Kalamazoo Man’s Restored Indy 500 Vista Cruiser at Grand Rapids Auto Show
Todd Harroun has restored some great cars, like the 1978 Checker Cab on the TV show “Taxi.” Next week, he’ll be displaying another classic. It’s a Vista Cruiser station wagon from the 1972 Indianapolis 500. The Hurst / Oldsmobile was produced for the Medical Director. Hurst supplied the speedway with at least a couple of Hurst/Olds Vista Cruiser station wagons labeled “Medical “ as well as “Press and Photographer”.
If that name “Harroun” looks familiar next to “Indianapolis 500”, it might be because the very first winner of the famed race was Ray Harroun, Todd’s grandfather’s cousin.
Todd says he’s taking it up next week to be displayed with the Gilmore Museum collection at the Michigan International Auto Show in Grand Rapids, January 30 thru February 2nd.
The car is similar to Eric's 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser on “That 70’s Show”. That car was a "hand me down" car given to him by his father Red in the pilot episode, which takes place in 1976. The "Vista Cruiser" played a prominent role throughout the series. When the series was canceled in 2006, series co-star Wilmer Valderrama bought the car from the production company for $500. As of 2019, he still owns the car.
According to Hemmings.com, this particular Vista Cruiser was assembled at the Lansing, Michigan, plant. Specially ordered by the Hurst Corporation in Westminster, Pennsylvania, the Vista Cruiser was originally fitted with the cheapest Rocket 350-cu.in. V-8 is available. As soon as the wrench-men in Pennsylvania got hold of it, they were going to replace it with a warmed-over 455-cu.in. V-8, anyway. All the cars were sprayed 100 percent Cameo White, and this particular wagon received a “Special Car Order” requesting that it be built with the W-25 dual-intake “Force Air” fiberglass hood. In addition, all hood stripes were to be deleted, as well as all body side moldings, and the woodgrain vinyl appliqué standard on Vista Cruisers.
See the car at the show in Grand Rapids at DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, next Thursday, January 30 through Sunday, February 2nd.