Fastback: 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon Brougham

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This is a time warp, and maybe a design warp, depending on if you care for these unusual cars or not. The 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon Brougham is on eBay in Mankato, Minnesota with a price of $7,900 or make an offer. This car is all original and it’s in almost showroom condition. And, it has a surprise between the seats.

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Other than the bumpers, which probably aren’t the most-beloved feature of cars of this era, the sloping fastback on the GM A-Body cars has to rank with one of the least-favorite designs of the 1970s. Of course, that makes them even more desirable to me, but maybe not to normal people.

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This car is in almost perfect condition and hopefully at least some readers will appreciate the condition, whether they actually like the design or not. It is possible, of course, to appreciate something even if you don’t like it. Take, for instance, Shakespearean literature and/or Brussels Spouts. The seller lists this car as having 0 miles, and.. well, wait, that’s not possible! The photo shows 34,211 miles and I think that may be correct; as in, not 134,211. This car is in such nice condition that I don’t doubt the mileage as being on its first trip ’round the bend.

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WOW, that’s red! That’s as lipstick red as my Audi TT ALMS edition interior is. And, WOW, that’s a manual transmission! This interior looks about as perfect as it gets. This car looks about as rust-free as it gets. It must have been a summer-only car if it was from Minnesota. That’s one big, industrial-looking shifter! It almost looks like the controller for a mining truck.

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There is no mention of what engine this is, but I’m guessing that it’s Oldsmobile’s 4.3L 260 V8 with about 110 hp. That’s not a lot of power, but it was the late-1970s. The engine could have done with a little detailing, but it’s probably better to see it like this than to see it with a half-gallon of greasy, shiny goo sprayed all over it in the name of “detailing” like some sellers do. This car looks great, especially since it’s almost forty years old! Are there any fans of GM’s A-Body cars out there?

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    I forgot about these cars, because man are they ugly

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  2. geomechs geomechsMember

    I never cared for this body style. I had a customer who had one of these with a 260 diesel in it. If you think the gas pot was underpowered, try a diesel on for size. I think the 260 was only 90 hp. However the motor kept the car moving for over 100K miles. He replaced it with a 350 diesel and drove it for many more years. The original owner has passed away now but I’ve heard that the car is sitting in a shed on the farm.

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  3. jim s

    seller has 99 vehicles for sale on ebay. the manual transmission would make the deal. take the cover off the steering wheel, take a close look at the muffler, and then daily drive this. great find.

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  4. Steven C

    Had one just like this with a 260v8 and a th200 automatic. The th200 was absolute garbage, this would be a great car with a manual trans!

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  5. MikeG

    Car with 80’s cache, thy name is fugly…

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  6. Chebby

    That gear lever looks like it’s protruding from a freshly-whipped pile of cow dung. Add some Oldsmobile Rally wheels, dual exhaust, and a nice Hurst shifter and this would be a pretty sweet example of a so-so car.

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  7. HoA Howard AMember

    I had a couple of these. Believe it or not, it was one of the few cars my ex-wife couldn’t kill. I’ve never seen one with a 4 speed. These were generally old lady cars, and there’s probably 6 out of a million that were equipped this way. This car sorely needed a hatch. Seems US was slow to adopt that feature. I had a wagon too, which was a much more useful car. The wagon had a V-6, I think, but the sedan had this V-8. I remember, it was running a bit rough, so I figured better change the plugs. The plug in the back, under the heater was almost unreachable. When I finally did get it out, it looked like the original plug ( different brand than the rest) and had no electrode, that’s how long it was in there. How it ran was beyond me. Just ho-hum people movers, but dependable cars. This particular car, solely because of the 4 speed, is pretty rare.

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  8. Jerry Long

    One of GM’s worst designs ever. I special ordered a 1977 Cutlass Supreme Brougham. A very very poorly built but great looking car (350 CI). I swore off on GM cars thereafter. It rusted out in a year by the Landau roof, it had a Chevette transmission as they could not build transmissions in sufficient quantities to meet the demand (car died on the highway and would only restart in park), the dash split when the weather turned cold, the driver side power window switch was down in the door when delivered, the carburetor float dissolved, the trunk lid had rust on the inside structure when delivered and it ate tires on the front end no mater how it was setup. Junk.

