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Glorified Station Wagon: 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

Picture this- let’s go back to 1983, and suppose that the scriptwriters of Vacation had sent the family Vista Cruiser to a custom shop for a makeover instead of the crusher.  Sure, the whole feel of the movie would have been different without the green Country Squire and its 8 headlights, but I’m just saying let’s run with the idea of if the Olds wagon had survived.  My guess is it may have turned out looking similar to this 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale here on Craigslist.  The only difference is you can actually purchase this one!  But you’ll have to shell out 48 grand and travel to Los Angeles to get it.

We’d like to thank Barn Finds reader Jim for the tip here!  In all fairness, the station wagon really is in nice shape, with the seller claiming it’s only had two owners.  And technically, he may be somewhat right too in saying it’s all original, at least underneath all the knick-knacks that have been added.  It’s a bit puzzling to try and figure out the car’s history, but from what I’m gathering it seems the wagon started out in the state of New York, with the seller calling it a true barn find.  I’m not sure if that means the Vista had been stored in NY and it’s a recent acquisition he brought cross-country, or if it’s been under his ownership for quite some time in California.  He does state that the wagon bears the owner’s initials, which look like “LS” when I put my magnifying glass up to the door, but it’s not specified if those are the previous caretaker’s letters or his own.  The chrome spoke wheels wearing whitewall tires sort of carry his one-of-a-kind description up even another notch.

Inside, things are more tranquil, with that black interior having survived rather nicely if it is indeed original.  The mileage is listed as 41,000, and if the inner parts haven’t been refreshed they do seem to reflect a well-cared-for vehicle with low miles.  Plus the Vista has got that cool roof glass, a feature every station wagon should have been equipped with, in my humble opinion.  It appears a pretty rockin’ speaker system has been added in the rear as well.

I kept searching for a photo with the hood raised, but unfortunately, there’s not one.  The standard engine for ’69 was a 350 V8, but some good news is this one’s got the optional 400, factory rated at 325 horsepower, so there’s plenty of power to haul the family anywhere you want to go.  Yeah, this wagon’s definitely not for everybody, but it’s hard not to appreciate the condition under all that bling and at least it didn’t meet the same fate as the Griswold’s Vista Cruiser suffered.  What are your thoughts on this one?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Craig Baloga

    Kind of feel a Clark Griswold vibe from this cruiser….would make a killer parade ride, easily holding 8 of your mates and an ice cold pony keg!

    👍

    Like 16
    • Avatar photo T. Mann Member

      The Clark Griswold Family Truckster

      Just so you know the Wagon Queen Family Truckster in the National Lampoon movie is a 1979 FORD LTD Country Squire

      Like 5
  2. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    The seller notes, “many chrome components on vehicle….” An understatement.

    Like 44
    • Avatar photo Art Engel

      Well to each their own I guess. I agree with the J C Whitney catalog, we’re talking Hillbilly Deluxe! I used to tease my neighbor with all the tacky trinkets he installed and stuck all over his car but he didn’t hold a candle to this guy. Deduct mega $$$ for all the holes that were drilled in the car.

      Like 41
      • Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

        Defnitely not “hillbilly” but, there is another culture that this car is representative of. It is a style that is prevalent in this area.

        Like 6
      • Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

        *Definitely

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo Terry

        tnb

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

        The lack of a Hula girl on the dash is the deal breaker for me…..
        .

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Dawid Kedracki Member

      Thank you for the laugh good Sir:-)

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo Kincer Member

    Ummmm, kinda don’t know what to say about this, I really like the car itself, very nice shape, however purchasing and installing every possible JCWhitney accessory really just ruins it for me, so much crap on this thing ugh!

    Like 40
    • Avatar photo WagonMaster

      Have to remove the 4 from in front of the 8
      Remember kids:
      Don’t do acid and then order from JC Whitney

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo Scott L.

      That towel bar in the second row is pretty sweet.

