According to Dennis Casteele's "Cars of Oldsmobile" book there were no Olds wagons made after 1950 until 1957. In '57 they reintroduced the wagon as the "Fiesta" model which was available in 2 styles, either the normal 4-door sedan style wagon with a post between the front and rear doors or as a 4-door hardtop style wagon.
All Vista-Cruisers are Wagons, but not all wagons were Vista-Cruisers. The Vista-Cruiser had the funky skylights, third seat, woodgrain, longer wheelbase, etc. On an A-body chassis, sharing front sheetmetal with the rest of the Cutlass line.
The Cutlass Cruiser was a flat-top wagon, based on the Cutlass. The Custom Cruiser was the full-sized wagon. From 1965 to 1970, however, there was no full-size Olds wagon, so the Vista Cruiser, built on the F-85 chassis, served the upper-class wagon market. The Vista Cruiser was built through the 1972 model year.
The Vista Cruiser was based on the midsize cutlass, the Custom Cruser was based on the 98. It's a Cutlass station wagon with a large sunroof (It's about 4.5 feet by 12 inches, and it doesn't open), that is mounted over the rear seats. The rear windows are extra large and wrap into the roof of the car. It's named for the windows, Vista (as in view) Cruiser. It's much smaller than a Custom Cruiser, it's only about 18.5 feet long and holds 8 passengers. (I think the Custom Cruiser is about 21 feet and 9 passengers). It's amazing how a Vista Cruiser really looks like a tank until you park it next to a Custom Cruiser, then it looks downright puny.
The sunroof really set the wagon off and added a lot of character. It just wasn't the same after 1972 when they had just the plain 'ol flat roof. They were standard with a V-8 from 1966-1972, either 350 or 330 depending on the year, and sometime after 1966 there was a 400 option, and somewhere around 1970 there was a 455 option.
They're beautiful cars, better looking than the Custom Cruiser IMHO. In fact I'd go so far as to say you won't find a better looking station wagon from that era. The only station wagons I can think of that look better are the old "woodys" from the prewar days. They're also exellent road cars, as were most Oldmobiles of that era. I can personally attest that a stock Vista Cruiser is capable of being comfortably driven at speeds well in exess of 100mph. (Well, I was comfortable. Someone with a higher IQ may not be.).
In 1971, Olds re-introduced a full-sized wagon, called the Custom Cruiser, based on the full-sized chassis. The 1971-1976 Custom Cruiser wagons were essentially Ninety-Eight station wagons. They just weren't called that. As I recall, they were built on the 98 chassis, and they did have the 98's taillights.
[ Thanks to Bob Barry, Daniel Gulino, Greg Beaulieu, Greg Pruett for this information ]
Produced from 1978 to 1983. Then the Ciera wagon was made and that was called a Cutlass Cruiser also until the end of production.
Produced from 1964 thru 1977. Although only the 1964-72 had the glass roof. Introduced late in 1964.
Body Code Model Production #s 3055 F-85 Vista Cruiser wgn 4d, 2 seat 1305 3065 F-85 Vista Cruiser wgn 4d, 3 seat 2089 3255 Cutlass Custom wgn 4d, 2 seat 3320 3265 Cutlass Custom wgn 4d, 3 seat 7286
[ Thanks to Paul Hartlieb, Jim Hoekendijk, Everett Horton for this information ]
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