Found in Paris: 1973 Oldsmobile 442

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….Saint Paris, Ohio, that is. Although it would be quite a find to spot a ’73 Oldsmobile 442 like this one here on eBay near the Eiffel Tower, it’s much more appropriate that this big-bodied Olds is hiding out in Middle America. It’s been there a while, long after the seller realized he was never going to get around to restoring his father’s car. Despite the memories associated with learning to drive on this 442, he’s letting it go with a Buy-It-Now of $4,250. 


Based on the flatness of the tires, I don’t doubt the seller’s claim that it has sat idle for 15 years. There’s lots of worrisome spots in the paint that appear to be hiding rust. At the very least, I’d say the repaint it received isn’t holding up too well, but at least the factory 442 graphics were re-applied. The sad thing is, that’s essentially what the 442 had become by this point: a cosmetics package, with a sprinkling of actual performance enhancements primarily limited to the HD suspension and sway bars front and rear.

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The seller assumes that you’ll need to perform a total mechanical overhaul, and I can’t say that I doubt him. In the 70’s, a Cutlass coupe with the 442 package was entering an era where cars were becoming heavier and performance was becoming lighter, with engine choices limited to the 250 six-cylinder and 350/455 eight-cylinder options. Based on the VIN, this 442 came with the 350-4bbl V8 pushing out an anemic 180 b.h.p. I’d say it’s a prime candidate for an engine swap if the motor turns out to be junk.

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While certainly not the most desirable Oldsmobile out there, I do like the idea of one done up as sort of an oddball Pro Touring-style restomod. The 442 package does give it some desirability as being a touch more special than your run-of-the-mill Cutlass, but I still think the price is too high for the unknowns. Although not pictured here, the interior is quite rough, so you’re going to have to be committed if you want to tackle an OEM-correct restoration. How would you rebuild it – as a mild custom or factory original?

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  1. Birdman

    That’s my home town!!! YAY ST.PARIS!!

    I have a pile of family still in the area including a couple uncles who are GM mechanics who I could possibly sweet talk into going and having a look!

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  2. Joan

    I would love to know who the owner is. Possibly someone from my era??

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  3. BillB

    Can’t be a 442 without a 4-speed! It’s also a rust belt car (note the Ohio plates) with bubbling up paint everywhere. The mold on the visors and seats would indicate being stored in a damp garage. It’s got to smell pretty bad in there by now.

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    • Ed

      Your probably right. Bad enough it’s a 442 in decals only with a pathetic horsepower rating from the factory. There are probably rodents dining on the wires right now. Well if any are left.
      Still, for a low low price I wouldn’t mind having it. Who knows I may get a few years of spare time with cash to make it the car it should’ve been.

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  4. Charles H.

    I owned a ’74 when I was 18 yrs. old, it was blue with white graphics and stripes, it had the 442 stripe that ran the length of the body, and had white swivel bucket seat interior, it was not a bad car for what it was, but a far cry from the mid 60’s thru ’71’s, or even ’72’s, but I liked it and enjoyed driving it as a teen….think this one is a bit overpriced!

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  5. Rando

    So….in NC, a car this old doesn’t have to have smog check, so couldn’t the usual hot rodding be done to enhance it’s performance? Just thinking you could have a lot of fun with it and not really mess up it’s value. Yes, you would ruin originality, but….

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  6. Vegas vic

    Flashy graphics, weak engine but one that can be torqued up, good interior, good brAkes, different muscle car

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  7. DRV

    Never noticed how cool the front end could be without a pathetic bumper on this.

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    • jaymes


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  8. Texas Tea

    This is the era that the big three lost me in everyway. I would not spend a dime on any of these cars. Reach back a little farther and get a car worth while.

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  9. Chris In Australia

    I’m slowly warming to the Colonades, the smaller ’73 bumper looks way better than the battering rams on the ’74s. That 180 Net HP wouldn’t have been much worse than the net HP of a 1970 Olds 350. The switch from gross HP to net HP shocked a lot of people, who blamed emission controls for the seemingly massive HP loss

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  10. Charles H.

    I, for the life of me, cannot understand what GM was thinking… could they ever have thought that this “Colonade” design was in any way better looking than the previous design, ’68-’72, which IMHO was the best looking GM A-Body design of all. Not only were they ugly, but they had those long heavy doors, that were always wearing out hinges, and eventually you had to lift up on to get latched, when shutting!

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  11. Van

    A friend had a 74 with a 671 blower.
    It was his daily driver.
    Had every option even AC.
    Only guy at the drag strip to have AC on in the staging lane. Turned it off just before the tree lit up.

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  12. jaymes

    nice bubbling

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  13. dj

    I had a 73 Hurst Olds with the 455. Not much more horsepower but fun to drive. This car should have had 442 on the deck lid.

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  14. robert labradore

    never liked the early 70’s olds they all looked the same but i never belittle them because they weren’t made a certain year . not all 442 had a 4 speed . a few in the 73 to 75 era .

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  15. Mike

    I bought this car. Currently restoring her. 5 more years til done.

    Like 1

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