EXCLUSIVE: 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass And A 455 V8

From Mike T – I inherited this 1971 Olds Cutlass from my grandmother back around 1997 with about 40-50k miles on it (I think) for use as my 16-year-old son’s first car. It was in near perfect shape as his grandmother bought it new and babied it, and it had a beautiful factory gold color with a white landau top.  It was a mistake to hand such a nice car over to a 16-year-old.  The first thing my son did was slap on a cheap Earl Shibe paint job, black, of course. He had me install a new stereo system and that was about the last I saw of him for about 5 years while he literally drove the wheels off of it with his newfound freedom. He actually drove it carefully but managed to put on about 60,000 miles on it in 5 years just driving it mostly around town and a few trips out of town with his friends… With a license, a car, and friends, what good is a dear old dad to a 16-year-old who was itching to fly the coop?

My son was a careful driver, but drove the car so much he literally wore the front bench seat down to the springs and had to sit on a pillow. In the meantime, the AC either quit or ran out of Freon, the stereo quit working, a dent appeared (I may have been responsible for that while moving it out of the shop), and the interior became completely shot. It still ran well though, but before my son drove the wheels off of the car, I took the car back in 2002 which was the last year the car was on the road. It has been parked in my junky shop since then. and hence it has sat.

The interior obviously needs to be completely re-done, one minor dent fixed, a new paint job applied and a complete tuneup, but other than that the car is in good shape and runs and drives, although the idle is rough after sitting for 17 years. I would recommend replacing the points, plugs, condenser, rotor cap, spark plug wires and plugs since they are all 17 years old or close to it. There are no obvious leaks but this or anything else can be guaranteed. The alternator light flickers. The AC needs to be fixed or re-charged. But here are some positive things to consider: This car is not a ground-up restoration project, just needs to be fixed up. Rust is very minimal, if any, other than some surface rust underneath (if you want to call dirty metal rust, I cannot tell), as the car has been in sunny California all its life. No wrecks or accidents that I am aware of. Just one not-too-big dent and a bunch of door opening dings on the driver’s side. I’m the second (or rather my son) owner of this vehicle

The car can probably be driven as is to a new owner’s place as long as it is not far, however, it is currently on a non-op status and I would not want to be caught by the CHP before registering it. I also don’t know how well it would hold out after not being driven in such a long time… it might go hundreds or only 1 mile. It could use fresh gas. I changed the oil about a year ago and I flushed the coolant years ago, two tires on it are about 2 years old, the other two are ancient but hold air fine, the transmission fluid has not been changed in a long time. The trunk and glove box locks need replacing and the AM radio does not work either. The white landau top is in perfect or near perfect shape. Three cans of R12 and lube can be provided. Assembly manual included, includes factory shop manual information, pictures and much more. It’s far better than just a shop manual.

A spare 1970 to 1972 (I cannot remember what year) 455 c.i. motor and turbo 400 transmission is included if the new owner wants them. I turned the motor over manually and changed the oil in it about 20 years ago and it has sat in my shop ever since. I have a cherry picker that can probably be used to pick up both to load if needed. I also have a NOS 8-tract tape player that’s included and the original owner’s manual and consumer knowledge booklet.

I am moving and have too many vehicles and projects laying around as it is, so this needs to.  This Olds was slated to go to a relative, but they aren’t going to be able to take it. I’m willing to hear lower offers. It just needs to go and get the sad story of “Grandma’s Ghost” (name of the car) over and done with. I don’t know if she ever drove it other than to church on Sundays but I can guarantee my son never did, that’s for darn sure.

There’s definitely some work to be done here, but this Cutlass looks like a great find. Mike wants to see this car go to a good home and has done a great job presenting its story, flaws, and features. The included 455 V8 is a nice bonus and would help you turn this into one fast machine. Given the mileage, the original engine is probably about due for a rebuild, so you might as well install the big block and TH400 in there and have some fun with it!

Whatever you decide to do with this Cutlass, it will be a fun car to have, so be sure to contact Mike via the form below with any questions or to seal the deal!

