The 1986 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser that I acquired three years ago and have written about here periodically, serving purposes that changed radically over time, has been a faithful servant during the time that I have owned it but has now moved on to a new owner. This plain and simple old wagon rapidly found its way into good hands, better than mine at this stage in its life, and it should have a long life ahead of it with someone who knows and appreciates these big old full size cars.
The Oldsmobile had been a highly useful and generally reliable cargo hauler and occasional road trip vehicle during the time that I owned it, but I realized earlier this year that the time had come to let it go. After using it heavily for several major moves for two years, a year had passed since I had used it to haul anything that could not have fit into a car trunk, and the time and attention that I have to put into automotive projects need to go into another vehicle (more on it in another COAL later). As a result, I reluctantly decided to list the Olds on Craigslist and see what happened.
What I found after listing it for $700 was an interesting cross-section of the cheap old car market. The first serious inquiry came from two young Subaru enthusiasts in their twenties, who were too young to remember these wagons when they were new — they had not been born yet in 1986 — but thought that this one looked promising as an interesting and inexpensive parts hauler. Several inquiries soon followed from people who said that they were looking for cheap daily transportation, including one who wanted the car for his daughter who had just had a child, and there was no way that I was going to sell the Olds to them even if they offered more than my asking price — they all seemed mechanically uninclined, and I would not have felt right selling a 30 year old car to any of them to rely on to drive to work and transport their kids. One of the last inquiries had “Demo derby car” as the title of the email, and I didn’t even bother to read that email.
The right buyer emerged within a few days of the start of the listing and bought the car on the spot when he saw it several days later. Sean was exactly the right person to take over ownership of the car: a GM mechanic since the early 1990s, who cut his teeth on these cars and the just-introduced LT-1s, and now works for the state of Maryland maintaining police cars and other state fleets. He knows more about B-Bodies and Panthers than I ever will, and he intends to fix up and improve this survivor. Whereas I would only occasionally use this Olds and manage its gradual decay, Sean will actually be able to make something better out of it. So I was able to watch the Olds pull away and recede into the distance with the satisfaction of knowing that good things will happen to it. I encouraged Sean to keep me informed about what he does with the car and to post his own story here if and when he feels like it, so it is likely that this Custom Cruiser will appear here again. I am looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in its future.