      Like 2
  4. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    This is why some people should never
    have received a JC Whitney catalog.

    Like 39
  5. Avatar photo Euromoto Member

    I used to love getting the J. C. Whitney catalog when I was a kid. Remember Winky the Cat?

    Like 24
    • Avatar photo Tony Primo

      I forgot all about Winky the Cat. My Uncle had one in the back of his 1962 Ford Galaxie. I would love to find one brand new in the box. I would put it in the back of my Camaro, just for laughs.

      Like 10
  6. Avatar photo Howard A ( since 2014) Member

    “Hangin’ out, down the street, the same old thing, we did last week”, not sure why I’m usually the only one that mentions Eric Formans ’69 Vista Cruiser. I don’t recall Griswolds version( that was a 1970, I read) but it was the HIGHLY accurate TV show, “That ’70s Show”, that put the words “Vista Cruiser” in everybodys minds. It was a very popular show. Anyone that went to HS in the early 70s, could relate to that show.
    This, good heavens, okay, certain ethnic groups do different things to their cars to personalize them, uhp,uhp, uhp, we won’t go into that , but this particular person did this car up to the nines, Eric would be proud. Red, not so much, I can just hear him now, who was very similar to my old man, except the Toyota part, that was pure Hollywood, ,but, “Eric, you dumaxx, get that crap off my car”,,, I however, think it’s really neat and what is truly missing in our car culture today,,,a little personality.

    Like 14
    • Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

      This car is nowhere near finished it needs the candelabras on each fender like Issac Hayes’ Caddy in Escape from New York….

      Like 2
  7. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Haven’t seen a car treated this badly since I was in Thailand.

    Like 31
  8. Avatar photo JACKinNWPA Member

    Glorified? Um, goreified maybe.

    Like 15
  9. Avatar photo Oldog4tz

    Mike – the car’s in New York, just posted in LA to expand market – are there really 6 exterior rear view mirrors? Trying to understand how this came about.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo MTBorst

      Cross breeding ! Nerd with a turd.

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Kendra Member

    They forgot curb feelers.

    Like 27
    • Avatar photo Steve

      And fuzzy dice.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo MTBorst

        Cross breeding ! Nerd with a turd.

        Like 0
  11. Avatar photo PaulG

    LS isn’t the owners initials, stands for Lotsa $#*+

    Like 11
  12. Avatar photo BlondeUXB Member

    I’m thinking Cuban taxi…

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Terrrry

      Tequila!

      Like 3
  13. Avatar photo Ricky Member

    $48k….hahahahahahaha!!

    Like 16
    • Avatar photo Old Greybeard

      Really, that price is insane, as is the wagon market. You could buy a pair of excellent Cutlass S holiday coupes for that price. Without the jc whitney crap

      Like 9
      • Avatar photo Reuben Greene

        I would agree… And for a 6 passenger and no pics of the engine bay? I would gladly shell out that cheese for a Cadillac 8 passenger wagon… This one is a “hard pass” for me…

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo UncleAL

      I agree…………..hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha !!!!!!!!!

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Mike

    Seller states: “True barn find”. How is sitting carefully stored in a garage categorized as a barn find? You need to drag it into a dilapidated lean-to, roll down one window halfway (to compromise the interior), take the air cleaner/valve covers off and then wait 25 years before you can call it a true barn find.

    Like 13
  15. Avatar photo Terrry

    I had a neighbor who had one of these (with no tinsel added) who transplanted a Chrysler-Nissan marine 6 cylinder diesel in place of the car’s worn-out 350 V8. I rode in it once, and we got on a country 2-lane with no traffic and damned if the thing didn’t eventually reach 110mph! Took a while and a long distance to get there, but that diesel kept on pulling. That car would have been far more interesting than this one, which seems to have nothing but tacked on “goodies”.

