Coolest Wagon Ever? 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

In the days when wagons were the ultimate family utility vehicle, every kid knew the “Vista Cruiser” was the coolest. This 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser seeks a new owner here on craigslist in San Francisco, California with an asking price of $8,900. Thanks to Rocco B. who spotted this find.

Raise the roof! This is the money shot, folks. A raised rear section housed side windows and a full-width sunroof-style window over the rear seats, complete with a second set of visors to shield your wide-eyed crumb-snatchers from blindness. This picture also reveals a crumpled right rear door, one of several sizable dents on this car. While this station wagon body continued through 1976, the Vista disappeared after 1972. Olds loosely applied the name “Vista Cruiser” to other products but never with the same panache. (Some details from Wikipedia.)

Classy dash appears to be in good condition, and this Cruiser’s A/C and power windows made life easier for Mom and Dad. A 1969 Vista Cruiser starred in the TV situation comedy “That ’70s Show,” becoming (as many wagons do) a part of the family. Though stored for 30 years, the seller has this one running again, and the listing details good and bad points.

Like most Vista Cruisers of the time, this one packs the 350 Rocket V8. If your folks were super-cool, they ordered the 1970-72 Vista Cruisers’ optional 455 big block. There were even two W-30 “442” wagons built in 1970. The ideal buyer may be a ’70s Kid whose parents weren’t cool enough to buy one back in the day, or a fan of “That ’70s Show.” What’s your vision for this cool kid-mover?

Fast Finds


  1. Steve R

    On the pricey side mainly due to the body damage, would make a great car to hit the swapmeets with.

    Steve R

  2. Russ

    like it but overpriced

  3. Howard A Member

    You’re a dumba$$ if you don’t like this car,,,( one of my favorite shows)

  4. Vin in NJ

    I’d rip off the wood trim and add some 442 graphics and hood

    Like 4
    • Mountainwoodie

      Vinnie…….dats cause you lives in Joisey! The Buick Special would be my choice…..I even know where there is one…….sort of

    • Gay Car Nut

      If I could buy a Vista Cruiser, I’d give it “proper” gauges in place of the warning “idiot” lights that most GM cars used. I would think that’d be better than warning lights.

    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I love the hood scoops on this car. Whether they’re functional or not, they still look awesome!

  5. Nathan Avots-Smith Member

    This baby’s in Berkeley, less than a mile from where I sit right now; I think I can smell the fumes from the carbs from here…it’s calling to me…

    Thank god I’m broke.

    Like 2
  6. Bruce Fischer

    I sure miss mine.Bruce.

    Like 1
  7. Tom Driscoll

    I miss mine too…

    Like 2
  8. Tom Driscoll

    …and the one that got away

    Like 2
  9. rane

    World beautiful wagon ever.

    Like 1
  10. Howie

    Vista Cruisers hold a special place in our heart, we have had these in our lives since the early ’80’s. We have had this one since 2006. There are many groups that help support the enthusiasm for this unique style of station wagon. The GM Skywagon Club on Facebook is just one.

    Like 2
  11. boxdin

    Chevy Chevelle wagon and Pontiac Tempest wagon didn’t get high roofs, I didn’t realize that until years later. Olds & Buick were the top end and the other 2 were mere plebes.

    • Nathan Avots-Smith Member

      The Vista Cruiser and Sportwagon also got a five-inch wheelbase stretch, to 121″. This was meant to compensate for the discontinuation of full-size Olds and Buick wagons in the mid-60s, although they came back in the early ’70s, and allowed room for a forward-facing third row seat. Lesser Cutlass and Skylark wagons shared the shorter wheelbase with the Chevelle and Tempest versions.

  12. Graywolf

    Nice to make a Vista Cruiser from a Chevelle wagon. Most Vistas are rotting away, get as a doner.

  13. Ken Carney

    You’re right. mountainwoodie, the buick
    version of this car looked very sharp indeed. My parents owned a ’64 Skylark
    when I was in high school. Ours was Tan
    outside and medium brown inside. We ioften lowered the rear seat and used the
    large cargo area as a bed on those long
    road trips to see family members that lived out of state. Almost bought one
    before my wife passed away in 2003.
    Seeing one today brings back all those
    wonderful memories.

    Like 1
  14. C Carl

    Patina special, a non-vista cruiser.

    Like 2
  15. chad

    rather the ’79 – ’82 LTD as a driver. It wuz ‘down sized’ on a ‘fox’ body for those yrs (still 302/351 equipped).
    Any sales – lemmie know, I’m searchin. Just lost 1 to Burt Reynolds @ a FLA sale…

    • DVSCapri

      chad, The 79-82 LTD was full size – built on the “Panther” platform. You’re thinking of the 83-86 LTD on the Fox platform. in 82 the “Full Sized LTD was renamed to “Crown Victoria” for 83. As for the Fox car… based on the original Fairmont, there was also Cougar & Granada Fox Wagons (81/82) – they didn’t sell well at all! The same can’t be said for the LTD/Marquis Fox wagons, you can still find them in reasonably good shape now!

  16. Rob

    Hope it doesn’t end up like Clark Griswold’s Vista.

  17. Another Bob

    If it were closer I’d buy it for my mom since I owe her one for wrapping the family 72 VC around a tree about 1978.
    I don’t think she’s ever completely forgiven me for that.

  18. Fred W.

    These were completely off my radar as a teenager in the 70’s because at the time I was a staunch Ford guy. However, looking back, they are a fine looking wagon, especially the one with the “442” treatment.

  19. ccrvtt

    Coolest wagon ever?


    Like 1
  20. Gay Car Nut

    Sweet looking car. I’ve always loved the Vista Cruiser. I don’t know why. No one in my family that I know of ever owned a Vista Cruiser, or even the Buick Sport Wagon.

  21. Paul

    No doubt my all time favorite wagon…..actually the only wagon I ever liked. I would love to own this car.

  22. Gay Car Nut

    I’d buy a 1967 through 72 Vista Cruiser if I knew someone who is also into such cool cars as well.

  23. jeff bundy

    Here’s an update on this Vista, just a few changes.

    Like 5
    • DVSCapri

      That looks GREAT Jeff, what else have you done to it??

  24. Jeannene Heinrich

    I sure do like mine… I’m aaaalllllmost done with it’s ground-up restore. But the kids keep taking it for joy rides!

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