No Reserve and No Rot: 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

This 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser certainly nails the patina look perfectly, but the seller wants us to go a bit deeper. That’s because despite the heavy coating of surface rust, there’s apparently no rust-through on the car, and the only rust of any significance is at the bottom of the fenders. In addition, it still runs off a gas can despite being in storage for 30 years. All electrical systems still work, even the back window. The seller notes it will need a complete interior restoration and obviously an exterior respray if you can’t deal with the surface rust look. Find the Oldsmobile here on eBay with bidding to $4K and no reserve.

While it’s not uncommon to see vintage trucks sporting the heavily worn exterior, family estate wagons usually fare in better condition due to being garaged for large portions of their lives. Given the Oldsmobile has been in storage for 30 years, I’ll hazard a guess that it went into storage looking like this, which would mean it spent years parked outside before it began its long slumber. What’s more amazing it’s that the Olds is in Latham, New York – near Albany – not exactly a part of the world known for producing rot-free vehicles. The seller notes that while it still goes up and down, the powered rear window moves slowly. Chrome trim is faring surprisingly well, and the taillight lenses are intact.

What’s so strange is the interior photo almost certainly looks like it’s from a car that’s been living in a desert climate for years. This is not damage that I’d consider typical of the snow belt, but it’s also possible the bench just saw a lot of wear and tear over the years. Like most northern vehicles, the dashboard is un-cracked. You can tell by the listing description that the condition is throwing potential bidders off, too, as the seller chimes in more than once that there’s no rot through on the car and that the undersides are rust-free. He also specifies the tailgate, which does look to me like the rust has gone deep enough to compromise the surface, but he again confirms the panel is solid.

Engine-wise, the Oldsmobile is equipped with the optional 400 engine, and the seller notes it fires right up when hooked up to an external fuel source (the gas tank needs to be drained and cleaned). The Vista Cruiser is a name synonymous with the open road and long trips, and this example would look sweet with the exterior left intact and some fresh wheels and tires installed – I like the idea of some steel wheels painted pea-green with polished dog-dish hubcaps on wide white-letter tires – and a new interior, obviously. Selling at no reserve makes this one a potentially smart buy, especially with the promise of a rust-free chassis.

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  1. Del

    Nope. Saw two or 3 at auctions last summer.

    Ones in real nice shape that need none of the work this one needs. Right around 10 to 15 grand.

  2. local_sheriff

    OK, no rot maybe but that’s a lot of surface rust! It will require careful prep or it has a tendency to become a problem not long after painting…
    If this one really spent its life in the NY area maybe it was retired from active duty long before it managed to develop typical rot – spent many years sitting outside or parked in a carport only? I really like any Vista/Sportwagon but every panel and interior piece on this one will need attention.Cool longroof though if you know a good painter

  3. Dana R

    Hidden within the special order forms for ’68 & ’69 Vista Cruisers was the mighty 455. From what I understand, you had to order the towing package, heavy-duty cooling package, and HD suspension package, and the 455 was “thrown in”.

  4. Ken Cwrney

    May not be the nicest one around, but I still want it. To me, nothing else out there
    was cooler than Vista Cruiser if you were
    in the market for a wagon. We had a ’64
    Buick Skylark wagon with the raised roof
    and I loved it. Too bad my folks traded it off for the ’66 Cadillac that I would buy from them two years later. Wouldn’t take
    much to get ‘er road ready and be stylin’ and profilin’ in no time. I ask you, where
    else can you get an all purpose vehicle
    for under 60K these days? I’ll take 15K
    over 60K any day of the week. And that
    includes the purchase price plus shipping
    and repairs. Just throw a blanket over the front seat ’til you’re ready to upgrade
    to leather and brocade. Add a decent
    stereo with satellite radio, and you’ve
    got a winner. And yes, she’d look great
    sittin’ on a set of factory spec road wheels
    wrapped in radials too. A fella
    can dream can’t he?

  5. Paul

    Factory air….sun beat everywhere….no rot anywhere….I promise this is definitely not a NY car originally!!
    Arizona or Nevada I’m guessing!!

  6. Gaspumpchas

    Paul is correct, I was thinking the same thing. For someone who wants to do the bodywork and paint, this would be a super project. Bring it back in the factory Green, hopefully it will go reasonable. Good luck!

  7. grant

    This car would not look “sweet” with new tires and no body or interior work, it would look just like it does now; a tired old dog. It would look awesome finished out, however.

  8. Claudio

    For the same price or cheaper just buy a
    Mint used ford explorer , you can do the same as with this heap without the work and carburator /rich stink …

    • Paul

      Ha….a used explorer will cost you more money to keep running then this car!
      Also the explorer will keep on depreciating!
      And finally no cool factor on a used explorer!

      • Mike

        Hey now fellas! Easy on the Explorers! I just picked up a mint (seriously, the thing is CLEAN) 2002 SLS 4×4 that needs a fuel pump. I paid $350 for it with plans of making a nice profit after the repair. Then, real life and priorities destroyed my plan! My daughters car took a dump on her yesterday, so, she’ll be getting the Explorer sometime next week. Daddy has to take care of his baby girl and twin 4 year old grandsons…it’s just what we do. So I’ll lose about $500 on this deal, I don’t care! My daughter and the boys will have a nice, reliable vehicle for a long time.

  9. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Great example of how soft parts become brittle, outgas, and basically crumble when you try to remove them. Just look at those tail light lenses and back up lights! The dash and steering wheel. Carpet. Betcha every rubber seal on this car needs replacement unless you keep the vehicle in a desert region. Then, you’d still have to contend with the whistling it makes from all the openings around the glass.


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