Well Shoot My Brake and Call Me Ransom: A Two-Door Vista Cruiser!

Sure, the proportions are a bit awkward. Same can be said of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling.

When it comes to GM’s postwar two-door wagons, we all know about the 1955-’57 Chevy Nomad. And a lot of us probably know about the ’55-’57 Pontiac Safari, which used the Nomad body shell. Hell, there’s probably a few of us hoons who are familiar with the ’64-’65 Chevelle 300 two-door wagon. But how many of you are familiar with the ’70 Olds Vista Cruiser due porte?
Mmmm…Rallye Pac…

Now before you start screaming for the builder’s head on a plate for hacking up one of the awesomest estate cars in history, let it be known that the seller claims to have spoken with an old car expert in North Carolina who “said that in 1970 he read where olds made a couple of two doors to get the public opinion and on some special orders to the factory from funeral homes they could make a herse [sic].” But that’s not the only thing that makes you go “Hmmm…”: the seller also claims that the conversion work is “the best job that I or some of my body men friends have every [sic] seen.” Whomever built it, it appears to be based on a Cutlass Supreme (which had a formal roofline and truncated quarter windows versus the regular Cutlass hardtop’s fastback profile and ovoid quarter glass) with Vista Cruiser roof, quarter panels, bumper and tailgate grafted on. It also retains the 4-door Vista Cruiser’s forward-facing third row seat (complete with dual sun visors for the front skylight), making this creation a seven- or eight-seater, though the seller doesn’t specify if anyone who has outgrown a booster seat will actually fit back there.
Did I mention it has a four-speed? Well it does. It also has the Rallye Pac – meaning full instrumentation – and, erm, a Chevy 350 under the hood (though a running Oldsmobile Rocket 350 and bellhousing is apparently included). There is some rust and Bondo, but the frame is purportedly solid. With just under 9 hours to go, you still have time to sell a kidney pawn your great-grandmother’s sterling silver urn and pour her into a Ziploc bag look under the sofa cushions for the extra dinero needed to make this unusual specimen yours. And you know you want to make it yours; how else do you plan on impressing the queen of your gas machine?
Further intrigue (Ha!) on eBay Motors.

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  1. Alff Avatar

    Vista Cruiser and Vista Shooting Brake bet $100 that each could best the other in a drag race.
    Somewhat surprisingly, Vista Cruiser beat Vista Shooting Brake.
    When it was time to settle up, Vista Shooting Brake could only muster $80.
    Said Vista Cruiser, "You're a little short…"

  2. skitter Avatar

    I'm glad it's 5k. If it were 3k, I'd probably have to fight the urge to buy it.

  3. muthalovin Avatar

    5k is a too much for a full restore job. At 3k, things get sticky.
    Also, 3 rows of seats?!? Yoga masters in the back I reckon.

  4. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

    It's no Vista Challenger, but it's still pretty cool.

  5. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Simply amazing. GM missed a niche there.

  6. coupeZ600 Avatar

    What the heck is that thing on the roof above the tail-gate?…..Spoiler / wing / air-deflector / hatch / trash? If it's part of the car that thing will certainly need some work, so it would have been nice to get a better pic of it, whatever it is…. The gate latch is pretty cool (I guess that's what it is).

    1. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

      Air deflector. They're quite common on American wagons of that period — they deflect airflow over the rear window to keep it from becoming instantly opaque on a dusty road or in the rain. (A rear window wiper/washer works better, but that would have cost money, so it was anathema to the Detroit mentality.)

      1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

        As I understand, the air deflectors also created horrible drag, and had a noticeable effect (detrimental) on fuel economy

      2. CptSevere Avatar

        Yeah, I remember the one on the back of the roof rack on the '71 Pontiac Safari wagon that we had when I was a kid. A wiper wouldn't have worked anyway, because it had the clamshell tailgate, which I thought was pretty cool. Put the key on the slot in the fender and turn it one way, the window disappeared into the roof, then the other way and the tailgate would descend down beneath the bumper (large and chrome). The Fords had the tailgate that would either drop down or swing to one side, but the '66 Pontiac we had, only had a tailgate that would drop down.

      3. coupeZ600 Avatar

        Well I knew that none of the wagons I've ever owned had one, and most didn't have rear-window wipers. I never noticed the dirt problem on the back window either but that's probably because I'm a truck driver and I never even think to use that rear-view mirror in the center of the windshield anyway (it would only tell you you hadn't lost the trailer/load and hopefully you'd have figured this out long before you looked). Cpt. Severe's theory of CO poisoning makes a lot of sense because I remember riding around in the back of capped P-U trucks in the desert with the window up and thinking, "These beers are really strong". Those third row seats must have been intolerable without the window down.

