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Rough Start: Long-roofin’ It With An Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser!

Rough Start: Long-roofin’ It With An Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser!

The Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser was the warning flag that the brand was about to slip under the waves. Long the longroof option for Oldsmobile, when the 1991 update occurred, the 307 V8, the final form of the Rocket V8 that had debuted in 1949, had been canned in favor of the Chevrolet 305 and 350 and precious little was honestly Oldsmobile. It’s amazing to think, in hindsight, that GM even bothered giving the final¬†full-frame, rear-drive Olds a unique grille for the B-body shape. It was a re-skin on a frame that was dated but durable, and it was not meant to last. A tick over 12,000 Custom Cruisers left the line at Willow Run before the plug was pulled at the end of 1992.

But from it’s basic small-block V8 architecture to the Vista roof that was an Olds hallmark for decades, there is a redeeming factor to this 1991 wagon. It’s beat, make no mistake, but we’ve seen worse and the mechanicals are solid. It’s an Arizona car, so we wouldn’t sweat rust issues. We would be in a hurry to get the car’s interior cleaned up, because what we see is dingy and disgusting, but overall, we see hope for this Olds. It’s a GM B-body, arguably one of the best things the company has ever cranked out, and there’s enough room someone to use this car as a camper if they really wanted to.

So, let’s look at this Custom Cruiser from the Rough Start budget perspective. The Olds is up for grabs for $2,100. We would look hard at the brakes, but don’t suspect any other issues as far as mechanicals go. The interior would cost some coin to get sorted, which means that you’d best ignore the clearcoat peel for the time being. We’d sort the interior, find some takeoff Caprice or Impala SS wheels so we could ditch the Olds units, and cruise it while we refill the coffers for a new engine. It might not be Rocket powered, but a 383 LT-1 would be a nice upgrade…

Craigslist Link: 1991 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

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3 thoughts on “Rough Start: Long-roofin’ It With An Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser!

  1. C.M. Bendig

    Find Caprice Cop car with the split seats (the cop buckets). Cut the floor braces out for the inner seat tracts. Then find mo better buckets that will bolt in. Weld the brackets to the floor and get a Floor console from a Gran Am with floor shifter. You may need a 1995-2001 S-10 Extreme/SS or Blazer Extreme floor shifter and cables to make it all work (stuff I have in my parts hoard). Find a Caprice or Buick Wagon for back seats if the leather is messed up. People use the 1991-1996’s for demo derby cars. Wanted ads and careful crackheds list searches should turn up one someone is gutting.

    Get another engine on the stand ready to rock. The advertise the 305 for sale. it should be the TBI 305 Camaro/Truck engine (yes 1989-1992 you could get a TBI 305 3rd gen F car). Sell it pull it and drop in the new bullet. a 383 or 406 with a TBI unit from a .74L (454) and have the ECM redone by someone, or find someone that can come swap the ecm and tune it.

    Wagons from 1986-1996 ALL have Heavy Duty suspension RPO F-41 standard. Even if it was ordered as a police wagon with B4C/4BC package. You can find the cop car brake stuff or go with aftermarket stuff. I would go aftermarket 4 wheel disks and some 17 t0 20 inch wheels for brake clearance.
    Wheel adapters and ZR1 wheels would even be cool.

    The only power plant that would be out of the world AWESOME is if someone wanted to Stuff a D.R.C.E. in it and attempt to street drive it. If you don’t know what that is, you have no business near a strip.

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