Truckster Survivor: 1990 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

For many decades the station wagon was a staple of American life hauling families and friends on road trips and to the local grocery store. The gas crisis certainly had a hand in crippling these large machines, but also the advent of the minivan seemed to be the nails in the coffin for the large family barges we grew up with. This 1990 Buick Custom Cruiser is a real beauty inside and out appearing nearly brand new. Ready to roll and fully functional, this wagon is offered for $8,496.00. Check it out here on craigslist out of Anaheim, California. Thanks to reader Pat L. for this awesome late model wagon submission!

Nearly clean enough to eat off of, the engine compartment is immaculate and fully functioning. The 307 Olds V8 is a bit weak in the power department, but is in plenty good health. Despite this Oldsmobile’s mint appearance, could you imagine that this wagon has covered 147,000 miles in its lifetime?

Often the let down to an old wagon like this one, the interior can be ravaged and destroyed from the daily life of having a family. Oddly, with the 147,000 miles this wagon covered, the interior looks basically brand new. The upholstery is clean and plush, as is the carpeting. Also the dash and steering wheel are fade and crack free, almost making you wonder is the actual mileage of this wagon is 47,000 miles?

Typically beat up and worn from small feet, slobber, and smashed up Cheerios, this back seat is very much museum worthy! It is incredible how well this wagon has aged, as it seems most of these wagons lived a much harsher life as the family truckster.

Incredibly shiny and clean, this is a grand example of one of the last large American Station wagons. The exterior appears to be in mint condition minus the plastic bumper trim between the bumper and the tailgate. The wood applique is in nice shape, and there is no evidence of damage to the applique or the paint work. Even the alloy wheels are spotless and lack any shadows of brake dust. Although not as old as some of the wagons that we regularly feature, this wagon is a sweet find none the less. Are you a fan of this Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser?

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Comments

  1. dgrass

    Is it odd that I have such a profound fondness for this era of grocery getters? I used to hate them, all 10HP per ton of them. Great color combination, well optioned, nice shaped for 140,000 miles. If only the price were more realistic…




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  2. Dallas G

    Buick?




    1
  3. Had Two

    Freshly detailed and fake wood sides wiped down with some kind of shiny
    Pledge? Armor All? Transmission fluid?
    Lose the cheap steering wheel cover and the brown plastic floor mat.
    Nice shape for its age and mileage, but too much money. Paper advertising
    filler replacing a license plate in in the rear. Is this a used car lot car?




    5
    • dgrass

      Pledge worked great on the wood finish when taking pictures. Unfortunately every particulate under the sun was attracted to it, making it impractical for every other application, such as driving.




      2
    • Art M.

      Don’t forget the dryer vent hose replacing the snorkel hose to the air cleaner.




      6
  4. Rick Reynolds

    7996.00?
    Car lot price.




    4
  5. J Paul

    “Holiday (88) Roooaaaaaad….”




    5
    • ken

      I get the reference but they didn’t use an Oldsmobile for this movie. It was a Ford LTD ridiculously modified.




      0
  6. CanuckCarGuy

    As a teenager, embarrassing and uncool to be seen in…fast forward to 50 years old, and it’s a cool ride!

    My mid-life crisis vehicle choices are becoming too bizarre… thanks Barn Finds!




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  7. mike D

    why refer this to a ” trickster”? it was a combo of a Ford wagon and some sort of Dodge front end// Riggs and Murtaugh totally trashed one similar to this ( maybe it was a yr or two older?) I wouldn’t mind it .. add my own touches




    3
    • dgrass

      It could hold the whole family AND haul an entire truckload of material under one climate controlled roof, viola family truckster.




      1
  8. nunya

    that’s a Buick Huh? looks kinda like an Oldsmobile based on the logos attached to it But I could be wrong…….




    1
  9. RobB

    I bought one of these, same year, from the Goodwill car auction in the late 80’s and paid $600 for it. Put a battery in it, changed the oil, and pulled my race car, on a trailer, to races. Never had a problem. Also used it to get my youth basketball teams to games.

    Even got a warning ticket for speeding heading to Maryland International Raceway.




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  10. alphil

    This is a little off topic,and might be well known,but beware of the similar 94′-96′(I think?) “Buick” Roadmaster estate wagon,they have Corvette engines.There’s a video somewhere of one keeping up with,and possibly beating a vette.Oh and well over 20MPG.




    3
    • Anthony Smith

      Id switch the motor for something more modern. Maybe the 5.7 from the 98 Vette, Z28 or SS, It’ll be a long distance sleeper masquerading as a family cruiser while blowing the doors off unsuspecting muscle cars




      5
  11. Had Two

    Had one. But, rest assured, it would not keep up with a Corvette!
    However that 350 c.i. was a great engine for the Road Master Wagon!
    Gas mileage? Not bad for a great big hunk of American Iron ! They were cruiser’s.
    Sad…..now have crap boxes, expensive ones at that……




    2
  12. normadesmond

    “This 1990 Buick Custom Cruiser is….” is not a Buick, but an Olds.




