400 V8 4-Speed: 1965 Oldsmobile 4-4-2

Oldsmobile joined the mid-size muscle car movement in 1964 with the 4-4-2 (later abbreviated to 442). While there are other theories, the 4-4-2 name is said to have been derived from the car’s 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts. This second year example looks good from afar and runs strong, but it’s going to need some sheet metal and interior work. This Olds can be found in Edmond, Oklahoma where the seller has set a Buy It Now price here on eBay of $15,000. The Make Offer option has also been posted. We appreciate Larry D. uncovering this old muscle machine for us.

Based on the F-85/Cutlass when it was introduced, the 4-4-2 became a series of its own at the height of the muscle car market of the late 1960s. A spin-off was the Hurst/Olds that capitalized on a partnership with Hurst Performance for a number of years. The name was been used as recently as the 1990s on a completely different kind of car, the FWD Cutlass Calais. Even though the name implied a manual transmission, you could get a 4-4-2 with an automatic starting in 1965. Also, that year, the standard engine in the 4-4-2 was the 400 cubic inch V8 with a 4-barrel carb that output 345 hp.

This ’65 4-4-2 would have been one of 25,000 built that year. This one has a newly rebuilt Muncie 4-speed paired with a solid V8. The engine block is about a year old and is correct for the car along with its cylinder heads and a newly refurbished carburetor. We’re told the car runs well and sounds even better. The seller believes the posi-traction rear end has 3.42 gears. Areas needing mechanical attention are the brakes (grabby to the touch) and the charging system isn’t feeding the battery, although the alternator appears to be one of the new parts under the hood.

The car sports a black over white two-tone paint job which the seller gives low marks on. The driver’s side rear quarter is “wavy” suggesting a poor bondo job having been executed at some point. The biggest challenge is the roof. There are holes along the top of the windshield trim and water gets into the car. That has no doubt led to the rustiest insides of a roof I’ve seen in a while (the headliner is long gone). The interior is going to need a makeover with the upholstery being shot, at least on the front bucket seats.

A new set of vintage tires have been installed at all four corners and the master cylinder and power brake booster look to be new. The hood doesn’t seat properly, so the hinges will need work, but the car carriers a new rear bumper. Back when these cars were new, Modern Rod tested a ‘65 F85 4-4-2 with the manual, slicks and headers and did the quarter mile in 13.78 seconds at 102.73 mph. So, these were cars to be respected – then and now.

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  1. nycbjr Member

    Not sure I’ve ever seen a roof that rusty lol!

    Like 8
    • Will Fox

      I’ve seen this happen to cars in FL., from the salt. This one’s especially bad.

      Like 4
  2. Jcs

    The seller states that it is a one-year only block, not that it is one year old.

    The 65-67 Olds 400 was designed specifically for the 442. The 65 used the B block while 66 and 67 were considered E blocks.The main difference between the B and E codes was that the camshaft bank angle was changed to 39 degrees in 1966 from 45 degrees in 1965. Other than that minor change, they are basically the same.

    The 66 400 was rated at 345 hp while the 66 and 67 were rated at 350 hp. The torque ratings were the same at 440 lb-ft.

    Fantastic engines BTW, regardless of version from 65-67. They were of a short stroke design, revving like a small block but offering big block power numbers and a forged crank.

    The 68 and 69 400 was changed to a long stroke design with a cast crank, moving the torque peak lower in the rpm range, theoretically for fuel efficiency reasons. In fact, it was the most over-square V8 design of the era. Read-easier to blow up.

    The 65-67 short stroke is generally considered to be the superior engine.

    Like 23
    • Bmac777 Member

      I never noticed Olds engines to be easier to blow up. I had a few and they took a hell of a beating with no problems.
      The strangest thing I had happen was in my 69 442 with the 400 and TH400, I was winding out first and shifted into second at around 5100 but instead of shifting it seemed to slip and instantly revved up to 6400 rpm, I let off and then it shifted.
      My friend had been watching the tach which is how I know the rpms, we were both amazed at how smooth and effortlessly the motor handled it.
      Luckily that never happened again and it didn’t affect the engine.

      Like 2
  3. Jcs

    *The first sentence of paragraph three should read “The 65 400 was rated at 345 hp while the 66 and 67 were rated at 350 hp.” My apologies for the sausage fingers.

    Like 6
    • Joe Padavano

      The HP ratings of the 400 (and all the engines used in the 442s over the musclecar years) had nothing to do with the actual engine. GM had a 10 lb per HP limit on the A-body cars for the 1960s. The 1965 442 had a shipping weight of 3474 lbs and an advertised 345 HP. The 1966 442 had a shipping weigh of 3523 lbs and an advertised 350 HP. Do the math. ;-)

      Like 4
  4. Troy s

    Oldsmobile used a longer stroke to make the first of the 455 cubic inch V8’s in 1968, why they felt the need to use the new crank in their 400 could also be about costs, simplicity, fuel economy, emissions, but yes stroker motors were not “the in thing” back then. Short stroke big bore high revving high horsepower like this ’65 here.
    Too bad about the roof, that looks terrible! Fast car that could easily pass for a sleeper Cutlass without those 442 badges. Just add headers, slicks, and of course some hi-test gasoline.

    Like 5
  5. Steve R

    Someone is going to buy this car based on the 4spd and the pictures in the ad, most of which make it look better than it is. They will disregard what’s spelled out in the description and the picture of the leading edge of the roof. When a seller says the paint is a 4 out of 10 and describes what body work needs to be done, listen.

    Steve R

    Like 10
  6. local_sheriff

    I spotted this on EB a couple days back too; it’s a nicely spec’d not so commonly seen A-body but not worth ANYWHERE near asking. Yes it is restorable but it’s about time people stop dreaming – just because you happen to own a muscle car era vehicle doesn’t equal it will pay for your retirement

    Like 8
    • local_sheriff

      One other thing; the mentioned charging issues would probably be solved if there was a ground wire going from the alternator or replacing the voltage regulator( a $40 bit). However I will NOT suggest that to seller as that’d probably raise his BIN to 16k

      Like 2
  7. Vince H

    This and 69 were my favorites years

    Like 3
  8. Theavantiguy

    Remove the rusty roof and make it into a convertible

  9. Kevin

    I had a 69 back when they could be had cheap,had fun with it a while,and let it go ,and made 900 bucks,was a broke kid,wasn’t intended to be a flip car, but it needed substantial body work,the buyer was pulling the drivetrain for a newer,solid cutlass

    Like 1

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