Wagon Is Sport: 1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

The Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser was the corporate twin to Buick’s fabulous SportWagon and part of GM’s A-body platform that includes the Buick Special, Olds Cutlass, Pontiac Grand Prix, Pontiac Tempest, and Chevrolet Chevelle. Today’s example looks in good shape and has a trick hidden EFI system installed in the Olds Jetfire Rocket V8. Find this 1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser offered for $16,000 in San Francisco, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!

From the seller:

1966 Oldsmobile
condition: good
cylinders: 8 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 101000
paint color: blue
size: full-size
title status: clean
transmission: automatic
type: wagon
1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser.

Original (as far as I know) 330 Oldsmobile Jetfire Rocket Engine. Original Super Turbine 300 transmission. Original old-car-smell.

Upgrades: Fitech electronic fuel injection (starts the first time. Everytime). New HEI distributor (and plugs and wires obviously). Electric fuel pump (because fuel injection and all). New JGC power steering box. New shocks / springs (less than 5,000 miles). New UMI front sway bar (it’s red. It looks cool). New front bushings, ball joints, and tie rods (less than 2,000 miles). New aluminum radiator and electric fan connected to EFI (stays below 200º all the time). New thermostat (it’s currently a 165º thermostat. Probably could be swapped for a stock 185º if you were feeling motivated). Disc brakes on all four corners (drilled and slotted because racecar) with HydroBoost hydraulic braking system (best braking car I’ve ever owned). New 140amp alternator and thicker charge wire (to feed all the new electronic bits). Custom painted wheels with good tires (less than 5,000 miles). Period / year-correct ‘66 Oldsmobile hubcaps (no one usually cares about this detail but me). New rear axle bearings (did Oldsmobile use typical GM axle bearings? Of course not. Well, you won’t have to worry about it). Hidden bluetooth stereo.

Nice redone interior that gets lots of compliments (it was like this when I got it so I can’t take credit for this).

Oh! But I DID add a bit of custom loop carpet to the big trunk-inside-the-trunk (see photo). So now, anything you put in here stays clean and doesn’t roll around in that old, metal tub. That’s pretty fancy. I’d argue it doubles the value of this wagon (and if you decide to pay double the listed price, that’s cool with me).

Also, the electric fuel pump, EFI fuel line, aluminum radiator, and electric fan mean this would be an EASY LS conversion (and frankly, if you don’t LS swap this car, I’ll be dissapointed).

I’ve taken this car on many road trips (look at the photos! I drove it through a giant tree!). I’ve taken it from San Francisco to Portland (1300 mile round trip). I’ve got groceries in it. I’ve helped friends move with it ( < slaps roof > “this baby will haul just about anything!”). It’s been my reliable driver and definitely the coolest looking crew cab vehicle on the road. It gets WAY more compliments and comments than your typical vintage car (just gonna have to trust me on this).

Now, is there anything wrong with it? Of course there is. It’s 56 years old. That’s old. Older than me. Anything older than me is officially OLD. Anything built during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration is objectively OLD.

And this was an east coast car for a good chunk of its life and this means some rust. The previous owner hid some of that rust with a black undercoating, and hid some under that faux-wood paneling, and hid a little more under some debatable Bondo work. It’s hard to miss (but don’t blame me). The worst of it is above the rear body mounts (particularly the rear driver’s side). If you were planning on swapping in some insane supercharged LS, then I’d recommend cutting that and welding in something a bit better. If, like me, you just plan on driving this thing and looking hella cool, well < shrug emoji >.

I’d rate the exterior paint as 6/10 on a good day. Looks great at 20 feet (and mildly drunk). The seals around all the glass are not entirely water tight (don’t drive this in a typhoon). The wiring is mostly original though everything works including the rear power window (OK, so the AM radio doesn’t work. Sorry). The motor and trans both seem great for their age (the Super Turbine electronic transmission kickdown doesn’t seem to work, but that’s just one of those things I’ve been saving for YOU, the next owner). The odometer has rolled over 100,000 miles on me, but I’m not entirely sure how accurate that is. Has the motor been rebuilt since 1966? I have no idea. It does NOT burn oil and only drips a little trans fluid when it feels like it.

I write all this because I want you – the future owner – to know everything I know about this car. And I know a LOT because I’ve been driving it and fixing it for a good handful of years. No, I’m not just flipping this to make a quick buck. I truly enjoyed this big boat of a car, but now I have bigger projects to tackle and need the space. Clean CA title and lots of receipts if requested.

Also, if you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, come on by for a test drive.

Car will ship with a detailed PDF of all the parts I upgraded, fuel injection information, and anything else I can think of to add that may help the future owner enjoy this big, fun cruiser.


If you act now (or tomorrow, or the next day, or next week), I’ll throw in a FREE, brand-new, never used Mondello Performance starter (a $200 value!!!). I bought it over a year ago because I thought the original starter was going bad. All it ended up needing was a new battery. But yeah, FREE STARTER with purchase of this 1966 Vista Cruiser!

See a better way to drive something cool? tips@dailyturismo.com