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Garage-Kept Survivor: 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass S

The 1972 model year marked the final of production for the Second Generation Oldsmobile Cutlass. The upcoming model marked a significant styling change to a squarer and more hard-edged appearance that many enthusiasts feel was not as attractive. If a Second Generation Cutlass has been on your radar, this 1972 Cutlass S deserves a closer look. It has led a sheltered life, and spending its downtime stored in a garage has allowed it to remain rust-free. It presents exceptionally well for an original survivor, but it needs a new home. Located in Mount Vernon, Washington, the Cutlass is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The seller is looking at accepting the best offer over $15,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder MattR for referring this gem to us.

The original owner ordered this Cutlass finished in Flame Orange with a Beige vinyl top. It is a bold color choice that guarantees this classic should stand out in any crowd. The paint presents beautifully, with an impressive shine and no glaring faults. The vinyl top also looks good for its age. There is no evidence of shrinkage or cracking and no signs of bubbles that might indicate nasty surprises hiding below the surface. The panels are laser straight, but the lack of rust could be this classic’s greatest attribute. The seller indicates that the car has been garage-kept its entire life and remains completely rust-free. That is excellent news for any enthusiast unwilling to tackle a restoration project. The glass looks flawless, while the trim is very acceptable for a survivor-grade car of this vintage. The damage-prone hubcaps appear perfect, and the narrow whitewall tires add to the classy appearance.

Turning our attention to the interior reveals what seems to be the only genuine flaw with this Oldsmobile. The top outer edge of the front seat has a split that is visible in this photo. I’m unsure whether this could be patched or whether the buyer may need to source a replacement cover. Before taking any course of action, it would be worth consulting a professional because preserving this classic’s originality would be a wise move if considering it as a long-term investment. The remaining upholstered surfaces are excellent, with no wear or physical damage. The carpet looks good, as do the dash and pad. The original owner added an aftermarket radio/cassette player and a wrap on the wheel. Otherwise, this interior is as it would have been when it rolled off the showroom floor.

The seller offers no engine shots, but we know the Cutlass is numbers-matching. The VIN indicates that the engine bay houses a 350ci V8 that sends its 160hp to the rear wheels via a three-speed Turbo Hydramatic transmission. The car should be capable of covering the ¼ mile in 17.4 seconds. While hardly earth-shattering, that figure looked okay in an era when tightening emission regulations began to make themselves felt. The seller recently replaced the fuel tank and associated hoses. They treated the carburetor to a rebuild and performed a tune-up. The Olds runs like a top, making it a turnkey proposition for the next owner. The listing indicates that it has a genuine 59,800 miles on the clock but doesn’t mention supporting evidence. However, with the original Owner’s Manual, Protect-O-Plate, letter of thanks from Oldsmobile, the Pre-delivery Checklist, and other documentation included, I wouldn’t be surprised if the odometer reading can be confirmed.

Apart from its single interior flaw, it is hard to find any genuine problems with this 1972 Cutlass S. It presents superbly, and its condition should guarantee that it turns heads. That raises the question of its potential value and whether the asking price is justified. That’s a tough call because any classic is only worth what someone is willing to pay. A figure of $15,000 places this at the very top end of what someone might expect to pay for a perfect example, but its condition, odometer reading, and the included documentation could swing the scales in its favor. This Olds has been on the market for a relatively short time, and it will be interesting to see if it sells. I won’t be surprised if it does.


  1. Conrad A

    Very nice example of this second generation Cutlass. Anyone who buys it and wants to get into fixing the minor flaw in the interior will likely have a much easier time finding matching materials than I would for my 74 Cutlass Supreme coupe. Mine has the quintessential bench seat with the center armrest, in black, with the wreath like crest medallion embroidered into the upper seat back. One of the reasons I bought the car was because the upholstery was original, and intact, and I knew that if it was on its last legs, finding exact replacement upholstery would be near impossible for a 74. ( I like to keep’em as original as possible!). When it comes to trim, there’s precious little being reproduced for 73, 74, and up. 1st and 2nd generation Cutlasses have so much more available.

    This featured car is a really nice 72, definitely worth a premium price…

    Like 8
    • md

      I hear you Conrad, Monte Carlo, LeMans, Century, etc. Certain parts for Colonnade cars are nearly impossible to find (or afford). Try finding a good Monte Carlo Dash, or Grand Am woodgrain, or a nose emblem; 4 figures. Too bad, because they are some of the best driving cars ever made, but there value or demand (until recently) did not justify the re-pop suppliers making these needed parts.

      Like 0
  2. Camaro Joe

    It looks like a decent, rust free car but I look at the interior and can’t see a 60,000 mile car. It looks like 160,000 miles to me. The serious split in the driver’s seat back corner, general dirt/stains, and the steering wheel wrap indicate a lot more use than 60K miles.

    Even it is 160,000 miles, that’s only 3200 miles per year. I could believe that unless there’s a lot of documentation. I have a 62 Impala with 75,000 miles that I’ve known since it was a low mile original in 1972 and it doesn’t show the kind of wear that I see on this interior.

    I did replace the seat covers a few years ago because the thread disintegrated, and the carpet was replaced 20 years ago because it was dirty from my college summer job in the early 70’s working for the PA Game Commission.

    But this one still appears to be a really decent original car at a price that isn’t too bad. The 350 Olds will run forever if it’s had any kind of care, or a 455 and TH 400 will bolt in . . . . .

    Like 8
    • Chuck Simons

      My 61 Pontiac has a little more than 65K and the front seat is starting to separate at a seam. (I have the service reciepts from the previous owner, never got near 99,999. She sat most of the time)

      Like 0
  3. Chris In Australia

    Duals, Super Stock wheels and some brake and suspension upgrades.

    Like 3
  4. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    While the tail lights look accurate, the grille looks more like my ’71 Cutlass S did. Shouldn’t it be cross-hatched?

    Like 3
    • Patrick Curran

      This is the correct grill for the base Cutlass. The Cutlass Supreme had the cross-hatch (egg crate) grill.

      Like 1
  5. Fred W

    This, or something like it, is exactly what I would like in my garage next. Simply don’t need or want tire burning capability (although I’ll bet this one could bark the tires). Price is so much more reasonable for non muscle versions like this.

    Like 7
  6. Lance Platt

    I remember the Cutlass well on the local streets being a high school graduate of the class of 1972. Some wanted a loud muscle or pony car back in the day. My two dream cars were the more practical Oldsmobile Cutlass or Pontiac Lemans because they were easy to park intermediate sized and generally purchased well equipped with automatic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes and factory air conditioning. Alas. I am a half century older and missed out on my new 1972 car. Thanks to this seller and Barn Finds readers who have kept these wonderful machines from a by gone times running. This example has some rough spots and wear but still looks more stylish against modern cars.

    Like 3
  7. Joe Padavano

    Nice car, but this is a THIRD generation Cutlass. The first Cutlass was the Y-body 1961-63 cars, the second was the 64-67 A-body, and the third generation was the 1968-72 cars.

    Like 2
  8. John Oliveri

    One big flaw, look at the vent pulls, by the kick panels, there’s 2, that means No AC, that’s why there’s no engine pictures

    Like 2
  9. angliagt angliagt Member

    One of the best cars Olds ever made.

    Like 2
  10. AZVanman

    I was a 14 year old visiting family in Clarksville AR in 1974 and my sister had a Cutlass with this color scheme. I was already over 6’ tall and Sis let me drive it into town a couple times. Great car, great memories.

    Like 1

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