Parked For Years: 1964 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Wagon

While the new car market has transitioned away from the humble station wagon towards SUVs, there are a diehard group of individuals who still long for the good old days when the family could pile into a large wagon for a family outing. For those people, cars like this 1964 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser are like gold. They are becoming increasingly desirable, and values keep climbing steadily. This Olds has been owned by the same family from new until fairly recently, but it has been in storage for many years. The current owner has dragged it out of hiding and has decided that it needs to find a new home. So you can guarantee that there will be a group of collectors out there who would love to get their hands on this beauty. The Oldsmobile is located in Dade City, Florida, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has made it as far as $930 in what is a No Reserve auction. If the bidding continues to remain this low, then there is a chance that the Vista Cruiser could represent an affordable project vehicle.

The Oldsmobile is finished in Holiday Red, and while the color is original to the car, it has received a repaint at some point. It doesn’t look like this was completed to a particularly high standard, with cracking and overspray showing in plenty of locations around the vehicle. What is in relatively short supply is significant rust. The front edge of the hood has some noticeable rust, while there are small areas visible around the fuel filler door, under the top chrome on the tailgate, in the bottom corner of the driver’s door, and a few small spots on some of the outer edges of the wheel arches. I’ve looked closely at the photos and am undecided whether there is rust on the inner edges of the doors, or whether it is some form of sealer that has been exposed by the cracking paint. It appears that the lower regions of the body like the lower rear quarter panels and the rockers are solid, while there is no significant rust around any of the windows. It’s when you take a look under the Olds that you get a pleasant surprise. There is rust in the spare wheel well, but the rest of the underside of the vehicle appears to be as solid as a rock. The glass generally looks good, especially the glass panels in the roof, and while the majority of the trim and chrome is present, there are a few pieces that will require restoration or replacement.

It isn’t clear just how long the Vista Cruiser has been parked, but judging by the information provided in the listing, it appears as though it has been quite a few years. What we find occupying the engine bay is a 330ci V8, a 2-speed Jetaway automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The owner says that the 230hp V8 doesn’t run, but that it does turn freely. He has made no attempt to coax the vehicle back to life, so that’s a task that awaits the new owner. The car rolls and steers and the transmission is said to go in and out of gear. As well as coaxing the engine back to life, I suspect that there will be plenty of little tasks to undertake such as checking the brakes and all of the rubber components such as hoses and belts before the Olds is even close to being roadworthy once again.

The interior is not a particularly pretty sight and will require nothing less than a full restoration because the vast majority of the upholstered surfaces have deteriorated quite badly. While the door trims look like they could potentially respond to a decent clean, the armrests are pretty tatty, while new seat covers, a new headliner, new rear trims, and a new carpet set will all need to go on the shopping list. In addition, almost all of the painted metal surfaces are either showing signs of surface corrosion, or the paint is peeling badly. The surprise for me is the dash pad, which looks like it is quite good. As far as optional extras are concerned, the Vista Cruiser scores well with air conditioning and a forward-facing third row. With this folded into the floor and the rear seat also a split-fold unit, that provides scope for an enormous cargo area in the vehicle, or room to cart an extended family across the country in comfort.

This 1964 Vista Cruiser is a vehicle with a lot of potential, and the fact that there are currently 119 people watching the listing would seem to support this. In the past 3-years, values for the Vista Cruiser have trended upwards by around 30%, especially for examples in reasonable to good condition. Where it was possible in 2017 to grab a tidy example for around $12,000, today you are looking at figures closer to $16,000. Pristine examples can push this price significantly higher, and figures in excess of $30,000 are definitely achievable. There are no indications that this trend is likely to change at any time in the near future. Regardless of the potential value, this could make a very practical vehicle for carting around a larger family, and that is why wagons like this remain popular today.

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Doone

    Those side stripes look cheap, no they look horrible. Whats underneath them? Its already verpeiced by $500 and will probably need $50k to make it worth $30k

    1
    • Bob S

      From what I can see Doone, those side stripes are actually factory trim.

      4
    • Tom Member

      Doone, agree but your 50K is short by about 30K plus the buy.

      Vista Cruisers are awesome. This car WILL have to be a nostalgic – labor of love and memories resto for sure.

      LOVE this car even though it has many issues. Love Oldsmobiles. I have a 64 98 Hardtop 4 door, Dad bought it in 65.

      BEFORE I say any more…..GREAT JOB TO THE SELLER WITH THE PHOTOS !!!!!! You’d think he was trying to sell a $100K car. WELL DONE.

      If nothing else it could be a great parts car to a more solid body.

      7
  2. Camaro Joe

    Adam, that’s not an “affordable project.” The buy in price is low, but the bottom third of the car is toast. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any cheap replacement body panels available for a 64 Vista Cruiser, so the body work is going to be a major challenge and really expensive.