  • Asking Price: $2,000
  • Location: Coarsegold, California
  • Mileage: 101,520
  • Title Status: Clean
  • VIN: 332871Z112900

Contact The Seller

Do you have too many project cars? Please consider listing them for sale here on Barn Finds!


  1. NotSure

    My dear mother owned a 1970 from about 78-80. It really was a great car with the 350 rrrrrrRocket! in it. I’m betting with a 455 Rocket this one would be a blast to drive. This should get scooped up quick!

    Like 4
  2. George

    That’s a deal no matter how you look at it.

    Like 11
  3. Stevieg Member

    I just messaged the seller to call me this upcoming Sunday. I am hoping he still has it then but I understand he might not. If he does, this old girl might be heading to Milwaukee. We shall see. Kinda dumb on my part. Off work due to a motorcycle accident, paying off a 1951 Pontiac convertible, not really enough space for yet another car. But these 4 wheeled contraptions (& 2 wheeled ones too) are my drug!

    Like 11
    • 4504 Member

      Stevieg I will call you on Sunday if it is still available, I think it will be, see below, thanks… mike

      Like 3
  4. local_sheriff

    Even without the 455 this would be an ultra-great deal, at such an asking how much is there to loose? In today’s market of repops locating the necessary bits for a Cutlass/442 should be not much harder than for a same era Chevelle. I would be surprised if it’s still available after writing this post!

    Cool story and comprehensive, honest description!

    Like 8
  5. J_Paul Member

    $2,000. Damn. If only I had space for it!

    Like 3
  6. 4504 Member

    Thanks for the comments, the car is mine. I am not one of those guys who thinks their vehicle is worth a million bucks, but I figure if I offer it at a fair price and give the honest story about it, it should go fairly quickly. I cannot guarantee anything but I have been honest about the car.

    I do not remember what vehicle the 455 and t.b.400 came out of, it could have been anything from a station wagon to a supercar, all I know is that I was told it was from an oldsmobile from around 1970-72. If I can be of help in tracking down any numbers on the spare engine that might determine what the donor car was, I will look and do my best. I do not know if the 455 turns over now, as it has sat so long, it was covered but some rain got thru the roof and the cover, but I do not think any water got inside the motor as the carb was covered and the spark plugs in place, but even if it “stuck”, I do not think it would take much work to get it unstuck. Anybody is more than welcome to come look at the car first before committing to it. I have to put a jack in the cherry picker but my advice is to bring a beefy friend or two to help move the 455 and trans (if you want them, I hope that you do) out of the garage and onto your trailer, there is a fair chance that I got enough stuff like jacks and rollers to get it outside, it is right next to the door. The motor in the car is the Olds Rocket 350 that the vehicle was manufactured with.

    The vehicle was supposed to go to a relative (my brother’s wife’s son) that came from overseas but he flunked the driving test 2 weeks ago and went back home last week. My plan is to clean up all the stuff and junk around here (I live on a lot in an old rv on the property in the foothills), then sell the lot before I kick the bucket (64 years old). As the writer said, I am much more interested in the olds getting a good home than the money. I was going to turn it into a super sleeper with the spare motor and trans, but I got enough other vehicles and projects and frankly just not interested in that anymore. I will answer any questions you might have. oh, I don’t think the clock works either and I will double check the underside to make sure the minimum rust claim is true, I am pretty sure it is tho, I can say there is nothing obvious such as rust holes or bumps or such, I will do what I can to add some pics of the underside tommorow…. I want nobody to be unhappy, especially me haha… mike

    Like 18
  7. 86_Vette_Convertible

    For $2K and a honest history/description, I sure hope this gets to someone that appreciates it. It looks like it’s an honest car and should give someone a lot of years of fun.
    Good luck on the sale.

    Like 7
  8. 4504 Member

    There has been some interest. To answer to few questions…

    1. yes, it has the original factory rocket 350 motor, the sticker for this in on the air cleaner… unless my grandma changed the motor out with the same kind, which I really, really, really doubt.

