15,000 Mile Survivor: 1968 Oldsmobile 442

If we choose to believe the seller’s claims (and I can’t argue much after looking the auction over), this Oldsmobile 442 has only 15,000 original miles, and as a true survivor, the only component that’s been replaced is the water pump (and the seller even has that!). It’s located in Galion, Ohio and is up for auction here on eBay, where bidding hasn’t met the reserve yet at $16,600 as I write. Thanks to reader Bob J. for sending in this great find!

This sure is shiny and well cared for if it’s truly original paint! And just look at that vinyl top–no signs of wear anywhere! The 1968 442 was the first year of a new body style for Oldsmobile, and the first year the 442 was a separate model as opposed to being an optioned Cutlass. There were over 33,000 sold. By the way, the seller tells us that the antenna is no longer functional although it was working recently. Based on the 1974 license plates, I’m wondering if the car was driving sparingly for six years and then stored?

This car really is nice, isn’t it? Assuming this is the original spare, it looks like it’s never been on the road. Does anyone know what that box is in the rear of the picture? An early amplifier, perhaps? And if you do need to fix the power antenna, it’s right there to access!

The interior is beautiful, although once again I wonder why the sporty muscle car was ordered with a bench seat rather than buckets. Maybe that’s a generational thing? Regardless, its pristine, and I can’t see a lot of pedal pad wear, so maybe the mileage is real this time?

This is the correct color for a 1968 442 engine; they were 400 cubic inch V8’s based on the architecture of the 455 engine, and when attached to an automatic like this one were rated at 325 horsepower and a massive 440 ft-lbs of torque! Not too shabby! While the engine compartment could certainly stand to be detailed, the general appearance does go along with the claimed mileage. I like this Oldsmobile (they were called “Youngmobiles” in the 1968 brochure) survivor and I think it could be very show worthy with only a little work. Or, if you like driving your cars better, like I do, it’s not low enough mileage that you can’t put 1,000 miles a year on it without crushing its value. All in all, a nice car that I hope finds a home with one of our Barn Finds readers! Let us know if it’s you!


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  1. Rustytech Member

    This is a very nice 442. If it’s not 15k, it is a very well cared for 115k. Some may not like the color, but I like green, and it seems to be making a come back. I think the bench seat was standard equipment on these, you had to check an option box to get the buckets & console. I couldn’t enlarge the box in the trunk enough to tell for sure what it is. I don’t remember ever seeing anything like that in one of these, so I don’t think it’s OE.

    • Eric Aull

      reverb…of FM multiplex ?

      • ACZ


  2. JW

    Nice find, sure looks nice, $22,700 now. Had a friend who had a 70 and it was a torque monster but rode like a Cadillac compared to my 65 GTO.

  3. 68 custom

    very nice looking 442 and I would say it probably is 15k. my buddy had this same car in white back in the day and it was quite powerful. it would almost lose traction after the 1-2 shift was smooth as silk. like this one hid did not have disc brakes which can be pretty dangerous with such a powerful car. I had a 68 SS nova with the 350/powerglide, I swapped in a 350Hp/327 blueprint cam an Edelbrock C4B intake, 650 Holley and Mallory dual point the car had 2.73 gear set and it would stay right next to the 442, thats when I knew my Nova was fast, for the time. I would love to call that 442 mine nice car!

  4. Ck

    Wow this is nice. It sure looks like it was taken care of.With out seeing it in person its hard to tell if its original or not.The shape that the trunk is in almost has me convinced that its the real deal. 68/69 cutlass/442 have always been my favorite years.The only reason that I woulden’t want this car is the column shift.If it had a big old 4spd hangin over that bench seat,or buckets and a console it would be so much kooler.I’m a firm believer if your gonna spend a ton of money on a muscle car its gotta look like one.

    • Woodie Man

      I agree. a 4-4-2 should have a 4 speed..had a teacher that had a ’69. In 1969. While I had a ratty ’48 Chevy hidden in the woods.

  5. paul

    odometer #1 is not level, its rotated forward to 115k, over spray in trunk, engine repainted, next

    • moosie Craig

      Dick Tracy much ?

  6. Steve W

    Box in trunk may be a reverb unit. Monster sound in 68. And back then we liked to sit next to our honey while we were driving.

