High-Style Handler: 1977 Oldsmobile 442

As the 1970s came to a close, the focus for American shifted from muscle to luxury. The few muscle cars that remained relied more on appearance and handling, rather than horsepower, which was a huge point of emphasis only a few years before. One of those muscle cars was this 1977 Oldsmobile 442, which is unusually clean and probably the nicest one I’ve ever seen from that era. Find it here on craigslist in Lenoir, North Carolina, with an asking price of $15,000. Special thanks to Rocco B. for the tip!

After 1971, Oldsmobile’s 442 was relegated to option status, and after 1972, horsepower and overall performance steadily declined. The four-speed manual transmission was dropped after 1973 (a five speed manual with overdrive was available from 1975 to 1977, but only with the 260 V8) and the big-block 455 was discontinued after 1976. For 1976, the 4-4-2 gained a new aerodynamic sloped nose (designed for NASCAR) with split grilles and new quad rectangular headlights, as well as revised lower sheetmetal with fewer creases than the 1973–75 models. This 1977 model features the final-year Colonnade body style and is one of 11,649 built. Originally ordered new at Rooster Bush Oldsmobile in Lenoir, North Carolina, the seller is the car’s second owner and says that the car has “always been located in Caldwell or Burke County”. The red exterior with gray lower side stripes look good, though the car has been repainted once. Overall, the car appears to be in great condition, and the seller has always kept the car in the garage. Though I prefer the 1970-1972 442s, this car looks cool and I would definitely love to have it in my garage.

After losing its big-block 455 in 1976, the small-block 403 became the top engine in the 442. Rated at 185 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, a stock 403 is no barn-burner, but can easily be built up (since this car has low mileage, it might be best to leave it stock though). This car is backed by an automatic transmission (most likely a TH-350) and is a decent powertrain. Though the motor head in me would build up the 403 or swap in a 455, it’s probably best to leave it alone.

I hope you’re a fan of red, because there’s a good deal of it here. This 442’s interior appears to be in overall good condition, though I wish it had those swanky swivel-bucket seats. The carpet has a little bit of fading, but I’m really just nitpicking minor details. I would make sure the steering wheel is in good condition ditch the steering wheel wrap. Overall, this car is very cool in an unusual manner, and though the price may seem high, I very rarely see post-1973 442s out on the road. This car would be a great sight at a cruise night on a Friday summer or early fall night. What are your thoughts on this Colonnade 442?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Mark

    There’s something very muscular about the body shape of this car. If it were mine I’d go all out with a crate motor, custom exhaust and either Willwood or Baer brakes. Crank out 400hp and enjoy the burnouts.

  2. Rock On Member

    Save yourself some embarrassment from Civics and Camrys. Bolt on some Edelbrock aluminum heads, intake, carb and camshaft. Install a set of headers and a true dual exhaust and you won’t be afaid at every red light.

    • Greg

      stop reading JEGS catalogs

      Like 1
  3. American_Badaz

    If it wasn’t so nice, I would love to make a replica of Cale Yarborough’s #11 car out of it. Somehow they managed to make one of these boats look tough.

    • Big Mike

      I got a 77 Olds Cutlass in my bone yard barn that is in excellent shape body and interior wise if you want to do it American_Badaz. All it needs is the motor and tranny they are in it, but the motor will need to be replaced, seems to have a hole in the side of it from a wrist pin. I bought the car about 15years ago from a kid my son knew who treated the car like crap figuring his Dad would replace it if he tore it up. I could be talked into letting it go cheap!!

      • AMXSTEVE

        Big, What color combo is your car, where are you located and how much are you asking?

      • Michael

        Mike how do I get a hold of you about your car?

      • Oil Slick

        Nothin like a guy BIG MIKE who puts an offer on here then never responds….he’s prolly full of it.

  4. normadesmond

    Love the nose…..maybe she’s hoping to be Pontiac one day?

  5. Coventrycat

    Nice car. Gotta love the fade in a month plastics GM was using then.

  6. JimmyJ

    You could do a lot better for 15 grand how bout an awesome original 5.0 fox body? Oh, and it’s fun to drive too
    Maybe a real nice c4 vette?
    185 hp boat I’ll pass….

    • Mitchell Gildea Member

      Yes, you could buy a C4 Vette or Fox body for nearly the same price, but how many of these cars do you see on the road today. Sometimes it’s better to go for the unusual and be the wildcard of car collecting

    • Tom Member

      sorry….don’t send the hate mail on this one but I can’t hold it in….

      You had me at 5.0 Fox Body, you lost me when you used “real nice” and “C4 Vette” in the same sentence. I am a corvette guy too….unless it is a Z06 etc…just sayin.

      Totally agree with Mitchell G. BUT, that IS why they make Chocolate & Vanilla.

  7. Ed P

    It has my favorite color interior, not gray.

  8. AMXSTEVE

    kind of a circus wagon

  9. Rustytech Member

    That’s a nice looking Oldsmobile! Not many of these around anymore. $15k may be a little high, but if you really want one of these, you’re going to look long and hard to find a better one! I’d leave this thing just the way it is, and just enjoy driving.

  10. Duane Boda

    Being blatantly underpowered as it was hurt sales

    then and now. It’s like….dude why even consider it?

  11. Everett Lanier Member

    I had one back in 93 ! Great car and was fast! Same color as this one! It would hit another gear at 85! Sold it like a dummy! Lol!

  12. JimmyJ

    I threw c4 vette out there cuz I didn’t want to sound pro Ford but as soon as they say “such and such car has been reduced to appearance package” it’s basically an underpowered boat.
    Let’s say next years challenger had a 80 hp 4 banger who would buy it ? I’d grab the older fast one jmo

  13. JohnD

    Really love this GM platform; my first car was a hand-me-down 77 Regal, complete w/ Landau roof and chrome Buick 5-spokes. This Olds would be perfect with the optional 4 spoke rallye steering wheel.

  14. Utes

    Always dug shovel-nose Cutlasses, & a + here is that there’s a 403 beneath the bonnet!

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