has dual power seats, a factory 8-track, and is said to be highly-optioned. It’s basically an Olds 98 wagon so I would hope that it has at least power windows and locks, too.

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And, we now know that it has A/C. The engine here is the only thing that lets the presentation down, in my opinion. This could have been detailed to look as nice as the rest of the car does and it may have been a good return on investment for the auction. But, as they say, it’s only original once. This is the famous 455 V8 here with four-barrel carburetor. There is only 190 hp available here, but it has 350 ft-lbs of torque so hopefully that’ll be enough power to haul John Boy and his brothers and sisters around in. This is one great looking time capsule. This car may be a good investment if it sells for a reasonable price. Do you like these mid-1970s full-sized GM wagons as much as I do?

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Comments

  1. Duffy Member

    You have got to have two engines just to get this vehicle to move. One big Mama but a great looking vehicle. Comes with two 28 gallon fuel tanks plus a 5 gallon reserve tank under the third seat. Nice vehicle.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Duffy, I’m not sure if You have ever had any ownership experiences with these vehicles, but I can honestly say that that I have. In multiple engine displacements (350, and 455) and when tuned properly, maintained, and driven like a sane human, they averaged 18c – 25h mpg. Not too shabby for the old real Rocket engines.

      • Mark

        I have a 1987 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser Wagon – original condition.
        Used only during summer – driving to Florida, Nevada – average MPG – 18 -22 MPG – driving 75 MPH. I’m to old – but this 1975 is a perfect car running for next 50 years. WOW – never in recalled.

  2. C B

    Even from a distance, the side molding doesn’t line up. This road sled was typical of GM’s failed attempt to produce a semi-luxury automobile. I wasn’t impressed then and I am certainly not impressed now. I’D give them $500 bucks and use it as a storage shed.

    Like 1
    • Harlan Cheek

      Glad your opinion doesn’t matter.The wagon is awesome has great lines.Be a hater somewhere else.

      Like 5
      • Gerry

        Great looking car , any enthusit would agree. Vintage wagons are hot now.don’t know where the negativity comes from .

        Like 1
    • DrinkinGasoline

      @ C B, I would beg to differ…I owned a 72 Delta 88, a 74 Delta 88 Royale, two 75 Cutlass Supremes (both at the same time), and a 75 98 LS sedan. All were decent, reliable vehicles when maintained as any vehicle should be. It wasn’t until my 79 98 Regency 2 door and My 79 Buick Electra 225 (same platform), that I became disappointed. Welcome to heavier emission controls.Thanks EPA, You ruined Our automotive experience but let the heavy trucks and buses slide on by. By the way C B, what vehicle of that era would You prefer ? Just curious.

  3. angliagt

    Amazing! – I remember when you couldn’t give these away.
    Those mid ’70’s American cars were some of the worse ones
    ever built – tied down with untried emmisions equiptment.

  4. Charles

    My parents had one of these, the same year, in brown. The quality of the fit and finish was poor from the first day, however the car was a good running turd. It was dependable for 245K miles, and than they sold it and bought a new car.

    When they bought it we installed a class three hitch, brake controller, and transmission cooler on it to tow a large Airstream travel trailer. I remember the car seemed to be lugging a lot towing the trailer. A little investigation revealed a high diff ratio, somewhere around 2:36. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was the highest ratio I had ever seen in a passenger car. Since they already owned the car, we had the ratio changed to a 3:73 gear, that beast pulled like a truck. It was done correctly with the speedometer gear changed to match. The 455 Olds engine developed a fair amount of torque at low RPM’s. It handled the weight of the car and trailer well once we got a good towing gear installed.

    The funny thing is that the car got 12 MPG with the original gear. It continued to get 12 MPG with the 3:73 gear, so I am not sure why GM installed such a high gear ratio in it. It got 6 MPG towing the trailer.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      [Quote]: The funny thing is that the car got 12 MPG with the original gear. It continued to get 12 MPG with the 3:73 gear, so I am not sure why GM installed such a high gear ratio in it.

