Garage Find! 1971 Oldsmobile 442

Titles are not required in Georgia for vehicles 1985 or older. This 1971 Oldsmobile 442, sold in Georgia and currently located in Lumberton, North Carolina, does not come with a title. While this may trigger many potential buyers to hit the Eject button and move on, there are legal ways to obtain a title for older Georgia vehicles. Some buyers may well research this 1-of-6285 high-performance hardtop and include a buffer for the unknown in their auction bidding here on eBay.

The missing window trim suggests the rear window was replaced, and perhaps not well. Dust authenticates the “Garage Find” theme, but otherwise inhibits the selling process. Though listed as being sold by a “Dealer,” the laissez faire attitude, handicapped spelling, and lack of preparation suggests an amateur willingness to entertain low-ball offers and spend lots of time answering questions that might have been rendered unnecessary by better preparation.

The large column-mounted tachometer suggests a prior owner drove the car to other places besides church on Sunday. The seller describes these as “buck” seats which allow for at least four possible explanations:  1. They are, as we can see without a description, “bucket” seats, or 2. They are not white seats but instead wear a color called “Buck,” or 3. They are made from the hide of a male deer, also known as a Buck, or 4. They are not Oldsmobile seats but, instead, came from a Buick. Your guess is as good as mine, folks. No matter how you interpret it, the message “find a proof-reader for your car sale description” is clear as a bell.  The buyer will hope that the Pine Tree air freshener is more of a vintage decoration than a means of covering olfactory sins perpetrated within.

The mighty 455 cid V8 claimed to reside in this vehicle should be painted blue in 1971, and the 350 cid V8 gold. The 455 was first allowed in GM mid-sized cars for 1970 (excepting the earlier Hurst Olds), and the big bruiser lost some luster in 1971 due to slightly lower compression. It still delivers 270 HP net (340 gross). Thanks to musclecarclub.com for some details. This engine is locked up, has no carburetor, and appears to have been attacked by a rattle-can of gold paint. Spinners on valve cover studs make for quick removal between drag runs, or for merely imparting the impression that you’re into that sort of thing. Kudos to the seller for including a number of under-car pictures. The latter suggest a less-than-perfect respray and copious use of plastic body filler. These cars have a rabid fan club and for good reason; they represent what muscle cars are all about… jamming a big-inch engine in an affordable mid-sized car. What’s your vision for this high-powered Oldsmobile?

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Comments

  1. Joseph McMannis

    How much do they want for this work in progress.Despite the missing parts?

  2. Rock On Member

    Todd are you telling us that there are people that use illegal ways to obtain a title?

    • jdjonesdr

      Surely you jest…

    • JamestownMike

      Not sure how you come up with that Rock On?? Todd CLEARLY states, “legal ways to obtain a title”. He even includes a link to such.

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hey Rock On… If I knew some illegal ways to obtain a title I’m afraid I couldn’t share them here. ;-)

  3. Van

    Although it wasn’t deep, Lumberton had a flood 3 years ago. Be sure to look closely at the underside, and for evidence of water anywhere else. Even so it might be worth restoration anyway. Copart has many 2nd Gen vetts with flood damage from Texas. Could you get a tag in a state that doesn’t require a title?

  4. mike D

    the ad states he has a bill of sale. I believe cars made before 85 had a registration , that would be no problem in NYS I too have a problem with misspellings he also states engine isn’t running and that it is a 455, IDK the colors of the valve colors in ” later” years, but the 66 400 were copper , like this one yes, for sure, check see if it is a flood car

    • jackthemailman

      Doesn’t look like the copper on my old ’66 442 (which was titled in Georgia, by the way).

    • John

      It depends on were u are going to register it what they want if its a pre 2001 car in maine u dont need a title after that u do

  5. Mountainwoodie

    …….if u do not bid u cannot win!

  6. robb

    Great retort by by Todd when it comes to the seller’s description of this car. Not a big fan of this Cutlass/442 body style. 68′ was pinnacle for me.. Investing time and money would be a financial disaster on this dowdy ride.

