Live Auctions

First Year: 1968 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

Initially introduced as an option pack on the F-85 and Cutlass in 1964, Oldsmobile granted the 442 independent model status from the 1968 model year. This Convertible is from that first year, and it requires total restoration. It will take a bit of work, but the trailer-load of parts included by the seller should get the ball rolling for the buyer. With muscular good looks and a touch of comfort, the Convertible should offer a satisfying classic motoring experience once complete. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, you will find the 442 listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set his auction to open at $9,995, but there have been no bids at the time of writing.

It would be fair to say that this Oldsmobile has seen better days. Its paint is tired and patchy, while it has rust for the buyer to tackle. The first thing worth noting is that the red paint it currently wears isn’t original because the Trim Tag indicates that it rolled off the line wearing attractive Nocturne Blue. It isn’t clear when the color change occurred, but you have to look long and hard to find any traces of the original shade. Some of the trim items are damaged, so the buyer will probably have a long list of parts to secure, including a new soft-top. Before spending money on trim, the new owner might want to sift through the parts inventory. It appears that there might be a few nice trim pieces lurking in there that could reduce the restoration costs. The Olds has the usual levels of rust that you expect in cars of this age, but there may be a positive aspect. The owner has secured an extensive collection of parts to address the problems, and he stresses that these are high-quality components, not the cheap and nasty pieces that can trap unwary buyers. The list includes a complete set of floor pans, new rear quarter panels, new rockers, and patches for the lower front fenders. The tinted glass appears in good order, while the exterior will be nicely rounded-out when the buyer fits the excellent set of 15″ Super Stock II wheels that come with the car.

This 442 rolled off the production line with a 400ci V8 under the hood. It also featured a four-speed manual transmission, power steering, and power disc brakes. With 350hp available under the right foot, it would have blitzed the ¼ mile in 14.6 seconds. That figure looked pretty impressive in 1968 and placed this soft-top in elite company. The news for potential buyers isn’t as good as it could be. The owner believes that the original motor is gone, and what we see is a 455ci unit of 1970 vintage. He has been told that it came from another 442 but cannot confirm this. However, it appears that the rest of the drivetrain is untouched. The loss of that original V8 will impact its ultimate value, but it is difficult to determine how profound that will be. The seller indicates that the motor turns freely, but he has not attempted to coax it back to life. He is leaving that honor to the next owner, but it sounds like it may not be a complex undertaking. Alternatively, the buyer may decide to search for a date-code correct 400 to slot back into that spot under the hood. This would probably be a better option from a value perspective than what is there currently. It will be a tough decision to make, and there will be pros and cons for either approach.

For potential buyers, the decisions don’t end once they’ve tackled the panels, paint, or engine. The interior of this classic requires plenty of attention, but the seating configuration will raise some questions. The owner holds the original front bench seat, but he also includes a set of correct bucket seats. My instinct tells me that returning the bench to its rightful place would be the smart choice, although the buyer may find that the buckets offer greater comfort and support. A winning compromise could be to reupholster the interior, including both the bench and buckets. If the buckets are their preference, they could slot these into place and use them while leaving the bench protected in a workshop. If the time came to sell, reinstating the bench would not be difficult and would return the interior to its factory configuration. If the buyer seeks originality, there’s little doubt that sourcing and installing Parchment trim seems the smart move, because it would look stunning against the Nocturne Blue paint. The original owner didn’t load this Convertible with optional extras, but the factory air conditioning must have been a welcome one on hotter days.

The Oldsmobile 442 has become one of the more desirable vehicles in today’s classic car market. This is especially true of the early earlier versions like this 1968 model. Spotless examples will often top $50,000, with figures beyond $60,000 well within reach of an immaculate Convertible. Whether this car could achieve those lofty heights is difficult to say due to the loss of the original motor. Even if we ignore that fact, the included parts could potentially see this car returned to a factory-fresh state without breaking the bank. It will take a dedicated individual, but the result should be a car that offers a winning combination of good looks and impressive performance. Is that enough to tempt you?

Comments

  1. RoughDiamond Member

    It amazing to see one of these ’68 Olds 442s still retaining the original “442” engraved shifter handle and a transmission tunnel not all hacked up.

    Like 3
  2. gaspumpchas

    Was that a hole rotten in the dash? Looks to me it may have gone in the water. If you plan on doing a frame off, you could cover everything even if it was a flood car. Bidding starts at 10 large The 4 speed sells it for me. Good luck and happy motoring!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 1
    • RC Graham

      That is the header bar, not the dash.

      It’s never been swimming.

      The windshield header bar is upholstered (another bad idea from GM). If the upholstery gets a tear, it holds water over that spot. There are complete reproduction header bars, or you might opt for a complete used cutoff. But there doesn’t appear to be any further rust on the windshield header, so our thinking is to just repair what’s there.

      -The Owners

      Like 2
  3. Snotty

    Though this is a “vert” with the much desired 4-speed. I don’t see how you come to the 50k or 60k figure, all respect. I have a 66 factory tach, Holiday 442 clone. 4 speed with a 425 Super Rocket engine. If I was to try n sell I’d expect 10k or so. I know I’ll never get what I got in it. But I’m good with that. Seems to me Olds just don’t bring the green. Not sure why.

    Like 1
    • Fogline

      Snotty – I suspect if you posted it here on the For Sale section you might be surprised what offers you would get. Whenever you are ready to part with her….

      Like 2
  4. Matt Murray

    Am I the only one who started singing “stay the night”under there breath?

    Like 2
  5. mont lay

    Olds started the 442 in 1967. My sister had one.

    • Snotty

      1964

      Like 5
      • Ric Parrish

        1964, steel crank 330cu in. we raced one in 1964, NEITA, LIONS PAMONA, BAKERSFIELD. Would eat 327s in our class.

  6. chrlsful

    “…a tough decision to make…”
    as w/the bench/buckets. I’d do as suggested (I have w/a ’66 bronk) and put in what U like, make the nxt guy (gal in my case, the daughter) install the freshened up original or what’s in the stock pile – after the sale (gift). In my case the girl will know as she’s wrenched 7 yrs on it w/me…

    Like 1
  7. James Martin

    I must disagree with the olds not bringing the money. The cars at Kissimmee,were selling at 20 to 40% more than just 2 years ago. This with a 4 speed is a pretty fair deal, compared to alot of what’s out there. The flipper must not want to do much but make a buck. The numbers on the 455 would tell you if it came out of a 442 or a delta 88. He probably already knows but ain’t saying.

    Like 1
    • Snotty

      kissimmee, not trying to sell at kissimmee or B. j.’s I’m talkin local. I’m good. My point is I’m x-mopar, had a clean 66 Newport 2dr. hdtp. when I sold made all of my labor costs+ on the sale. Buick’s and Old’s not so much. Watchin the latest barret jackson, turns my stomach the chevys get alll the props. Ford’s Merc’s. Not much. I’m sick of seeing camaro’s….

      Like 1
    • RC Graham

      I’m not a flipper. I’ve owned it for 7 years. Even with the reserve, it’s less than I have in it so far.

  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Ended with 0 bids.

    Maybe it got sold to a passerby on their way to / from the auctions and had room on the transporter.

  9. Bill James

    Olds 442 cane out in 1965 , not 67 or 68. I had a 65 yrs ago ,from the factory..

    Like 3
  10. Mood-O

    Its amazing what comes out of the garages during “AZ Auction” week!
    Lol
    I think the Barn Find editor was meaning 1968 was the first year convertible offered 442…
    Do not know for sure, I’m a Pontiac nut…
    Did own a ‘70 Rallye 350 back in 79/80 though

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