Car Show Classics: 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme & Others – Supreme Love On The 4th

It’s summer and time for some car show action in San Salvador. This time, a small car show with a mostly American iron theme for the 4th of July. All courtesy of a local diner owned by some Expats and who especialize in pretty decent American food. There was live music, a decent crowd, lots of rain, and actually a few interesting rides. We’ll go from the good to the questionable, from the desirable to the obvious, all peppered with a good deal of American pop culture. The latter, inevitable around here. And just about anywhere if you think about it.

We’ll start with the good. Like this view of a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme taken right after the afternoon rain. Let’s concentrate on this angle, as the front has some of the odd customizing locals love.

Remember when Cutlasses were the most common of sights? I do. Hard to believe they’re mostly gone. And as such, new generations have to learn about them from zero. Think about it, that kid with baloons in the lower right of the frame is probably wondering what a Cutlass is, and how to pronounce it. And it may also be wondering why this Cutlass has a Ford V8 (I think that’s what it is) badge on the trunk lid.

Understandably, I didn’t get a clear view of the Supreme’s profile until later, toward the event’s end. Good thing the cars next to it moved away first, just to get this shot. It’s the right angle to better appreciate how those Monte Carlo and Grand Prix body parts endowed the swoopy A-body Cutlass with an upscale presence. A Supreme chapter in the making.

In any case, I just realized as I type this that the owner of this Supreme is a 30-something fella who has a liking for Oldsmobiles. The car even has its own Instagram account.

I give the owner kudos for picking an American marque outside the usual around here (no Mustangs or Camaros for this guy). And thanks to the IG account I can add the car was purchased 15 years ago and underwent a good deal of restoration. Understandably, throughout those many years, the owner has suffered the usual setbacks in keeping an old American car alive in these lands. Mostly, impossible to find parts for maintenance.

On the other hand, lots of photos on his IG showing his proud ownership of the car and having fun pushing the mighty V8 on local tracks. And here is, directly from the IG account, the car’s 350 cubic inch V8.

Annoyingly, the car lost its Olds nose at some point in the last couple of years. Maybe I should write the guy and tell him I have an eBay account for such emergencies?

In any case, this angle shows the odd Mad Max-esque effect modern halogens create on vintage rides. I find them rather annoying, but I’m seeing tons of old cars with these. Maybe the old-tech headlights are no longer sold in this nation?

Now, the blacked-out trim is the owner’s idea. Not crazy about it, but to each their own. Now, if the car was mine, I know what I would fix first. Also, I see some straps doing their best to keep some trim from falling. As I said, local hardships, you know?

But say what you will, at least someone isn’t giving up on this old Supreme.

Now, vinyl top lovers should be OK with this. As far as I can tell, the soft top has remained in place since the car was purchased in 2009.

Let’s move to the interior, which is very Supreme indeed. Even if it’s not getting much use, the original Oldsmobile radio is still in place… right below a Kenwood player?

Now, those rear seats confirm all my biases about these GM cars not being very space-efficient.

The trim may be blacked out, but it’s all mostly there.

Now, as I mentioned, there was more car action earlier, right before the rain started mid-afternoon. And nope, there’s no way to avoid any longer that questionable General Lee Charger by the Cutlass’s side. Gosh, the cultural impact of that show… Who would have imagined?

Still, this particular Charger has a rather good story behind it. Dukes of Hazzard nonsense notwithstanding.

The Charger was sold new in San Salvador to an upscale family, back when Chrysler products had a decent presence in this region. Then, not long after, the car was stolen (way before Dukes of Hazzard, mind you). All search by the police proved unfruitful at the time, and the car’s fate remained unknown for years.

Pass 30 plus years or so, and the family got a call from the police. The old Charger had been found, abandoned in a countryside field (?!).

Of course, regardless of the good news, the original owner was too old by then to care much about the vehicle. Plus, it needed a full restoration after years of abandonment. It was sold not long after. Fast forward to a few years’ worth of restoration by Mr. Dukes of Hazzard fan over here.

I know it all sounds a bit far-fetched, but it’s the kind of improbable story that tends to happen in this small nation; where everyone knows everyone and surprise lurks in every corner. And changing subject, if you care about that Datsun 1200 by the Charger’s side, that one will get its own post later on.

Not long after shooting the Charger, heavy rain started. All convertible owners scrambled to either cover their cars or to drive away.

Nope, the tropics aren’t kind to soft tops. Also, if you wonder about that white Dart in the distance, that will also get its own post in the next few days. (Yes, I’m saving the best for later.)

With the rain gone, the Mustang owner was brave enough to lower the soft top again. Most of the other droptops had left for drier lands by then.

And here’s the Mustang’s interior, with a rather original-looking dashboard, new upholstery, and… cupholders?

I have it as a rule to shoot Mustang details whenever I come across one.

There were also a pair of other makes for those who wanted something besides American cars. Besides a pair of Datsuns, this restored Karmann Ghia provided a good sight. Somewhat glitzy, but overall, not too overdone.

Looks to be a ’70-’71 model, carrying thicker turn signals, but right before the larger ’72 bumpers arrived.

Now, the engine is full-bling culture.

As mentioned throughout, there were some other rather interesting cars at the show. Those will be featured later on here at CC.

In the meantime one last shot of the Cutlass, which happened to be my wife’s favorite pick for the show. A car that was all new to her, but that still she felt had a unique presence and a curious allure. The secrets of the old Supreme magic, discovered anew by a different generation, in a different nation.


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classics Complete Cutlass Chronicles (CCCCC) Central