  7. JamestownMike

    I hate looking at cars with repaints because you don’t know whats lurking under that paint! I’d rather look at cars with horrible original paint, at least you know what your buying. This car has obvious areas of bondo cracking under the paint. Makes one wonder just how much bondo they packed on prior to painting?? Like too many cars out there, they should of gotten the body right before repainting!

  8. JamestownMike

    Without a build sheet, how do we know this is a real deal 442?

    • SEAN C

      344 , first 3 numbers of vin. =442

  9. William

    Wow. Just …. wow.
    Caveat emptor to the highest degree.

  10. JamestownMike

    Did anyone notice the fastback Mustang sitting next to this car?? I emailed the seller and he states that it’s the wifes car. He’s selling his toys to fix her toy.

  11. Jimbosidecar

    He’s also got a ’67 Impala SS for sale on e-bay. Looks in better condition.

  12. Jay M

    Why do people feel the need to stage a barn find?
    Even Stevie Wonder can see that the items were just placed on the hood.

  13. Mark

    I thought old 442s has exhaust coming straight out back like round cut outs. , not just to the side.

  14. Jim in Alabama

    I’m betting that is a 350. The 455 that was equipped with either A/C and/or Power Brakes had notched valve covers so the Power Brake Booster and the A/C Compressor would clear.
    The only way to tell for certain other than numbers is to look at the front of the engine above the timing cover. The big block had a higher deck height and was taller above the timing cover. The 350 had the intake practically sitting on the timing cover.
    I can’t tell which it is from the photo but NOBODY in their right mind would paint a 455 gold.
    The exhaust is incorrect for a 442 and although it might seem cool to have the behind the tire exit exhaust, again, NOBODY in their right mind would get rid of the rear bumper with the exhaust cut-outs.

    The body style tag says it is a 1971 4-4-2 High Performance V8 Hardtop Coupe with a White Interior, White Vinyl Bench Seat, a Lime Green Exterior and no Vinyl Top.
    The assembly plant was Fremont, CA
    I’m guessing that ir is a real 442 but the engine has been changed and returning to original condition would cost more than the finished product is worth since it did not have the desirable options on it.

    But, that’s just my opinion.

    • Jim

      Going by the stripes and ram air hood, one would assume it’s a W30. But on a W30, it should have red fender wells, not black. It’s doubtful those were replaced. And with no pics of the air cleaner, we have no idea if it has the actual ram air set up. If it were a ’72, I could see it being legitimate because you could order a 442 with a 350 and a W29 ram air hood, but IIRC, in ’71 the only way to get the ram air hood was with the W30 package.

      My take, it’s an older clone of a 442 W30, and he’s trying to pass it off as the genuine article.

      • Jim in Alabama

        If he is trying to pass it off as a W30, it is missing the W30 logos on the front fenders in the stripe.
        However, if it WERE one it would also have the TH400 OW code transmission with the six disc direct clutch. Hard to find!
        But I doubt that that would have had a bench seat in it.

        I’m not certain about the Ram Air Hood in ’71. In ’70 EVERY 442 had the hood. But only the W30 and W31 were functional.

      • Jim

        @Jim in Alabama

        The missing W30 emblems could be explained away, where the red fender wells would be harder to explain. Even if they started to wear away, most people don’t replace them unless they drive on gravel roads where the rocks would make noise when they are flung under the hood.

        On the hoods, we’re both wrong. I looked up the book I used to purchase my Olds to make sure it was a genuine 442. It’s called “Oldsmobile 442 and W-Machines Restoration Guide” by Mororbooks Workshop. It tells all the little details in spotting fakes or clones. I decided to look it up to see what it had to say, and the the W25 ram air hood (not W29 as I had previously stated) was available for all 442 and Cutlass S models from 1970 on. BUT, they weren’t the stock hood for the standard 442 or Cutlass S models. It looked similar to the ram air hood, but it was all steel (not fiberglass like the ram air one) and the “power bulges” or striped areas went all the way to the front of the hood. In fact it’s identical to the 1969 442 hood except for the latch mechanism.

