Skylighted Space: 1965 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser – Sold!
Long before today’s mammoth three-row, forward-facing, eight-seat capacity SUVs crowded our nation’s highways, Oldsmobile offered a better station wagon-based alternative such as this 1965 Vista Cruiser listed on Craigslist in Northbrook, Illinois (Chicago). Said to have spent most of its life in New Mexico and featuring a refreshed factory air conditioning system, the current caretaker now has their Vista Cruiser listed for $22,000. Researching the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the private seller has their vintage Olds priced between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $15,975 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $24,725. Similarly, the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool as a second data point confirms this private seller has Vista Cruiser priced between the #2 “Excellent” estimate of $17,500 and the #1 “Concours” appraisal of $30,600.
Launched for the 1964 model year, Oldsmobile’s first-generation Vista Cruiser pioneered the use of a raised roof with a split skylight that began over the second-row seating, with lateral glass panels over the rear cargo area. Sun visors for the glass came standard for the second-row passengers. To facilitate an optional, forward-facing, third-row bench seat, Oldsmobile stretched the Vista Cruiser’s wheelbase nearly half a foot to 120 inches. Vista Cruisers also featured an elevated roof over the rear seat and cargo area and glass skylights over the rear seating area, which consisted of a transverse, two-piece skylight over the second seat and small longitudinal skylights directly over the rear cargo-area windows. With sun glare a concern, the second-row seats also featured standard sun visors. From 1965 to 1970 Oldsmobile dropped the full-sized 88 wagons, making the Vista Cruiser the division’s largest. The shorter-wheelbase F-85/Cutlass wagon remained the entry-level offering. Vista Cruisers such as the example presented here come equipped with Olsmobile’s 330 cubic inch “Jetfire” V8 mated to a three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.
Here’s a great commercial posted on the Osborn Tramain YouTube Channel focused on the ’65 Vista Cruiser:
While we’ve featured several 1960s-vintage Vista Cruisers here on Guys With Rides, this caretaker is the first to provide great pictures of the roof windows that make this station wagon so special. That great pictures also support the fact this wagon appears to a be a great survivor quality car. The only thing that disappoints us is the lack of an engine compartment picture, especially with the current high beam grilles in place of traditional lights. We’re assuming this is for some sort of air intake system, however, the seller indicates these will be properly restored to original before the sale completes. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“I am selling my 1965 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station Wagon that is in great condition and has spent most of its life in Albuquerque New Mexico. Anybody who grew up in the 60s or 70s, or has an appreciation for American made wagons, DONT MISS. A time when style mattered. Even in the family wagon, everyone knows exactly how cool the first generation of the Vista Cruiser wagon is. This was at the time, and still is today, about as cool of a design as you can possibly get in a family car. With its space age roof top and “Vista” windows, this 1965 wagon is simply amazing. Bye the late 60s the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Wagon had taken on a much larger body style. However the first generation Vista Cruisers are a smaller sleeker sportyer style wagon. This is without any doubt a very special vehicle that will bring you and many around you great joy. The dash, seats, door panels, and even the headliner and rear seat visors are all in great original condition. The dash looks brand new, and the original radio works great. In addition I spent $900 on replacing the condenser and charging the A.C. system, although this spring the compressor seized. Also, the screens that are currently in place of the brights/headlights will be replaced with the high beam headlights. I can’t begin to tell you how nice this car drives down the road. It drives like it would have in 1965. With its custom wheels, new tires and surfboard this wagon is ready to drive anywhere. Grab the family, jump in and hit the road. Any mid 60s wagon, is hard to find in this condition. But the Vista Cruiser is almost impossible. If interested in this piece of American Automobile History, please contact me, Elliot, at 847-564-1180.“
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