      A station Wagon of the era, within any make was designed to carry a family and it’s luggage with moderate towing capability (small trailer) and still maintain a comfortable/functional ride with proper shift points within “era” fuel economy requirements. With that said, they did their job. Too many folks wanted a station wagon to do the job of a truck. Good luck getting more than 10 MPG out of a truck towing an Airstream at the time (most were 350,383,400,440, etc, cu.in. displacement).

      [Quote] : It was done correctly with the speedometer gear changed to match.
      Changing the Speedometer Driven Gear did nothing more than allow the speedometer to reflect accurate speed readings. It was a car based transmission, designed for car expectations. With the reduced cylinder head HP, and carburetor restrictions, the GM wagons at the time, performed as intended.

      • Charles

        No argument from here. The car was bullet proof and ran trouble free for many years. However Oldsmobile rated the car’s tow rating at 7K when the sold it to my parents. If it was not designed to tow, GM should not have rated the tow rating so high. A rating of 7K – the weight of passengers, cargo, and fuel leaves 55 to 5600 lbs. The trailer weighed 5200 empty, so there was 400 lbs left for gear in the trailer.

  5. Chip Lamb

    No it isn’t “near showroom” nor is it a 16k mile car. It has 116k if not 216k and the driver’s door panel and side of seat were very fatigued when it was discovered in a barn by yours truly 3 years ago. Original owner was farmer and landowner F.F. White of Central Virginia. He loved his wagons and put lots of miles on ’em. I bet it’s 216k.

    Like 1
    • Scotty G

      Really, Chip? I would highly suggest getting in touch with the fine folks at Mecum to let them know that. Prospective bidders and the Mecum team would want to know that information if it is indeed the same car. Mecum Auctions would not want to misrepresent any of the vehicles for sale with their name attached to it, I’m pretty sure of that. Thanks for the info.

    • cyclemikey

      Wow, something doesn’t add up here. In my experience the Mecum people are fairly picky about documentation for claims of actual miles.

      I’d be surprised if this is the same car as you describe, not only for that reason but also because the car I’m looking at here doesn’t appear to have anything like the mileage you’re claiming. I’d want to be pretty dang certain that it’s the same car before publicly calling out the seller(s) as liars.

      • Chip Lamb

        Mikey, the VIN (let alone that unique paperwork) matches the car that came out of FF’s barn in February of 2013.

        Seller has appropriately and correctly been called out. Note the absence of a pic of the driver’s seat and door panel.

        Cheers
        Chip

  6. Gary I

    Twice the car with half the horsepower, cool! Hope you like to look at it, because it will be hungry to feed and sluggish like a fat kid when you drive it. Good for a collector trying to relive memories, not so much as a family cruiser.

  7. Vegas Vic

    Hurrah!
    These old wagons rocks
    Growing up in seventies with two brothers, two sisters, we always were shutteled around in these
    Great cruiser to Florida in back
    Problem? With seven people .,, who picks The 8 track?
    Dean Martin, Zepplin, dolly, or the Radpberries?
    Good stuff, great car?

  8. Dan Skopp

    Wow! What a beauty! These were the day’s when cars were cars!

  9. Coventry Cat

    I love it.

  10. jim s

    that auction house has a lot of interesting vehicles coming up for auction. this wagon looks great and would make a nice driver if the bidding does not go too high. great finds.

  11. Jubjub

    Cool. I’d like to see it on a set of the funky polycast Olds wheels. Better looking than a ’76 with the square headlights, but not as nice as a 71-73 with nicer taillamps and front end.
    If I’m not mistaken, these actually had less room inside than a GM A-body wagon of the time.

  12. Rob

    Back in high school my buddy’s parents had one of these. It was sort of root beer colored with the faux wood trim. We affectionately called it “The Tank” He would haul us around in that thing (usually about 10 of us as we could fit 3 in the front seat, 3 in the back, and 4 in the way back. We joked that if we went to war, we would put a turret on the top and blast away.

    Like 2
  13. Chip Lamb

    The original rescue mission… I liked the ’72 Imperial more but sold both of these and more to my friend Jeremy Morrissey who sorted and resold them.

  14. Chip Lamb

    Off it went…..

    • Jesse Staff

      Thanks for the update Chip!

  15. Nessy

    Boy that is a nice looking wagon plus it’s an Oldsmobile.

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