        As for the bench seat, while not seen a lot, you could order your 442 with a bench seat, including W30 models. They came stock with buckets, but you could opt to go with a bench instead. But this car for sale doesn’t have the bench seat, it has buckets. It has a column shift automatic, but a 442 with a column shift automatic isn’t terribly uncommon either.

        If it were me, I’d pass on this. It appears to be a genuine 442 going by the VIN, but beyond that most everything else is a question mark. The motor is either a wrongly painted 455 (fine) or a 350 (not original or correct for that year). It has a ram air hood (which was an option) and W30 stripes, but it doesn’t have the W30 air cleaner setup, red fender wells, or fender emblems. The exhaust isn’t correct either. Now if someone just wanted to get it running and drive it, maybe, the price isn’t too bad for a cruiser. But for a restoration project there’s too many unknowns IMHO.

    • BRAKTRCR

      Wow Jim, great info. It’s great when someone knows what they are talking about. Thanks

      • Jim

        Except as I mentioned in my recent post, I was wrong about the ram air hood. First it’s a W25 ram air hood, not W29 (there’s actually no designation W29). Second, the ram air hood was optional for all 442 and Cutlass S models from 1970-72. I had to consult my books to find out for sure. I’ve got a 1969 442 which is a bit different that the ’70-72 models (only ram air hood with 455 option was the ’69 Hust/Olds).

        Sometimes it’s not about knowing it all, but knowing where to look.

  15. Rick

    In the early 60′ s thru to the early 80′ s build sheets where attached to the underneath of the rear seats especially in Oldsmobile’s and the reason I say this is because I have had first second and third generations of the mystical 442. You can also check to see the if it’s a matching numbers car by merely looking at the vin numbers and comparing the numbers to the block and frame I hope this helps

  16. Troy s

    Well, for one thing, if they had washed off all that dust it would be more presentable to say the least, seems logical if you really want to grab potential buyers. Just a cool old 442 that saw heavy action and now needs a lot of help.

  17. Pete

    This car is about 30 minutes from my house. Lumberton was hit badly by Hurricaine Matthew. It took over a month to recover all the bodies that had drowned in homes and cars. 43 people died because of the flooding. It closed I-95 for weeks. How that wasn’t deep I don’t even know. It was like over the roof deep in some places down there. Anyway dust will cover a lot of things you don’t want people to see. He could have used a leaf blower to coat it after the flood. That or he bought down the road and went down a dirt and gravel road to get it home. Anyway their is a strong classic car collector presence in my area and he could have thrown it up on craigslist and it would have been sold in a week or less. So that leads me to think he wants to sell it via pics so the person doesn’t have the ability to drive over and check it out up close before they bid on it. There are some sketchy folks down that way. It is a very poor area. Be advised.

  18. EHide Behind

    Too many ????’s on authenticity of 442, and who knows real condition, and what with the research work and time/cost of return to original , one had better look upon this as a labor of love.
    One that could cause a broken bank account.
    Can get title in WA., abandoned vehicle, but being honest would make me just use Gutless.
    If not at least a 400, better if 455, then you’d have no more than a Gutless.
    Seen lots of trash non-reputable deals and dealers that came from Southern States; Confederates Revenge.
    Also from salt mine New England Yankee flat landers as well.
    Old saying, “Buyer Beware” comes to mind.
    That said you can buy any and all repo parts for it, including 455’s.

    • Jim

      For 1971, there wasn’t a 400 V8 option, only 455. By the color it’s probably a 350.

      It’s funny, this looks almost identical to one I looked at 10 years ago. Same color, striping, with a ram air hood as well. But it had a less correct interior, and for some reason the seller (who had it out in front of his business) would make excuses when I asked about looking in the trunk. So I went by there when he was gone and asked an employee to look inside. The lower quarter panel areas were filled with expandable foam. It was a Minnesota car, so road salt was the cause. Needless to say I passed.

      The ’70-72 models do have more parts and accessories than other years, but the costs still add up.

  19. BRAKTRCR

    He found the title… but I think he thinks now its worth more, because he says he may relist it due to that… I guess that is true… I guess

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