• this 1994 oldsmobile cutlass cruiser station wagon is a pitch-perfect example of gm's once-ubiquitous a-body family of cars.
• its exquisite banality stopped us in our tracks as we scrolled through listings of supercars and other mega-priced exotica.
• this highly original wagon is for sale right now on bring a trailer, and the auction ends on april 6.
in the 1980s and well into the 1990s, gm disgorged onto the marketplace hundreds of thousands of copies of its a-body line of front-wheel-drive intermediate two-door and four-door sedans and station wagons—sold variously as the chevrolet celebrity, pontiac 6000, oldsmobile cutlass ciera, and buick century. most have long since been crushed into a cube, but the later models' popularity with the senior set (particularly the buick and oldsmobile versions), means you occasionally run across a well-kept, low-mileage example. that appears to be exactly what we have here in this 1994 oldsmobile cutlass cruiser that has turned up on the bring a trailer auction site—which, like car and driver, is part of hearst autos—and we couldn't help lingering over it.
this cutlass cruiser has racked up just 54,000 miles. included documentation shows that it was sold new in san francisco, and it appears to be a lifelong california car. critically, the selling dealer has included paint meter readings, so you know that the light adriatic blue finish is original, as sprayed by the uaw's finest.
the completely color-matched interior presents nicely. with a split-bench front seat and a vestigial, rear-facing third seat (!), this wagon boasted seating for eight (people were smaller then). it's well-equipped for the era, with power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, and a tilt steering wheel. the display for the delco am/fm stereo has seen better days, so maybe just play your mix tapes.
gm's corporate l82 3.1-liter v-6 sits sideways under the hood and spins out 160 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of fury, channeled to the front wheels via a column-shifted four-speed automatic with overdrive. impressively, the car passes california emissions. it also benefits from relatively recent new valve cover gaskets and a new serpentine belt and tensioner. per the commenters, the new owner might want to preemptively replace the intake manifold gasket.
it was round about this era when oldsmobile, desperate to shake off its old-man image, fielded the ad campaign "not your father's oldsmobile." even then, the a-body cutlass—which lingered in showrooms for more than a dozen years—was exactly the model that undermined the attempted image overhaul. if you're of a certain age, it likely was your father's oldsmobile. in my case, it was my father-in-law's, and he swore by his "olds sport wagon"—he had two of them—until he ultimately had to switch to a silhouette minivan. i think maybe it's time he cruised in one again.