HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass S

Pick of the Day: 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass S

A strange Sports Coupe from Olds


Back when both hardtops and cars with B-pillars were a thing, the latter was the entry-level and cost a few dollars less than its pillarless brethren. Yet if you look at Oldsmobile’s 1971 lineup, the two-door Cutlass Hardtop Coupe was the cheapest two-door of the series. Doesn’t jibe with prevailing wisdom, right? Our Pick of the Day is one of those pricier pillared coupes, a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Sports Coupe. It is listed on by a dealership in Greene, Iowa. (Click the link to  view the listing)

1970 Cutlasses and F-85, left to right

The value-leading F-85 lived on in 1971, but it was only available as a Town Sedan as Oldsmobile clearly was phasing out the model. The next step up was the Cutlass, and the Lansing company’s cheapest two-door was the Cutlass Hardtop Coupe. It cost $2900 with a six, or $3,021 with a V8. You could move up to the Cutlass S for something fancier, which added rear armrests with accent moldings, rear ashtrays. floor carpeting, chrome body-side, rocker panel, and wheel-opening moldings, bright moldings for front bench plus foam padding front and rear, louvered hood, and recessed windshield wipers.

Interestingly, Oldsmobile offered a Cutlass S pillared coupe called the Sports Coupe, as well as a Hardtop Coupe. The Cutlass S Sports Coupe cost $2,957 with a six, or $3,078 with a V8,  while the Cutlass S Hardtop Coupe was $3,020 with a six, $3,141 with a V8. Why Oldsmobile decided to offer its cheapest two-door as a hardtop without offering a pillared coupe is anyone’s guess, as a Cutlass Sports Coupe would seem logical. However, that didn’t happen.

As you may have inferred, there were two standard engines depending on whether you preferred a six or V8. The 250cid six, which was quite rare (under 2500 units among all Cutlass and Cutlass S models), was known as the Action-Line 6 and was rated at 145 gross (110 net) horsepower. The V8 was Oldsmobile’s famous L65 Rocket 350 with a two-barrel carburetor. Horsepower was 240 gross (160 net with single exhaust, 175 with duals). The optional L74 four-barrel 350 was rated at 260 gross, or 180 net with single exhaust, 200 with duals). Standard transmission for all engines was a column-mounted three-speed manual, with the M14 heavy-duty three-speed with floor shift  and M20 wide-ratio four-speed being available for L74-equipped cars. M38 Turbo Hydra-matic 350 was available for all engines.

If you wanted to get creative, you could order a Cutlass S coupe of some sort with the six and M38, A51 Strato Bucket seats, W26 console with Hurst Dual-Gate shifter, and W35 rear-deck spoiler. Weird things did happen, but is it as weird as Oldsmobile having a hardtop as its cheapest two-door? Nonetheless, this Matador Red 1971 Cutlass S Sports Coupe is not a common sight these days. As one of 4,339 V8 examples built, this Cutlass S is a “nearly original survivor” featuring 39,672 miles on the odometer, according to the seller. “Popping open the hood reveals an authentic, numbers-matching 350cid V8 breathing through a two-barrel carburetor, sitting inside an engine bay so genuine it still has the factory chalk markings.” And check out those standard hubcaps without trim rings! Are those original to the car or they were added by a more recent owner for a Plain Jane look? Hard to tell, but they don’t jibe with the power trunk release – a relative luxury for a post coupe with no other luxuries but, again, stranger things have happened.

Other options include power steering and brakes, AM radio, and driver-side mirror. Honestly, this sounds like a car ordered for dealer stock, perhaps? For $38,995, you can purchase this beauty from the lot and park it in your driveway.

Click here for this Pick of the Day.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.



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