29th Jul 2005, 18:02
I'm the person who wrote this review. Since writing it, I've replaced the factory wheels and wire-wheel hubcaps with a set of factory 1990 Olds Custom Cruiser aluminum mag wheels I found on Ebay. I also added raised white letter Radial T/A tires, and have tinted the windows... and done various other things. If anyone wants to see the car, pics are posted at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AustinOlds/
The car now has 62,000 miles on it, and I feel a little guilty for putting so many miles on it in a year, but it's been used as a family car, and I still love it. It's still reliable as the sun.
Thanks for the comments!
17th Nov 2006, 18:53
I'm the former owner of this Cruiser. I work at a large computer company in Texas (hmm what could it be?), and got tired of being made fun of for driving it. Hard to climb the corporate ladder in an old station wagon with raised white letter tires, ha. So now I'm driving a newer Pontiac Bonneville that blends into the parking lot.
I sold the Cruiser to my best friend for next to nothing, because I knew he'd take care of it. Sadly, the week after I did, he had a fairly expensive transmission problem (damn 200R4!). He fixed it, and really likes the car. It needs rear bumper fillers...again...but it's still really sharp. I MISS it. Ha!
16th Feb 2008, 11:49
Hello again, I'm the original writer of this and thought it was time for an update on my white over burgundy '89 Cruiser. In late 2006, after being constantly made fun of for driving a giant station wagon at work, I sold the Cruiser to a good friend of mine, and bought a "normal" late model 4dr Pontiac sedan. I regretted it almost at once.
With the recent jump in gas prices, my friend, who still loves the car, decided he needed something more efficient to commute in, so he offered me the Cruiser back. Damn my co-workers, I bought it back!
I hate to say it, but this nice old car that only had 39,000 miles on it when I did the original post now has 91,000 miles on it.
That being said, it still runs and drives great, and I now don't feel so much guilt for putting miles on it, since it no longer has those low miles.
Since getting it back, I've done a lot of cosmetic work to it again. My friend kept it clean, and the inside still looks wonderful, but he basically just drove it.
So far I've removed the rear bumper, and painted and installed new plastic rear bumper fillers (again!). I've replaced a missing chrome wheel center cap, replaced three of the four headlights, since they had gotten moisture in them and made the car look like it had black eyes. Don't know if you know this, but to make the fiber optic lights work on the tops of the front fenders, you have to remove the metal "BB's" from the back of new headlights. This can let moisture in the light, so the headlights have to be changed often...fyi.
I've rotated the tires and changed the oil, and gave the car a really good bath. The factory mags I installed still look wonderful. She shines.
I also sent a factory 2-spoke burgundy leather '86 Olds 442 steering wheel to Dallas and had it recovered. Just installed it, and it feels great and looks wonderful, plus keeps the stock Olds look. You would not know it's not factory.
I still need to compound and wax the car. The tail gate window "sweep" weatherstripping dried out and cracked, and I have one on order from Ebay. Also the speedometer is making noise again, so I'll have to pull the dash and lube the cable again. Lastly, the lock on the tail gate no longer works with the key... wonder of something came off?? It still locks and unlocks with the power switch, and the door opens or lays down fine, just can't lock/unlock with the key now. Will look into it.
On funny thing, it now has a small "Wally World" oval sticker on the rear window, remember, from the movie "Vacation"? It's getting a lot of thumbs up. HA!
Anyway, it's back home where it belongs, and I hopefully will hold onto it this time!
Keep your wagons on the road! -Mike 2/2008.
26th Feb 2008, 17:14
Original writer again. Replaced the rear tail gate "sweep" weatherstrip this weekend... what a pain. You have to remove the entire rear window. On top of that, the aftermarket sweep is shorter and does not fit as well as the original.. and because it's shorter, I had to re-tint the rear window. I had a clear line at the bottom of the window the original weatherstrip covered. That was $60 I was not planning to spend.
Oh well, it's on at least. Will keep water out of the tail gate. Now the car just needs to be compounded and waxed and we'll be looking good!
26th Feb 2008, 17:16
Just to make a wheel suggestion for these cars if you have one, you might consider replacing the stock steel wheels and wire wheel hubcaps with 15-inch aluminum sport wheels off a 1981-1990 Buick station wagon.
These wheels were actually offered on the 1990 Olds wagons, but are a rare option, and the stock center caps are impossible to find. You will still retain the ride and not get steering wheel wonder/walk that larger wheels/tires create, and also not wear out your suspension, and will improve the looks of your car a ton.
In many cases the clear coat is peeling from these wheels. Get some paint stripper and brush it on, then let it sit a while. Spray off the thinner with a water hose and the clear coat will be gone, showing a shiny wheel. If you polish and wax the bare wheel with Mother's polish, they will look fine and will not tarnish. Two years and mine still shine great.
For center caps, hit Ebay. Order a set of 1980-82 Corvette chrome center caps (cheap). These will clip on to the Buick wheels just fine, then order some Olds Rocket wheel center decals, like what come on the Olds Rallys (Super Stock II) wheels used from the late 60's through the mid 80's. These are also cheap on Ebay.
Just stick the rocket emblems over the Corvette flags, and it looks totally stock. Lastly, add a set of chrome flat bottom lug nuts, and you wagon will look wonderful.
Between the wheels (you can still find these in salvage yards cheap), lugs, and centers I spent around $150 and totally changed my wagons looks... while still keeping it basically stock. I did install a set of raised white letter Radial T/A tires, instead of white walls. Think they look great and make the car look a little "younger".
Oh, a good tip, get some 3M weatherstrip adhesive and glue the centers on. They will clip on, but I never trusted the plastic clips to hold.
Keep in mind these cars use the big bolt pattern hubs, so wheels off most sedans don't work. Other options are the chrome 15-inch Buick "road wheels" used on full-size Buicks from the 1960's-1980's, and the full size "truck rallys" used on 1970's-mid 80's Silverado and Suburban 2wd trucks bolt on.
In my opinion, the aluminum Buick mags look best, and still retain the "stock" Olds look. Add a comment if you want some pics, always glad to share. I also added a stock leather 80's Olds 442 steering wheel to my car and dark tinted out my windows as well. I own the white over burgundy '89 Cruiser also posted on this site.
Good Luck! -Mike.
8th Feb 2009, 22:14
I own a 1987 Custom Cruiser, and I was lucky enough to find one that was garage-kept its entire life, so it has perfect woodgrain.
It's a great car, drives wonderful even with 153,000 miles.
I'm glad to see that other people are preserving these under-appreciated classics.
10th Feb 2011, 15:38
I've a 1988 Custom Cruiser with 45,000 miles. I come over from London each year and make a road trip of about 4,000 miles each time. Whilst it's really comfortable for the miles, it's also underpowered and really needs a 350 or 403 engine. I wish parts could be sourced at dealers. Rear bumper fillers, chrome cruise control levers, bumper strips and chrome trim are all hard to find. I visited a GM dealer who didn't even know where to put the oil, so don't expect much interest from them. Still, it's a great family car of a now distant era. It still brings a smile to my face.