The other day I shared some of Curtis Perry’s shots of Oldsmobiles in retirement. That is always a somewhat gloomy subject, so today let’s perk up the mood a bit with some Oldses still hale and hearty. This shot of a 1970 Cutlass Supreme four door hardtop in the parking lot of the Hilltop House Restaurant in North Bend, OR, is a gem. Suddenly its 1970! The Hilltop looks to have been built a few years earlier than that, but then architectural design on the coast of Oregon can be a bit…behind the times.
Since I had to do a bit og Googling to find out where the Hilltop was, here’s the view from the table that someone posted. Classic Oregon coast; there’s a lot of time capsule places like this out here, and next time we’re in North Bend, we’ll have to eat there. Seafood, naturally.
Let’s move the time machine up five years, and savor this very delicious 1975 Cutlass Colonnade coupe shot in Portlandia. With all those rippling muscles showing on its flanks, it looks like it’s been working out to keep its youthful figure. And a Toyota van is trying to nose into the shot.
And let’s bump up the time machine four more years, to when this ’79 Cutlass Supreme coupe was new. It too looks fresh as a Newmobile.
This circa 1988 Cutlass Supreme looks a bit less new. Do older Olds age faster?
Last stop is 1993, when this pristine Ninety Eight first prowled the streets of Green River, Utah. These 98s had a rep for shedding their cheap plasti-chrome trim, but that missing line on the upper part of the back door looks like it was a pinstripe. Do those detach too?
Nice photography ! .
I think the Hill Top House looks fine as it is .
I was only 4 yrs old by the time the Colonnade style Oldsmobile was on the market, way too young to drive, much less anything else.
I wasn’t head-over-heels for these cars when they were new, but today I’d be more interested in the 60s and 70s models than I would the 80s and later models.
When I think back to how insanely popular and beloved Oldsmobiles were, I still cannot believe the brand was discontinued.
Great photography, BTW.
I still want a 1970-72 Cutlass Supreme with the Rocket 350 – I love the exhaust note and sound those engines made. I can still hear my neighbor’s coming down the street as vividly as I could 40 years ago!
I’m not a huge fan of whitewalls, let alone white vinyl tops, but that photo of the 2 door Colonnade certainly shows off the stunning lines of the Cutlass version of those cars. For the last few years I’ve been hankering for an El Camino, and at least here in California the Colonnade Elkies fall into a nice sweet spot between smog regulations and inflated asking prices. If only Chevy’s styling had the crisp lines of the Cutlass. I wonder if an Olds front clip would be an easy mod … an El Supremo.
“El Supremo”…great name! It’s a wonder nobody at GM thought of it. I think the lower body scallops might make the doors and fenders not line up quite right…guess you could put Cutlass doors on it too. Taillamps would be roughly the same between the Cutlass wagon (Cutlass Cruiser?!?) and the Chevy version…might even be identical…set into the back bumper bar.
Well, as soon as I posted the above I did a quick Google search and up popped Paul’s “El Oldsmopile” pictures from 2014. Post-Colonnade, but similar concept. It’s hard to be first with a good idea 🙂
I always thought it was a shame the GMC Sprint and later Caballero were just badge jobs rather than using one of the B-O-P cars’ styling.
Is the ’75 a Cutlass S (base model)? I thought the Supreme had a more formal rear roof line. My mom had a ’76 Cutlass S sedan with the weird waterfall grill but I can’t remember specifically which coupes had which features. Somewhere along the line the Colonnades lost the lower body scallops and had straight lower body lines…but I think the S kept the scallops.
BTW, if I had to choose one I’d grab that 1970 in a heartbeat…
It looks like it has the ‘S’ logo on it, below the Cutlass badge.
But, there was a base, plain ‘Cutlass’ level below the S in 1973-77. These had a following with buyers wanting “an Olds for a Chevy price”.
Tomcat, I saw the dangling digit under the logo, but I was thinking that the Supreme also had a dangling thingie that was an interlocking “c” and “s” and I wasn’t entirely sure which emblem I was looking at. I’m not that much of an Olds fanatic, surely not enough to make sense of some of the badging they did.
