ROCKETS COAST TO COAST
On a brutally hot day last summer I stumbled upon this imposing beast around Kensington:
This is a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass in Matador Red with 2 big black stripes on the hood that I'm 90% sure were added later. These cars are cool in just about every configuration.
This was built in the middle of Oldsmobiles heyday. Their popularity soared throughout the '60s and never stopped climbing even in the dark Malaise era of the late '70s. The 1976 Cutlass was the best selling car in America. It managed to hold that title for years after too. Cars like this are arguably why it all really got going.
There were so many body styles available for each iteration of Olds in '71 that it's a wonder they didn't saturate their own market. You could get a Vista Cruiser station wagon with skylights in the roof, a convertible, 2 door coupes in hardtop and pillar versions, and 4 doors with and without pillars as well. In addition to that the base model was still known as the F-85, with the Cutlass above that, Cutlass Supreme higher still, and the mighty 442 at the top. Break it down even further and you could choose between the Sport, Holiday, or Town version of most of the above. Whew!
This is what I believe to be the lowest production number (with the exception of 442 convertibles and the '70-only Rallye 350 special editions) body style available; the 4 door hardtop Holiday. The 4 door Town Sedan had pillars between the front and rear door glass, ruining your holiday.
The opening when all the windows are down is colossal! There is a reason 4 door hardtops were referred to as hardtop convertibles. This body style was doomed later in the '70s when rollover safety regulations went into effect.
That CS emblem on the vinyl roof denoted a Cutlass Supreme. This was the highest trim level which got you all the little chrome doodads and niceties. All 442s were essentially Cutlass Supremes with the 442 option package. While 442s were only available in 2 door coupes and convertibles in '71 there were ten 4 door versions built in 1964 when it was an option available for anything but the wagon.
This one's getting a little munchy around the edges.
Even flaking apart this thing looks tough and ready to run. Dual exhaust is promising.
The taillights being integrated into the bumper was a signature look for Oldsmobile for many years. The taillights alone can be used to identify the year.
This looks like a dog just started chewing on it. I don't know what hail-Mary attempt that brown smudge is supposed to be but my man should just get to sanding and welding because it's long gone.
Sure this is a big car, but the proportions are pretty good due to the exaggerated Coke Bottle styling. This was the smallest offering from Olds in '70. The larger Delta 88 and full size 98 were both monumental in scale.
Getting into engine possibilities would fill up an entire page but suffice it to say that this probably has a 350 or 400 in it. If there were an SX badge on it we would know it had a 455.
Now onto the dusty cousin of Big Red:
This is a 1971 Cutlass in Palm Green Poly. Unlike the above Cutty this is not a Supreme but a standard Hardtop Coupe. It was also discovered in Oregon so no matter how filthy it is 100% rust free.
Notice the larger grill openings which would continue for '72. The three horizontal chrome bars in the grill were '71-only.
I've always loved this year and think the look holds up today. As opposed to hood scoops you can see the grill openings are bulging out of the body like flared nostrils.
I would love to have run a hose over this thing as it seemed flawless under the muck.
That line running from the trailing edge of the bumper up over the quarter panel and around the rear window is sweet! The folded paper crease of the bumper keeps everything clean too.
I've seen variations of the '71 model year where OLDSMOBILE was spelled out on the trunk in individual chrome letters as opposed to being imprinted on that piece of trim on the lip of the lid. Perhaps this is the non-Supreme treatment?
Here's an angle where we can see the same pronounced rear wheel swoopy arches that the red '70 has. That tiny emblem on the sail panel of the vinyl roof is just the Olds rocket symbol as opposed to CS if it was a Supreme. I would love to own another Olds of this general era; easy to work on, responsive and quick, and almost every part is widely available.