    Like 2
  16. Avatar photo Mike B

    I’ve never seen one where the interior color didn’t match the exterior. Usually too much green. Hopefully most of the “improvements” are adhesive secured. Not a terrible color here, but the black interior would aid the transition to a color change after repairing the unfortunate mounting holes. I can’t say I was ever a woodie fan though I at least admired the craft when they were actually wood. The sticker woodie thing is a bit “stayed too long at the fair” for me. Especially on a vehicle taking subtle futuristic cues from the moon-shot era. Though I could see a light resto-mod done in black w/ faux ebony on the bottom and the Olds rally wheels.

    Like 3
  17. Avatar photo Eric B

    Hey, remember when an affordable way to get into the classic car hobby was with wagons and pickups? : (

    Indeed, this deserves Eric and Red Foreman references.

    Like 6
  18. Avatar photo normadesmond

    Remember the advice,

    “Before you walk out of the house,
    look in the mirror & take something off?”

    Like 2
  19. Avatar photo Marco

    Don’t forget the Hula girl bobblehead.

    Like 5
  20. Avatar photo Poppy

    I can hear the “La Cucaracha” horns from here.

    Like 8
  21. Avatar photo Danny B

    Buy this and you could cruise the vista

    Like 4
  22. Avatar photo A.G.

    Fender-mounted mirrors can eliminate blindspots depending how and where they are positioned. Generally spotlights are mounted forward of the door (on cowl or A pillar) to avoid shining directly into exterior mirrors.

    The lack of curb feelers is disturbing …

    Like 9
  23. Avatar photo Yblocker

    What? No furry dash or dingleballs?

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Autoworker

      You don’t want to see him go “over the top”.

      Like 5
    • Avatar photo MTBorst

      Yblocker , dice ! It needs dice.

      Like 2
  24. Avatar photo Greg B Member

    Not seeing 48 large on this one.

    Like 6
  25. Avatar photo Butch Smith

    The $100 in tchotchkes do not make the car more valuable. Take all the crap off and the car will sell better. There are really nice ones for sale at classic car dealers for half the price of this eyesore. And I really like Vistas and Sportwagons!

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Howard A ( since 2014) Member

      I never knew that’s how tchotchkes was spelled. It means “knick-knacks” to a Yidden. :)

      Like 5
  26. Avatar photo Jim Smith

    Way, way back in ’76, I had the opportunity to drive a friend’s mom’s Vista Cruiser for a week. I loved that car, and hated having to return it. I always felt like it was just a better version of the Cutlass, in station wagon trim. Loved the rear ceiling glass too. Living in South Texas and looking at some of the cars here, I’m pretty sure that the J C Whitney catalog lives on. Evan as a kid I knew how corny much of their offerings were, and would never dream of spoiling my car with anything they sold. Beautiful car, under all the doodads.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo MTBorst

      Jim, I got a Baja kit for my 69 beetle in 1975. It fit really nice. I’ve bought 200psi air- shocks twice and they are great for my truck and heavy loads. Snatch’em straps (tow straps) and many other things. They are still in existence but now under another name.

      Like 1
  27. Avatar photo Autoworker

    Ain’t She a Beauty! After looking at all of the pictures, I feel something’s missing. Buy that man an O’Reilly’s gift card.

    Like 4
  28. Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

    If you “de-effed” this car, it would be beautiful. A set of red-stripe bias-plys and it would be really sweet.

    Like 5
  29. Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

    What really slays me the most is that no one, including the author, knows that the “LS” emblems are from an Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight LS (it stood for “Luxury Sedan”).

    Like 5
  30. Avatar photo cmarv Member

    Looks like it ran through J.C. Whitney in 1970 and then hit Pep Boys just for fun . What a doggone shame .

    Like 5
  31. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    As lovely looking as this car may be, it’s worth nowhere near $48 grand. I’d pay close to at least $20 grand for a car like this.

    Like 0
  32. Avatar photo butchb

    They used one of these on the Sy-Fi series “Fringe” for a couple of seasons.

