4 Stands For 4-Speed: 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2

When the first 4-4-2 was built, the model numbers stood for 4-barrel, 4-speed, and 2 exhausts. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line the numbers lost significance and Oldsmobile started fitting an optional automatic transmission. We are in luck today though because this nice driver-quality 4-4-2 has a four-on-the-floor! It also has a big 455 cubic inch V8 under the hood so I’m sure it’s a real treat to drive. It’s located in Ventura, California and is listed here on craigslist for $27,000.

This is an older restoration, but the work must have been done right because the car presents nicely today. Get a load of the long Hurst shifter poking up out of the transmission tunnel. This thing has got to be a handful! The seller is even throwing in a new dash panel so you can remove the aftermarket stereo. Other than that and a few split seams, there isn’t much to do in here.

When the current owner purchase the car, there was a W30 badge on it. The W30 package added a balanced and blueprinted engine and other high-performance goodies. The seller has no reason to believe it’s the real deal though. The W30 engine would be nice to have, but this standard 455 is probably more than most people can use anyway. There’s still enough power to light up the wheels at command.

This car isn’t original by any means, but it could a nice option for someone who actually wants to drive their muscle car on a regular basis. The price tag may seem high, but that’s about what nice ones go for these days. It sounds like the car is ready to go, but I’d want to take a closer look before forking over the cash. Just make sure you check everything out before taking the test drive because your vision might get blurry afterwards.

Fast Finds


  1. Bmac Bmac Member

    Love the wheel lock! Sure glad I don’t live in Calf. Need to lock-em up while you take the pics!

  2. Chris Kennedy

    What a nice car to start on. Plenty of things to do that would add equity. Detail the engine compartment for starters…. This is a beauty!

  3. Peter

    These 442’s are still bargains. Way better value than a Camaro or Mustang. $27k for this nice one is cheap!

  4. Gunner

    Beautiful 442 for sure. Even though it does not have the original engine, providing you can verify the car as W-30 optioned, you could source a correct engine. I do not see an AC Compresser, but that third petal makes up for that. Love those hoods. If I was to own one, it would be something like this one. I am partial to the 69 year, but 70 got you the 455. I think the price is a bit high since it is missing the original engine. Nice find.

  5. Rapid Russ

    The original 442 package back in 1965 , was a 400ci engine, a 4bl carb and 2 exhaust, hence the name..My Dad ordered a new one back in 1964 with an Auto in it..because my mom said she wanted to drive..I started street racing that after a few mods back in 1970 when it was given to me..and would spank butt on most everything light to light..It didnt have the power loss of the turbo 400 that was put behind most GM’s of the day with BB in them..It had a glide..But had enough Tq on tap to pull off great light to light runs with mid 3’s in the rear end..Wish i had it today !

  6. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Found this, but may not be accurate. The “4-4-2” name (pronounced “Four-four-two”) derives from the original car’s four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts.

    • Tom Member

      I am also not sure that I am 100% correct but I do believe the very first 442’s were ALL manual transmissions therefore the 4 bbl, 4 spd, dual exhaust was correct. later adjusted, when they made automatic transmissions an option, and changed the meaning to 400cid 4 bbl dual exhaust.

      If I am wrong and you are an expert, please correct me. I have been wrong before…just ask my wife!! too many people “think” they know what 442 stands for…….hopefully someone can CONFIRM or CORRECT me. I am good with it either way !!! Nice car.

      • louis corona

        Yes442 4 Barrel 4 speed dual exhaust. I had 5 of them. From 68 69 70w30 72 86 and miss them all.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Tom, according to the 442 site, the original configuration in 1964 was indeed 4 barrel, 4 speed, dual exhaust. Things got confusing in 1965, when the 400 was offered, ( and the automatic) so it became 400 cubic inch, 4 barrel, dual exhaust, so I guess both are correct. http://www.442.com/oldsfaq/of442.htm

    • Rich Peabody

      I believe that the factory explanation for the 442 designation was:
      400 cubic inches
      4 barrel carb
      dual exhausts
      The very first 442 I remember seeing had a Powerglide in it.

      • Vince Habel

        In 64 the 442 had a 330 engine. 4Barrel 4 speed dual exhaust.

      • Norm Wrensch

        Chevy was the only GM car to have a powerglide, as it only fit behind Chevy engines. The rest of the Gm lines got the turbo 300 which is also a two speed but much beefier. And the early ones had the variable pitch torque converter, which would give two different stall speeds. So lets get it right a early 442 could have a turbo 300, or could be called Jetaway 300.

  7. Barzini

    I like older restorations because you can see how the work held up over time. And I like clean, driver quality cars that I would not be afraid to drive and leave in a parking lot. I don’t know prices for 442s but this seems reasonable compared to other GM collector cars from this era.

  8. Howard A Member

    Got to be the nicest 442 made!!!!

  9. Rhett

    throw the guy 20k in cash and enjoy it forever. maybe fix the seat and dash but don’t ever paint it. Race it, cruise it and generally park it wherever you want and enjoy it. You’ll laugh at trailer queens from there on out.

  10. Bill

    Beautiful car, fair price. Do some cosmetic stuff and leave the paint alone. I’ve always been partial to Oldsmobiles from this era.

  11. z28th1s

    I like this car a lot! Pushes all the right buttons. Big block, stick shift, ram air, etc!

  12. Rustytech Member

    WHAT? No body complained about it being green? I’m stunned. Love it, perfectly equipped, and fairly priced. What more could you ask?

  13. HeadMaster1

    Compare this price to a Big Block Chevelle and you’ll see what a bargin they are. I bought my ex a 69′ 442 convertible in 03, had a built 455 (not original) and thankfully an open rear end as she didn’t have fishtailing skills…….was a fun car, but since she’s an ex and a 442 will always remind me of that waste of my time, I’ll hold out for a GTO

  14. ACZ

    The W30 option (or RPO – Regular Production Option) gets tossed around a lot. I don’t know anything about a “blueprinted engine” being a part of that but RPO W30 is O.A.I. or Outside Air Induction. This came in a few different forms over the years. Some had ducts from under the bumper to the air cleaner and some had a hood fitted to the air cleaner like this one. There may have been other engine mods with the RPO for different model years. Cylinder heads and camshafts in particular. For example, the 1970 had a different cam with the W30 option for 4 speed or automatic trans. This was due to the cam overlap. You could not get power brakes with the W30 4 speed. No vacuum at idle. That’s why a different cam where you had power brakes and an automatic trans with a vacuum modulator.
    Hope that helps someone.

  15. Krow

    I believe the W30 package also had special orange colored inner front fender liners – I had a ’70 cutlass convertible in this color scheme in high school and always lusted after a 442 W30 convertible in the same colors – back then they were maybe $15k cars – shoulda, woulda, but alas couldn’t quite get to “coulda” – this one seems like a deal, regardless.

  16. erikj

    The name was as said at first, but changed soon after. Just a sales thing.
    The GTO means grand touring omolagoto( ? ,but u know what I mean!)-We used think it meant Gas, Tires and oil. LOL

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