Beautiful Lime With A 5-Speed! 1977 Olds 442

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This one’s a real rarity, and it’s not just the great lime color! This beautiful 1977 Oldsmobile 442 has some great options, too. It’s located in Yucipa, California and can be found for sale here on eBay with an opening bid of $2,000.

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I’m going to jump right to the most special part of this car–look there in the middle. That’s a factory 5-speed manual transmission fitted behind the 260 V8 in the rare W29 option package. I didn’t even know these existed before running across this one tonight. I even love the white and green interior! Hmmm.

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I love the factory graphics on this 442–there’s no doubt what this car is, that’s for sure. While the ad doesn’t specifically state that it’s been repainted, I would be amazed if this were the original paint, even after only 44,000 miles. Of course, those miles aren’t documented, but you’d have a hard time convincing me that it’s 144,000.

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I remember thinking how sleek that nose looked when these were new, and then seeing it in person when my grandfather bought one (regular Cutlass, not a 442) and liking it even better. I’m not sure if the change to a sloped nose was done with NASCAR in mind, but if I recall correctly, it worked pretty darned well.

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This may not be a large V8, but even the 260 should be able to move the 442 down the road sprightly, given the 5-speed. I think it’s a cool restovivor–what about you?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I never cared for this style, and this car is about as far from the original concept as it gets. All that remains is the “2”. ( 442 meant 4bbl. if this is a 2bbl. which this car was released as an economy model, 4 speed, dual exhausts) I don’t ever recall seeing a Cutlass equipped this way. I bet it’s a fun car to drive, and I love the color too. Not black or silver. Very cool car.

    • Maria S Varnalis

      it probably was a Cutlass S and someone bought the 442 package to clone it. I used to own a white cutlass S 455 v-8 green interior like photo, It was my favorite car! big engine!

      • Ryan

        Its not a clone.

        Like 2
      • Jeff

        nope.. not a clone. I have the same car in maroon. I bought from the original owner. He ordered it new back in 1977. 260/5 speed combo

        Like 1
  2. Mike P

    Love the color, especially on those Oldsmobile rally wheels. Remember thinking that laid over grill was kinda funny looking when these were new, I’m sure that the folks that did the new Jeep Cherokee were influenced by this.

  3. RayT Member

    Have to wonder about the mileage, since the engine looks like it has been rebuilt or replaced, judging by the paint. I’d think the dash cap is toast as well, and the seller has cleverly cropped the interior photos to keep it out of sight.

    Never had much interest in these cars, but am surprised to learn they offered a five-speed and small V8 combination. Always thought 442s were big-motor cars.

    Neat color combination, though!

    Like 1
  4. Matt

    I had a Cutlass with the 5 speed option, it was way underpowered I had the white interior with gold paint

  5. Kent Pearson

    I love it but I think adding a turbo would really make for some fun.

    Like 1
    • Chebby

      Grand National engine!

  6. Kincer Dave Member

    I always liked this color when I was growing up, my parents bought a new Cutlass Supreme in 77 but in brown and tan with a 350 4brl, that car ran pretty decent, I drove it as a 16 yr old in 86, my friend had a 78 Cutlass with a 260 V8 and it was a total dog and that was in a lighter body style and the bigger, heavier 77 with the 350 would run circles around it. so I can’t see even with a 5 spd how this car can be too exciting to drive, but I do like the rarity of it and the color combo, I’d yank that motor and trans. if it was mine and install something a little more exciting, I’d keep the original drivetrain and store it though.

    Like 1
  7. Nick Maher

    A good looking unicorn, though technically this would be a 252 (2bbl, 5-speed, dual exhaust) and it wouldn’t be too difficult to get side stripes to match.
    The original 442 designation meant 4bbl, 4-speed, dual exhaust.

    • Maria

      exactly, I think this was a Cutlass S and they cloned it to look LIKE a 442…. here is a pic of mine! I wish I never sold it, still looking to see if it is still around! if anyone sees it lol, let me know!

      Like 4
  8. 68 custom

    that an odd rarity, I had no idea GM even offered a 5 speed way back in 77. but as others have mentioned the 260 olds motor is a smooth running boat anchor with no power, and the 5 speed likely could not handle the additional stress of a larger motor. its a nice car, but I would rather have my friends 73-442 which had the 350 rocket and Muncie 4 speed combo.

    • John Donald Ervin

      The 5 speed was offered in the H-Body, the Nova, and even in the Camaro, as a option between 1977 and 1980. They were NOT very strong, and were rarely put behind V-8 engines. I disintegrated one of these transmissions, at a stop light drag race in my 1979 Buick V-6. The V-6 had shaved heads and a aftermarket camshaft, but was otherwise stock. Generally speaking about 160HP was all these transmissions would hold. Any modifications at all to the engine, miss a gear when shifting, and expect a VERY expensive rebuild.

