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Low-Mileage Daily Driver: 1986 Oldsmobile 442

After a 4 year absence from the Oldsmobile lineup, the 4-4-2 returned in 1985, not packing anywhere near the same sort of heat found in the sixties or even early 70s offerings but still featuring attractive graphics and making decent use of what was available to work with at the time in terms of performance.  The 1985-86 models were based on the Cutlass Salon, a sporty auto to begin with, and this 1986 Olds 442 here on eBay has survived the decades well, with the owner stating it’s a great daily driver.  This one’s been a California resident since new and it’s presently in Oakdale, where nobody has placed the opening bid of $15,000 yet.

Sadly, by now there were no more 455 engines available in the 4-4-2 and hadn’t been since 1976, but buyers did get a high-output variant of the 307 making 180 horsepower, which for the period was somewhat respectable.  A 3.73 geared rear-end was also included in the package, making the small V8 seem a bit faster, at least on the low end anyway.  The seller lists the car’s mileage as 64k and says the motor still runs great and the automatic transmission still shifts properly.

Up until last year, the Olds is stated as being an always garaged one-owner vehicle, and although the seller doesn’t mention how old the paint is the finish appears to be holding up reasonably well overall.  A close look reveals a few imperfections here and there such as a series of small chips on the driver’s side door, but I’m not spotting anything serious enough outside that would require any immediate attention for most drivers, plus the owner assures us the car is rust-free.

The dark red interior complements the 2-tone grey paint nicely, which looks comfortable and inviting with those front bucket seats.  A new headliner was recently installed along with the sun visors being redone, and at some point, the factory radio was replaced with an aftermarket Stereo.

Often a California car’s additional beauty extends to the platform and underside components, with this one not disappointing in that area so the next owner shouldn’t have to worry about structural integrity or prior exposure to harsh road conditions from the bottom side.  Another purchase option here is the seller also offering a buy-it-now price of $16,500, just slightly over the minimum bid, so this may be worth considering if you’re a potential buyer.  I’m not finding a whole lot not to appreciate about this 442, how about you?


  1. Davey Boy

    If the pictures are right, this is a great looking car. Not perfect show quality but VERY nice. In my humble opinion worth every penny. I just want to know what car belongs to the aluminum slotted wheel and tire you can see next to it in the underside shot. I’ll bet whatever it is, it’s nicer and more desireable than the 442. Again, just my opinion.

    Like 9
  2. Mike76

    Original California plates, clean looking, mostly original. Lot to like here, for what I’d say seems like a reasonable price. Yes, these are not the 442s of yesteryear, but for what they are, they’re good running and very reliable cars when maintained. You won’t win many, if any, stoplight battles, but you’ll get plenty of thumbs up and you’ll be driving a car that stands out from the pack of look-a-like vehicles that litter our roadways in 2024. If given the choice of driving this Olds or a 2015 Honda Civic, I know what I am choosing…

    Like 15
  3. GuernseyPagoda

    I always loved these rims! Great looking.

    Like 14
  4. JCA Member

    I think it’s supposed to have a chrome air cleaner cover

    Like 7
    • Jon Rukavina

      I think you’re right. My buddy bought an ’86 brand new and it has a chrome air cleaner cover.
      For this one, I’m missing p/w, p/l, and cruise control. And 2less popular options in p/seat and p/ trunk.
      I would have to see this color up close, one of the ones that weather checked like all of the dark colors did.

      Like 4
  5. 88baradb

    What a shame that couldn’t put in some punch from the other cars of the 80’s in that Olds V8.. They did it with the the tuned port engines of the IROCs and T/As. Not to mention the technology they put in the GN.

    Like 3
  6. 19Tiger65

    If it had T-Tops it would be in my garage. Love the color. One thing, I always hated the velour interiors. Although they were produced with vinyl interiors but in low quantities.

    Like 5
  7. Fox owner

    I remember renting an Olds Cutlass Supreme of this vintage back when and thinking, what a nice ride. For the eighties it was as good as it got. A little Googling revealed you can buy all kinds of go fast parts for that 307, headers, 600 cfm carb, cam, HEI distributor. Etc. was it possible to chip one of these or did that come later? If it was t on the other side of the country from me I would give it a look.

    Like 4
  8. K. R. V.

    Oh now here’s a fantastic candidate for either a forced induction of some type, with a modern fuel injection system with headers. That would add fun and economy is driving with a light pair of Italian sneakers. Or go totally modern with an LS upgrade. A 6.2 truck engine and trans would be just the ticket.

    Like 4
  9. HemiBoy63

    Love that 2 tone color combo. Classic. I would dye the interior black. I think that would go better with the exterior color. Great looking vehicle! I’d pay the $16500 if I was in the market for one of these. Not many left with this color combo and in this condition.

    Like 2
    • Jon Rukavina

      I would go with gray myself.

      Like 0

    What’s wrong with the AC? Looks to be missing the belt.

    Like 3
    • Jon Rukavina

      Relax, Larry, after all it just “needs a recharge”, just like the rest of the Barn Finds that just “need a recharge”! Maybe so, but………
      I always find it funny that most of the time this isn’t mentioned.

      Like 1
  11. swsmith

    Now we sell rust as patina then comes nifty decals sold to the unknowing as speed/performance

    Like 0
  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Interesting observation: In 1998, the mileage was reported to be 148K, but in 2000 it was 63K. It would sound like there is a discrepancy, but I think it is a mistake. How would anyone know that a 5 digit odometer had 148K on it?

    Like 0

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