    Like 2
  33. Avatar photo Fliphall

    I like it but he’s dreamin’

    Like 1
  34. Avatar photo Demonsteve

    Oh man, it’s the FAMILY TRUCKSTER. I wonder if this one can catch air also.
    Hang on and steady as she goes!

    Like 1
  35. Avatar photo T. Mann Member

    That ’70s Show, Actor Wilmer Valderrama can “literally cruuuise the vistas” in one of his classic automobiles.

    The NCIS star told Kelly Clarkson this week the story about how he came to own one of the most iconic TV cars of all time.

    Valderrama’s first big role was as the foreign exchange student Fez on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show,” which featured a gang of Milwaukee friends who often rode around in a 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon owned by Topher Grace’s character, Eric Forman.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Eric B

      That’s so cool, I didn’t know he owns the car! I posted a link in a newer comment. Thanks for sharing this.

      Like 1
  36. Avatar photo T. Mann Member

    The Griswold Family Truckster

    Just so you know the Wagon Queen Family Truckster in the National Lampoon movie is a 1979 FORD LTD Country Squire.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Yblocker

      We already knew that. Or at least I did.
      Although it could’ve been an 80 model😷

      Like 2
  37. Avatar photo MTBorst

    This guy is having a nightmare ! I might consider 4800$ certainly not 48k. It says , like new condition 🤔 all the extra holes for all the extra lights ?? Gonna cost me $10k to fix those properly ! Of course then I can sell the lights for what, $5 in a garage sale ! The grab bar on the back of the front seat. Can’t fix the holes in the vinyl ! Dam, it was a beautiful car before all the trucker guy or cabby stuff was added to prevent somebody from running into the old farther that destroyed this car ! 😢😢

    Like 4
  38. Avatar photo Dwcisme

    Up here in the frozen north, there’s a national retailer that was known for selling “accessories” such as this one sports. I always referred to it as “giving the Canadian Tire treatment”. In 1980 I sold a used 6 month old Impala to a friend’s grandfather and within a day it was bedazzled with reflectors, extra mouldings, mud flaps, convex mirrors and even curb feelers as well as tissue dispensers, seat covers etc. on the interior. The “full treatment”. My buddy was totally embarrassed whereas his grandfather was pleased as punch.

    Like 5
  39. Avatar photo L.B.

    $48,000.00 it will never happen, maybe 20,000.00 if they are lucky, they want to much, and the crap put on this car will cost to remove. Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser People want these cars Original & Numbers Matching. I’m a Vista Cruiser man 1970-72s, how ever if he needs the correct rear window Air Deflector, I have 3 of them , 2 in their Factory Boxes. The one on this Vista Cruiser is the Not for the Vista Cruiser which use the same for 1968-1972s. Good Luck selling it

    Like 2
  40. Avatar photo Gary

    Boy, I hope most of that crap is stick on.

    Like 3
  41. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    Sticking some cheap crap on a classic wagon = most comments of the year.

    Doesnt take much with this crew. Glad we can laugh.

    Like 4
  42. Avatar photo Eric B

    Credit to T.Mann for mentioning that “Fez” owns the car from the show!!! A couple of videos;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXpHqglj-A0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJPB-71OCsE

    Like 4
  43. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    New reason to scan the comments on cars like this one:

    To see if anyone’s “inappropriate” comment got reported…

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @370zpp – Don’t make such a big deal about it. All public forums have some form of self-moderation. So unless you want to volunteer to moderate all the first-time comments, this is the best solution.

      Like 1
  44. Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

    HMMMM, I dunno, the lack of a Hula girl on the dash may be a deal breaker….I got your number old man, I’ll let cha know……

    Like 1
  45. Avatar photo Zen

    I am near that car but I’ve never seen it, I’d certainly remember it if I had. What a clown to put all that gaudy, useless crap on it. I hope he didn’t drill holes to mount all those things, but that is probably too much to hope for. The way it is, I’d be embarrassed to drive it. Restored to original, it would be a nicely optioned, fun car to own.

    Like 1

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