The Living End: 1975 Oldsmobile Omega

Part of the fun of looking at cars online is that you have to use your imagination to guess the story surrounding a vehicle in order to understand its condition and value. You’ll have clues to help, of course: photos, the written parts, the seller’s location, things in the background of the photos, etc. So, along with the pics, this is the extent of the “sell” from the craigslist ad: “Solid, original, inline 6 with 3-speed on the floor. Runs great, $4,500 obo”

Not wordy. Kinda slim, in fact, but that’s where you start to unravel the mystery… First of all, the pictures. All are taken in the style made famous by my mom. Known for her uncanny (and adorable) ability to cut off heads and feet in family photos, this series of pictures shows a similar sense of composition and eye for detail. In the picture above, for example, note the compositional attention given to the covered propane grill in the background while the right side of the car is omitted. True; the grill of the Omega is in the foreground and looking absolutely amazing (Ransom’s Fun Fact: the second generation Omega (’75-’79) enjoyed three different grill designs with the ’75 being the most waterfall-like). The bumper is straight as an arrow and not equipped with bumperettes. Parsimonious with both the description AND unnecessary chrome flourishes, hmm? Conclusion? Possible older owner who has owned this car for a long, long time and maybe not completely comfortable with technology (which I take as a huge plus). Someone who takes good care of their possessions (evidenced by the covered barbeque and unblemished bumper), obviously another huge positive!

 

Here’s another remarkable shot of a remarkably clean car. Over forty years old? Lake-effect affected Illinois winters? Wow, is all I can say. This body should look extremely familiar to you, especially with the artistic cropping of the front and rear of the car. Can you see the Nova? Or the Ventura? Do you remember the Apollo? There was a lot of unabashed sharing going on at GM in the 70’s and the X-body cars were no exception. Okay, Columbo, so somehow we didn’t get the front and back of the car in the camera frame, but note the downspout extender to the lower right…a homeowner who ensures rainwater is kept away from the foundation of their home is an auto owner who maintains their car, sez me. Circumstantial, sure, but the case is coming together…

Alright, this is where I started to get interested in this car. The interior of this Omega is WHITE. And it’s still WHITE! Not white with smudges, stains and rips. Not white with an overlay of burned tobacco or mud or dog slobber or even normal 40-year-old-wear-and-tear. Look at the other photos in the ad. Check out the headliner. There may be a small rip in the back seat, but that’s it. It has not been folded, spindled or mutilated in any way. Even the steering wheel is un-cracked and the Oldsmobile wood-grained dash looks great. You don’t have to be a detective to figure this out…these folks took super-excellent care of this disco-era Oldsmobile.

Brace yourself: Here it is! The three-speed floor-mount shifter. Who even knew they had this as an option in an Oldsmobile in 1975?  Well, look at the shifter ball, Poirot. Look at the rubbers on the pedals, Rockford…the clutch pedal doesn’t even look worn. LOOK AT THE INTACT, WHITE FLOOR MAT, McGARRETT! I’d love to see the odometer on this thing…oh, and notice, the CB radio, “GUMBA 1, Come On.” Were the miles it has mostly from the highway? That would help explain the incredible condition of this interior, but a three-speed six cruising the highway?  Hmm. The base engine was Chevy’s ol’ 250 cu., 115-horse, inline-6, not what you’d call a highway star, especially with that three speed. This is a little incongruous, but it’s the preponderance of the evidence that we look at, Chief.

The final bit of evidence. The Ziebart decal. In the mid-70’s, Ziebart used the tagline: “It’s us. Or rust.” (Check out golden-throated Rod Serling spokespersoning for them, here.) Someone or several someones have taken all the steps necessary to ensure this car would survive long after most of its contemporaries were sent back to the furnace. I think this Omega is really living up to its name since it may be the last X-body Oldsmobile in this condition you’re going to see. Runs great? Yeah, I’ll bet it does! $4,500 or best offer? Seems right! Cornball, maybe, but the evidence adds up to a great barn find!

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Comments

  1. Leon

    Always funny when the license is covered in car photos

    • Karl

      But not those on the wall… 🤔

  2. Paul Hudson

    I think that could be an add-on FM Transmitter that you added to cars that only had AM Radios. It seems too slim for a CB. The picture is hard to make out. This car is certainly worth the money. I’d keep it as is.

    • Bill

      Agree 100%.. Leave as is.. These old stripper cars are cool as is! That is actually a CB radio under the dash.. perhaps am Cb combo… It has the requisite bracket for the cb mike screwed on the dash above it.. Car did come as a radio delete, so would not be the fm upgrade unit as no am present..

