Saved From a Clone: 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon

We all dream of finding that classic “one elderly owner” car. Well, that is essentially what this 1978 Cutlass Salon is. The seller purchased it off the original owner who had owned it for 40-years. He had plans for it, but these have changed. As a result, he has now decided to sell it, and you will find it listed for sale here on eBay. Located in Hauppauge, New York, bidding has reached $1,250 in a No Reserve auction.

The original owner drove the car for around 40-years, and in that time it clocked up a genuine 86,000 miles. When he got too old to drive, he sold it to the current owner, who had plans of turning it into a 442 clone. I’m glad that he changed his mind because there are plenty of those about. The Cutlass present quite well, but it does have a few minor body faults. These are confined to a couple of small dings, and these should be pretty easy to repair.

Under the hood is a bit dirtier than I probably expected, but it does look about right for a 41-year-old car that hasn’t been attacked with the detailing sprays. I have no doubt that it would clean up well, so there’s a task for the new owner to tackle. The Cutlass is equipped with the 3.8-liter V6 engine, automatic transmission, and power steering. The owner says that the car starts, runs, and drives well. It has also recently been the recipient of a new GM carburetor, a service, and the cooling system has been flushed and refilled with fresh anti-freeze.

The interior is largely original, and the condition is also pretty nice. There is some wear and cracking on the driver’s seat, but the rest of the interior presents well. The car is fitted with an under-dash cassette player, while the trim, dash, and pad, all look first rate. If you are worried about protecting the originality of the Cutlass, then you could have the existing seat upholstery repaired by a reputable upholsterer, and then fit aftermarket seat covers to protect the seats long term.

The Cutlass Salon is a nice car, and it does look like it has been on the receiving end of some relatively careful ownership. What I like about this car is that it seems to be a very honest car, and no attempt has been made to hide its faults. Bidding on the car is surprisingly low at present, so this is one that is worth watching. How high do you think the bidding will go?

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Comments

  1. poseur Member

    wow, what a 70’s flashback this humpback is.
    can’t recall the last time i saw one.
    to my eyes they have aged well, especially the coupes, with clean lines & nice propositions.
    a 442 clone could look pretty badass but this is a straightforward example of a used car that should stay preserved.

    6
  2. Jaybest71

    Weezy motor on these…..

    10
    • Nevadahalfrack Member

      And the suspension REALLY sucked, as my daughters mother (ex-) demonstrated on the CA Highway 1 northern roadside during our honeymoon… easily forgetable car but this one is a testament to the owners attention and care.

      1
  3. Bakyrdhero Member

    It’s been so long since I’ve seen one that I forgot they existed. Wow. Whenever I see one of these interiors it reminds me of the smell of hot vinyl and windex on a summer day. Childhood memory I guess, not really an unpleasant smell, but I’m also glad vinyl seats went away.

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  4. Ralph

    Why would you clone an unpopular version of the 442?

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    • AMCFAN

      I agree. No reason. I believe it is more sellers speak that means “Buy and rescue this car so I won’t hurt it. Seen these type of ads before. I never fell for it. If not sold bla bla bla….too funny!

      Again I never bought a car to specifically to alter it to add value unless change the motor to high horsepower or something of that nature. Not add reproduction emblems from 800/build a car catalog and call it a day.

      I my opinion all the seller needed to do to “clone” it would be to add 442 tape stripes which when this car was made was all that was needed. No one was going fast anymore. So in essence all true 78 Olds 442’s would be considered an oxymoron and hurt the good name of Oldsmobile performance

      1
      • Stillrunners

        Still – it was a good offering from the big 3 against the wave of imports that were already here.

  5. Dave

    I agree, WHY? This thing has no redeeming qualities and hurt the Cutlass brand hence this models short lived life. I appreciate a well preserved vehicle but that doesn’t mean any make/model is desirable if taken care of.

    2
    • AMCFAN

      Stillrunners, A good offering in what way? The offerings from GM for example like the above Oldsmobile Cutlass and the Chevy Citation for example made US car buyers make a mass exodus to imports.

      • ACZ

        It needs the Bill Porterfield treatment. A blown 403 in the back seat. If I remember right, that was Hot Rod Magazine’s Street Machine of the Year in 1979.

        1
  6. gtyates

    My folks had one of these. It was a 4 door, and had a lot more equipment that than this one. Theirs was a total POS, and they kept it until slightly after the warranty ended. It saw LOTS of warranty work. It was their last GM product actually. Yes, it was that bad of a car..

    1
  7. Ralph

    It would be tempting if it had the odd ball 5 speed 260V8 combo.

    5
  8. DayDreamBeliever Member

    I know, the old adage “If you can’t say something nice…..”

    100% turned off by the style of these between the back end of the doors and the rub strip on the rear bumper. Looks to me like the design crew was maybe working on a wagon body, but the department chief came in with a ruler and made two straight lines at odd angles and insisted: “Just do this.”

    Bleah.

    On the short list of vehicles I’d never want to own, or even be seen in!

    2
  9. dweezilaz

    As a design it looks better now than it did when it came out. GM replacing the fastback and adding the “formal” look to it’s sedans [Seville clone style] and notch back to the two doors rescued their sales.

    From a functional aspect, I like the console free floor, V6, modest equipment, but hate the fact that even the four doors had fixed rear window glass.

    It’s a proper 70s color and looks well loved. I like the back story of someone owning a car that long, caring for it, not feeling the pressure to replace it after four years

    My sort of car, but it still doesn’t set my panties on fire.

  10. JMG

    LOVE IT. In that it is soOOoooOoooo 1980’s. Reminds us of where we have been. If I had unlimited funds and space, it would be parked right next to today’s Mavrick in my “No One Loved These Cars” museum I would enjoy the snot out of!

    2
  11. BuickNut

    I sooo wanted to find a Buick version and install an LC2 from a GN and graft an 87 Regal front end. It still being a Gbody all the running gear and suspension mods would apply.
    But I most definitely would not paint it black nor put an LS in it.

  12. DR

    GM’s nadir right there. They sold a S#&t – ton of these to people who still believed America made good cars. Today their guts are hanging over their belts and they’re wearing MAGA hats, still believing the same crap. It is always nice to see ANY car treated well by its owners, but this is a car that needs to be forgotten. It was and is a piece of utter junk with nary a redeeming quality.

    • Nevadahalfrack Member

      Gee, I thought this was a forum for gearheads, not venting political issues….

      6
  13. Mitch Ross

    This car in this exact color but with a 260 was my High School Driver’s ed car. So I guess I learned to drive on it. The local Olds dealer, Merry Oldsmobile donated 4 of these to Island Trees HS in Levitown, NY 3 were 4 doors , one was a coupe. All this color with the rally wheels. I was one of the drivers on our HS team in a drivers ed competition which was like an autocross with some reversing and parallel parking thrown in. These cars were so much better handling and had quicker steering than the Aspens and Volares that other schools had that it was easy for us to sweep the podium.

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