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  9. C brand

    These had to be one of the ugliest vehichles around at the time ! Just when you thought the design nightmares were over……. then came Aztec !! lol I guess both were an aquired taste for style.

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  10. Jubjub

    “Hey kid, you wanna make $20 bucks? We gotta get this car outta this bad neighborhood. See, my wife’s pregnant…”

    Anybody know the quote?

    A manual…funky.

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    • PRA4SNW

      Repo Man?

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  11. Jim Marshall

    How GM could have one of the best looking 76 and 77 mid sized cars on the road and then design this ugly beast makes no sense at all. These cars did not sell well but this formal coupe saved the day of downsizing for GM and Olds.

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  12. Al

    I’m the proud owner of a similar car, 1978 Olds Calais in silver, carmine interior, 260 and a factory 5 speed. One of 960 examples as I recall. Rally wheels, white-walls, AC, a very sweet car. Much better looking than the 4-door and decent ride and performance.

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  13. RoughDiamond

    @Chebby-I almost choked on my toast and honey at your cow dung comment and couldn’t agree more.

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  14. BEK Boston

    If you think this is ugly, my dad had one of these in pea green with black pleather. Just horrible. Replaced it with a crap brown Chevy Malibu, followed by another pea green Cutlass Ciera. Needless to say my taste in cars wasn’t inherited.

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  15. Ron

    Had a light blue one like this back in the early 90’s. Automatic and 260 v8. It was a piece of crap. Once the rust took over the trunk it was game over.

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  16. Ed P

    In 1980, GM corrected this styling mistake by adding a proper trunk. That made this car look decent. The 78-79 styling would only appeal to someone that likes oddities.

    Like 1
    • Douglas A. Willinger

      What about a “Nomad” wagon version of the two door 1978-1980 aero-back?

      Like 0
  17. Bill Owens Bill OMember

    These slant backs from Buick and Olds made no sense, were ugly and they didn’t sell. So they redesigned a notchback for them in 1980 and sales were better. But also in 1980, GM must have said it’s Chevrolet’s and Pontiac’s turn to get their own slant back 4 doors (Citation and Phoenix), but at least they were hatchbacks. Meanwhile, Buick and Olds got notchback versions of their X bodies with the Skylark and Omega. Guess GM learned its lesson, Buick and Olds drivers didn’t want slant back 4 doors.

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  18. Keith

    Believe it or not, there’s also a 4-4-2 version of this…..thing. I have a soft spot for unloved cars of the 70’s and 80’s, but even I don’t want one of these.

    Like 1
  19. nessy

    Ahh, it’s so ugly that it’s pretty if that makes sense. Make mine that GM poop brown with a plain tan vinyl interior, no white wall tires and missing hubcaps, ok, make mine a diesel too, I think the diesel was offered on this car. Remember Buick had a Turbo edition of this car? I’ll take the Buick edition with the turbo in puke green. Look how parts of that flashy red interior turned pink from the sun and age. Olds had the nerve to call this crank window stick shift bomb a brougham? A far cry from a 98 Regency Brougham or a Toronado brougham….

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  20. Ed P

    Yes to the diesel. It was a 260 cid v8 for 78-79. Not much power. The 350 diesel was first available for 1980 in this line.

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  21. P911tom

    Just what I always wanted! Gramma’s Oldsmopile with a clunky Saginaw 4 speed. Perfect for the short drive to the the nearest Lutheran church.

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  22. MM

    Almost looks like an uglier Chevy Citation. I had an 1981? Citation I bought for $400 drove all around the country to California and back in ’95. Could sleep in the hatch back with seats down. Best car ever.

    “It’s the first Chevy of the 80’s! Chevy Citatiooon!” (from commercial).

    Like 0
  23. Oliver Rojas

    The aero-backs are among the rarest late 70s GM vehicles. Thanks.

    Like 0

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