So my dad didn’t completely cheap out after all? He was a fan of cars with vinyl top, full wheel covers, AM, vinyl seats and A/C and that was IT. I was astounded he sprung for the passenger-side mirror…
I love the 1970 Cutlass, too. Four-door hardtop versions of any 1966-72 GM A-body are rare birds, even at car shows.
All the Cutlass coupes including the S lost the scallops in 1976. Sedans and wagons kept them to the end.
This was so the doors (and fenders?) could be shared with the Buick Century and Regal coupes, right?
Clearly bronze paint protects Oldsmobiles from harm. Anything outside the bronze spectrum and the car wears out much faster.
What, you want to refer me to the distinguished 1981 writings on the fall of Detroit after 1979? Nothing doing, it’s the bronze.
Those last two photos illustrate in part why Oldsmobile is no longer around. Such a downward spiral from the great cars of the 40’s through the 70’s.
I’ve never been a big fan of the Colonnades but they are beginning to grow on me and that one is a beauty.
Yes, Olds, Pontiac and Saturn went after the ‘import buyers’ and faded out by bankruptcy.
Some say “don’t know why Olds is gone?”, well look at its last decade, cars that were trying to be something other than Olds.
The problem started when Oldsmobile began the switch to front-wheel-drive versions of the Delta 88 and the Cutlass Supreme. Oldsmobile sales began nose-diving after 1986.
I disagree Tomcat. Sales of all three division’s vehicles started declining even before the switch in missions. Also, one has to keep in mind that what people are buying in the present may not be what they are buying in the future. You may have a car that’s very popular with elderly buyers, but they won’t be around for much longer. You may have a car that’s very popular with first car buyers and young people, but eventually they will be older and want something more sophisticated.
That 98 pictured is clearly *not* targeting imports, and in my opinion is a very linear continuation from the Olds products of the 70’s and 80’s. Its problem is that it was far too traditional, and the buyers started to die off.
I know I’m in the minority, but I just greatly prefer 4-doors over their two door cousins, and that 70 Cutlass Supreme in infinitely cooler than some 2 door muscle coupe in sparking cherry from the same year.
But that’s just me…
The 4 door hardtop in a mid-size body was pretty rare outside of GM. The 70-71 Torino/Montego is the only other one I can think of. These Cutlass 4 door hardtops were really attractive. As attractive as the sedans were awkward.
I own a 1970 Rebel SST sedan – does that count?
I also look up the 70 Torino sedan as I’d never seen one – very cool…
Chris, I’m referring to 4 door hardtops (that have frameless door glass and no B pillar), as distinguished from 4 door sedans. The hardtops were fairly common among large cars, but rare among mid sizers.
Our family 2nd car was, for a time, a high-mileage 1969 Cutlass coupe with 350, 2-bbl, THM. Even with the engine having suffered some mishap or abuse prior to our acquiring it (lifter noise and orange gunk under the oil cap), it was quite fast, sounded good aside from the lifter(s), and was the most solid-feeling car I’ve ever driven before or since (tho’ I do tend to drive s***boxes). My brother had a ~1973 coupe like the one pictured. I drove it once; to me it felt large and wallowy, overweight, in comparison. The suspension on both was soft, but I think the ’69 was more fun to drive.
My mom’s ’76 Cutlass S sedan was a weird one…late ’76 model year production, ordered with dual chrome mirrors, full wheelcovers, vinyl top, 350 THM, a/c, AM radio, tilt and cruise…was delivered with dual body color sport mirrors, Super Stock wheels, no tilt or cruise, an Omega steering wheel and a rear defroster that never did really work…
mechanically stout, indifferently screwed together…the front bench was off-center in the car by more than an inch…you could see the difference in the gap between the b-pillar and the seat from side to side…rusted quickly, interior plastic faded and fell apart…but ran great right up until it was traded in on a 1983 Nissan Sentra…that year they still had Datsun badges on them too, it was a transitional year.
OMG, Curtis Perry needs to do a coffee table book. I have been loving his photos! Especially the Hilltop Cutlass and that gorgeous GM-10 Cutlass Supreme coupe, one of the sleekest and prettiest mid-sizers of the past few decades.
68-72 A-Body sedans just look so awkward to me though, like the car was designed as a coupe first and the sedan was an afterthought. Even the wagon’s design is more harmonious.
Totally. I had the same thought, and I’ll get I’m line to purchase Curtis’ book. Amazing stuff.