    2. yes, gold is the original color. Mr. Sheib is not exactly the king of quality control. You can see the color in the trunk picture.

    Please ask all future details questions HERE.

    After struggling to make the purchase process fair to all, and coming up with all kinds of long, frustrating, complicated and useless ideas, I have simplified my terms…


    thanks… mike

    Like 6
    • local_sheriff

      I love it when a seller gives such an honest description and adds multiple pics; not only that you even respond to peoples questions!

      You’re obviously an honorable car guy and though I understand you want to seal the deal quickly, please don’t just uncritically leave it to the first guy showing up with the $. Your whole presentation shows it deserves going to someone who will BUILD and ENJOY this Olds – not just to someone who puts it up on ebay the next week – with a much higher price tag. Thanks

      Like 3
  9. TimM

    If I were around the corner I’d buy it right now!! Great car!! My wife had an Oldsmobile cutless when I met her!! She would love this car!!

    Like 2
  10. Bakyrdhero

    Man that’s a lot of car for $2k even without the extra drivetrain that’s included. This is a great entry to the hobby. I wish it wasn’t a few thousand miles from me. Nice, honest seller providing a full history of the car also. Good luck Mike!

    Like 5
  11. Joe

    What’s your address ? I’ve got the money

    Like 1
  12. SebastianX1/9

    That’s a hot car! For $2000? I hope someone here just buys it tonight.

    Like 1
    • Joe

      I would buy it tonight if he would give me his address or contact me.. i’ve left my phone number & email address, how do you get a hold of this guy!

  13. J_Paul Member

    This may be the first Barn Finds listing in ages that doesn’t spark a round of “I remember when those cars were cheap back in the 80s, and so I’m going to use that as a basis to complain about the prices in 2019.”

    (bonus points for mentioning flippers, auctions, or television shows)

    Anyway, good luck to whoever winds up buying this smoking deal, and please let us know how things progress with the car!

    Like 7
    • George

      Exactly. Here, he’s selling it for the 80s price!

      Like 2
  14. Mountainwoodie

    Hell your son didnt do as much damage to that one car as mine did to not one, but 4 cars. From an Audi 100 to a ’79 MGB to a cherry sunroof ’67 VW ending finally by destroying his late grandfather’s ’87 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Some kids just shouldn’t be allowed to drive. :)

    Like 5
  15. Rich

    Good Lord. This is my favorite car. Used to own a ’72 back in the day (Jessica was her name), then a ’73, then an ’81 and ’82. Would love to get my hands on this but I’m on the other side of the US. The ’72 has been gone for 30 years now but I still have a ton of parts that I can’t bring myself to part with.

    Great deal and look forward to seeing her go to a new home.

    Like 1
  16. edh

    Why bother with the long draw out story? Even if it is total BS, you’re not asking a fortune. $2K is reasonable, someone will buy it and flip it for close to $20K because there is plenty of stupid money out there.

  17. 4504 Member

    I live in Coarsegold, California, which is about 40 miles north of Fresno in central California, zip of 93614. I will check my emails in a few hours after I wake up and go get some coffee. and hopefully, it will be done then.

    Joe, I will be looking for your message. There are problably going to be a few who will say they will buy the vehicle at 2K. If there are, I will contact them and if they can top each other’s price over $2,000, I will take it. I think that would be fair to those who are really serious and give everyone an equal chance.. However, I am not interested in turning this into an auction. If not, as I said, I will just take the first person able to meet the 2K price and get a definite commitment. I will likely want a deposit if it would be a while to pick up the car and the remainder upon pickup.

    Thanks to all for your replies… mike

    Like 2
  18. Tom

    How cool, everybody still has a chance!

  19. 4504 Member

    hello all

    I opened my email a few minutes ago and was overwhelmed with the inquiries, of which at least 4-6 were the “I will buy this car now” type. So my problem, which I caused myself, is how to be fair to all of those who are serious without disappointing anybody. I really do not like what I have done and am searching for way out and keep the “good guy” and fair image that I have at the same time.