  9. A.J.

    I like it but realize that is is a far cry from a real musclecar. The “unicorn” comment was probably spot on. I’m thinking a neat car for a HS kid where he can’t really kill himself as it doesn’t go that fast. Since 99% of these came with automatics (many column autos – …shudder…) I’ll give this a thumbs up.

    Like 1
  10. dm

    No A/C is unusual. Flex fan. Rubber fuel hose to carburetor with some kind of filter combo near lower radiator hose. Green is great color.

    • 68 custom

      no viscous coupling on that fan will rob that little motor of even more of it’s few precious ponies!

      • M B

        GM had a factory flex fan on some engines that model year. My ’77 Camaro 305 had one, but 350s got a fan clutch.

      • John Donald Ervin

        The fan clutch for the 77-79 models with the 260/305 engine are almost impossible to find. You see they used a unusual clutch and bearing that was only used in the Jaguar. Most people simply replace them with a spacer – which is on e-bay for under $20.00. Replacement Fan clutch IF you can find one, approaches $300-400.00

    • Mike L.

      Looks like a electric fuel pump!?

  11. fred w.

    The Cutlass this is based on was unbelievably popular at the time- they were everywhere, usually with vinyl top.

  12. randys

    Love it! I grew up with a car just like that. Great find!! The only issue is the rare T50 5 speed (same as Monza and Coswroth Vega), rated at 205 ft lbs it can not handle any dump clutch starts with that kind of car weight. No replacement parts exist for the T50 so if you grenade it a T5 ot T56 would be the logical replacement choice. Drive with mechanical empathy.

  13. Jumping g

    Love it . I would change nothing. The 5 speed would make it a a blast to drive…

    • Kincer Dave Member

      Have you ever driven an Olds 260 V8? Not even a 5spd can make these a blast to drive lol, I love the looks of these but when a Cutlass Supreme of the same year with a 350 4brl and a column shift auto run way better you would understand why I would want something with a little more excitement under the hood.

      • RS

        Back in the day of the worst engines for the Corvette (some barely making 200 hp) Zora Arkus-Duntov, “the father of the Corvette”, was asked whether he preferred the current Corvette with an automatic or a 4-speed.

        “When is washing machine motor, makes no difference,” he said.

  14. mat

    please define 5 speed. never heard of or saw ANY car from the seventies with an overdrive transmission. not sure about this…

  15. RandyS

    @mat. It’s was a real option for a couple of years. Google Borg Warner T50 transmission.

  16. nessy

    This car is a 76, not a 77. You can tell by looking at the dash. My friend has a 76 Cutlass Salon with the 260 5 speed with t tops and I have a 76 t top Cutlass Supreme Brougham with the final year 455 and the turbo 400 trans. As for power, it’s like putting a Diesel 70s VW Rabbit against a Corvette. That 260 stinks but the 5 speed was a good trans. Olds should have hooked that 5 speed to the 455 or at least the 350.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi nessy, you’re right . This car sold on ebay on 10/7/2013 for $6653 and is advertised as a ’76.

      Like 1
    • Ann

      The grills are 76…the 77 was horizontal not vertical

  17. RandyS

    @nessy. See post above about the torque rating of the T50 transmission. It was at its absolute limit with the 260 and a 3800# car. A 455 would have killed it quickly. It would be another 10 years before GM would use a 5-speed that could accept even a 305 HO with 145 horsepower/240 torque. The T50 was more at home behind a 3.8 V6 in the Monza.

  18. Van

    Can you say LS3

  19. 68firebird

    Parents had a 76 Cutless Supreme ” centennial addition” whatever that means. White interior, bucket seats, backseat for…this and that. All of us learned to drive in it. The 442 looks even uglier!

    • JW454

      ’68,

      Are you sure it was Centennial Addition? I had a ’75 that was a “Sentinel addition”. I was told it was a car that was pulled off at the end of the line and was inspected completely from top to bottom as a quality check by the engineering staff. Every so many cars went through this procedure. Once completed, it received a sticker in the rear side windows depicting a soldier dressed in a blue coat with red X on his chest and he was holding a firearm with a bayonet affixed to it. The name refers to a “Guard Addition” against poor quality.

    • 68 custom

      1776/1976 maybe you mean a BI-centennial edition? everyone was on board for the 200 year anniversary of our great country!

      Like 3
    • lc

      Supposedly, the ‘Centennial’ edition model (Y76) was a car sold only in Colorado because it is the Centennial State. Saw one for sale here in the Denver area, and that’s what the add said on Craigs.

