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Robb Design Portfolio: Muscle Beach Wagon

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1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 442

The Golden Age of American muscle cars lasted for a decade, with coupes and convertibles from GM, Ford, Mopar, and even AMC capturing buyers’ affections. But only once did a performance department nudge the stalwart station wagon during this era, which began in the mid-1960s. Briefly, Oldsmobile’s Vista Cruiser was the platform for the complete 442 (pronounced four-four-two) treatment, a performance package originally named for its four-barrel carburetor, 4-speed transmission, and dual exhaust. Fewer than 10 Vista Cruisers were souped up to 442 specs for 1972, and a handful of them served as support vehicles at that year’s Indianapolis 500. Tinted skylights were a distinguishing standard feature of the Cruiser throughout its production run, which lasted from 1964 through 1977. The 442 shown here is dressed for the beach, with optional faux-wood sides and a roof rack to carry surfboards or other sporting fare.

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