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Starter Barn Find: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass

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When it comes to barn finds, we all have to start somewhere. While I wish I could promise you that you’ll stumble on a dusty Porsche 356 or Shelby Mustang in the garage down the street from your house, the odds aren’t in your favor. And if you’re a younger enthusiast, just getting your hands dirty with a long-stored project could get you started on the path towards bigger and better discoveries. That’s why this 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass here on eBay seemed worthy of posting, with its low starting bid and the potential to pick up a cheap classic. 

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Now, we all know this isn’t a particularly desirable car. But if a neighbor told you about a potential project car just wasting away on a nearby property, I’d imagine we would all go and at least check it out. This Oldsmobile has been parked since 1997 and the overall mechanical history and condition is unknown. Fortunately, parts availability is quite good for these cars and your local auto parts supplier should be able to come up with most of the basics.

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While I think the seller did the absolute bare minimum in both describing the car and taking pictures, there may not be much more of a story to tell: doesn’t run, ran when parked and the interior is decent for the age. That’s the beauty of a cheap barn find since you’re not necessarily worried about the numbers matching or if it wears original paint. I do dig the alloy wheels, which don’t appear to be stock and give this Cutlass a more aggressive stance.

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The Cutlass is located in North Carolina, which makes the chances good that it isn’t hiding too much rust anywhere. Of course, that’s another benefit to a newer barn find as it hails from an era where rustproofing was a real thing. While I would never tell you a 1980s Cutlass is the most desirable car we’ve ever featured, it could be a gateway for a first-time project car owner to bring it from barn find to respectable driver-condition without breaking the bank. Then again, if a low-mileage, grandma-owned Trans Am shows up on your local craigslist, get that instead!


  1. Greg

    Having the 307 v8 is a plus

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  2. Mark Hoffman

    I love the wheels. I had a set like that on a 1976 Chevrolet Nova when I bought it in 2004.

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  3. nighttrainx03

    Is it just me?? I just cant understand why the person selling this car cant take just fifteen or twenty minutes to wash the car and take some more pics. No pics of the inside or the engine compartment which is a big selling point on any car. I know people think that leaving the car all dirty makes it worth more , but some before and after pics is the best way to go in my book.

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  4. grant

    Does anyone else hear Sir Mix-a-lot singing “My Hooptie” right now?
    This might be fun for a kid to learn on. V8 and rear wheel drive is always fun. He’ll be making friends with his local tire dealer. 307 is nothing special but when it blows you can build something else.

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  5. Mark S

    When these came out they were one of my favorite cars for both styling and easy to work on. In this period of auto making you could not beat GM for there simplicity. And no mater the badge they were all pretty much the same. By 1988 GM had taken the carbs off and replaced it with throttle body injection, which was a pretty reliable system and also easy to work on. For the price that this is selling for this is a good deal.

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  6. Josh M

    Those wheels are stock.

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    • Al8apex

      “stock” from Pep Boys maybe but not from GM …

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  7. Rick

    Always thought one of these would be easy to build a great sleeper if you bolted in one of those high horsepower GM crate small blocks

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  8. MH

    307. Known as the gutless cutlass. I had a G body when I was younger. It was a 1982 pontiac grand prix with t-tops. It had a 350 making 400 HP. That was a fun and dangerous car for a 17 year old.

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    • ToniM

      After my grandfather passed in 1998, his 1982 Grand Prix became the family utility car–every time my car was in the shop, I had to drive the Grand Prix. I hated it at the time, but these days I would LOVE to have that car back.

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  9. Chebby

    Those wheels are American Racing Gamblers (came standard on some Jeeps) or Centerline Champ 500s.

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  10. Rando

    These were the HOT ticket when I was in School. The best looking of the plain GM intermediate 2 dr cars. Not Hot as in HOT ROD, but the best looking car you could put a set of wheels on and cruise in. American “Butterfly” mages were the wheel of choice around here. MCSSes were a bit high dollar at the time. But these were good looking cars and the girls didn’t seem to mind being seen in one, driving or riding. T TOPS only made it better.

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  11. DENIS

    Looks pretty solid…the 307s were pretty bulletproof but if it’s broke, a 455 BBO will fit with a minimal amount of work and it will be a ride. Wish it was closer…front clip is worth most of that and g-bodies are catching-on..

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  12. Charles

    Always liked these 1980s models….. Many options available on these rides. You saw 100s of them around, they were everywhere, especially the two doors. Still see them at car shows.

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  13. Bob

    You have to be very careful of the rearmost frame rails in G- body cars. They were thin and rusted out to the point that the rear bumpers would fall off. I saw more than one good looking car with a bad frame.

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  14. ToniM

    I think it’s desirable given the proper application. Like say applying it as a basis for something you could build and take to your local drag strip. Lot’s of G-body love on the strip.

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  15. Mark H

    Well, I’m the lucky person who ended up with this survivor – it looks just as good in person as it did in the pictures. Very happy with this find! It is identical to my first car except it was a light green but the top, interior, etc. is exactly the same – brought back some memories!

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  16. Joel Soto

    I deal with these cars all the time. Gbodies are the new generation of hot rodding. Also I sell parts for them. People don’t call me G-Body Joel for no reason lol

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