The History Of Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser
The Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser was a mid-size station wagon produced from 1972 through 1996. The first year for the Cutlass Cruiser was 1968 indeed on the A body platform with the 116 inch wheelbase shared with the 68-72 Cutlass A body wheelbase. Production from 68-72 average just under 10,000 units a year. Most 68-72 Cutlass Cruisers were produced with the 350 Olds Rocket engine with 2 barrel rochester carb and a 350 turbo hyrdomatic trans. Standard engine offered was the inline 250 Chevy built six which was seldom ordered. Visually these 68-72 models are a shorter version of the more popular Vista Cruiser riding on a 121 inch wheelbase; however, the Cutlass Cruiser was always a flat top wagon without the sky glass. Vista Cruisers offered beefier options compared to the Cutlass Cruiser: standard 350 engine with optional big block engines; front disc brakes, heavier springs, and a standard 400 turbo hydromatic engine. 68-72 Cutlass Cruisers were outsold each year by the Vista Cruiser on average 3 to 1. Vista Cruiser came in 2 and 3 seat models whereas Cutlass Cruisers were offered in 2 seat models. 68-72 was the first generation Cutlass Cruiser although arguably the Cutlass Cruiser can be traced back to the 64 to 67 Cutlass flat top models offered alongside the 64-67 Vistas. The second generation Cutlass Cruiser was the 73-77 Colonade models which were much harder to distinguish from the 73-77 Vista Cruisers as now the Vista Cruisers had only a small sunroof barely noticeable from outside the car. Cutlass Cruiser wheelbases remained 116 inch as opposed to 121 inch for the Vistas.
It was initially based upon the rear-wheel drive A-body platform. When the lower-trim Cutlass models, along with the A-body, were redesigned and became front-wheel drive, the Cutlass Cruiser remained rear-wheel drive, on the rechristened G platform along with the Cutlass Supreme.
In 1984, it was downsized to the Cutlass Ciera's body, sharing the front-wheel drive A platform with the very similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and the Chevrolet Celebrity. From 1984-1988 its wheelbase was 104.5inches (2,654mm), when the GM A platform was updated for 1989, its wheelbase increased to 104.9inches (2,664mm). The Cutlass Cruiser was mildly restyled in 1989. This included a new grille, new taillights, and new, more aerodynamic composite headlights. The Cutlass Cruiser, like its siblings, proved to be an economically sound choice for consumers. With many engine choices being from a 2.5L Iron Duke I4 engine all the way up to a 3.8L V6. From 1990-1994, the Cutlass Cruiser came in two trim levels: S and SL. In 1995, the S was dropped. With many options, including power windows, air conditioning, cassette player, and deluxe cloth, the 8-passenger Cutlass Cruiser sold well until its discontinuation.
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