      • Nrg8

        It does have the K40 antenna base at the front of trunk lid.

  3. al8apex

    factory radio delete plate too … a real stripper

  4. JW

    Well if his short description and his photos match the car I say it would make a decent daily driver for not a bad price and you even may be able to haggle $500 off that.

  5. Dan

    My brother bought new a little nova, this era and it was a 6 banger, 3-speed in the floor…..let me borrow it once for a trip to Knoxville, Tn. and back (about 200 miles round trip) and the little thing was a blast to drive…no not a big-block, 4-speed and I had big block chevelles and Camaros, but loved driving that thing, and got pretty good mileage on the interstate (the reason I took it on the short trip)…..neat little piece and I would have kept it and drove it as a daily driver…..just fun to drive….

  6. Michael

    Nice write up Karl. My Aunt Mary was also a head/feet chopper offer in photos. She also left her finger over the lens half the time.

    Like the car. Keep it as is.

    • Karl

      Haha! Ah, yes, the ubiquitous thumb!

  7. Warren

    Still struggling over the covering of the plate. Just silly.

    • David Ulrey

      Big misconception about thieves, hackers etc getting all sorts of personal info on the seller and destroying their life as they know it. To be sure a person with some computer skills could gain some info by illegally running the plate but honestly that’s such small potatoes that anyone with decent computer skills and is dishonest usually would go for something more lucrative.

  8. Chebby Member

    There’s no reason to cover the license plate; sellers do it because they see everybody else online doing it.

    This would be a lot of driveable car for $4k. Add a Cutlass sport steering wheel to jazz up the interior, and you’re good to go.

    Personally I don’t like poverty caps, so a set of nice Olds rally wheels would be next, and some Clifford parts to add power to the straight six.

  9. Blueprint

    Love the write-up, and the car too! Add new black walls for full poverty spec and enjoy as-is.

    • Karl

      👍👍

  10. jmc

    Driver ed in high school-the local olds dealer let them take a yellow version of this,with 3-on-the-tree shifting.

  11. Poptheclutch

    You just don’t see parking lights integrated into the grill to often.

  12. Chuck Simons

    I worked on the Assembly line in Van Nuys beginning in 76. THis is truy a nice survivor…..and yes, there were 6 cyl 3 on the floors that came down the line. Not many so stripped down though. What a great foundation to build a a car from.

  13. Charles H.

    These bodies, made for some AWESOME Late Model Stock Cars, and early year NASCAR Busch Series cars, with such legends behind the wheel, as, Hall Of Famer, the late Sam Ard, “Ironman” Jack Ingram and Bob Pressley, to name a few…..racing at such places as Hickory Motor Speedway, and Asheville and Metrolina Speedway, located in western N.Carolina….they were my Hero’s, growing up. A few hardcore race fans, would even cut out the fender wells and put Nascar style wheels on them and they would look like street legal versions of the race cars. Always loved these, they bring back great memories! If you invert the name, NOVA, you get Nova, Omega, Ventura, Apollo….it’s a synonym for all the model’s

    • Karl

      N.O.V.A.! Is that coincidence or actual fact? Wow!!!

  14. David Ulrey

    Parsimonious? Well done! I have a reasonably decent vocabulary and not only did I not know the definition of that word, I had never heard or seen it used before. Well done. Love the Olds too. I like performance and unique vehicles very much but I also appreciate a vehicle with the K.I.S.S. philosophy. Keep It Simple Stupid just in case not everyone that sees this is as old as dirt like me. Lol

    • Karl

      Thanks, David! It IS a lovely word!

  15. Brian Bauder

    Gotta love the 4th gen gm x bodies and those with white interiors! This is my barn find a 1977 Chevy Nova Concours coupe

  16. Charles H.

    I’ve pondered the same question, Karl, about that being coincidence or clever, actual fact, but it seems to me that since the first gen Nova came out, well before the other GM X bodies from that era, then, it may well be just a coincidence. But very clever, indeed!

  17. Charles H.

    I absolutely love your 1977 Nova Concours, Brian Bauder! It would benefit IMHO with a set of factory Corvette style Rally Wheels, though, but of course, I would keep the factory Rally’s that are on it in the photo. Very Nice!

    • Brian Bauder

      Thank you! Love corvette rallies but I would like to keep it as original as possible :)

  18. chad Member

    i had a ventura or omega or something (my only ‘Chebby” besides a SW chevy van) that was a ‘hatch back”. Would this be one too?
    For i6 the 305 might be better?
    Nice car!

    • Brian Bauder

      Thank you! My car as is the Omega is a coupe model not hatchback

  19. mars2878

    I like it

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