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1 Of 1 Concept! 1968 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

Dating back to the turn of the 20th century, the Chicago Auto Show opened its doors in 1901 and has grown to be the largest and longest-running car show in the United States, with its 115th exposition having taken place this past February.  Automakers love to show off their latest offerings, with numerous concept creations included in the mix to get those adrenaline juices flowing, with many of these customs targeted to get the attention of potential younger buyers.  One such car back in the late 60s was this 1968 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible, which is getting ready to be up for grabs this coming January at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida.  If you’ve always wanted a vintage muscle car nobody but nobody else has, it can be found here on the Mecum Auctions website.

We’d like to thank reader Larry D. for his great tip on this one!  Billed as the “Mod Rod”, the 442 was built for the Chicago Auto Show and made its appearance in 1968 on a spinning platform with large letters above it proclaiming Olds Is Young, not exactly a subliminal message intended to shed the image that Oldsmobile was primarily an older person’s car brand.  The 442 had custom paint that blended from white to yellow to orange.  There are a few other photos of the car from ’68 that can be seen on the web, including this color picture.

The story goes that one of the auto show patrons that was lusting after the car just had to have it, the owner of an Oldsmobile-Pontiac dealership in Lenoir, North Carolina named R.L. “Rooster” Bush, who was able to make a deal with Oldsmobile to purchase the 442 and add it to his collection of unique GM muscle cars.  His daughter drove the car a bit during her college years in the seventies, and to this day the Olds has racked up only a shade over 9,000 miles.  In the 80s, it received a light refresh and a new paint job, and I found a forum from 2016 where Rooster’s son shares some information about the car.

Inside, GM-Oldsmobile executed the custom interior which features yellow and brown trim, and things in there are still looking pretty good.  The power convertible top is said to be original, and it’s equipped with a glass rear window, which is claimed to be rare.  There’s also an AM/FM/8-Track radio, power windows, power antenna, and a vacuum-operated trunk release.

Under the hood is a 400 cubic-inch V8 engine paired with a 4-Speed manual transmission.  The car was put into storage in 1995, but emerged in February of this year and was treated to a thorough going-through and received service on the fuel and brake systems, plus a new set of Coker redline tires were installed.  This one’s definitely got plenty of historical value to go along with it, and I’d venture to guess The Mod Rod is going to tip the scales at a pretty hefty sum.  What do you think?


  1. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    So they actually painted it this way, on purpose, twice?

    Like 28
    • Avatar photo tahoe x15

      Back in 68, my 68 442 had a Oldsmobile 400 cui. Painted gold. Red was Chevy. Lt blue Pontiac. Buick & cadi ? Is this a factory motor?

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Holstein66

    Ouch!!! I’m an Oldsmobile fan but this one hurts. That paint job and interior is painful to look at.

    Like 47
    • Avatar photo Big Bear 🇺🇸

      Think about it.. This was 68.. wild times for teenagers. Vietnam War, discrimination, protesting at colleges drugs etc . Oldsmobile and the dealership to make something wild that will fit in that error which it did. I grew up in the 60s and it was crazy times especially between 67 and 69. And I’m not going to get into the 70s with the drugs 😂

      Like 25
      • Avatar photo scottymac

        Was that a subliminal mistake, or a pun? Surely, when you wrote error, you meant era. Or did you?

        Like 8
  3. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    Was the interior done by George Barris?

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Wildfire

      I’m thinking more like Chuck Barris ( Gong Show ) 🤣🤣

      Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Melton Mooney

    It’s still a more attractive color combination than a 69 Camaro pace car. ;P

    Like 14
    • Avatar photo Bob Parker

      I saw this car in 1968 with my dad who was working security for the auto show at McCormick place in Chicago It was a pretty wild paint job but it drew a lot of attention for Oldsmobile

      Like 8
  5. Avatar photo Brian Pinkey

    Expensive garage queen. The tires look cartoonishly small under this body (IMO) maybe it is the paint?

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Sundaysixone

      As “somebody” always said “…and that’s the way it was.”

      BTW the pictures I always drew as a kid always had the track way out to the corners regardless. And the wheels and tires were always wider 🤣

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Chris Dieringer

      I own a ’68 Olds and those wheel wells are huge if you take into account the tiny 14″ wheels and tiresof the day.

      Like 2
  6. Avatar photo ThunderRob

    As a wee lad in the late 60’s this was my jam..it’s absolutely beautiful,y’all need to put it into time context to appreciate how lovely this is.

    Like 13
  7. Avatar photo Cooter Member

    I can tell the negative comments here are from people who are 45- 50 and younger. I was a kid during these magical years, buying the first Hot Wheels cars and watching hippies and all the new and crazy things happening in America. Did you know some of the Hot Wheels I had are now worth more than every car here combined? This vehicle is awesome and captures the times perfectly! I hope whoever has the dough to take this beauty home leaves it alone. This is automotive history folks, from a wonderful era which will never be again…

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo ROBERT STEVENS

      Agreed. Those seat inserts are probably a furniture material. After all, the town of Lenoir, NC used to be known for furniture mfg. And at one time, Mr. Bush used to own a small furniture mfg. business. The original material was a paisley on purple background which I thought looked pretty good (remember the time period). I assume there was none of that available when it needed to be recovered.

