Cheaper Without Tires: 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass

When first reading this ad, it’s easy to think the listing is pretty straight-forward: a grandma-owned Oldsmobile Cutlass with 70,000 original miles and appearing to be in fine condition despite its midwest location. Then there’s this oddity: the seller will offer a discount if you leave the tires and hucaps with him! Form your own opinions here on craigslist where this 1983 model is listed for $3,295 or best offer. 

Maybe I’m misinterpreting his offer. But the ad for all the world reads as if he’d prefer to keep the rolling stock off of the car, leaving the next owner responsible for sourcing his own set of wheels and tires. Ironically, the tires are one of the few items the seller has already replaced! The seller contends this Olds remains in fine condition due to its long-term ownership in the hands of an elderly woman. The interior appears to be decent enough.

Although the car has been in Wisconsin all of its life (a place that does experience winter), the seller contends there is “very very little rust.” I’d like to know more about where this small amount of rust resides, however, as the air cleaner and what looks like the brake booster both appear to have a generous coating of surface rust. Since the gas tank has also been replaced, I wonder if that was rusty or just fouled up.

Cosmetically, the Olds looks the part of an elderly person’s in-town car. The chrome shines nicely and I can’t see any major dents or dings on the panels. For sure, this is not a hugely desirable car, but it is getting harder to find these mainstream sedans in nice, original condition. It’d make a fine hobby car that you can use for running errands and still being accepted at the local cruise night. Anyone tempted to call and see what the discount is without tires?


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  1. Blyndgesser

    These can be exceptionally nice to drive if properly debugged. The v6 isn’t the best choice, but it’s a comfy cruiser.

  2. Howard A Member

    I had 2 of these. One was a wagon, V-6, and the other a 4 door, V-8, like this, same color. They were good cars, one of the few my ex-wife couldn’t kill. The 4 door, V-8 had a slight miss, so I began to change the plugs. All went well, until the last one under the heater. It was UNremovable. Finally, with every extension and swivel I had, I got it out.( from underneath) It was black, looked like the original factory plug ( different from the other 7) and had no electrode. How it was even firing at all was a mystery. Good cars, nothing fancy, great heaters too. Good winter beater, it never stranded my ex and the kids.

  3. Jeffro

    I’d rather have this than the previous Ford Grandada. And walk away with money in my pocket. My grandparents had one of these. Tougher than a Timex.

  4. Pleiku Pete

    Don’t know about tires and hub caps, but if you pull that rear sticker off, I bet you will find a rusty, flakey bumper.

    An old third string used car lot trick…

    • al8apex

      Used to see these rear bumpers on the roads and freeways in the Detroit area, combination of rusted out supports and poorly maintained roads

      Can you imagine following one and the entire rear bumper falling off in front of you?

  5. Moparmann Member

    Why would an “elderly woman” owner need a trailer hitch?

    • RJ

      Perhaps once upon a time that elderly woman was married to a elderly man who had a small trailer to tow.

    • M/K

      Maybe the receiver held a transport platform for a rascal or some other mobility device, I see it on lots of elderly and handicapped people’s cars everyday

  6. Rock On Member

    Sorry, but the local cruise night in my city does not accept cars like this. You would be pointed to the spectator parking area!

  7. rmward194 Member

    Like Moparmann, I wonder why an elderly woman would need a trailer hitch and how much this V-6 powered Olds could pull?

    Add to that the IL plates on a car that has been in Wisconsin car that’s been there all it’s life. The plate number sequence is also an older issue. Current plates issued in IL wouldn’t have three letters and three numbers.

    Lot’s of surface rust on the right side, but it would make a decent winter beater. Drive it til it drops.

    • Paul

      I can answer your questions in 3 easy statements. The guy is from Chicago bought it from the couple in Wisconsin fixed it up and now is selling it.

      Those plates are not older Illinois plates at all, they are personalized plates And actually those plates are newer issued Illinois plates as you can tell from the Illinois script and the background of the Illinois plate, before this Illinois plates were just boring and use the different font.

      My grandfather had a tow hitch on his 1986 Honda Accord to tow his lawn mower back and forth from different rental properties he owned. It’s just a Class 1 trailer hitch, you’re not pulling a car trailer behind it.

      Skeptics are


    This is as about as boring as it gets.

  9. Rock On Member

    @Paul- you see a lot of hitches on small imports nowadays. They usually are used to carry bicycles or small 4’x5′ utility trailers.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      The Class I receiver on my 2007 Honda Civic is there for attaching my bike rack. I’d agree that the presence of a hitch doesn’t mean that the car has towed, although these cars did have a “respectable” Class I tow rating, especially considering that they still had a perimeter frame underneath them.

  10. nessy

    As an Olds fan here, this car is blah. It’s a base model sedan, crank windows, basic interior, it’s brown with the V6. 3200? No thanks. If it was a Supreme Brougham coupe or a Salon coupe with T Tops? YES.

  11. Scott

    Had one of these, an 84 gifted to me by my grandfather. Worst car I’ve ever owned, and the reason I will never again buy from GM.

  12. rando

    Ah heck, keep the wheels. I’m going with pink bass boat metal flake and 24s all the way around.

  13. Jay

    oh please

    this is a beater


  14. Mepo

    Winter beater!

  15. Rustytech Member

    I bought and sold several of these as used cars. They proved pretty reliable, but there were a couple of problems that showed up regularly. At about 60k miles about 7 out of 10 would show up with an engine knock, most dealers would run away from them at auction, so I was able to pick them up cheap. The fix was simple, they would beat out the rod bearing on cylinder #5. The pan was easy to remove so usually all that was needed was to polish the journal and replace the bearing. The other problem was more serious, at least up here in the north east. At about 6 years old the frame would rust out between the left rear wheel and the bumper mount. This would be a nice daily driver, summer or winter.

  16. Car Guy

    Here in the hot desert southwest, there would not be a bit of rust on it. However, the paint would be flat, the rubber oxidized, the dash cracked and burnt, and the upholstery dry and torn. Haven’t seen one this nice appearing in a long time……

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