NEW! Award 114: 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 41K Survivor – $48,500

by | Feb 2023 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

Ah, February. The coldest month of the year brings out some of the worst in classic car pricing on Craigslist ads.  Why?  Simple. Enthusiasts watch the Mecum and Barrett-Jackson auctions on TV, see a car they think is similar to the one they own, and then foolishly set the price of their ride based on one single data point.

Our latest example is this Meadow Green, 41K-mile, two-owner 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser currently listed here on Craigslist in Long Island.  The seller reports their Vista Cruiser is a nicely documented example featuring the brand’s top-of-the-line 400 cubic inch Rocket V8 for 1969.  Unfortunately, the undetailed engine bay and garish abundance of tacky add-on lights and grill bars combined with interior trim panels cut up for modern aftermarket speakers hardly make this an “all-original” example. 

Currently offered for $48,500,, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is double the five-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for Oldsmobile Vista Cruisers built between 1965 and 1974. Interestingly, the graph below highlights this one-family-owner, 350-powered 1969 Vista Cruiser with factory A/C and only 49K original miles sold at Mecum Kissimmee in January for $43,500 (the $48,400 shown includes Mecum’s ten percent buyer’s premium).  The seller likely saw that car sell on Mecum last month and made the foolish leap that somehow their car is worth more. Take a look at the detailing of that car versus this example, and we think you’ll agree the car featured here, while a nice low-mileage survivor, will need quite a bit of work to bring it to the level of the Mecum offering:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask is $13,500 higher than this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $35,000 after factoring in the twenty-five percent premium for the desirable 400 cubic inch Rocket V8.  As a third data point, even the usually optimistic Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the seller’s ask is $10,500 higher than this guide’s #1 “Concours” estimate of only $38,700.  Based on the preponderance of pricing evidence, we have no choice but to give the seller our latest “NEW!” (short for “No Effin’ Way!”) Award for thinking they can achieve a record price for a similar car that has a ways to go before potential buyers will consider it in “Concours” condition.

Buick offered its mid-sized Sportwagon across three generations spanning 1964 through 1972.  The Buick Sportwagon shared its body and chassis with the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, Pontiac Tempest Safari, and Chevrolet Chevelle Greenbrier. This model featured a raised roof and skylights over the cargo and second seat area, this model was an extended wheelbase version of the Buick Skylark station wagon. From 1964 through 1970, the Sport Wagon was the only luxury-level station wagon offered under the Buick until the full-size Buick Estate Wagon debuted that year.

A body redesign for all 1968 Buicks featured an updated “Sweepspear” side sculpturing that showed influences from the restyled Riviera. The wagon’s roof replaced the previously-used split main skylight with a one-piece skylight over the second-row seat, which carried over to 1969. The lengthwise skylights along the cargo area remained the same, and the simulated woodgrain paneling was offered optionally. The SportWagon was offered as either the Skylark Series 43400 or the Skylark Custom Series 44400 and included the woodgrain appearance, and was applied below the “Sweepspear” character line for 1968 and above for 1969.

The 1968–69 Sport Wagon models rode on a 121-inch wheelbase. This allowed for optional forward-facing third-row seats unavailable on the smaller 116-inch wheelbase Special and DeLuxe wagons. In 1969, the “Dual-Action” tailgate was introduced as an option on two-row models and standard equipment on three-row. The listed retail price for the 1968 nine-passenger Sport Wagon with Custom trim package was US$3,869 ($40,000 in 2023).

The VistaCruiser67 YouTube Channel features this 1969 Oldsmobile commercial featuring pitchman George Plimpton extolling the virtues of the Brand’s 1969 Vista Crusier for ninety seconds:

While there’s no question this 41K original mile 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser is a two-owner survivor in great condition, the undetailed 400 cubic inch V8 combined with the numerous (and some would say hideous) aftermarket add-ons will likely prevent the seller from realizing the top dollar they believe the car is capable of in it current state. We could be completely wrong and will learn whether someone places a high value on the various chrome accessory lighting and grille protectors. Time will tell.

If you are serious about buying this Vista Cruiser, you can start the conversation by calling or texting Jim at (631) 579-2740.  When you connect, please mention that you saw his barn find Oldsmobile featured here on Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Selling my one-of-a-kind 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser in all original condition with only 41,000 miles. Two owner car. True barn find. Origination of car from a dealership in Oneonta with owner initials on the car. 400 rocket engine, dual exhaust, and many chrome components on vehicle in premium condition. Always garaged.

Yea or Nay: What say you about our pricing assessment of this 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale?  Please comment below and let us know!

  1. NEW! Award 114: 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 41K Survivor – $48,500

    The owner spent too much money buying from the J.C. Whitney catalog.

    • NEW! Award 114: 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 41K Survivor – $48,500

      There’s a name (JC Whitney) we haven’t heard in years!


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