Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Car of the Day:November 2, 2011

The car for today is the Matchbox 1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser.

The Vista Cruiser is a station wagon built by the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors from 1964 to 1977. It was based on the Oldsmobile Cutlass/F-85 model but prior to the 1973 model year it utilized a wheelbase which was 5 inches (130 mm) longer than that of the Cutlass/F-85 sedan.

Unlike most station wagons, it was styled with an unusual dome car-like glass found in the roof over the second-row seating. It also included sun visors for the second row of seats, and had smaller glass panels over the rear cargo area windows. This car was introduced to the public on February 4, 1964, as a 1964 model.

This body style was not unique to Oldsmobile, being shared with the Buick Sport Wagon, and was not repeated in future Oldsmobile mid-size wagons; however, the skylight concept was repeated with the 1991-92 full-size Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser wagon and echoed by its corporate sibling, the 1991-96 Buick Roadmaster wagon. The forward-facing third row seat; while the norm until the late 50s was also unusual for car-based wagons at the time. Though the 71-76 full size GM clamshell models would also use a forward-facing third row, and employ a similar elevated roof over the cargo hold, though without the skylight.

A major restyling of the GM A-body car line for 1968 replaced the split skylight with a one-piece skylight, and stretched the wheelbase from 120" to 121". From 1968 to 1972, a 350 cubic-inch V8 became standard with a larger 400 cubic-inch V8 from the 442 muscle car optional in 1968-69 and a 455 cubic-inch V8 from the 442 available from 1970 to 1972. Transmission offerings through the years included one of two automatics - the two-speed Jetaway (1968) or three-speed Turbo Hydramatic (1968-72), or very rarely, a standard three-speed manual with column shift or optional four-speed manual with floor-mounted Hurst shifter.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile_Vista_Cruiser to learn more on the '71 Vista Cruiser.

Matchbox included the Olds shown in the 2010 Lesney Line. It features as about of good details shown on any Matchbox that I can recall. The simulated wood paneling and the detailed trim work are standout features.

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