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Showdown: Awesome Oddball Wagons

Tim Odell January 30, 2013 For Sale, Showdown 21 Comments

1965 International Travelall for sale1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale

Generally speaking, dog show people are pretty crazy. That said, I’m intrigued by their ability to to pick winners from disparate breeds. Does a really awesome Boxer beat out a really awesome Schnauzer? (yes). As far as I know there’s no pan-fruit competition where they have to pick between apples and kiwi. Anyway, today we’re doing just that: comparing two similar but different long roofs that are among the best of their breeds.

In one corner, we’ve got Pure ’70s: an olive green Vista Cruiser with a 455ci V8. In the other is the Travelall that helped establish International Harvester’s reputation as a builder of no-nonsense SUVs.

“Best of Breed” is probably a stretch once you look closely at this Oldsmobile (for truly world-class wagons, see Jim’s post here). The (probably original) paint’s decent, but has a few problem areas. The AC doesn’t work and the pictures reveal a modern stereo in the dash. That said, it’s miles ahead of most older battlewagons that worked their way through a series of increasingly neglectful or modification-inclined owners. Drop a few bucks at your favorite local body shop and get the rust patches dealt with. Drop a few more and get the AC serviced as needed. Then take out a second mortgage and fill that tank with premium.

1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale (4)1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale (5)1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale (6)1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale (7)

It’s sitting at $3,300 as of this writing with a few days to go: 1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

As a guy stung twice by my own stupidity nice looking overpriced 4x4s, this ’65 International Harvester Travelall has me intrigued…and terrified. The spec sheet is impressive: 3/4 ton chassis with a 304ci V8 and 4-speed transmission. However, it’s the condition that drives the nails in my budget’s coffin. This thing appears to be impeccable. The interior’s clean and well sorted, the paint is flawless, and the shots of the engine show no signs of leaks or half-ass workarounds.

1965 international harvester travelall for sale1965 international harvester travelall for sale

The price is clearly up in new(ish) car alternative territory: Buy it Now is $17,500. Ouch. 1965 International Travelall

Makes our first Hooniverse Marketplace listing seem a little more reasonable.

Would you rather have a near-perfect Travelall or a Vista Cruiser and a pile of money?

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  • danleym

    I was Travelall all the way up to when I saw the price.

  • Talking about That 70s Show, I saw this on another site yesterday. Background fail.

    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/1ugfI9z.jpg&quot; width=700>

    • In one of the older Dukes of Hazzard epidsodes, you can see a 2nd General Lee parked in the town square through which they're racing.

      • In one of the first episodes of Nashville (possibly the pilot), Connie Britton's character's Land Rover becomes an Explorer in a wide shot.

  • RipR2

    Already on my watch list and just around the corner from me. Fix the rust issues, the AC, add a new 442 hood with ram air and jus cruise baby

  • RipR2

    Forgot to add the tow package and a couple of vintage formula vees on a vintage double decker trailer… Add cooler and appropriate adult beverages.

  • Oh, how I pine for an era where SUV's were reserved for folk who genuinely needed them. Where the rest of us were free to buy wagons, and those wagons could have Sceni-cruiser style glazing.

    Memo to G.M: If you were to bring back a full-size wagon with a V8, preferably rear-drive, I would seriously consider buying one (well, possibly when it gets to 15 years old and I can buy it for a grand with five previous owners; oh, and if I lived in America).

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    <img src="http://farm1.staticflickr.com/20/71939347_9d3b3d7f4f.jpg&quot; width="342" height="500" alt="1964 Oldsmobile Vista-Cruiser Wagon"> The Vista Cruiser is gone already and is my choice. Someone on FB posted about it a while back. When I was a kid I collected old National Geographic magazines. There was an ad for a '64 in it. I fell in love and brought the magazine to school. I showed it to my friend and told him it was the greatest car ever made and that I really really wanted one. He was the buddy that when I would go over to his house we would draw-up plans for the cars that we would make for the auto company we would form when we grew-up, ha! Well he did not agree, it was not cool, fast., or expensive after all. he told some other kids, word got around, and then I got made fun of that for a while. I was sort of hurt by that, but I still defended that wagon and Volvo wagons as well. Another time I remember arguing with him that Volvos were not streamlined but were pretty aerodynamic in fact, ha ha ha! I'll let him know about this place, he might like it. Maps and public transport are a hobby of his to this day even. He'd fit in here. <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3532/5802382548_05b38c2af7.jpg&quot; width="351" height="500" alt="Oldsmobile Vista-Cruiser, 1964">

    • I have a feeling that a 245 is more aerodynamic than the Vista Cruiser, et al, only by virtue of the fact that it's punching a considerably smaller hole in the air.

      Anyone know drag coefficients for a Brick vs Eric Foreman's ride?

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        I think drag coeffs sort of describe how 'slippery' a thing is. Then you have to take into account the frontal areas to see which things cut through best overall. If only there was an engineer who worked on wind tunnels around here a bouts…

  • Oddball Wagons? Have you forgotten you are in the Hooniverse? There is no such thing as Oddball around these parts especially as that term relates to Wagons.

    • Sjalabais

      I for one expected some South-American-Central-Asian-utility-ride, not iconic American cars. But considering the "oddball"-label misplaced, both cars are lovable. Voted for the bricker one though.

  • calzonegolem

    Triple green baby!

  • As much as I love the '68-'72 Vista Cruisers (and that is very, VERY much), that Travelall calls to me. It's just so honest and…analog…

  • Yeah, for my money, it's the Olds. But if it's just money from a dead uncle, Travelall, all day long. Close poll.

  • Olds for the money! Two for the show! (buy both)

    That Travelall is waaaay nice. And way too close. I think it would be a far superior way to spend the 18 grand than on a Brand New Car!

  • MadKaw

    Gotta go with the Olds – after all, this thing made me do a double take because it's practically a twin to my own '72 – same color, same interior, same engine, same trans…..even the same non-working AC. Although mine has vinyl woodgrain on the lower portion of the two-tone where this one has the darker green. And the damn thing is less than 50 miles from me, too….almost creepy!