    The deal is like this… when I inherited this car from my grandmother, I had paid my mother $2,000 just out of decency. That is where I got the $2,000 asking price. That is why I would be happy with that. I think that I paid another $500 for the 455 and t-400, but that does not enter this deal here.

    About the only way I can think of was first I thought I could offer it at the 2K price on a lottery situation… put the definite commits names into a bag, draw one out and there is my buyer. But I can see problems with that as well, for there will be those who think that idea sucks, why could not I have just sold the car to them, etc.

    Think about it folks. You are buying a great car, but you may have to travel a far distance with a trailer to get here. There is no guarantee that the 455 will turn over or is from a hot donor car. You will spend thousands for the interior and engine swap and paint, if that is your intention. The 455 and the stock motor will likely have to be rebuilt (or should be), especially since the 455 is already out of the car.

    But then again, there is a fair chance that the donor motor will be fine, you fix the inside of the car and for about $4-8 thousand (depends on the final price) to include your travel expenses and labor, you may end up at the end with a finished smoking hot Cutlass that should keep up at the least with my 2000 WS6 320 h.p. Firebird, if not beat it altogether.

    So I have decided to resolve the situation like this, right or wrong. I know I am going to look like a greedy bad guy for this, but I frankly just do not see any other way out and still be fair to those who want this car. My problem was listing this car cheap. I figured maybe one or two people would be interested in the car, one would be serious and simple, I sell the car to that person. easy.

    but once again, I have done it to myself and in the interest of fairness take the chance of me looking like a scumbag sleazy greedy seller person, and I am not like that, not in the least. This is not the first time I have backed myself in a corner by being a fair, perhaps too fair, of a human being. So this is the plan:

    I will take the rest of the morning answering the inquiries and offers that are in my email. I will answer each and every one of them. I have to go from an asking listing to an offer listing. That way, everyone who is serious and is not knocked out by the price (and that would make me sad), has the same chance.

    So I will do this. Just send a message to me to my email with your offer. Right now it is $2,000. If I get an offer over that, I will say so HERE on this thread and put what the amount is, along with the initial(s) of the person making the offer so nobody will think I am just making them up as I go along.

    Then, on this upcoming Sunday, 4.28.2019 at 1500 hrs (that is 3:00 p.m.for you civilians haha) I will accept the highest offer. If people back down, fine. If the highest offer is $2,100, fine. I will then notify the buyer that the car is theirs, they will have 48 hours to send me a $500 deposit and have one month to pick up the car (I can extend this period if needed), and the remainder will be due upon pickup. If the buyer changes their mind upon arriving, fine, I will refund their deposit to them on the spot.

    If this pisses some buyers off, I am sorry for it but fine. It will thin out the herd. I would like to know however what you would do if you were in my position. To those who have committed in the messages, keep in mind that who knows, both engines may need and problably should be rebuilt, the 455 may be stuck, you will have to refurbish the interior, it may cost thousands for an engine rebuild and paint and for your travel expenses, etc.

    This is the only way I can think of to be fair to everyone and without pissing off those who have already messaged me with a commitment.

    The bottom line is this: the vehicle and the other stuff is available for $2,000. If you want to make an offer higher than this, then do so, keeping in mind that I will require a (refundable) $500 deposit within 48 hours after this Sunday. I will post your offer ON THIS SITE ONLY so that others can see what it is. If the deposit does not arrive within 48 hours, then I will go onto the next guy. If you want to beat the current price, then send me a message with your offer and I will put it on this site. If it ends up that the price is still only $2,000 after this Sunday after weeding out anybody who changes their mind or whatever, fine with me, that is all I was wanting anyways.

    I will now go to my inbox and answer each one of your messages, questions and commits. I apologize for all the drama which I am responsible before, but it is the only fair way out that I can see so that everyone has a chance, and if you get priced out It would make me sad, but take heart, none of the higher commits, if any are received, may work out and you will get it at the 2K asking price. So hang in there. p.s. I did read one of the emails, yes, it can go on a trailer, it will drive up into a trailer. PLEASE RESTRICT QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CAR TO THIS SITE ONLY! however, you can message me with an offer.

    thanks and apologies to to all… mike

    p.s. I should be able to post a few pictures of the underneath of the car today, who knows, there may be some surprises, but I am pretty sure it is fairly rust-free or a minimum of rust based on looking at the rest of the car.

