Junkyard Find: 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser Wagon, Deadhead Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
Jerry Garcia died more than 20 years ago, but Grateful Dead-themed stickers will be showing up on junkyard vehicles as long as junkyards exist.In this series so far, we’ve seen several Steal Your Face-ized junkyard inmates, including this ’68 GMC pickup, this Ford Probe that no doubt had Kansas Highway Patrol sniff-dogs straining against the Colorado border in their eagerness to make an easy bust, and this stereotype-reinforcing ’83 VW Vanagon.Now we’ve got this Malaise Era Olds wagon from the first year of the GM G-body.
Most of these stickers seem insufficiently faded to have been applied while Garcia was still alive, given the fierceness of the Colorado sun, but it’s possible that this wagon lived in a garage when not heading to Charlotte for the June 17, 1992 show.
Hand-me-down from Grandma, or owned by a veteran Deadhead who learned how to roll a joint one-handed at a Warlocks show in 1965?
No concert tapes in this wagon, unless a boombox lived on the seat.
This appears to be the 307-cubic-inch Oldsmobile V8, which made 140 horsepower in the ’82 Cutlass Cruiser.
The Cutlass name underwent a confusing schism in 1982, with the Cutlass Ciera on the front-wheel-drive A platform and the Cutlass Supreme moving to the G platform. Back in the late 1980s, I did a lot of traveling around California in an earlier version of the Cutlass Cruiser, and it was a decent enough highway machine.
There’s a Grand Junction dealership emblem on the tailgate, but Chicago had the best Olds commercials in 1982.
Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Dolorean Dolorean on Oct 26, 2015

    " it’s possible that this wagon lived in a garage when not heading to Charlotte for the June 17, 1992 show." Sad fact is, I was at that show. It was the summer before my enlistment started and my friend was huge into the Dead. He drove a super blue Geo Metro 3 cyl. which we lived out of the back of. We hit the Dead show in Walnut Creek first and Lollapolooza II and then proceeded south to see the Dead again and U2's Zoo Tour in Columbia, SC. Opening acts for that one was B.A.D. II and a little group called Public Enemy. Crashed a frat party in Savannah, got a stripper fired in Dalton for following me out to the parking lot, and met spent a week living out of some dude named Quazi's orange Vanagon with his "wives", selling beads and "paraphenalia" for gas money. Continued to follow Lollapolooza and the Dead farther south into Georgia and Alabama. Finally brought back two hours before my MEPs appointment in Raleigh. Great summer. Thanks for reminding me :)

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Oct 26, 2015

    These mid size wagons are exceedingly rare these days so it's sad to see one junked. And finding a 1982 with the 307 option is even more rare with most examples being produced with the 231 V6 or the 260 V8. The moment one of these shows up on Craigslist that is in good original condition they seem to sell very quickly. The 307 was the engine to get in these 3400-3450 Lb wagons along with the FE3 suspension and larger P205/70 tires.

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