1978 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS CALAIS - IMMACULATE, ULTRA-RARE FACTORY 5-SPEED
Price: - Item location: Cypress, California, United States
- Condition: Used
- Make: Oldsmobile
- Model: Cutlass
- SubModel: Calais
- Type: Coupe
- Trim: Calais w/Leather interior
- Doors: 2
- Year: 1978
- Mileage: 92,118
- VIN: 3K47F8R471028
- Color: White
- Engine size: 260 cubic inch V8
- Number of cylinders: 8
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Warner T-50 with Overdrive 5th
- Drive type: RWD
- Interior color: Black
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass CalaisThanks for stopping by to take a closer look at my 78 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais. CALAIS DESCRIPTION: With its factory Borg Warner T-50, floor mounted 5-Speed Overdrive Transmission, it's one of the ultra-rare ones. One source says only twelve 78's left the factory with manual5-Speeds. Another says 11 test cars were dispatched to Canada with special radios equipped to record driving impressions of the 5-speed cars. Have yet to find a definitive source about 5-spd equipped 78's. This particular Calais isan exampleof Oldsmobile's successful attempt to develop a gas-sipping road car - one equally comfortable carving its way through canyon roads as it was at fast, low-rpmcruising. TheCalaisalso allowed Olds to effectively compete withthe new crop of German sport sedans like the BMW E12 and Mercedes W123 - whose emerging popularitybegan to sucksales away from our mid-size American sedans known forfloating comfortably down the road.. As a tribute to Oldsmobile's decision to build anAmerican road machine, this new, lighter and more compact G-Body-Calais features an aluminum hood,heavy duty suspension withbeefy front and rear anti-sway bars, stiffer shocks with adjustable rears (pictured with high setting), limited-slip differential, quick-ratio steering,front disc brakes/ finned-drum rearsand a European-style dashfeaturinga tach and full compliment of gauges - IN ADDITION TO a full bank of idiot lights. The5-Speed, floor-mounted transmission offers the first three gears of a regular three speed with a direct 1:1fourth gear which, by itself, offers a versatile road gear. Fifth, a true overdrive gear, offers a 20% RPM reduction and allows65 mphfreeway cruising at alow2500 RPM - meaning it can cruise comfortably all day at the Texas rural freeway limit of 85. As a result this one achieves 30-plus MPG cruising steadily at California freeway speed. A major contributor to its excellent mileage on regular fuelis Oldsmobile's economy 260 cubic inch, 2bbl-carb, regular-fuelengine and said to be the one installed in 80% of Cutlasses. When Olds needed an economy engine in 1975 they simply underbored their 350. Known forcool running and durability, the 260, while not an engine to blaze through the quarter mile, it does perform capably and revs freely to its 5000 RPM redline. Doesn't mean, though, that the engine hasn't been dismissed as a great 'boat anchor' by those who expected it to be something other than its intended purpose.. Olds 350's and 403's have the same exterior dimensions andmake for a straightforward swap. THIS CALAIS: The Calais' original blue plates testify to this one being a California car from day one. Odometer's 92,000 mile reading indicates it's been driven about 2500 miles a year. An engine rebuild estimated to have occurred about 20K miles ago, means it has good oil pressure andburns clean - breezing through CA's stringent smog test program. In addition, its a rare 37 yr old car that doesn't leak oil on your driveway. Last year I left the cara couple weekswith a local garage that specializes incollector car maintenance. The shop performed a tuneup, installed a new, NOS and highly refined carburetor which means the auto choke actually works; installed a new A/C compressor (now blowsfrigid air) and replaced all fluids and filters. Car has also been treated to a new muffler/tailpipe/chrome tip, HDDelcoBattery/turn off switch, complete door weatherstripping,underhood padand new BF Goodrich Radial T/A's. Rarely used but effective heater comes on quickly and blows a nice stream of warm air. As an aging car guy with an intense interest in the collector car marketplace, I read a lot of the ads that appear on eBay and elsewhere. When I read one that says 'the AC compressor is free, but only needs a recharge' or that the radio hums or 'only needs a fuse', I move onin the belief if these items are neglected, there's a bunch of other stuff that's been neglected too. Original radio is Oldsmobile'sDeLuxe FM Stereo unit and sounds good throughits newtwo-wayspeakers with F/Rmodulation. And although all lights, switches and gauges work (even the underhood light), It hasn't been cold enough to confirm if the rear window defogger is still functioning. The exteriorwas refinished in its original Alpine White anumber of years ago and has beenbuffed to a gleaming shine and touched upwhere needed.. Panels fit is good for a time when close panel gaps were NOT 'Job One.' There is no body cancer in usually expected places nor dentsfilled with Bondo. A styling advantage of this Calais is the absence of a vinyl top which provides a sleek unbroken look - onehighlighted by the sport mirrors.This one also includes the widestainless rocker panels which extend above andbeneath the door openings; also fitted are theoptional stainless wheel well moldings which accent the sport wheels. Trunk lidopening edgealso features stainless trim.
