Same Owner For 40 Years: 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass S

The F-85 – first a compact and then later an intermediate – was the foundation for the highly-successful Oldsmobile Cutlass line. Besides the differences in trim levels, the 2-door Cutlass models in the early 1970s could be differentiated by their rooflines – the Supreme had a notchback formal roof, while the Cutlass S was a fastback. The latter is what the seller offers, which has been owned by the same party for 40 years. It doesn’t currently run and has some rust and paint issues but maybe roadworthy without a lot of effort. Located in Monticello, Minnesota, this Cutlass is available here on craigslist for $9,000.

Third-generation Cutlass automobiles and their derivatives (1968-72) were quite successful, yet it wouldn’t be until 1976 that the Cutlass would become the best-selling automobile in America (it would repeat that honor five more times). Most of that is attributed to the upscale Cutlass Supreme, but the Cutlass S was the same car with a different coupe roof and fewer amenities. There doesn’t seem to be an official answer as to what the “S” stood car.

The seller bought this Cutlass S in 1981 as his first car while in high school (it was owned by a Vietnam Vet before; thank you for your service). The car found itself being used less and less as time went on, so the need for space has prompted the seller to reluctantly put it up for sale. While it has been kept indoors for the last couple of decades, time and inactivity have begun to take their toll. The Cherry Red paint, which was redone in 1983, is due for a respray, with the obvious spots being those that face the sun (like the hood). It also has some rust, principally in the driver’s front fender for which the seller says he has a piece that can be patched in. The contrasting white vinyl top has held up much better.

Things are much nicer inside the car. Everything seems to check out there, with the headliner and seats having also been redone at the same time as the paint. However, NOS materials were not used, so they wouldn’t match original specs for the purists in our midst. The factory radio is not where it should be in the dash, but the seller says it was retained and goes with the car. A few extras will accompany the car, such as a new 442 front bumper and chrome trumpet bells for the exhaust. This car is just 2,500 miles shy of turning the odometer over to zero.

1983 was a big year for this car, as the motor and transmission were also both rebuilt at that time. We’re told that maybe 1,000 miles have been accumulated in all that time. We’re guessing this is a 350 cubic inch Rocket V8 accompanied by a Turbo-Hydramatic. Perhaps after changing all the fluids including the fuel (the seller suspects bad gas), it will want to run again. But the buyer will need to plan on towing the car home because the brakes are shot, and it wouldn’t be drivable even if running. And no mention is made as to how old the tires are (were they last changed in 1983, too?).

Hagerty says that a ’71 Cutlass Supreme in Fair condition is worth $7,800, while Good is $12,000. The Cutlass S should fetch a few fewer dollars, so the seller’s asking price may be a bit optimistic, especially since we can’t get a look at the whole car resting inside a garage. What if the fender rust is just the tip of the iceberg?

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  1. Skorzeny

    This doesn’t look too bad, but spending 44 years in Minnesota, I know what salt and winter there does to cars. A careful inspection while the car is on a hoist is a no brainer. As least have them send you some underside shots before you make the trip. It’s a nice town and a nice part of the state. Seems like a nice, honest listing. New owner should enjoy.

    Like 5
  2. James Burnette

    Those wheels look like Keystone Classics.I have always thought they beautiful and underrated wheels.

    Like 3
  3. Troy s

    I never knew what the capital S meant on the Cutlass S model either, all I knew was a freinds dad had one and it moved out really good with the 350. There was an SX if I’m thinking right along with the Supreme, of course the only ones I ever learned about were 442’s.
    The wheels turn a rather mature Olds Cutlass into street cruiser material as it was forty plus years ago, I bet the original owner put those wheels on in the seventies. Make ’em loud, both mechanically and visually, high school 101. Not too bad at all.

  4. Desert Rat

    Yea ,I agree they seem to be Keystones. These were the first set of aftermarket wheels I bought as a teenager, got them from a local store in El Paso called “Whites” kind of like a Sears at the time.

  5. Denny

    Sold my 71 442 4 years ago and have missed it from the day I sold it .But the 445 love to drink gas and I was getting older , so I parted with it. This looks like a good replacement for it .I would buy it.

  6. Bmac777 Member

    I hope the Skynyrd plate is included. It wouldn’t be right to separate them after all these years.

    Like 3
  7. Guardstang

    I had a 71 Cutlass S and the S had more chrome trim and nicer interior than a regular Cutlass.

  8. Kevin

    Would be worth a look,but they’d have to come down on price, probably worth saving if frame isn’t rotten.

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