(Egg) Salad Days: 1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

I guess I’m on a bit of a wagon kick this weekend, but this ’84 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser brought back such a visceral sense memory that I had to take a closer look. I’m a big believer in the power of memory, especially as a motivation for connecting to and preserving history; unfortunately, my memory doesn’t make me want to get any closer to this Olds than looking at pictures! These B-body GM wagons were a fixture of American life, though, so I’m sure many of you will have fonder memories of them than I do; if so, you can check it out here on craigslist out of Riverside, California with an asking price of $5,450 (archived ad). Thanks to Pat L. for dredging up repressed feelings!

This picture is where I started having flashbacks. I grew up in a GM family, but we generally had smaller cars than this, so I only rode in a B-body wagon once, and it was a Custom Cruiser with exactly this shade of chocolate brown vinyl interior. It was some church-adjacent trip, and there were probably four or five of us kids packed across this rear bench, being driven to the beach by the teenage sons of the lady who owned the car. Clearly, I remember the time and environs, but what I really remember most of all is the overwhelming odor of the egg salad sandwich that one of our teen chaperones was eating in the front seat—and I cannot look at the pictures of this interior without my stomach turning at the memory of that smell!

If I could get past that (and I can’t really, yet), I’d have to concede that the interior of this 99,000-mile wagon is in exceptionally nice condition. I’m a little surprised by the austerity of its standard features—there are wind-up windows and no cassette player—but that just means little to go wrong, I guess. The A/C, we are told, works but “only” needs the infamous “recharge.” Uh-huh. Get used to cranking those windows.

Under the hood we find the 307-cubic inch Oldsmobile V8, which is said to run and drive without issues. While the wagon appears to be on offer from a dealer, it is being advertised as a one-owner car, and everything certainly looks to have been well maintained, although I’d quibble with the claim that 99,000 (on a five-digit odometer) is “super low miles”—but then, we’re spoiled around here.

Other than the usual disappearing plastic filler panels behind both bumpers, the exterior looks pretty flawless. Like the interior, the refrigerator white is a little basic—the egg salad-mobile at least had wood paneling—but wire wheel covers and a roof rack dress it up a bit. This is a pretty sweet wagon—I just wish I could get that smell out of my nose! What (hopefully less stinky) memories does this Olds evoke for you?

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Comments

  1. Blueprint

    More plush than the Rolls-Royce wagon ;)

  2. Jeffro

    I grew up in one of these. Dark green exterior/tan interior. Rear facing seat in back. This car brings back memories. Handled great in snow. Rust was its eventual death.

  3. Miguel

    This looks just like a car I sold back in the ’90s in the San Fernando Valley area.

    It might be the same car.

  4. ChevyTruckGuy

    What a handsome Cruiser! Just need those filler panels! Nice to see one without the plasti-wood paneling. The interior is quite sharp!

  5. Mountainwoodie

    The memory of cars we rode in as kids have such a strong visceral pull on us that we literally often spend our lives chasing down that memory in the form of a similar car. Egg salad and a brown interior would probably force me to reboot my memory harddrive!

  6. BRAKTRCR

    I bought one new in 84
    Didn’t really like it. Ran it 10k miles and offed it. Trans had trouble, was that when the 700 tranny was new? Was comfy, but the wire hubcaps rattled, bells would ring for no reason. I think I paid 11 or 12k for it new. Suburbans came next. Much happier. This car at almost half of new… seems optimistic to me.

  7. Wrong Way

    I love egg salad sandwiches! LOL

    • Chebby Staff

      Especially with bacon, yum!

  8. Maestro1

    Not much grunt and lightly equipped but very clean and presentable. There’s nothing wrong with these cars. Drive and enjoy.

  9. MrF

    Well said re: “recharge”. That seems to be all that’s ever needed, except when I own the vehicle. Repairs then cost $1-2k.

    • Miguel

      Considering it is a sealed system, the term recharge actually means replacement of hoses or more.

      I don’t see why people even put that in an ad.

      • Michael

        I agree. If it “only” needs a recharge, why don’t the sellers go ahead and plunk down $50-100 to have it done? Cold AC would be a great selling point, and worth the investment…..IF….that’s all it needs…….

  10. Keith

    I had an 83 Delta 88 Brougham coupe white/burgundy velour interior. Bought it in 1994 Great ride, nice strong V8, The 80-85 Delta 88 alongside the 76-88 Cutlass Supreme was one of the most reliable, most popular, one of the best designed Olds ever produced. It survived the GM downsizing nightmare of 1985 for one more year and If you couldn’t afford a Ninety Eight you could buy an Eighty Eight and get the same quality and luxury options for a few thousand dollars less. I miss Oldsmobile…They don’t make em like this anymore.

  11. Jerry Brentnell

    my x brother in law bought one of these and donated it to his church to pick up sunday school kids but this one had that garbage diesel engine that gm converted from a 350 gas boat anchor, 3 months later it threw a rod and he dumped it!

  12. Jubjub

    Loaded a lot of new Schwinns in the back of these back in the day. Distinctly remember the feel of turning that gate handle…and the release of weight through the weatherstripping and onto the hinges.

  13. Classix Steel

    Nice smash up derby car potential or cut the roof off behind front seat to Camino it :-p

  14. David Miraglia

    More practical than the Rolls Wagon. The Rolls Royce wagon should be in a car museum. The Olds wagon still has every day uses

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