Before people carriers and minivans existed, large American families had a good range of large American station wagons to choose from.
The Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser was a typical example, absolutely immense at 18 feet long and six and-a-half feet wide and with enough room for seven people and literally everything they own. The second generation example pictured here was notable mostly for the raised section of roof with extra glazing, a sort of early panoramic roof.
But there was something else, as well. This generation of Vista Cruiser was introduced at the height of the muscle car era. And Oldsmobile was the nuttiest outpost of the General Motors empire at the time. So you could buy this gigantic land yacht with the same engine as the monstrous 4-4-2 muscle car, which produced an apparently conservative 360bhp (some estimates put the figure at well over 400bhp).
It couldn’t go round round corners, or stop. I mean, it could technically, but not in a fashion we’d recognise. But the big Vista could explode down the quarter-mile in something like 14 seconds. Scaring the bejeezus out those happy, smiling kids in the process. In a way, then, the Vista Cruiser was the forefather of every bonkers Audi RS and Mercedes AMG estate that’s followed.
By Only Motors