I agree – very much in the same vein as the 2nd-gen Corvair hardtop sedan. That car so wants to be a coupe.
The best is at the beginning, and it slowly trails off from there, pretty much like Oldsmobile itself. I would love to visit that restaurant.
All nice pics. Compared to the Colonnades, I found the downsized ’78 GM intermediates refreshing in terms of exterior design. An even more notable design clean up from their overstyled predecessors, than the downsized B-bodies of 1977.
That picture of the brown ’79 C/S reminds me of why I have always loved those, especially on those body-color Super Stocks. A distinctive, good-looking, reasonably sized, athletic looking brougham. It has everything. I’m not crazy about brown cars, but I like this one.
And as always from Curtis, exceptional photography.
I would choose the 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass 4 door, I’ve always liked the 1968-72 GM immediate 4 door hardtop’s a lot and always feel they get overlooked in favor of the 2 door’s, I also liked the 1978-80 Oldsmobile Cutlass 2 door’s a lot as well.
I still miss the 1967 442 i owned. Style, torque by the boatload and a full throttle sound few can match.
I had a buddy back in the early-mid 90’s, and we were both car guys. I met him through my father, as Mike worked for my dad at my dad’s company. Mike was at least 20 years older than me, but when he saw my 67 Chevelle, it brought back many memories for him. We ended up starting a quasi-business together…buying and selling convertible classic muscle cars. We bought them as low as possible by scanning the local Auto Trader and other local ad resources. We would find cars needing very little to finish, bring cash when we went to look, and made low offers. Cash in hand spoke to a lot of folks! We had at least 2 Cutlasses, one was a 71 Supreme SX convertible in silver with black rally stripes on the hood and decklid, black interior, black conv top. It had the 455 4v T400 setup. Not sure of the rear gear, but what a torque monster! We made a bit of money on that one just by some detailing measures. Mike was always keeping track of the money, even down to the gas spent just tooling around. We had a 70 Cutlass S hardtop, white with black rally stripes. Had the Rocket 350 and T400. Also had a W30 hood, but not a W30 car. Made a few bucks on that one, as well. The thing I remember most about those Oldsmobiles was the amazing torque! They both pulled like freight trains, especially that 455! We had a few others, 66 Olds Toronado, 68 Plymouth Sports Satteliite convertible 383, fire engine red, white interior and top, 74 Caprice convertible with a 454, 71 Chevelle (lost our butts on that one), 72 Torino 4-door, all original, triple green, 26k with a missing 2nd gear, we even made money on that one! Ah, the good-old days! We bought a hardtop parts car for some worn interior parts on the 68 Sports Sattelite, swapped out the needed parts, and made more money on the parts car than on the convertible! Good times! RIP, Mike.
Great pictures! I have a soft spot for almost all Oldsmobiles since my high school car was a ’64 Olds F-85 Cutlass 2 door hardtop (still have it actually). Awesome torque those 330 V8s have! What always set Oldsmobile apart in my mind was their “style”.
What a lineup of (near) mint Oldsmobiles! That first photo is particularly amazing, with the showroom-fresh ’70, the neon, and the lovely mid-century modern style of the restaurant. I would buy that one in a large-size print to hang on my wall.
The ’79 is my second favorite. Unlike the Regal, Monte Carlo, and Grand Prix, which looked much better to me after the ’81 refresh, the Cutlass Supreme is preferable in its ’78-’80 format.
The Cutlass was by far my favorite of the colonnade coupes. The body side sculpting on the Olds was classier than the Malibu and Le Mans and more aggressive than the Century. Take that Cutlass pictured above, slap on a set of those color coordinated Olds rallye wheels, with white lettered tires. The classic 70s cruiser. Personally, I had to settle for a 75 V6 Buick Special Opera Window Coupe. The car that turned me off from GM.
Always loved the 1978-80 of the Cutlass Supreme coupes.. base, Brougham, or Calais. The 1981 redo was OK, but not as elegant as the 1978-80’s IMHO.
Make mine a 1979 Brougham, black exterior, spoke wheel covers, and the stunning Mojave black and gold interior. Or, a 1980 Brougham, navy blue exterior, matching super stock wheels, and the over the top Renaissance blue and gold interior.