Olds continued to build the dome-top Vista-Cruiser through 1972, even though Buick dropped its cousin, the Sportwagon, after 1969, and Olds itself added a full-size wagon -- the 127-inch-wheelbase Custom Cruiser -- in 1971. Demand for the 1970, 1971, and 1972 Oldsmobile Vista-Cruiser remained fairly consistent, and it seems the only thing that could stop the Vista-Cruiser was a change in GM's intermediate bodyshells.
For 1970, the Vista-Cruiser was the only bubble-top
station wagon left.
Grille textures changed in each of the final years, from a fine rectangular mesh in 1970 to thin horizontal bars in '71, and finally a bold eggcrate. The grille area was enlarged over time, first by descending slightly into the bumper for 1970, then up into the hood for 1971-72.
Front-bumper-mounted parking lights became large round units in 1970, the same year the taillights grew deeper. Powerful-looking twin bulges were stamped into Vista-Cruiser hoods starting in 1971. Inside, 1970's revised instrument panel continued to use a trio of round dials, but without the deep-set "tunnel" effect of the 1968-69 dash.Availability and ratings of 350-cubic-inch V-8s stayed put for 1970, but with the 400-cube engine now dropped, the Vista-Cruiser could be ordered with Oldsmobile's big-bruiser 455-cubic-inch. Buyers could select 320- or 365-horsepower variants, the latter with manual transmissions.
For 1971, General Motors detuned all its engines to run on regular fuel. As such, the horsepower ratings in the standard Vista-Cruiser 350 V-8 slipped to 240. Among optional 455s, the 320-horse engine was untouched, but the top power choice shed 25 horsepower and was down to 340. For '72, with the corporation's switch to recording horsepower in net figures, the standard-equipment engine was rated at 160, the optional upgrade at 180, and the 455 at 225.
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