1971 Olds Cutlass Two Door Hardtop / Photos, Specs, Styling, Model History

Our featured classic is a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Two Door Coupe. Oldsmobile offered eleven models of the Cutlass for 1971. This model was a part of the third generation Cutlass.

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1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Two Door Hardtop

The Introduction of the Oldsmobile Cutlass

The very beginnings of the Cutlass started with a 1954 Concept Car built by General Motors. The 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass Two Passenger Concept car was displayed on a turntable during GM’s very popular Motorama Show in the grand ballroom of New York’s elegant Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The name Cutlass was derived from the F7U Cutlass jet fighter plane.

The Oldsmobile Cutlass first came on the scene as a 1961 1/2 model. It was designed as a sportier high end F-85. The Cutlass would turn out to be one of the industry’s longest-running and most successful names. During the second decade of the model’s run, the Olds Cutlass would take the position as the best selling American car for much of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Oldsmobile was a late developer into the muscle car scene and then moved swiftly to create an affordable mid-price intermediate muscle car. Oldsmobile created interest in Cutlass performance with offerings such as the 1970-71 SX, powered by a 455 V-8, and the 1970 Rallye, with a 350 V8 and it’s 325 HP under the hood. During the period from 1968-1972 most Olds Cutlass buyers went with the V-8 series’ standard 350 cubic inch engine. The inline six alternative had a very limited following. The engine was not offered after 1971.

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 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Styling

From the time of its introduction in 1968, the third generation of the Cutlass was a crowd-pleaser, and its handsome lines demonstrated true staying power. Two-door Cutlasses had moved to a 112-inch wheelbase that year, and their front-end styling continued as before, with four wide-spaced headlamps bracketing a smallish central grille. The split-grille theme that would come to define the Cutlass throughout the Seventies bowed in 1969, with slim vertical bars filling the twin rectangular openings, and each of the four headlamps enclosed in its own little box.

By 1971, the design had become both more aggressive and more refined. The twin grilles had become more square, pushing their way up into the hood and down into the chromed bumper.

The restyled rear bumper surrounded the taillamps, which repeated the divided-square appearance of the grilles. A deeply sculpted opening was provided for the license plate, flanked by the narrow vertical rectangles of the backup lamps.

For 1969 Cutlass designers developed a frontal appearance that would, with annual variation, mark the popular Cutlass through 1972.

The 1971 Cutlass Supreme

The 1971 Cutlass Supreme had some styling differences from the standard Cutlass.The Cutlass Supreme has a more squared back roof line whereas the Cutlass has a more slanted back roof line and rear window. The Cutlass Supreme also had unique styling on its front end. The Cutlass Supreme also offered an SX package as an option called the Y79 Performance. This package was offered for only the 1970 and 1971 model years and included a 455 big block V-8 and a special transmission.

The Supreme was the top of the line Cutlass offering with bucket seats standard. The convertible Cutlass Supreme was offered through the 1972 model year.

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1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Specifications

Engine options, and there were many, for the 1971 Cutlass. The famous “Rocket” V8 continued in several different configurations and power levels, with both the large 455 and ‘small-block’ 350 available equipped with either two or four barrel carburetors.

Engine options for 1971 included a 250 cubic inch inline six producing 145 HP, a 350 cubic inch V-8 with 240 HP, a 350 cubic inch V-8 with 260 HP, a 350 cubic inch V-8 configured to 310 HP, and a 455 cubic inch V-8 putting out an impressive 340 HP.

While most 1971 Cutlass buyers choose the standard 350 cubic inch V-8, relatively few chose the Inline Six.

Dimensions for the 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass include a 112.0 inch wheelbase, 203.6 inch outside overall length, 76.3 inch width and height 53.0 inches. Curb weight about 3,340 lbs.

Transmission options included a column mounted three speed manual, an optional four speed Muncie manual and a three speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums.

Total 1971 Oldsmobile production was 558,900 vehicles. Total 1971 Cutlass production was 140,800 units.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are on the links below..

1969 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible 

1970 Chevrolet Camaro

Reference material for this article includes..Reference material for this article included..Oldsmobile Muscle Portfolio 1964-1971 by R.M. Clarke...Cutlass and 4-4-2: Muscle Portfolio 1964-1974 by R.M. Clarke..American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History by Darwin Holmstrom and Tom Glatch.

71 buick cutlass two door

1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Collector Popularity and Auction Sales 

The Olds Cutlass remains a popular classic car and can easily be included as an American muscle car. The engine options available with the 71 Cutlass are powerful such as the 455 V-8.

Current selling prices for the 1971 Olds Cutlass Two Door Hardtop depends on several things. Engine type, originality, overall condition and mileage along with restoration details if any. Examples in showroom condition with the 455 V-8 and with full frame off restoration are typically found in a range from about $60,000 to $80,000. Those Cutlass examples with the 350 V-8 are in a general range from about $25,000 to $40,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)