CRIDERSVILLE – Sometimes luck has a way of shining on you.
This was the case for Mike Mitchell, of Cridersville. He was working at someone’s home when he noticed a car cover over a vehicle. Being a car enthusiast, curiosity won out. He had to learn what was under the blanket.
What he discovered was like winning the lottery.
It was a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass – but not just any Cutlass.
“It was my first car when I was 16,” said Mitchell, who immediately knew he had to make a deal with the owner to buy what was once his sand-colored car.
“I sold it and bought it back. It disappeared from 1989 to 2015,” Mitchell said.
The Cutlass line was produced by Oldsmobile between 1961 and 1988, and again briefly in 1997-1999. It holds a place among the oldest names in the automotive industry, many of which were manufactured at the Lansing Assembly plant in Michigan. At its peak in 1977, it was the most popular car in America. In 1978, it was the car driven by NASCAR Winston Cup champion Cale Yarborough.
The Cutlass line included the Cutlass Calais, Cutlass Ciera, Cutlass Salon and Cutlass Supreme. From 1964 to 1967, the 442 was an option package on the Cutlass or Cutlass Supreme before becoming its own separate model.
The 1969 Cutlass owned by Mitchell has a 350 rocket engine.
The popularity of the Cutlass surprised General Motors. When the automaker began developing the Cutlass in 1954, it was called an “experimental sports coupe”. Two years later, development of the Cutlass would take a back seat to what the automaker believed to be a more successful project, its first compact car – the Chevrolet Corvair.
The Corvair was later condemned when consumer advocate Ralph Nader called it a “one-car accident” and called it “dangerous at any speed”. As for the Cutlass, at its peak in 1977 it was the most popular car in America.
Mitchell and his wife, Amy, now enjoy taking their piece of history to area car shows, like last summer when they took a sentimental trip to the Downtown Lima Car Cruise-In and Barbecue.
He sold his car once. It’s a safe bet that he won’t sell it again.
Mike Mitchell’s first car at age 16 was a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass. He discovered it in 2015 after selling it in 1989. “I sold it and bought it back,” he notes .
The Cutlass was known for its spacious interior.