American Hustle, Part 2 – 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Continuing our 2-part miniseries where we look at some of the cars from the era represented in American Hustle, here’s a car that would have been seen in the background, or was perhaps driven by one of the secondary characters. In 1976, this car was as mundane as a Camry is today, but with 38 years of hindsight, this wheezing behemoth is a neat relic of the era. Will we be able to say the same about the Camry in 2052? You can find this 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass for sale in Kirkland, WA for $3000. How close is that to the original sale price of this car?

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass left side

Incidentally, besides being an Oldsmobile model, a cutlass is also a short sword used by sailors. This Cutlass predates the Calais and Classic versions, and was America’s best-selling car starting this year, only to be knocked off in the late 1980s. Can you picture the seller trying to capture the entire car in a picture? “Man, I’m trying to photograph the whole thing, bumper to bumper, but it’s just too freaking big! If only cameras had some kind of feature in which you could simulate walking closer to and further from the car….”.

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass left front

With only 97,000 miles, this car looks great. Notice the bug deflector, almost obligatory for grandpa’s car in those days. It’s neat to see a lower-spec car in such good condition with all its hubcaps and an intact vinyl roof. Drive this and all the 1970s cliches are yours to live and exploit for entertainment.

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass interior

What a beautiful assortment of materials, carefully synthesized by Oldsmobile to resemble things from nature, the way fish sticks resemble actual fish. Everything looks to be in like-new condition, and based on mileage, you could say this is equivalent to an 8-year-old car. So flash back to, um, 1984… check out the gauges in their own pods, the radio/climate-control/lighter/ashtray cluster angled toward the driver, and last, but not least, the square GM ignition key in the ignition switch with the little tabs to help people wearing gloves start their engines.

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass engine

The seller does not specify which powerplant drags this thing along the road, though it doesn’t appear to be the poverty-spec six cylinder. According to Wikipedia, the 260 V8 was even offered with a 5-speed manual, which is surprising if it’s true – most everything except sports cars didn’t have a 5-speed at that point. Either way, it’s very clean under the hood, and the finishes on the individual anodized and painted parts all look to be in good shape, supporting the low mileage claim. If you buy this car, sign it and yourself up to be extras on the set of the next 1970s movie.


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One Response to “American Hustle, Part 2 – 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    This is a good deal; I’m not crazy about the color or the 4 doors, but this is definitely a cool relic and they’re actually pretty good cars

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