    Like 1
  20. 4504 Member

    underneath pic 1 of 7

  21. 4504 Member

    underneath pic 2 of 7

  22. 4504 Member

    underneath pic 3 of 7

  23. 4504 Member

    underneath pic 4 of 7

  24. 4504 Member

    underneath 5 of 7

  25. 4504 Member

    underneath pic 6 of 7

  26. 4504 Member

    underneath pic 7 of 7

    The plastic windshield washer is gone too, it fell apart over the years. Anyways, here is some photos of underneath. No obvious rust that I can see, maybe some surface rust at worst in some places? There was some black undercoating topside of the gas tank, apparently put there by the factory or dealership option? or standard? I could not see the undercoating anywhere else, but my view was very limited to the extent I could squeeze my body under the car. If it is an optional undercoating, looks like my grandma went for it, unlike that guy looking at that car for sale at the dealership in Fargo haha.

    You are welcome to come visit and see the car beforehand if you wish, if so send me a message and I will give you my home address and rough directions. You will have about two days at the least to travel, because right or wrong, for good or for bad, I want this vehicle sold by 3:pm this Sunday 4/28/2019.

    I answered about 35 emails this a.m., about a quarter of them were commits to buy but you know how that goes, maybe 1 or 2 in 10 would follow thru, thanks to all who sent them, please ask questions about the car on this site and any offers to my email. Some of you may have already passed because of the way I handled this listing, but that is ok to me, selling it at 2k is fine for me.

    Just remember tho, that you will or may have the cost of a car hauler trailer rental if you don’t already have one, gas, motels, food, etc. going both ways, plus the probable rebuild of either the stock rocket 350 or the 455, an interior to replace, installation costs of the 455 motor if you go that route (and the last time it was turned over was about 15 years ago roughly), and doubtless other costs so it will add up.

    Under the best of circumstances I forsee an additional cost of 4-8 thousand for the above if you go the whole route, but I could be off, it is just a guess, especially if you do some of the work or motor rebuilding. You got a few days to think it over. But if you do buy it at 2k, and you either are lucky or mechanically knowledgable, you could have a real tire burner for about 4-8 thousand at the most depending how far you go with it, maybe less? I cannot guarantee anything and the car will be sold as-is. It is all a judgement call and I wish all of you well.

  27. 4504 Member

    No, the car does not smoke, not even a little, and starts within 20-30 seconds even after a month of sitting, by furiously pumping the gas pedal. Battery is good. Some carb cleaner should do wonders to smooth out the rough idle, a complete tune-up would finish the job. Please ask all such vehicle condition questions here on this site.

  28. Jason

    I messaged you as well Mike. I’m in Spokane,Washington and do lots of work to all kinds of 1970’s cars. This one would be fun to drive and I’ve always liked them. I am surprised by the questions of some. The car is 2 grand. It’s a smoking deal even without the spare 455(which I don’t want). As for the guy in Milwaukee-keep your eyes peeled for a green 1973 Olds 98-I just sent one out there to a guy and he might pick up my 1973 triple black Buick Regal.

  29. 4504 Member

    “S.H.” has made an offer of $2,500

    offer increasements will be in $500 increments only. In other words:.

    the next offer should be $3,000 or more.

    if interested, so not wait until the last minute as I may not be around or have the time to post the offer here. This listing is not automated like ebay. I have been having problems posting messages here this a.m. and unless I have had time to post your offer here, it will be invalid. Do not wait until the last minute.


    thanks… mike

  30. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I read where this is for sale for 2K. Now it is an auction at $500 increments? What gives?

    Like 1
    • Tom

      Old real estate tactic, underprice and provoke a bidding war. Risky, and often backfires.