  7. Bob

    The spare tire probably is original. The redline tires on the ground are radials and not original and weren’t available on this car when it was new.

    • Thom

      Radials were available in 68 on mid-size GM cars 442, GTO, etc. Then, they weren’t available again until ’74. In fact, they were only available for several months in early ’68, the ‘experimental’ radials tires turned out not to be production ready as they had many issues that could not be resolved quickly. The tire manufacturer pulled production and put in 5 more years of R&D before putting them back into production during 1973 for the ’74 model year. Not saying these are original as they don’t look dry enough to me, but just a bit of radial tire history. :)

      • Glen

        That’s interesting.I wonder how many original radials are left?, can’t be too many after all these years. Thanks for the info.

  8. curt

    I think Steve W is right,it look like a reverb unit,the chrome knob under the dash might be used to adjust it,

  9. Mark Hoffman

    Nice car. I love the green. I had a 69 Pontiac Bonneville the same color when I was in high school. 1976

  10. Paul R

    Beautiful car, but I have never understood why someone would order a performance car with idiot lights instead of gauges and a column shift. Just doesn’t do it for me.

    • Tom Member

      many times it was an older buyer. I bought a 67 442 from CA years ago. bought it from the nephew of the original owner who bought the car in 67 at the age of 55 years old. Old man Beige Gold, dinner plate hub caps, bench seat on the column, power steering, power brakes, power windows and AC with the 442 package, heavy duty radiator, front and rear factory anti sway bars, factory traction bars on the 12 bolt posi. SLEEPER for sure. Awesome car. should have NEVER sold it.

  11. Kuzspike

    I always thought 442 meant 4-barrel – 4-speed – 2-bucket seats? Or was it dual exhaust? Any Buick vin decoders out there?

    • newport pagnell

      442=4 barrel,4spd,dual exhuast.

      • Clint

        Originally, that is correct.

        When the 400 become available the moniker became **4 hundred cubic inches, 4 bbl, 2 exhaust**. No clue what happened when they started installing 350’s.

      • Tom Member

        I am not a total expert but the 4 speed part of this MIGHT have had meaning the first year as an automatic MIGHT NOT have been an option…again don’t know for sure.

        BUT by this car it meant 400 4bbl dual exhaust

        LATER in the 80’s it took on a different meaning yet when. I once saw a great breakdown of what 442 stood for in the different years.

    • redwagon

      i would think an oldsmobile vin decoder would help a whole lot more.

      • Kuzspike

        Truth. My fault for commenting before my 7th cup of coffee.

  12. DRV

    I would have this 442 over any I have seen. Subtle colors and package. Low on options is great for me. Regardless of the negative observations from the pictures, this is the condition I prefer.

  13. CelestialGryphon

    Someone said it before about the bench, and the answer is weight!

  14. J

    BTW it’s a 442 that the Boss has sittin’ out on the street, overheating, in the lyrics to “Wings for Wheels”, the ‘first draft’ of “Thunder Road”…

  15. Dale Leier

    I would be surprised if the seller doesn’t get his price.

  16. Tom Driscoll

    If you go to the video, the car is seen wearing bias ply tires on ET mags, inside shows aftermarket gauges and a tach (items removed in the ebay pics)…looks like someone had some fun with it at some point in it’s life!

  17. chad

    1 I wuz in had a fl shift/consol.
    Different yr, then may be? Close 2 fidy yrs anyway…

    • Bob


  18. William ORourke

    My brother bought a 68-442 convertable new – had to order the 4 speed / also has a bench seat

  19. Tim Lawton

    I had a 68 4 speed, manual steering and brakes…… 3:91 rear. Bought it in 73 for 400.00. Was the energy crisis. NOT the car to own when gas was rationed!
    Car was fast to about 90 then it was all done. Another of the many cars I owned growing up that I still had today!
    Yes that is the reverb in the trunk, mine was AM with reverb.

  20. Pappy2d

    The spare tire looks like an original Firestone Wide Oval. They were way cool in this time frame. I think Goodyear followed with the Polyglass wide oval. The Poly glass wore like iron, because they were a rock hard compound. Looooong burnouts.

