Third Time Lucky? 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

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UPDATE 04/02/2023: Selling a classic car can be challenging, as the owner of this 1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser is discovering. This is the third time we’ve seen the Wagon grace our pages. It failed to hit the reserve at the last auction, so we have to hope they taste success this time. Bidding reached $30,000 on that equation, but they have now listed it here on Craigslist at $37,500. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for spotting this beauty.

03/22/2023: Whenever I see an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, it instantly conjures up images of Clark Griswold’s Beige 1970 model that was crushed during the original “National Lampoon’s Vacation” movie. This 1972 Vista Cruiser has avoided that fate and has generated plenty of interest since the seller listed it here on eBay in Escondido, California.

Some of you will find this Vista Cruiser familiar, which is understandable, considering it graced our pages in November 2022. I would usually update the original article in such circumstances, but new information makes me believe it deserves a second feature. One thing not revealed in the previous listing is that this Wagon’s exterior paint shade isn’t original. The seller states it is close to Butternut Yellow, but they haven’t confirmed that. They indicate it rolled off the line finished in Code 50 Covert Beige. The new color was only applied to the exterior surfaces, with the original shade visible around the door and tailgate frames. There is also overspray on some trim items that doesn’t make a positive impression. It could indicate a lack of care on behalf of the painter and would prompt me to negotiate an in-person inspection. This is a shame because the paint shines beautifully, and the faux woodgrain trim is excellent. The underside shots confirm the Olds is rust-free, with the Super Stock wheels adding a touch of aggression. The glass looks spotless, including the roof pieces that define the Vista Cruiser. The chrome shines impressively, with no significant damage or other issues. The seller is approachable and willing to supply additional photos for those wavering on this classic. It could be worth accepting that invitation, as it could provide clarity on this Olds and its history.

The previous listing was short on information about this Vista Cruiser’s mechanical health, but the seller has rectified that shortcoming. The drivetrain includes a 350ci V8 producing 160hp. Shifting duties fall to a three-speed automatic transmission, while the steering and brakes score power assistance. The listing confirms the Wagon is in excellent mechanical health. It runs and drives perfectly without leaks, smoke, or other issues. Adding to its appeal, the seller includes the original Build Shette, immaculate Owner’s Manual, Warranty, Protect-O-Plate, the storage pouch for those items, an ownership history, some service and parts invoices, Dealership documentation, and several Titles.

Family station wagon interiors can become pretty tired and worn, but that isn’t the case with this Vista Cruiser. The Dark Brown vinyl upholstered surfaces are excellent, and the carpet looks new. There is no UV damage or crumbling plastic, and the dash and pad look particularly good. A previous owner mounted a modern stereo under the dash, which plays through the original radio’s dash-mounted speaker. The new owner could remove this and utilize the factory AM/FM radio to preserve the interior’s originality. The seller says the air conditioning blows cool but not cold. It probably requires attention, but everything else works as it should. For those with larger families, the news this Wagon features third-row seating will undoubtedly be welcome.

I would love to know the backstory of this 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. It would be interesting to learn why it has appeared on the market so soon, especially considering the indications are that it is with a different seller. They seem approachable, which might allow interested parties to gain some answers. It has already attracted twenty-three bids, suggesting a few people like what they see. Would you consider pursuing this Wagon further, or will you sit out this dance?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Scott

    Had One just like this one except for 2 things, Mine had the 455CI engine and a factory 8 Track. Loved that wagon, wish I still had it.

    Like 10
  2. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Could this be a quick flip? Scott I agree it a Rocket 350 but nothing beats the Thunder 455!!! Had a 70 Olds 442 .. 455 .. 4 speed rock crusher. 12 bolt 3:90 gears. It was a beast I wish I still had also. Love this wagon I hope it goes to a good home. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 8
  3. Chris Cornetto

    Clean and beautiful what else can I say. These were and are still very nice cars.

    Like 6
  4. mikeh

    Pretty, well detailed car. Love those wheels!

    Like 1
  5. Poppy

    Color is very close to the original 50 color code. Don’t think that’s a big deal. Wheels are later SSIIIs with snap on caps, but look great on the car. I’d love to have this in my stable. Went on many a vacation with the family laying down in the back on sleeping bags with my four siblings while Mom read great books to us (“James and the Giant Peach,” for example) from the front seat to help make the drive seem shorter. Mom left us 4 years ago today. Miss you, Mom!

    Like 10
  6. Motorcityman

    The Vacation movie was a Ford, about 75 model or so……..

    Like 3
    • Adam ClarkeAuthor

      Motorcityman, I agree with you completely. The Family Truckster was based on the Ford, but the station wagon he traded in that was crushed early in the movie was a Vista Cruiser.

      Like 4
  7. Moit

    Clark Griswald had a Ford.
    Eric Forman had a Vista Cruiser

    Like 3
    • Rich

      The feature car was a Ford Family Truckster but the car he originally owned and traded in was an Olds.

      Like 7
  8. Graham

    The fluid trails on the road, evidently expelled from both sides exhaust pipes, is a little concerning?

    Like 0
    • 19sixty5Member

      I would assume this is nothing more than condensation. I’m willing to bet this car is rarely driven, started and idled and shut off. Moisture collects in the exhaust. Start it up and it expels water. It’s begging to be driven more! One of the nicer Vista’s I’ve seen in a while!

      Like 6
      • Graham

        I agree on all points – but it just seemed like an awful lot of spray to the road. I have a thing about the Vistas…never seen one in the flesh down here in Australia, but every time one appears on BF I’m immediately drawn to the article and the ad.

        Like 1
    • Maggy

      Water is one of the byproducts of combustion.That’s all you’re seeing.It’s normal.Most mufflers have tiny holes in the bottom or rear of the sides to let the water drip out so it doesn’t puddle and rot it out. Nice car Too much imo.More like 20-25k to me.If it was a loaded to the gills 70 witha 455 , posi and f41 I could see it closer to the 37500 they’re asking.

      Like 3
  9. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I’ve always loved the 1969-72 Olds Vista Cruiser. I don’t know if I’d be willing to pay $25k for the car, however nice a condition it may be in. The most I’d be willing to pay would be between $10k and $15k.

    Like 3
    • Rich

      Presently at $29k

      Like 0
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        Wow! That’s more than I’m willing to spend for a car, however nice it may be.

        Like 2
  10. Vibhic

    A couple of days with tape , paint and a jam gun will take care of the slight color difference. This is a great looking wagon. Someone will be getting a great family ride.

    Like 1
  11. PRA4SNW

    This one is at a little over 29K with 3 days left. That really puts a perspective on the ridiculous 48K that the seller is trying to get for that J.C. Whitneyed V.C.

    Like 1
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      Right? I don’t get the asking price. That’d be fine for a Continental, Cadillac, or possibly an Imperial. But for a station wagon like this, I’d pay up to $10k minimum. There’d still be money enough for inspection, maintenance, upgrades, etc.

      Like 2
  12. MitchRossMember

    That looks like a 1972 to me. I had one that my dad bought new, Got stolen in 1990 Brooklyn.

    Like 1

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