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First Year 400: 1965 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

After hitting the showrooms for the first time in 1964, the 1965 Oldsmobile 442 brought some worthwhile upgrades. Chief among these was a larger engine, making these a potent classic. This 1965 Convertible is a rust-free survivor, and the owner has spent a small fortune on many aspects of the vehicle. The next owner will have to choose whether to add the finishing touches, or whether they would prefer to drive it as-is. Barn Finder Mitchell G spotted the Olds for us, so I have to say thank you so much for that. It is located in Wilmington, Delaware, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. Hand the owner $20,000, and you could be heading off for a spot of top-down cruising.

The 442 is finished in Turquoise Mist and features a White power top. The top presents perfectly, and the panels appear to be very straight. This is a classic with a lot to commend it because it is said to be rust-free. The owner clearly states that the floors and frame are in good condition. There are no apparent problems in the supplied photos, with all of the lower extremities appearing to be clean. The paint is now showing its age. There is no doubt that a repaint would have an enormous impact, but this is not something that would be considered to be urgent. The car remains presentable and could be used as-is for years if circumstances delayed a repaint. One of the areas where the owner has been splashing the cash is on the exterior trim and chrome. It all presents beautifully, and this alone might provide the motivation required to apply some new paint. The wheels aren’t original, but a set of original hubcaps are included in the sale. It appears that all of the glass is in good order, including the rear window in the convertible top.

After first appearing in 1964 with the 330ci V8 under the hood, the 1965 model brought the 400ci engine to the table. This boosted power output from 310hp to 345hp. After all, you can never have too much power. This is a numbers-matching classic, with the original 400 still in residence. Hooked to the back of this engine is the 2-speed “Jetaway” automatic transmission. The reality is that this transmission didn’t do the Olds any performance favors. However, this Convertible should still be capable of storming through the ¼ mile in 15.5 seconds. Left to its own devices, it will find its way to 124mph. That’s some mighty fast wind-in-the-hair motoring! Driving chores should be relatively easy in this classic because it comes equipped with power steering and power brakes. The owner has recently had the brakes replaced. The original carburetor has been rebuilt, while the spent gases exit via a new dual exhaust. The result is a car that is in sound mechanical health. The owner states that the 442 runs “strong.” Hmm, those wide-open roads are beckoning.

The interior is one area of the Olds where the buyer won’t be spending a lot of money. The seller admits that he has spent thousands on the car. A significant amount of that has been on the interior. There is some minor wear on a couple of trim pieces on the dash. However, that’s about all there is to fault. It appears that the 442 has been treated to a full interior trim kit, and the result is nothing short of stunning. You have to think that if the interior stands out now, just what would it be like if the exterior received a repaint? Apart from the spotless presentation, the interior does come with plenty of optional extras. These include a console with factory tach, power driver’s seat, remote trunk release, a power antenna, AM radio, remote mirror, clock, and the previously mentioned power top.

An asking price of $20,000 doesn’t make this 1965 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible the cheapest classic that you are likely to see. The big question has to be whether the price is justified. The 442 remains a desirable vehicle, and clean examples will command good prices. For the 1965 model, in particular, the Convertible will command a premium of around 30% over its siblings. Part of the attraction is the relative rarity of the Convertible. While Oldsmobile produced 25,003 examples of the 442 across its entire range in 1965, a mere 3,468 of these were Convertibles. These will quite easily bring prices above $30,000, and $40,000 is not out of the question for the right car. Consider that lower figure, and consider what this one would require to present at a high level. That potentially leaves $10,000 to bring the appearance up to scratch before the financial viability of this car comes into question. That makes it seem worth the money to me, but I’ll let you judge this one for yourself.


  1. Fogline

    I can’t believe it isn’t sold already. If it wasn’t on the wrong coast I would be on my way to get it now. Seems like a bargain.

    Like 3
  2. Joe

    Was the 65 442 available with a 2 speed auto?

    I thought they were all 4 speed manuals in 65.

    Like 2
    • Lance

      The standard transmission was a 3 speed manual with optional 2 speed auto or 4 speed manual.

      Like 5
      • Joe

        Thanks Lance

    • Scotf

      Lance is correct. 1964 was the only year they were 4 speed only.

    • ROARRR Member

      Didn’t 442 supposedly refer to 4 speeds, 4 barrel and 2 exhausts??

      Like 3
      • Chuck Dickinson

        In theory, yes. In practice, no.

        Like 1
      • Steve R

        Only in 1964 when the only engine available was the 330. The 400 cubic inch engine replaced the 4 speed as one of the 4’s.

        Steve R

        Like 5
      • JoeBob396

        In 1964 it did. In 1965 it was 400ci, 4 barrel, 2 exhausts

        Like 2
  3. S

    It appears that the price is justified, probably very fair – since it needs a repaint, given what the car is and what I’ve seen them sell for. Everything about this car is very desirable. Nice options, nice white interior, really nice everything except the paint. What is there not to like? OK so the wheels aren’t original but you can change them back easily if you want. I think I’d upgrade the master cylinder to dual reservoir mainly for safety, but also to protect your investment. Who’d want to get into an accident with such a nice car because of something like a blown brake hose?

    Like 1
  4. Rick Rothermel

    I had one of the 2999 ’64s one summer 35 years ago, more fun than humans should be allowed! Great car, not too soon for the price.

    Like 1
  5. Arby

    I’m afraid the “Turquoise Mist” is long gone in favor of this dark blue (?).

    Wheels are wrong but that’s an easy fix.

    Like 1
  6. Scott

    I really like this car. I’d prefer a 4 speed, but most of the convertibles got the Jetaway. Price seems very fair, though a closer look at the body and underside is needed- that color can easily hide bad news in photos.
    This should sell quick.

  7. Robert Venters

    In 74 i paid 150 for a red 65 442 4sp convertable fast i was beating every thing that came next to me

    Like 1
  8. Jim

    I’ve had a few of these. I had one with a four-speed and a beater with the auto. I actually found the auto more usable, especially on the highway. I miss that car.

  9. Carl Thurston

    How do i contact the owner? I`m Not a technical person so it needs to be as easy as possible.

  10. Steve

    The blue color is nocturne mist. Factory color in 65.

    Like 3

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