      Like 0
  8. Avatar photo DelBoy

    Europeans have always howled with laughter at the materials that American manufacturers used in the interiors of their cars. The button down velour materials got nicknamed ‘brothel chic’. That brown stuff lining those seats look just like scabies cat fur and is a new low. Yea couldn’t pay me enough to sit in that thing.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Ffred

      Your correct about Europeans doing that and even some Americans have bad mouthed American made cars but.. “over there” they don’t have the population we have and a whole helluva lot of cars being built to contend with. How many trees would be cut down for wood trim just to make a few mindless people happy?

      Like 0
  9. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    Humor me.
    Imagine you are hitch hiking and you are also very hung over.
    This car stops, you get in the back seat and he drives off, wheels spinning.
    You feel the surge of the car rapidly moving froward.
    You look around at that interior, now what do you do next?

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo SirRaoulDuke

      You are likely going to do some drugs. I’m talking Hunter S. Thompson-on-the-way-to-Vegas drugs.

      Like 5
    • Avatar photo Jay McCarthy

      You rub the lotion on your skin?

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo 370zpp Member

        Nope. the correct answer is, while in that hungover state, surrounded by those colors, and with the car thrusting forward, you proceed to vomit everywhere.

        Like 1
  10. Avatar photo sYc

    Sorry – But that interior has been replaced as well. Period correct maybe, but markedly different than the auto show pictures.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo OhU8one2

    You put the lotion on……,

    Like 4
  12. Avatar photo Bob Parker

    I saw this car in 1968 with my dad who was working security for the auto show at McCormick place in Chicago It was a pretty wild paint job but it drew a lot of attention for Oldsmobile

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo Drew Wilson

    I grew up in Lenoir and this car was in every parade. All the guys drooled at it. It looks much better than the pictures.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo ROBERT STEVENS

      Yep. I grew up in Lenoir too. LHS ’73. The door & seat tops and dashboard are faded now, unless Randy fixed them.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Drew Wilson

        My parents bought a factory show car from Rooster, a 1969 98 Olds with special nugget gold paint. It was given to me, and I drove it in college and afterwards. Rooster liked getting the special facory show cars. I would have been in LHS class of 1972, but moved to Hickory for my senior year.

        Like 2
  14. Avatar photo Greg Gustafson

    Immediately, make an appointment with Earl Scheib…this car is hideous!

    Like 4
  15. Avatar photo Jay McCarthy

    I know why it’s one of one
    Thing is ugly enough to scare a starving grizzly away from a salmon

    Like 4
  16. Avatar photo Drew Wilson

    As a 14 to 16 year old kid, it was the prettiest car I have ever seen. It really looked incredible in the sunlight, especially with pretty girls on the boot!!!!

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo Drew Wilson

    Growing up in Lenor, this car was in every parade and sat on Rooster Bush’s showroom floor. Everybody loved it.

    Like 1
  18. Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    This year and model Oldsmobile looked better as a hardtop.
    I have to agree with most here, the paint and interior are hideous.

    Like 5
  19. Avatar photo Paul N

    with the uniqueness of this mobile; as tempting as it would be to give it a more attractive paint job, do you dare do it? I guess that’ll be a question that only the new owner can decide. I could see the temptation to repaint but what would it due to the resale value?

    Like 2
  20. Avatar photo ROBERT STEVENS

    I have ridden in this car when I was a kid and Randy Bush wasn’t even a glimmer in his parent’s eyes. My dad was good friends with Rooster and when we’d go by their house, it was in the garage, always with top down. The original seat and door panel inserts were the same material as the model’s dress, if I remember correctly.

    Like 3
  21. Avatar photo Idiot Boy

    The car is fabulous

    Like 4
  22. Avatar photo Micky

    BEAUTIFUL FROM THAT ERA !!! -Better than the boring, mundane, gas-guzzling, black, grey, silver, or white suv’s with drivers to match from now.

    Like 6
  23. Avatar photo john vititoe

    Iam ok with the paint job , buttttt that interior is disgusting..

    Like 1
  24. Avatar photo Patrick LaBarge

    I think they may have been copying the 442 emblems color scheme. I personally think it looks great. I had a ’65 442.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo ROBERT STEVENS

      You know, I hadn’t thought about that but since you mentioned it and looking at the 4-4-2 numbers’ colors (on the grill), it makes sense. Good eye!

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Patrick LaBarge

        I noticed it right away because My 1965 442 had the same colors on the grill emblem and I thought that emblem was the coolest part of the car.

        Like 0
  25. Avatar photo ROBERT STEVENS

    I found out a stablemate to the “Mod Rod” is to also be auctioned at Mecum-Kissimmee next month. It’s the ’74 Olds Indy Pace Car #1. It was supposed to go into the Indy Museum but Mr. Bush was able to secure it for his collection! Lot #S130 on Mecum’s website. You’ll see how it differed from the production Pace cars.

    Like 0

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