Big Barn Find: 1966 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

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Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

This is one of those cars where at first glance it looks more solid than it actually is. However, the seller is very forthcoming with the information you’ll need to decide if this car is for you or not, and even has under car pictures from putting the car on a lift. The big Oldsmobile is for sale here on eBay and is located in Souderton, Pennsylvania. Bidding is under $5,500 as I write but has not yet met the reserve.

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One of the first thing I’d want to do is source a set of the Olds rallye wheels as are on this beautiful hardtop. I know, that’s the last thing to worry about, but I really don’t like these wheels. Moving on, as I said, the car looks very solid from this view. This picture is a perfect example of how a photograph can hide rust. Due to the flat black, side trim and shadow, you can barely tell that there are rust issues on the lower part of this car. Thankfully, the seller was very honest and has included many pictures of that rust as well as a detailed description of the extent of it. They also state that there are two spots on the frame that need repair and I believe have pictures included of those as well. One other note: the top motor doesn’t currently work, so you’ll have some debugging to do there.

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Here’s one of the pictures I’m talking about. Based on the last registration being in New Jersey (1982) and the car still being in the Northeast, I’m pretty sure we can blame road salting for the extent of the lower body corrosion. Luckily, pretty much any rust repair panel you’d want for this car is readily available–and in this case, you can hide those nasty welds under the full length body side trim (grin). We are not all welding artists, and I have to admit my angle grinder is used often after I’m “done” welding.

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One of the big plusses about this particular car is that the dash pad and glove compartment are described as “perfect.” I’m surprised to see how much the metalized plastic has faded on the rest of the dash, though. Specialists can refurbish this, but it’s pretty expensive to have done.

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The seat upholstery, however, is another story. One of the things I won’t put up with, even when I’m driving a beater car or one that I’m working on, is upholstery torn up like this (or duct tape repairs). Even a cheap set of seat covers is better than this. Again, though, nice reproduction sets are available, and for less money than I’d expect.

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The seller explains that they got the engine started, and it ran well, but shortly afterwards bent 4 pushrods. That’s now been repaired and the engine has been run for 20 minutes without issue. You can see from looking at the alternator fan it’s running in this picture. The transmission is a two-speed Powerglide and is probably original. I think a key here is that the buyer of this car must really want a 442 as opposed to a regular Cutlass, which would be available in nicer shape for this kind of money. Are you that person, or would a plainer, less sporty model work for you? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. redwagon

    how the heck can a powerglide be original in this car?

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  2. KeithK

    Olds experts can check me on this but I’m pretty sure even a 442 was available with a three speed manual 4 speed manual or power glide . Checking the 442 box got you all the goodies but there were also delete / add boxes as well . Is it a real 442 ? Could be. But is it a real 442 for me personally ? Nah. I’d want to stir my own .

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    • Norm Wrensch

      while very simular with a powerglide and shared a few parts this would of been a turbo 300. Power glides where only in Chevy’s the BOP’s used the turbo 300 which was actually beefier then the powerglide. Not a bad looking car, I’d be interested if I didn’t have too many projects allready

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  3. Dan

    Turbo hydramatics weren’t widely available until 1967 although some GM cars got them as early as 1965. A powerglide is perfectly correct for this car.

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  4. DENIS

    I owned several with a ‘glide, and they’re ok for a cruiser. It’s simple to install a 350/400 turbo. It’s a long ways from done but is worth doin’..could be project #7

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  5. Car Guy

    The 66/67 442’s were big cars compared to their GM counterpart A bodies (GS, GTO, Chevelle SS) For that reason I never really liked these as much.

    An easy swap for the powerglide is a 200 R4. It basically bolts in and you don’t have to shorten the driveshaft like on a 700 R4 conversion. Even the driveshaft yoke slides right in. Also the 200 has a more even gear spread and a better overdrive ratio.

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  6. Loco Mikado

    Find another car with a good frame and go from there. No Powerglides in an Olds, it is a Jetaway otherwise known as a Buick Super Turbine 300. The slip and slide with Powerglide was a totally different transmission. You younger guys(I was driving before any of the posters were born, evidently) should use the Internet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Turbine_300

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  7. Rocketbrian

    The 66/67 A bodies were all on the same 115″ wheelbase. The Cutlass/442 were no bigger than their A body cousins.
    Glad somebody finally corrected the power glide error. Those were in Chevys. The Jetaway also included the switch the pitch torque convertor which almost acted like another gear. An entirely different transmission shared with Buick.

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  8. Marty Parker

    66 442 had Rochester 4 GC carb. This appears to be a Chevy or Cadillac, side inlet, Quadrajet.

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  9. Rhett

    It wouldn’t have a powerglide, it’d have come with a switch pitch ST-300 …a very cool and capable transmission with a dual stall range converter. The chrome reverse wheels MAY be a very rare Olds option wheel, but I’ve only seen them offered on 65’s, not 66’s. Thats a very early quadrajet, the external secondary dashpot was discontinued after 66 yet it appears to have the correct 67 Olds baseplate,and the side inlet is correct for a 67olds too…interesting. . might be a mix/match special. Still beats a 4GC!

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  10. Marty Parker

    All quadrajets have the external secondary dashpot. It acts as a choke pull-off, and it dampens the opening of the secondary air flaps. Never saw an Olds carb of 60’s or 70’s with side fuel inlet. Heard of some Buicks in 67 with it, but never saw one.

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  11. Marty Parker

    Note the altered fuel line.

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  12. Rhett

    Marty – the secondary dashpot on this carb is the arm that reaches over the driver side air valve, the vacuum pot on the passenger side serves only as a choke pulloff – not there is no linkage to the secondary shaft. Did some more research – Olds used Quadrajets on 66 425’s (and they were side inlet) , so this might just be a 425 intake and Q-Jet.

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    • Joel Caver

      Reference the wheels on this car, I bought a used 1966 442, F-85Club Coupe, in 1968. I believe it was a fairly rare optioned car, with the chrome trimmed door post, bench seat, 4 speed, limited slip differential, power steering and brakes, with air conditioning. (It was Almond Beige in color). It had a set of chrome reverse wheels, with red line tires on it, when I bought it. The chrome wheels were the type with no tabs to hold any hubcaps on, similar to, or possibly the same wheel, as the current Cragar “Vegas” model. A few years ago, I saw a magazine article showing a 1965 442, which had the chrome wheels with the hubcap tabs, like the ones on this 442. The magazine article said these wheels were Cragar Wheels and a rare option on the 1965 442 only. In 1969, someone stole the carburetor and just the two front wheels off of my 442. I had it towed to a near-by tire store, and the store owner told me that the wheels on my car where Cragar (but I don’t recall if the said Vegas on not) and they were a rare option on the 1966 442. In recent years, I have tried to confirm this, but have not located any information. If anyone knows if my wheels were indeed a rare option, it would be interesting to know.

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