Matte black stripes were speciallydesigned for thehood and trunk lidand this 5-Speed iscelebratedwith application ofa special tiger stripeacknowledgement on the rear fenders. While the exterior and engine compartment are completely stock, the interior has profited from the addition of very comfortable, French-seamed and perforated leather Trans Amseats with head rests and manual fore-aft adjustment. The 'place holder' rears are also leather buckets from an Olds convertible. Buyer can opt instead for the available rear bench setup. Headliner is a new replacement. All interiorpanels have also been refreshed and thick replacement carpetrecently installed. The smaller-diameterGrant steering wheel works well with the faster steering ratio. SOME OLDS HISTORY: For those who have forgotten or are too young to remember, this car comes at the zenith of the erathat represents everything that made the American car industry the strongest and most productive in the world. It left the Lansing assembly line near the end ofthe period featuring front engine, rear wheel drive, body on frame construction - atraditional form of assembly utilized by car manufacturers since the early years of the industry. It was followed by cars of unitized construction and front wheel drive - a combination that could be manufactured morecheaply and efficiently (but arguablylacked the heft, strength and durabilityof body on frame construction with more predictable RWD). Easy to see whyCutlass was the ultimate All-American coupe and why folks snapped them up by the thousands. The G-Body cars represented the ultimate in 70's style and the 78 Calais is distinguished by its waterfall, honeycomb grill, single headlamps and the only year with the tail lamp rocket insert that glows with the brake lights. It's somewhat formal style was pioneered by the 76 CadillacSeville and the 79 El Dorado was a close duplicate. All three are ageless and considered to have compelling style that 38 years later. While this isn't meant to be an Oldsmobile history lesson, as an Olds fan for some 70 years, I need to mention that Olds, during it's hundred seven-year run, was at the forefront of many of the industry's major innovations. Beginning in 1897 the company was first recognized for it's popular 'Curved Dash Olds' and despite other information to the contrary, Olds of Lansing was the first auto company to employ the assembly line. Although Oldsmobile gained fame from a race involving its gargantuan 1910 Limited Touring with its 707 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine, during most of its years, it was the choice of middle class Americans and the frequent choice of the wealthy, like the Kennedys, who preferred driving carsthat allowed them to fly beneath the radar (References here to Jack, an Olds driver, brother Ted and the Olds hauled out of Chappaquiddick).
Olds gained notoriety in 1938 when it introduced Hydra-Matic, the industry's first fully automatic, no clutch transmission. Although known for its reliable straight 6 and 8 cylinder L-Head engines, in 1949 Olds not only introduced the first OHV V8, the companyinstalled it in the lighter,shorter-wheelbase 76, known as the "Olds 88". It was the car at the cusp ofthe 1950's "horsepower race" and could arguably be called "America's first Muscle Car." It was the first postwar car capable of exceeding 100 mph and was several seconds faster to 60 than most of its contemporaries, including Ford's V8. The 88 was favored by stock car racers and the fastest on tracks like Daytona. It can be noted that Corvette, Cadillac and most pickups that offer V8's are modern versions of Old's original OHV, pushrod V8 design. The 88introducedits 'Holiday Coupe' - a"hardtop convertible' - in 1950 - a distinct favorite of young, upwardly mobile professionals. In 1953 Olds was one of two GM cars to offer refrigeratedair conditioning - a postwar first. The next year it offered the public their first "wraparound" windshield. In later years Olds introduced diesel engines, the Toronado, America's firstpostwarFWD car and was, for years, at the top of themuscle car heap with its 442. OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF (please read carefully): Although this car looks almost brand new in photos, the body does have a couple of unnoticeable dents and although shiny, there are some dings and scratches on the stainless window and wheel well trim. Chrome bumpers show minor pitting and rear, to be concourse would require re-chroming.
This is a car to drive and enjoy or head cross country in. In fact its primary purpose was as an economical road car. It also serves tosurprise the Olds car-show crowd who has never seen a factory G-body 5-speed. When purchased three years ago it was driven south 400 miles - mostlythrough the rain. Gas gauge still registered almost a quarter tank when we arrived home. Before bidding, please confirm this is a car you want to buy. Please ask any questions and review photos carefully. The car is available in Cypress, CA and close personal or professionalinspection and test drive to confirm this Calais's desirability is recommended. High bidder is required to submit a $500 PayPal deposit within 24 hours of item closing. Your personal check, a wire transfer or cash is required within 7 days and the car will be released when your non-cash instrument is cleared. Any required transportation is the responsibility of the buyer and every effort will be made to make the vehicle available to the transporter.Seller reserves the right to remove the car from auction prior to end date. Thanks for hanging in with this lengthy description. And check the Q//A section below as I include them all. .