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At $3,950, Will This 1994 Olds Cutlass Cruiser Cruise To A Win?

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Despite its somewhat compact dimensions, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Olds wagon offers seven seats across three rows. Let’s see if its price tag proves equally accommodating.

Tuner cars like yesterday’s 1998 BMW M3 Dinan convertible tend to walk a tightrope between the lure of added performance and the bastardization of the original factory intent. At $22,900, our M3 seemed too pricy to enter that conflict. The result was a narrow if unfortunate 54 percent No Dice loss.

Not counting a 1954 Motorama show car, Oldsmobile’s first use of the Cutlass nameplate came in 1961 as the F-85 Cutlass. That car was builton the Y-body platform, which it shared with the Buick Special and Pontiac Tempest. To separate these models from the smaller Chevy Corvair, GM used the unfortunate internal name of “Senior Compact” for this new line of mid-sized cars. Decades later, Oldsmobile would attempt to exorcise this image from its lineup with the advertising tagline “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile.”

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Today’s 1994 Olds Cutlass Cruiser wagon was indeed somebody’s father’s Oldsmobile—or at least that’s what the seller claims. According to the ad’s description, the present owner bought the car from an older couple who had inherited it from the wife’s father, who, in turn, had bought it new and used it only sparingly.

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Being a ’94, this Cruiser eschews the earlier 3300 V6 used the line for the Chevy-built 3100. Situated as the standard engine on the wagon, it makes 160 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. That power is routed to the front wheels through the also standard 440-T4 four-speed automatic. Per the ad, the car has enjoyed a new starter and alternator as well as the replacement of its brake pads, lines and rotors. The tires are also new, and as an added benefit, the car will come with an extra set of studded snow tires.

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The car looks pretty solid, although there is some road rot creeping up the rear door lip on the passenger side. Other than that, it seems without significant flaws, and these A-body wagons have also held up fairly well in the looks department. In the back is a commodious hatch with a separate opening glass for small items. Just ahead of that is a two-passenger third row for equally small people.

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