All Original: 1975 Oldsmobile 442

By the time Oldsmobile rolled its Third Generation 442 off the production line, there was little doubt that its focus was more on comfort and handling than outright performance. That approach was essential, as manufacturers hadn’t developed strategies to counter the engine power lost to new emission regulations. The 442 retained a strong following, with 6,105 buyers selecting one in 1975. Our feature car is one of those vehicles and is an unmolested classic begging for restoration. It features some nice optional extras that add to its appeal, and the asking price places it within the affordable category. The seller has listed it here on Craigslist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. If you hand the owner $6,000, this 442 could be yours. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J, who has used a well-developed classic radar to spot this excellent project.

This 442 wears its original Crimson Red paint, with most of its stripes and decals intact. It is looking tired and weatherbeaten and desperately needs a cosmetic refresh. Someone has removed the vinyl top and associated trims, and there is rust clearly visible below the back window. The photos aren’t the greatest, making it impossible to determine whether there are any further rust issues. The panels have few dents and blemishes, but the buyer may be able to repair these without resorting to replacement. The tinted glass might be acceptable once the restoration is complete because there are no visible cracks or scratches. The car rolls on its factory wheels with intact trims, although it is missing one center cap.

The original owner loaded this Olds with optional extras, and its interior must have been a pleasant place to spend time when the car was new. They ticked the boxes on their Order Form beside air conditioning, swivel bucket seats, a console, cruise control, and a tilt wheel. The trim and White Moroceen vinyl upholstery look as tired as the exterior, requiring a total restoration to present at its best. The only visible change is a previous owner’s decision to replace the factory radio with an aftermarket radio/cassette player.

While buyers in 1975 could still order their new 442 with the 455ci V8, this car’s original owner selected the smaller 350ci powerplant that produced 170hp. There were no transmission choices, with buyers limited to a three-speed automatic. An overall weight of 3,984lbs clearly indicates that Oldsmobile emphasized luxury over performance, which is reflected in a ¼-mile ET of 18.3 seconds. The seller indicates that the odometer shows 33,000 miles, but it is unclear whether they believe the reading to be genuine. They don’t mention supporting evidence, making me think it has probably rolled over. There is no information on this classic’s mechanical state, so it is unclear whether the motor turns freely or whether the vehicle runs or drives. Potential buyers may need to contact the seller to verify that all is well with this Olds.

It is unclear whether owners don’t wish to part with them or if they have succumbed to the ravages of time, but 1975 Oldsmobile 442s rarely hit the current classic market. When they do, spotless examples can command values of $25,000, but the vehicle needs to be a gem to achieve that figure. Otherwise, a value of between $20,000 and $24,000 could be a realistic expectation once the new owner downs tools for the final time on this restoration. Considering the asking price, that appears to leave room to move on its restoration before its financial viability becomes questionable. Is that enough to tempt you to pursue this classic further?

Comments

  1. Bick Banter

    You’d be at this car’s top value after just doing the paint job. Interesting, but It would make much more sense to get one already mint.

    Like 6
  2. DGMinGA

    I am an Olds Cutlass guy, but the early colonnade body years are the styling low points to me. The 76-77 lines flow better IMO. This one has the better looking rear quarter glass profile (as compared to the Hurst Olds pictured beside it). Cool car, I hope someone saves it, but not for me

    Like 3
    • DON

      The larger rear 1/4 glass the 442 used was the same as the Cutlass S , and the Supreme had the square opera window style . These are nice riding cars, and with just a change in rear gears can make a world of difference in performance.
      I’m of a different opinion on the styles, I liked the 73-75s over the 76 and 77 body styles, but everyone has their favorites !

      Like 4
  3. Perch
  4. karl

    Looking at the holes on the top of the rear quarters, I’d say it needs more than just a “cosmetic refresh”

    Like 3
  5. DON

    The larger rear 1/4 glass the 442 used was the same as the Cutlass S , and the Supreme had the square opera window style . These are nice riding cars, and with just a change in rear gears can make a world of difference in performance.
    I’m of a different opinion on the styles, I liked the 73-75s over the 76 and 77 body styles, but everyone has their favorites !

  6. Joe Padavano

    The rust says that it will take $25K to make this a $20K car. Virtually no repro parts are available for the Colonnade-era cars, and this one needs a lot. Even 1974 H/Os struggle to reach $25K. If it were a factory big block car, maybe.

  7. James A Martin

    I think the ho is a better condition than the 442. Would rather put money into it. 6 large is to much money for 442.

    Like 1

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