      Like 1
  31. 4504 Member

    I knew something like this was going to come up. If you read the entire thread, you may understand. When I listed this car, my inbox was flooded with over 30 messages, with about a quarter of them saying they would buy the car RIGHT NOW.

    So what to do? How to choose who over who without pissing somebody off? So I changed it to an offer listing, starting at 2K. The current offer came from a guy who offered $2,500. Personally, I hope it stays that way. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the money.

    If you, or anyone else, is interested in the vehicle, then message me with a BINDING $2,000 offer. If the current deal does not work out, I will go back to the people who offered $2,000 in order, KEEPING IN MIND THAT YOUR OFFER IS MORE THAN A OFFER, IT IS A COMMITTMENT TO BUY. I would then only be too happy to take the 2K.

    If I get any more threads doubting me or my motives without either reading the thread or trying to understand that my entire motive was to be fair to everyone, then I am just going to cancel the whole thing and either go with the current offer or just pull the car from being sold. I don’t need it and I don’t deserve it.

    thanks anyways for your message, I would imagine that you are not the only one with those thoughts.


  32. 4504 Member

    PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE THREAD! my inbox is flooded with messages and offers to buy it.. to clear up a few of them, here this is:

    If you want this car, send me a message WITH THE AMOUNT YOU WISH TO OFFER and understand that your offer is binding and with the understanding that you will need to send me a $500 deposit by this Tuesday should you end up with the car and not able to pick it up within 48 hours after this Sunday.

    Any messages that do not contain this will be ignored. $2,000 is a good offer and you may end up with it, so if the current offer falls thru, I will do down the line with messages from people, in the order I received them, who send me a message with their BINDING, $500 DEPOSIT REQUIRED (within 48 hours if they end up being the buyer) offer. So it is best that you send me a message with the offer amount as soon as you can.

    Right now it stands at $2,500, however, if it does not work I am simply going to go down the line IN THE ORDER THAT I RECEIVED OFFERS WITH THEIR OFFER PRICE ONLY, so if you are interested, get back to me asap. If that next person does not work out I will go down the line, and so on and so on. If you wish this car at 2k, you may very well end up with it if the person above you is not able to follow thru with their offer.

    The vehicle is located in Coarsegold, CA, which is about 40 miles north of Fresno, the zip is 93614. If you live a long way away, it may be cheaper to have it shipped, but we are going to have to figure out how to get the spare 455 motor and t-400 to you also if you go that route.

    I will take the car out today and make sure that it will still drive down the road a short distance, starting it is not a problem but it could either use carb cleaner or a rebuilt carb, it runs rough after all these year but idles without dying out..

    thanks… mike

  33. 4504 Member

    Yep, you got me figured out Tom, I was pulling the old “Real Estate Tactic”, boy did you call that one right. Just to show you how greedy I really am, after trying to explain everything, I am still the bad guy, right?

    Just to show you how right you are and “trying to provoke a bidding war”, I am ending this listing now. I will just either keep the car or sell it locally where I can engage in some other sneaky and greedy tactic. Yep, you sure called it!

    To the others, I have tried repeatedly how I backed myself into a corner in this listing and was only trying to keep things fair. But since Tom has got me all figured out now, why continue with this real estate type sharade, right?

    My apologies to everyone except Tom, who thinks everyone is like him and makes a completely dumb-ass remark to try to make me out to be the bad guy.

    I learned a lesson that I will not repeat… mike

    Like 1
    • Tom

      4504, I gave you a thumbs up.

  34. Bakyrdhero

    That is the most epic sale/non sale ever!

    Like 3
  35. TimM

    I just read your ending comment and for the life of me I can’t understand why you didn’t take the first $2000 offer that came to you???? I would have put an offer in for such a sweet ride but I knew that every shark in the water was going to bite this hook!! My wife had the same year car with a 350 and it sure would have been one hell of a surprise to see her face when it got here!! Sorry it didn’t work out for you but it didn’t work out for anyone who wanted it either!!!

    Like 3
  36. Bloodline02

    By chance is she still available

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