    The paperwork says that the car came from Eastern Virginia and is now in Dade City FL. I’ve been to both places and bought cars from both, none of them was 1/10 this bad. Of course that was the 1980’s and 1990’s, so it may have sat in a field and sunk into the mud for 25 years. I’ve seen that happen.

    The BIG red flag on this one is the dealer invoice that has a hand written note about a Wisconsin license plate. That suggests to me that it was a rust belt car at one point in it’s life. If that’s the case, it’s a parts car, or if you’re thinking about a restoration . . . . . . run away from this one.

    3
  3. art

    For the current bid of $1225, geez, I’ve seen much worse on here going for lots more money.
    I see rust, some of it healthy but the floors from underneath look pretty solid.
    I’m thinking the vista roof glass is leaking though, judging from the interior rust but again, for the price and with at least add on A/C, it is a reasonably priced entry into an older vehicle project. Parts should not be too expensive.
    What puzzles me is the white paint I see under dents, under chips, and even under the (sanded) coding plate…V-V is Holiday red, specified on roof and bottom, but I wonder what this white under the red is all about. I’m pretty certain GM did not use a white primer on any of their cars.

    3
    • PatrickM

      Current bid, $1,475.00. I couldn’t buy this one, Too much work to be done. I think it is quite overpriced. I usually love Olds Vista Cruisers, just not this one.

  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    Wow that interior looks pretty well fried. How long was this car in FL? And honestly, how hard would it be to putz with the engine and get it running? That’s half the fun.

    3
    • grant

      If they were interested in the fun, it wouldn’t be for sale.

      4
  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    Well, fun or no fun, if it’s money they’re interested in, then certainly a running car is worth more than a non-running car, eh?

    5
  6. CCFisher

    If the only photos available were the ones featured here, someone could easily believe that this is a decently solid car. The eBay photos tell a far more bleak story. This car is rough, rough, rough. The auction description might as well read, “1964 Vista Cruiser. Needs everything.”

    2
  7. alphasud Member

    You can tell this was a car from the north. Take note of the aftermarket A/C. Yea the vista windows all leak and rust out the car from the inside out. Definitely a labor of love. The red is not the best color for this one.

    1
  8. Del

    Adam lost his nut on this one.

    But interior pics tell the true story.

    parts car. if that

  9. FordGuy1972

    While it’s a desirable wagon, there’s a lot work (and expense) here if you want to restore this Vista Cruiser to a reasonable level. The interior is a veritable horror show; absolutely everything inside needs to be either replaced or restored. It really needs to be completely gutted and just re-do every thing.The exterior needs rust repair and a re-paint and you’ll probably have to source another hood. I think if I wanted a nice vintage wagon, I’d wait for something better.

    1
  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’d take care of the mechanical bits of the car, before getting the cosmetics repaired. Naturally you want to make sure the car is driveable.

  11. Joe Padavano

    I’ve bought a Vista in similar condition for similar money just to get the roof glass. The body on this one has obvious rust issues, and there’s a lot more unseen rust under the trim around the roof windows (a common problem on these cars).

  12. Philip

    It does not matter if you get this car for free, you’ll still be underwater if you want to restore it to a decent car, compared to the market. Of course, someone may love it as it is. Next.

  13. Brian

    Still holding out for a worthy ’64 long roof Fiesta, 394 equipped.

    1
  14. Mountainwoodie

    Too bad.

    Most everything has been said except that Florida is a hellhole!

    Judging from the Base sticker, In 2002 a Naval Officer was driving this car onto the base . Lots of saltwater in Jacksonville and somebody clearly didn’t give a darn about the car for a long time. The red is a respray I wonder what the original color was.

    Be a fun project for a grand. Kind of car I would have bought as a kid…. Get it running worry about the rest as you go. That the seller hasn’t done that says something :)

    2
    • Joe Padavano

      The cowl tag paint code of V-V is Holiday Red, so this is the original color.

  15. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Any source for the molded rubber seals on the Vista Cruiser glass pieces? New or repro? That would be one of many dealbreakers for moi. Rust through around the gas filler door could tell of internal rust you don’t want to mess with.

    • Joe Padavano

      All the fixed glass, including the roof glass, is glued in with urethane. There are no gaskets. The problem is the door weatherstrips. No one makes the correct rear passenger door weatherstrip nor the window sweeps for the 64-65 cars. Vista rear doors are 5″ longer than the ones on flattop wagons. They are also different from the ones on the 66-67 cars due to the kick-up in the rear quarters. The other problem is that leaks and rust around the roof glass leads to a lot of problems in the rear load area. The inside garnish trim around the side windows rusts out and is impossible to find. Ask me how I know this…

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.