Junkyard Find: 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1974 oldsmobile cutlass salon

The fourth-gen Olds Cutlass was one of the few bright spots for The General as the Malaise Era grew darker for Detroit. You could get T-tops, factory 8-track players, velour interiors in a wide range of bright colors, and who cared if engines were making less than one horse per two cubic inches? The Salon was the top-of-the-line Cutlass for ’74, with reclining bucket seats, radial tires, and other futuristic goodies. Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver self-service yard not long ago; nearly 40 years of personal luxury for this Olds.

Those body-colored hubcaps really added some class to the Cutlass Salon. The seat belt starter interlock, mandatory equipment in ’74, added annoyance.

Oh yes, Whorehouse Red interior was a must on a cream-with-red-roof Cutlass in this era.

This car visited Mexico early in its career.

I’m not going to look up the horsepower figures for what I’m guessing is an Olds 350, because they’ll just depress everybody.

Instead, imagine you’re cruising your brand-new Cutlass Salon with the A/C blowing cold and Grand Funk on the radio.

These headlines! It’s no time to buy a car.

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  • Swilliams41 Swilliams41 on Oct 07, 2013

    One of my high school buddies dad bought a Cutlass Salon. Chuck drove that car like he stole it! Nice car and I remember the reclining buckets which were rare on American cars of that era. It also had good power from the 350. Most noticeable though was the ride and drive. It was quiet, comfortable and handled decently. I remember the Pontiac Grand Am of the time being slightly firmer but the Cutlass had better interior materials. Both were big improvements over other mid-size's of the era.

    • See 1 previous
    • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Oct 07, 2013

      @BklynPete That seems like a lopsided comparison...the Torino and Buick would be heavier than the others because of their engines. And thus would naturally handle and perform a bit worse.

  • BklynPete BklynPete on Oct 08, 2013

    NoGoYo -- And you'd be absolutely right! Tire-smoking torque regardless, Kojak and Starsky & Hutch didn't really have such great performance rides. Matador won acceleration because it was lightest. In handling and fuel economy, Gran Torino 460 and Regal 455 were the worst plowers of a very piggy lot. They were only a bit faster than the more "agile" Cutlass Salon 350. But to paraphrase what J.J. Gittes' associate Walsh said at the end of "Chinatown" -- coincidentally released in 1974 -- "forget it Jake, it's Motor Trend."

    • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Oct 08, 2013

      If I remember correctly, the 460 weighed something like 800 to 900 pounds...which must mean that you can get a Lincoln Mark IV under 5k by pulling its engine out. =P But yeah, the big-blocks were not massively more powerful than the small-blocks but weighed a lot more, it was easy to see why most people in, say, 1976 went 350 in their Cutlasses.

  • Laszlo I own a 1969 falcon futura 4 door hardtop, original inline 6 and c4 transmission and it still runs to this day.
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  • Mike Beranek This guy called and wants his business model back.
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