  21. The One

    Ha! Still has the insulation under the hood. I knew a guy 40+ years ago with a CHERRY ’65 Barracuda Formula “S” Gold on gold Hypo 273. He would shampoo the insulation under the hood!
    His car always looked and ran like brand spanking new…

    • moosie Craig

      Ha, Ha, My first new car was a ’66 Satellite, 383 4 bbl, Torqueflight, I would simonize the inner front fenders, one day while I was doing this my Dad was coming home from work and caught me in the act, he laughed and had a comment, but I did it until I sold the car, I loved the car.

  22. Tyler

    This car brings back a lot of memories! When we were in 11th grade, which would have been about 1980, my next door neighbor bought a 68 442 convertible from the original owner who had recently retired. It was maroon with a white top, & like this one, had a black interior, bench seat, auto with column shift & warning lights instead of gauges. It didn’t even have positraction. But you could stomp it from a dead stop & it would roast that right tire until it shifted into 2nd gear.

    He found a 68 Cutlass in a local salvage yard that had bucket seats & a console. We went over the next Saturday, stripped the Cutlass & changed everything over in the 442. He then changed the top to black & put the requisite Cragar SS mags on it & hung a triple gauge setup under the dash.

    He kept the car through college. He ended up joining the army in 87 or 88 & sold it right before he went to Germany.

    He has done a VIN search a couple times a year for the last 20 years, but unfortunately he hasn’t found it yet.

    This car is beautiful & needs nothing except driven on pretty days & admired. It pushes all the right buttons for me & I would love to own it. It should bring top dollar.

  23. Joe Muzy

    A lot of cars are “found” in Galion Ohio
    I smell a flipper.

  24. charlie Member

    For family reasons I bought a new special order ’68 Chevelle wagon with a bench seat, 327 4 barrel, positraction, biggest wheels offered, and heavy duty everything available, clutch, suspension, cooling system, alternator/battery, and economy differential ratio, power steering but not brakes. I put on radial tires as soon as Sears started selling Michelins. It sat high, ran fast, handled well, could pull a double horse trailer with ease. But it had drum brakes and would not stop if you were going over 55mph – if you tried a fast stop from 65 you would run out of brakes at 10 mph and roll right into the guy in front of you – I ran a few toll booths the first week I owned it, and then learned. Discs were standard on the front starting in ’69 and I was about to convert to them when it burned up. The priest who saw it and called the fire department asked me if “God was trying to tell me something”. But, there could have been a reason for a bench seat other than saving a few dollars.

  25. Ron

    wheel looks like the Buick wheel to me. My 442 has larger spokes like the magnum 500 wheel. Im the original owner and it has the original wheels.

  26. phoneman91

    Base engine for a 1968 442 400 V8 is 350 horsepower–if I remember correctly.

  27. 69W31

    Horsepower for a manual trans 442 was 350, 325 if ordered with an automatic in 1968. 442 originally meant four speed, four barrel & dual exhaust, the four speed was the only trans available in the first year 1964, afterwards the 3 spd manual was the std.trans, with the 4 speed and auto being optional . Bucket seats were std. A vin decoder would only tell you whether it was a 442 or not (344) for the first three characters, and whether it was a hardtop, post coupe, or a convertible. (1968-1971)

  28. jrc

    had a 65 gto with reverb

  29. Rick

    I had a 1968 bought it used in 1972, it was a running machine. Traded out the dog dish hub caps and painted steel wheels for some black mag wheels and really dressed the car up. Great Car

  30. PJ

    I’d choose the bench seat over the buckets, ive had alot more fun with bench seats. if I wasn’t in the market for a new BMW I’d definitely consider buying it even with the auto

  31. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Auction ended, reserve not met at $25,500.00. 30 bids.

  32. Dave Goss

    this car was purchased at Mecum and now resides in a collection in Indiana consisting mainly of documented, low mileage, original cars. Drives great!
    Those were Buick wheels as observed in an earlier post. They have been replaced with the correct body colored steel wheels and dog dish hubcaps that came on the car. And contrary to previous post redline tires were available on this car and remain. This car has been inspected by one of the premier Olds restorers in the country and he loves it. Water pump, exhaust, and most unfortunately undercoating are not original. Original paperwork and docs are fantastic

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