Swivel Buckets and 36K Miles: 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass

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Certain types of vehicles stir the Barn Finds army into an absolute frenzy.  Cars like this 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass for sale on Craigslist in Maple Leaf, Minnesota are guaranteed to elicit several comments from readers.  This, from a writer’s perspective, is a great thing.  It is fun to hear stories from the readers about cars they loved in their past.  You can guarantee that we will also see several comments expressing love for this example.  Can you believe this handsome, clean Cutlass has just 36,000 miles on the odometer?  Even better, this car sports a rare set of swivel seats!  Perhaps the cherry on top of this ad is that the asking price is a very reasonable $15,500.  Is this the type of collectible car that brings back many memories from the malaise era for you?  If so, then be sure to thank reader T.J. for this low-mileage find!

Many of our readers either grew up with cars like this Cutlass either in their parent’s driveways or owned Oldsmobiles of this type as either new or used cars.  Oldsmobile started the seventies in sixth place in nameplate sales for 1970.  The next year they were fifth.  The rest of the decade found Oldsmobile in third behind Chevrolet and Ford except for when they were fourth to Plymouth in 1974.  Every year the brand punched out hundreds of thousands of cars.  Most of them were badged as a Cutlass of some sort.  In all, millions of Oldsmobiles found their way onto the streets of America during the seventies.  It was a great time for Oldsmobile and for the people that purchased them.  These cars earned a reputation for being comfortable, reliable, and stylish.

Just looking at the pictures of this one family-owned 1976 Cutlass gives you a good idea why so many people drove out of their local Oldsmobile dealers with vehicles like this.  This 36,000-mile mile car presents as a rolling time machine.  While most automakers let their marketing department fashion colorful names for their paint and trim colors, Oldsmobile simply called the paint on this Cutlass “White” in 1976.  Amazingly, the plainly named finish still holds a shine after 48 years.  It also complements the half-vinyl top in a light shade of gold.  While rust under the vinyl tops of cars like this caused numerous costly repairs after a few years of ownership, a careful look for the telltale lumps under this top reveals no issues.

The seller tells us that this car was always garage-kept and pampered throughout its life.  Among the features it left the factory with were air conditioning, power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and rally wheels.  Under the hood is a 350 cubic inch V-8 backed by a Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission.  We are told that the car runs and drives “great,” and that the air conditioning still blows cold.

A peek inside reveals that the car came with both a center console and swivel bucket seats.  The seller tells us that these unusual seats are free from rips and tears and that the interior is “like new.”  One interesting item to note is that the seat belts contrast harshly with the very seventies interior colors.  It almost appears that they are a dark green.  Does anyone know if this color would be correct in this case?  Are they black and the color just came out wrong in the picture?

Above is a shot of the odometer on this Cutlass.  It is safe to say that the condition of the car matches the 36,817 miles on the odometer in this case.  Sadly, there were numerous issues with unscrupulous individuals setting odometers back during this era.  It is hard to understand how widespread odometer fraud was when we live in an age of digital odometers, better recordkeeping by dealers, and companies like CARFAX making such shenanigans almost impossible today.  Yet, it was something you had to look out for back then.

In closing, it is hard not to fall in love with this Cutlass.  The condition of the car is phenomenal, it presents well, and swivel seats are one of the neatest options ever offered on a car.  A lot of folks have strong connections to Oldsmobile Cutlasses like this one and, in today’s economy, $15,500 is a very reasonable price for a car with so much life left in it.  This vehicle is good evidence of why Oldsmobile sold so many cars in the seventies.  They were a good car then, and it is nice to see a survivor in such great condition.  Hopefully, it will find a good home soon.

Did you ever own a seventies Oldsmobile?  If not, did your family have one?  What were some of your greatest memories of these cars?  Please share your stories in the comments.

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  1. Tim

    Posting has been deleted by the author.

    Like 2
  2. Fox owner

    Lovely example and reasonably priced. Dig that crazy plaid upholstery. The only family owned Olds I can talk about is the eighties, not sure what year exactly, grey Cutlass Cierra my parents owned and the black Alero I bought for my daughter’s first car. Both were driven into the ground but they got their use out of them.

    Like 3
  3. Greenhorn

    I was disappointed that the listing was gone. I wanted to see the little map. I lived in Minnesota for 44 years, and as far as I know, there is no Maple Leaf. Then I saw the listing was Hennepin County. There is a Maple Grove there…
    Great car. This is one of those that you could drive for the rest of your life with very routine maintenance.

    Like 2
  4. Nelson C

    Gotta love plaid. These resonate with people who are familiar with them. A hybrid S/Supreme of sorts. The chrome mirrors quarter roof, opera windows and Supreme front end are the stand out features. There’s a lot of “texture” under that vinyl top.

    Like 2
  5. Dennis

    It is a Y76 option car also. Chrome mirrors, Cutlass S, a small opera window which is actually the big triangle window just covered up with a vinyl top and interior trim. Also has a Cutlass Supreme front end also.

    Just a option to dress up Cutlass S cars at the time.

    Like 2
  6. CCFisher

    This appears to be the same car featured on December 22, 2023. It’s a Cutlass S with a Cutlass Supreme nose and an aftermarket vinyl roof applied over the large, triangular Cutlass S windows, trim and all. The emblem on the vinyl roof reads “Xtreme,” leading me to believe that this was an overpriced, dealer-installed package intended to make a Cutlass S look like the wildly popular Cutlass Supreme.

    Like 4
    • Nelson C

      While I don’t recall the “Xtreme” moniker these were available in different regions a bit like Chrysler spring specials. We had them in the Detroit market usually around auto show time in January. As you can see the car could then have other features like air, radio and power conveniences per the customer or dealer’s discretion. This one has air, buckets and console but not the deluxe seat belts or power features.

      Like 1
    • Mike76

      Yes, you’re correct, CCF. Same car. Same missing wheel well trim and quarter to bumper filler pieces. Did the listing actually try and claim this car still had original paint?! LOL.

      Like 1
  7. Timothy J. Mack

    I had a ’76 Cutlass Supreme Salon, blue with a white opera top. I personally liked the colonnade top and opera window feature with the V-shaped rear window more than the semi-fastback style more, but this one still looks good. The swivel seats are a nice touch. I really loved my Salon, and another ’76 would bring back a flood of memories.

    Like 4
  8. Dave P

    My first car was a ’75 Cutlass Supreme-(purchased in ’87). Like the car above, it featured the center console and swivel bucket seats. I never liked that beast-I learned how to drive on my parent’s Datsun-and they wouldn’t let me get a small car-which I would have strongly preferred. That said, thoughts of that big boat bring me back to a simpler time.

    Like 1
  9. Alero

    The rear tail lights were different on the Cutlass Supreme models. Also it’s missing the hood ornament. This is a Cutlass S which was the cheaper of the Cutlass series.

    Like 1
  10. ClassicP

    Digging those seats but definitely a car for a woman. Nice underpowered engine but I had one it was the Supreme Brougham and a 79’ Brougham but the first Cutlass I had was a 71. It was fast enough.

    Like 0

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