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Vista Bruiser? 1969 Oldsmobile 442 Wagon

The station wagon beat goes on this time with a 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. You know a Vista Cruiser when you see one thanks to its glass roof panels or skylights. It’s a neat effect but beyond that, it’s just a stretched A-body Cutlass station wagon with faux wood paneling. This example, however, is muscled up in an un-station wagon-like manner, so let’s see what’s here. This Olds wagon is located in Dublin, California and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $10,900 with 38 bids tendered as of this publication.

The Vista Cruiser occupies a sort of in-betweeney position in Oldsmobile’s line-up. It’s based on the A-body intermediate platform but unlike the standard Cutlass (intermediate) station wagon with its 116″ wheelbase, the Vista Cruiser sits on a full-size 121″ wheelbase and weighs in at 4,000+ lbs. Both six and nine-passenger versions were available.

Oldsmobile, in the sixties, is best known for several of its models but the performance-oriented 442 is certainly a standout from that era. It went head to head, competitively, with the Pontiac GTO, Chevelle SS396, Buick Gran Sport, Dodge Coronet/Charger R/T, Mercury Cyclone GT, and others. The standard 442 engine in ’69, if an automatic transmission was in the house, was Oldsmobiles’s RPO L31, a 325 gross HP 400 CI V8, and that’s what appears to be ensconced between the fender wells here. The valve covers and air cleaner, though, are probably later additions. We are told, “Car runs great“. The installed automatic transmission is likely a Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed unit.

The exterior has that typical been-out-in-the-California-sun-a-bit-too-long look. The horizontal surfaces, in particular, are showing a lot of surface-rust bleeding through the Meadow Green finish and the driver’s side fender appears to be dented. That said, there is no evidence of rot-through having occurred and the di-noc wood grain appliques are in surprisingly good nick, minus the tailgate piece which is completely missing. These fake wood arrangements always require lots of extra stainless trim and it appears to all be still in place minus one piece on the driver’s side quarter. Chevy rally wheels, really? OK, whatever floats your boat.

The nine-passenger interior is a sea of green (green sea?) and looks to be in pretty sound shape though the front seat is wearing the latest fashion in Mexican blankets so that tells you a bit about its current condition. The carpet is faded and the door panels are starting to wrinkle in places but the dash and instrument panel look fine. The 442-themed steering wheel replaces the original Vista Crusier tiller but it’s available and included in the sale. BTW, note the weird effect of the sky, sun, and clouds when viewed through the skylights!

As stated, and illustrated here on BF many times before, station wagons are hot collectibles right now, and this Vista Cruiser is probably, also, a pretty hot-runner, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    The Vista Cruiser definitely gets my vote for one the most attractive large family wagons. Install a Holley sniper and a 4L80 transmission to squeeze a couple more mpg’s out of this big girl.Cruise around and look down at all those silly new SUV’s knowing you have the true family truckster.

    Like 28
  2. Avatar photo RMac

    Had a 69 meadow green cutlas s convertible with white top and bucket seat interior PW Power seat A/C best car I ever owned I bought it from the original owner and made 12 round trips from NJ to NAU in Flagstaff AZ mine had magnum 500 wheels on it looked much better the Chevy rallies

    Like 9
  3. Avatar photo Will Fox

    I really hope to see this “fake patina” fad die off. Nothing looks worse than fake aging of a car’s finish. I think that’s the look this seller’ is after and it’s horrible. It doesn’t add a thing to the car’s looks at all.

    Like 22
  4. Avatar photo Steve Clinton

    “showing a lot of surface-rust”
    I thought that was referred to as ‘patina’.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Jim ODonnell Staff

      Patina is surface rust with title creep.


      Like 3
  5. Avatar photo Bob Washburne Member

    In 1991 I bought a low-mileage ’69 Cutlass S convertible roller and stuffed a Buick 455 from a ’73 Electra into it, along with its TH400LT transmission. Had I kept it, a posi rear would have been installed because boy howdy it was tough to get going from standing without spinning the tire,


    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Lance Platt

    The GM intermediates 2 doors like the real 442 rode on a 112 inch wheelbase. Four door cars had a 116 inch wheelbase. So we have a nice old wagon with faded paint and fake steering wheel. I am sure alot of children grew up with great memories of family trips riding in station wagons like this. So there may be nostalgia buyers or would be hobbyists who see a chance to buy right on a model that isn’t popular and overpriced. Calling this plus sized family hauler a 442 is misleading.

    Like 2
  7. Avatar photo douglas hunt

    all i see is Red calling Eric a dumbass for holding the flashlight wrong while he is messing with the carb.

    Like 8
  8. Avatar photo Joe Padavano

    The Vista roof is functional, not just for visual effect. The Vista and sister Buick SportWagon were designed to have three forward-facing rows of seating. The extra 5″ of wheelbase provides the footwell for the third row. The raised roof provides headroom for the third row, since that seat is packaged directly above the rear axle. The Vista and SportWagon were the only A-body wagons with all three rows facing forward.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Ferenczy

      I am pretty sure the clamshell full size wagons (71-76) also have a forward facing third row. Dreaming about a Olds custom cruiser 71 or 72, but all have been demo’d into extinction.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Joe Padavano

        Read what I wrote again. The Vista and SportWagon were the only A-BODY wagons with forward facing third seat. The full size wagons had this for years.

        Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Old Beach Guy

    Lose the rally wheels.

    Like 5
  10. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I’ve always loved the 1969-72 Olds Vista Cruiser. I hope this car went to a good owner, one who will repaint it and enjoy driving it. The only upgrade I’d give it would be to replace the stupid warning lights it came with with proper “Needle” gauges. I’d also upgrade the brakes with disc brakes instead of drum.

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    SOLD for $10,900.

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Claud

    I would not go back to a rabbit eared 20 inch tv and vhs so i will stick to my 60 inch flat and my loaded suv

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo MoparMike

      If that’s your mindset then why are you even here other than to insult the things most people here live for.

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

        I agree. I’m not against 2020 technology, but I also prefer 1960s and 70s cars. That’s why we visit this site, because we’re old-school car enthusiasts.

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo RMac

      Claude I have a 60 inch flat screen and a 2020 Ram 2500 4×4 with all the bells and whistles but that does not preclude me from enjoying working on and driving my 71 el Camino ss or enjoy looking at other vintage cars isn’t that the point of this site? If you do not enjoy reading about vintage cars there are plenty of sites for EV and SUV’s out there go enjoy those. To each his own

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

        I agree. This site is for those who are interested in old-school cars, trucks and other vehicles. If that’s not your cup of tea, bye Felicia! Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

        Like 2

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