      4. OldsVistaCruiser Avatar

        It also decreased the potential for asphyxiation with the rear window down, too! Without that deflector, the occupants are quickly overcome by exhaust fumes if the back window is down while the car is moving, even with the rest of the windows fully-open and the ventilation system at full blast.

  7. kvhnik Avatar

    As a kid I got toted on many a family vacation in a Vista Cruiser. I can still remember star gazing out the roof glass. As an all grown up and confirmed Wagonista, I find this thing oddly appealing. And I generally despise all things Detroit from the 60's, 70's, 80's…um..90's…and well, the 00's. And the 10's aren't looking much better.

  8. lilwillie Avatar

    "shudder" the ebay ad makes me fear for my life at the first heavy braking needed.

  9. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Have you no love for the Falcon 2 Door Wagon?
    <img src=http://stationwagonforums.com/forums/gallery/files/1/4/62_park_FL.JPG>

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      I was kinda limiting it to GM's two-door wagons. I'm well aware that most American marques (even Studebaker!) made 'em.
      And yes, that is pretty sweet.

  10. Jim-Bob Avatar

    I have seen this car in person as someone used to have it as a daily driver where I live ( about an hour from Lakeland, FL where this thing is located). In person, it definitely causes a double take. However, you can see where the Bondo is going bad in a few spots if you look really close. I will say though that it is very well executed and only by looking very close can you see the flaws. I do seem to remember seeing it at a local junkyard some time back, and thought it had become a resident, but I guess not.

  11. engineerd Avatar

    I'm strangely attracted to this, but can't help but think this would be a marriage ender. Mrs. engineerd is still trying to come to grips with my love of wagons, and a two door isn't "practical". This combines both and may just make her head asplode.

  12. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    All Cutlass coupes in '70 had a 112 inch wheelbase. The Vista Cruiser had a 121 inch wheelbase (longer than the wheelbase of the '70 full size Chevy wagon). Looks like some numbskull tried to cram the back end of the wagon onto the short coupe platform. If so, that's nine inches taken away from the second and/or third seat legroom. Indeed, the last photo of the eBay listing, while inconclusive, looks like the seats are all jammed up against each other.

    1. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

      The Olds wagon bodies also weren't built on the regular line — they were contracted out to Mitchell-Bentley in Ionia. A real oddball, as far as GM was concerned.
      In late 1969, Olds built a prototype 4-4-2 wagon, which was basically a four-door Vista Cruiser with a W-30 455, the heavy-duty M40 Turbo Hydramatic, and 4-4-2 suspension. As I recall, it was painted bright orange (I've only ever seen B&W photos of it), and it was quite bizarre. Olds said they had no plans to build it, but it had the feeling of a trial balloon, or at least a publicity stunt. (It was almost certainly the brainchild of John Beltz, who had gone from chief engineer to general manager earlier that year. Beltz was sort of Oldsmobile's answer to John DeLorean, although he died of cancer in 1972, still quite young.)

      1. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

        On second thought, I’m not so sure Mitchell-Bentley did the Vista Cruiser — they were sold in 1964. So, that may be incorrect.

        1. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

          Er, rather, Mitchell-Bentley sold their Ionia Manufacturing plant (which had built Olds wagons) in ’64.

  13. WagonBoy Avatar

    Holly smokes!!! Here I was just looking up some parts for my car when I desided what could it hurt to try and find a pic of my two door vista, and would you have it i came across an old add for me actual car. that black two door uiser in the pics is the same one sitting in my yard. lol it still has its imperfections, but im in the prosses of replacing what bondo there is in it with real metal. the inside is stripped out, and it is more solid then i expected. the storage compartment is the worst part of the whole body. im trying to find a replacement pan. it's still a really nice car, and I hope to have it at the turkey rod run in the next couple of years.

    1. Pete Avatar

      I used to see that car on Anderson Road years ago.
      That car just happened to come up in a conversation the other day.

  14. wagonboy Avatar

    if i can find a 1970 #6 head 350 rocket for the car, and have it rebuilt by november i could tak it this year to the turkey rod run. so if anyone is still reading this tred or doent think this car is real. go to the turkeyrod run this year, and see it for your self. p.s. would anyone happen to know where i could come across a rear cargo pan/spare tire pan for the cruiser? im having a lil trouble locating one. it matches a regular vista cruiser pan.

    1. Rick Avatar

      Where are you located, I live in Plant City, would love to see your car. Rick 813-335-7057

  15. Don Pepper Avatar
    Don Pepper

    Do you still have your Vista cruiser? I just picked one up at the turkey rod run and it looks like the same car. I see all these people talking about the car saying its not real that some one just took two or three cars and just jamed them together. Can you tell me any thing about the car? thanks