  20. Richard Holmes

    Yucaipa

  21. Prowler

    The colonnade style cars are someday going to take off…and an example like this will lead the pack…great color

  22. Mike

    I have owned 3 of these 260 5 speed cars over the years. They give a whole new meaning to SLOOOOW!

    Interestingly enough all 3 of the cars I have owned were nice cars on the level of this car. I guess since they were so slow and the 5 speed transmission so crappy nobody ever hot rodded these 260 5 Speed cars!

    Like 1
  23. Van

    I worked for an Olds dealer in 1981-83. The 260 had no power and leaked coolant at the back of the intake. The 5spd was not a smooth crisp shifting box. How about a 403 from a 79 Trans Am with a 1970 w30 cam, and a new 6spd.

  24. Larry Collins

    It has a shifter and boot straight out of a Vega GT!

    Like 2
  25. Christopher

    I always liked these cars but this would have to be for shows and not a daily driver. Even the three fifty with a two bbl was slow. At least it’s not a six cylinder Twenty second zero to sixty car.

    • Kincer Dave Member

      A 77 350 4 brl had 170bhp a 77 260 2brl had 110 bhp so neither was very powerful but the 350 ran a lot better. I drove a 77 350 4 brl in 86 and it ran pretty decent for what it was and could definitely outrun a 442 equipped like this one.

  26. Doc

    I dig the way the sun shines thru the grill onto the ground.

  27. slickimp

    There’s one in gand island Nebraska Craigslist $1800 With the 260 5 SPD if anyone is looking for one pretty clean guess I’ll pass on it sounds like there pretty dogy

  28. M B

    I always liked this version of the Cutlass, plus the body series before it. Nicely-done cars that handled very well (with the rear sway bar suspension). It’s been a while since I’ve looked at these cars, but the 442 with the 260 looks a little TOO unusual. More like it’s a 442 clone using a regular Cutlass S model as the basis . . . just my gut suspicion until I might see a build sheet for verification. The color is great!

    The Olds 350 was a much better performing engine that would get great gas mileage on the highway and run well in town. One of GM’s best-balanced engines!

    No factory a/c kills it for me, though. Otherwise, an enhanced 350 would be great, with a 6L80-family trans behind it. Then some sort of Vintage Air (or similar) for comfort. Maybe even a Monte Carlo 10bolt rear axle and ’90s Caprice rear disc brakes? LOTS of things for upgrades in the GM parts bin!

  29. ryan Harrington

    I bought it. Have removed electric fuel pump bs….going to be swapping in a gauge pack instead of the dummy lights…theres no rear speakers so that will be takin care of this week. Possibly doing power windows and door speakers if i can find a set of door panels to sacrifice… Car drives good but is underpowered like everyone says…..the dog leg trans takes some getting used to but i haven’t backed into anyone yet. Down the line i plan to swap to a 4 bbl and add ac…floridas hot…..

    Like 1
  30. Bob C.

    Econo 442.

  31. len

    funny if thats a 1977..it has 1976 grilles in it..the 77 had horizontal bars

  32. Duaney

    The whole idea of the 260 and the purpose of the 5 speed, is FUEL ECONOMY. The auto industry was getting slammed hard then with rising fuel prices, oil embargo’s, etc., so most of the new engineering was towards fuel economy. Try this car with the Buick V-6 and automatic, they made them too. The surprise is the 260 in a 442, but really at the time, the 442 was more of a styling and handling package, and apparently you could order this combination. The vast majority of 1976 Cutlass’s came with the Olds 350 and automatic.

    • candidobermudez

      2nd-1976-442—guys-all-of-you-are-missing-onething-if-you-had-one–watching-it-rust-away-s###s-am-65-now.my–wife-let-me-replace-it-with-Cutlass S same year, rusty 442 is now putting all the parts or it’s DNA into the Cutlass S with cluth pedal. I work on these cars as a Olds tech, am a young man for a 2nd time. P.S. my oldest car is a 1958 Super 88. This is for the love of the hobby.

  33. David

    I had this car exactly… the 260 was great on gas but couldn’t move the car to save its life.
    The borg warner 5 speed blew up when I tried to get on first gear…. stripped the teeth right off the cluster gear. I jerry rigged a three speed into it from a sixties truck and drove it to death. I put at least 150k miles on that 260 so I will give it props for toughness.
    Loved the cars looks and would like to get one and make a real hot rod out of it.

  34. Al F

    I don’t know if this car is a 77. It has the front grill of a 76. I know the 260 V8 was offered in 76 with the the 5 spd as an option. No dual exhaust that I know of. Could have the 442 option add which would have been the suspension, brakes and striping.

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