Drop Top Muscle: 1969 Oldsmobile 442

1969 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

I can vividly remember the first Oldsmobile that really caught my attention. It was a 442 and it had the cowl induction hood, rear spoiler, and some serious street presence. This car may not currently have any of those thing, but it does have a few other good things going for it. For one, this is a convertible 4-4-2. That number combination stands for 4-barrel, 4-speed, and dual (2) exhaust. Well, this one has an automatic, so two out of three. This particular car also has a 400 cubic inch engine residing under the hood which was supposedly rebuilt to W-30 specs about 15 years ago when it was parked. It’s not a project for the inexperienced, but when restored, this Olds will probably be just as impressive as that first one I remember so fondly. Find it here on eBay where bidding started at $5k with no reserved. Thanks goes to Jim S. for the tip!


  1. JW454

    Alot of metal work needed with this one. In the right hands it could be restored to its former glory. The right hands and a pile of money. No reserve should help this one sell.

  2. Mark E

    If I got it, I’d get it good mechanically, fix the rust, repaint, reupholster, replace the GOD-AWFUL tan door panels & steering wheel with BLACK and then just drive & enjoy it! When I sold it someday it would be up to the buyer to do a frame-off concours restoration so they can flip it and make $100k+

    Oh and I love the 8-track! Anyone know if that is a factory unit?

    Like 1
    • Rocco Member

      It looks like the 442 steering wheel is in the trunk upside down on top of another wheel.

    • JW454

      Mark you are correct. That is a factory 8-track unit. My ’72 has one too. I play 8 tracks in it at car shows. People bring their kids over to see it work. The majority of them think its pretty cool till they ask how to skip to the next song. When the answer comes that “You can’t” their fizz for it goes away.

  3. Sparkster

    Here’s my 1969 Cutlass that belonged to my uncle, bought new in California and garaged everyday. I wished he had “checked ” the 442 box on the options page.

    Like 1
  4. skloon

    Had the Cutlass twin in university, mine was a little less rusty but had the upgraded Dodge Dart front seats, but no shift knob had to sell it to cover tuition got $1000.00 for it driving with a working top, sigh

  5. Randy

    Hmmmm, checked his other auctions, and it looks like he is selling the ram air air filter separately.

  6. Mike D

    OK, I’ll bite.. he got what 442 stands for wrong, trying to show his knowledge.. 442 = 4 (400 ci) 4 ( 4v) 2 (2 exhausts )_ she does need some work tho

    • Erik

      Actually Mike, the original 442 was a 4 speed, 4 barrel and dual exhaust. That was in 64. After 64, it became what you describe

      Like 1
    • Rocco Member

      `Think about it for a second. Why would GM(Olds) reference the engine twice; 400ci. and then 4 barrel carb? They didn’t!

      It does stand for 4V carb, 4-speed trans, & dual exhaust. There just happens to be some automatic versions. Somebody correct me here if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the first 442’s even had a 400ci. engine. 330ish??

      • JimmyinTEXAS

        The meaning of 442 changed over the years… quoted from 442.com FAQ…
        We should all be able to agree that they would be the Subject Matter Expert in the subject, also by MY 1990-91 they were really stretching to get the two(2)…. LOL

        Definition of 4-4-2 from the Oldsmobile Factory Literature:
        1964 (Original meaning)
        4: Four Barrel Carburetion
        4: Four On the Floor
        2: Dual Exhausts
        1965 (First year of automatic transmission option on 442)
        4: 400 Cubic Inch Displacement
        4: Four Barrel Carburetion
        2: Dual Exhausts
        1985 to 1987 (Last of RWD 442s)
        4: Four speed automatic
        4: Four barrel carburetor
        2: Dual exhaust
        1990 and 1991 (FWD 442)
        4: Four cylinders
        4: Four valves
        2: Two camshafts

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        I stand corrected on my statement about the transmission then. Thanks for adding this Jimmy!

      • Mike D

        the idea that there were some automatics clearly is the reason why the second “4” is a 4v carb not all were 4 speeds , but all were 4v carbs . there were a few 442s in 64, but the sales took off in 65 with your mindset ( automatics) why wouldn’t GM call it a 442 A ? the early 442s 64-66 had a two speed automatic to clear something up, it was all in reference to the engine . Like with Chevy, not all “SS’ were 396.. some had a 327 .. it was all marketing .. the later 442s were basically a decal package , no longer a 400

      • JimmyinTEXAS

        @MikeD, I can’t pull a reference now, but I’m sure there was a Chevy 283 SS also for a few years, and I have seen reference to a Inline 6 SS package. That had to be after SS became a trim package only….LOL

    • Darrell Reimers

      Lol it means both dont remember what year it changed but originally it 400, 4 speed , dual exhaust

  7. recar

    Years ago, I was heading east up Anarchist summit out of Oliver,BC in my beloved Morgan 44[ warmed 1.6 Kent]. A 442 passed me on a straight stretch; I chased him all the way up,read those three digits up real real close on every single curve up the mountain ,but never was able to pass!

  8. ROC

    In the fall of 1984. I got it from a navy friend it was a white automatic 69 it was faSt steering box broke. On a hill hit a wall totalled it out

    • Mike D

      jimmyin TEXAS, you are correct some had 283s but from 63-64 the SS models were 327s and up , the 6 I had never heard of .. the 65s the 283 could be had in the SS model

      • Rocco Member

        The little Chevyll’s (’63-’65) had some SS models with 6cyl.
        The first Chevy SS Chevelle (’64-’65’s) could’ve had a 283,327, or 396(’65).
        I’ve seen all of these back in the day.

      • JW454

        My ’64 Chevelle SS was a 230 cu. in. in-line 6. It was only six years old when I got it and it was all original with 28,000 miles. Buckets, console, powerglide on the floor, white with Aqua interior. Great little car. We got it from the original owner who worked with my father. The SS with the 6 cyl. was model number 5737. There is a lot of information on the GM Heritage Center Web page.

  9. yanmarley

    In late 1963 or early 1964 my dad special ordered a ’64 Olds Cutlass and we for some reason had to go to Detroit from southern Ontario to pick it up – a Palomar red 2 door hardtop with 4 barrel 330 c.i. /4 speed Muncie/dual exhaust – before the 4-4-2 package so no badging other than the obligatory Oldsmobile Cutlass stuff. Great car – black vinyl buckets, console with the tach which was kinda hard to read while trying to keep the road in view, won a lot of races with that car. Upon frying a clutch got advice from the GM dealer to buy a Chevy 327 clutch as they were much cheaper than Olds parts. I ended up buying it from him a couple of years later when he bought a new Cougar XR7. Anyway, I always thought that 4-4-2 stood for 4 barrel – 4 speed – dual exhaust. Just my .02 worth

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      It did in 1964, changed in 65 according to 442 experts..

  10. grant

    I was always taught that 442 meant 4 barrel, 4 passenger, 2 wheel drive

  11. pontiactivist

    Ok for my two cents worth. In 1964 when olds came up with rhe 442 it originally stood for 4 barrel 4 speed and 2 exhausts. Thats the way they all came. In 65 when the automatic became an option and the new 400 motor became standard issue it stood for 400 4 barrel and duals. That is what I know from thirty plus years of experience with gm mid size cars.

  12. Denis

    The original in 1964 stood for 4 bbl, 4 speed, dual exhausts-period. 442 just carried forward from there…I have owned over 100 of them…loved ’em all.

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