    1
  13. Mark

    Had this same color/wood combo on the 77″ I had back in the 90’s. Very smooth ride. Would like to have another one.




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  14. Curmudgeon

    Naah. Vista Cruiser for this kid….!oved the two I owned.




    2
  15. jw454

    This one even has the factory automatic air ride for the rear. The dealer that placed the order for this one checked off a bunch of boxes on the order sheet. It seems to have everything you could get. If I had a lot of crumb covered faces to haul around I would have picked this over a bread box mini van from back then.




    2
  16. CCFisher

    One of the best automotive names ever: “Custom Cruiser”




    3
  17. Ralph hayden

    Very well optioned, especially with the gauge package, lamp monitors, cornering lights, and turbine wheels…the high miles softens my enthusiasm, along with the high price…




    2
  18. Jack M.

    Nice wagon. Always better to price it high to test the market as you can always work your way down. People complaining about the price, go down yo your new car dealership and see what you will be driving for $8,500.00. People complaining about the power, Oldsmobile 403 will bolt right in. No fabrication skills required.




    3
    • Jeff Viggiano

      “People complaining about the price…” Exactly…..Try buying a rat, and bringing it up to this level for the same money….yeah, you might be able to save maybe a grand or so, doing it yourself, but why go through the BS? To those complaining, did you check out the prices for a halfway decent paint job, lately? The days of the MAACO or Earl Schibe $400 “Spring Special” are looooong gone……Just got back from a 600 mile road trip in my ’90 Cruiser….307 did everything I needed it to, and I got about 22 for the entire trip…..not too shabby….




      1
  19. Rock On!

    Double thumbs up 👍👍 to that Jack.




    1
  20. Don H

    Ya 403 185 horsepower. Better to just put a new crate engine in it ,if you want to go faster .Don H




    1
  21. Jack M.

    Crate engines are great Don, but if you want the a/c, cruise control, power steering and brakes to hook up easily, then the 403 is the way to go 320 ft lbs torque stock.




    3
  22. Bing

    Actually not a bad car at a pretty reasonable price given the apparent condition.
    We had a 70 Vista cruiser for like ten years.. the kids hated being dropped off to school in “dabomb”. A lot of car for the money back in the day.




    2
    • BillO Member

      I guess that’s when you should have said if you don’t like the Vista Cruiser there’s a big orange wagon that will also drop you at school along with 50 other kids. LOL




      0
  23. ROTAG999

    Bought one from friend of my nephew’s for like $300 bucks had the 307 motor sounded ok when i bought it but rod started knocking so off to scrapper it went.




    1
  24. Scott

    I grew up in these. Family first had a 77 with the 403, then an 84 and finally an 89 both with the 307. Took my drivers test in the 84. Spent a lot of time watching the world go by out the back window in the rear facing seat. It was a kid area as we used to set up “forts” back their with blankets pinned to the roof. Ah the good ol days.




    1
  25. imperialist1960

    so, complainers, what IS the right price? $2000? $3000? $4000? This will likely get haggled down – if you’re here then you KNOW that the price you see isn’t always the price you pay… Seriously – how many 30-year old cars in this condition are still around? Everyone’s got stuff under 20 years or over 40 years, but 1980-1995 is a tough segment – nobody really hung onto them, even if they had some likable qualities. My guess is that not one of the Fine Folks complaining about price would be a buyer unless it was $500 and coming from their Gran anyway, so why make the comment? Me loves the internet herd so much!




    3
  26. DEREK WASHINGTON

    I don’t understand the little boys who want to modify everything into a sleeper. This is a cool car. Let it be. If I had the cash and that ac blows cold enough for Vegas, I’d buy it right now.




    2
  27. Had Two

    Are you the owner?




    0
  28. James S.

    $2500 is more realistic, and it’s probably still more than what they paid for it.




    0
  29. gregwnc

    I paid $300 for a sad example of one of these back in the early 2000’s. Just needed something to haul with when I’d sold my pickup at the time. Smoked like crazy the entire 6 months I had it but never let me down. A guy that worked for me at the time needed a ride and just had to have it. Sold it to him for the same amount I bought it for. He promptly said he had to drive to Miami (from NC) with a friend. I figured that might be the last time I saw him or the Olds! Showed up a few days later and of course i asked him how the car did. He said that it stopped smoking about halfway through the trip, all I could do was laugh. He drove it for another 3 years and sold it. No bad comments from me on early 80’s Olds quality (except for that diesel I had-no comment).




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  30. Jeff Viggiano

    I always had a soft spot for the diesels….my dad had one in a ’83 or ’84 wagon…..we used to bat out an easy 32 on the family drive from Long Island down to Fla, for summer vacations, which always impressed me, considering his much smaller Mercedes diesel only had 5 cyls, and would get maybe 28……the early ones were nightmares, but by the end, most of the bugs were worked out, but by that point, the damage was done, gas was cheap again, and nobody cared anymore……




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