Low Production: 1991 Oldsmobile Quad 442

When the Oldsmobile 442 designation came along in the 1960s, it stood for 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts. By the time the 1990s rolled around, it had evolved into something like 4-cylinders, 4-valves per cylinder, and 2 camshafts. In the late 1980s, the designation had moved from the rear-wheel-drive Cutlass Supreme to the front-wheel-drive Cutlass Calais. 1991 was the last year of this model, using Oldsmobile’s hot Quad-4 engine, which includes the seller’s car. Sources say that production that year may not have exceeded 1,360 units. This one has been well-used but is still in decent condition for 330,000 miles. It’s located in Orangeburg, South Carolina and here on eBay for the Buy It Now price of $4,000.

The Cutlass name was all over Oldsmobile products in the 1980s, including the FWD Calais which ran between 1985-91. The Olds Calais shared the GM N-platform with the Pontiac Grand Am and Buick Skylark/Somerset. The car had the honor of pacing the Indianapolis 500 for 1985 with James Garner as the driver. The Quad 4 engine would be the performance choice in the Calais GMO Quad 4. That name would morph into the Calais Quad 442 (sound familiar?). The transversely mounted 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine was tuned with higher output camshafts which was good for more top end power, producing 180 net horsepower.

This 1991 Quad 442 is a one-owner car. It developed continuing head gasket issues, so the seller had the engine rebuilt by NAPA. At the time, the car gained a new crankshaft, oil pump and alternator. Unrelated to all that, the windows motors were also replaced. There is no mention as to the quality of the 5-speed manual transmission, so we’ll assume it shifts fine. The Calais has not seen a lot of down time, even though the seller says it’s been mostly idle the last three years (but started up regularly). He was planning to pass it down to his son, but he has no interest in the car. The work that was done a decade and 5,000 miles ago cost $4,000, which is the seller’s target price for moving the car along.

The Olds has the usual nicks and dings for being 30 years old and original, yet the paint still shines up. The interior is okay, but a visor, armrest and the gearshift handle are damaged or worn and should be repaired. The headliner has a few scrapes but at least it’s not drooping like they often do. There is no sign of rust on the car that we can see, and the insides of the trunk look good.

What should a 1991 Olds Cutlass Calais Quad 442 be worth? We only found one other one for sale online and its going for the same money as this one. If this were the W41 edition that had more tweaks to the engine to get an extra 10 hp, it would likely be worth more as only about 200 of those cars were made. This is not a W41, so $4,000 is probably about it.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Wow, 330K on a quad 4. Even though it’s not the original engine. This person deserves an award from GM! You can never say the owner wasn’t passionate about his car.

    Like 17
    • Tim

      It has its original motor. It states that the engine was rebuilt 10 years ago.

      Like 5
  2. Todd Zuercher

    @alphasud – my thoughts exactly! I’ll bet that’s not another Quad4 on the planet with that many miles! Or any ‘91 442s for that matter either. Kudos to the owner for maintaining it so well.

    Like 6
  3. Sam61

    I had a 4dr Quad 4, gray over silver with maroon fabric. It was a quick car for what it was.

    I beg to differ regarding paint. I received a free paint job due to bad primer/paint flaking on my Calais.

    I never did think of France when driving it.

    Like 4
    • Car Guy Beancounter

      Regarding your “free paint job”, that is absolutely true. As a former Chevy-Olds dealer, Oldsmobile did repaint some colors. Sapphire Blue comes to mind. Interesting to note that some of the big city aggressive Olds dealers told costumers there was a $200 deductible for the re-paint. Sheer dishonesty and plain old robbery. Olds paid the entire cost, no deductible!

      Like 5
      • William Mundt

        There are special places in Hell for certain people, here’s a sample:
        1. Those who drive slow in the left lane.
        2. Those who put their turn signal on 20 feet before they turn, while you’re waiting for them to pass, so you can pull out into traffic.
        3. Pharmaceutical executives.
        4. Car salesmen

        Like 4
      • Rusty

        When I was shopping for my first new truck since 1978, I took my son with me who is a manger of sourcing and purchasing for a major chemical company, and who is a skilled negotiator. It was fun to watch him call B/S in 4 or 5 salespersons and managers and walk out.

  4. Jcs

    Bless it’s heart.

    Like 9
    • Dave

      Bless yours.

  5. Steve Clinton

    330,000 miles? Thanks, but no thanks.

    Like 4
    • Kyng

      Guess you want a car with 3 miles on it that you can’t drive. Some “enthusiast”….

      Like 6
      • Bill

        I’m with Steve on thus one. Over 300k on one of the most unreliable engines that GM ever made. Plus a rough interior. Plus priced at over twice it’s value. Plus 30 years old. Plus not much to look at. There’s an ass for every seat, but come on.

        Like 4
      • Steve Clinton

        What an asinine comment.

        Like 8
    • Kyng

      I agree. You should retract it and look less like an imbecile.

      Like 6
      • Steve Clinton

        This coming from the kyng of the imbeciles. :-)

        Like 1
      • JonArd

        As a former car salesman, we used that remark a lot on odd cars that stayed on the lot a while … usually said,”There’s an ass for every seat, and lips for every face.” Found that to be true when selling my demo (we paid 2% a month to drive them and got it back when it sold -$200 for detailing) and a woman came in and fell in love with the ’83 Burgundy and Silver Pontiac Phoenix SJ I was driving … I got my demo money back without having to offer a “spif” to sell it … THAT’s finding an ass for every seat …

      • Bill

        Screw it. I’ll re join the pissing match. Kyng, if you like it so much and think it’s such a good deal, BUY IT. Show us old farts how hip you are. How in the know you are. Show us up and buy that old beater quad 4 for 4k. I dare you. I double dog dare you. Don’t let her slip away. She’s RARE.

    • KYNG

      Right…sure. I’ll leave you to your Geritol because I know you’ll tire out quickly from typing so much. Imbeciles tend be messy so I’ll leave you to your vices sis. Have a fun NEW YEAR! Good riddance!

      Like 3
    • Kyng

      @BILL, I’m good on this one because I’m searching for a Cutlass Calais INTERNATIONAL series Quad 4 which is my personal dream car. This one isn’t my dream car, but I know it’s worth and the high miles and care that the went into just basic maintenance to keep it running this long along weren’t/aren’t EASY! This owner wasn’t just a typical car guy that bought a car to LOOK at, he bought this car to do what it was meant for, and that was to DRIVE it and LOVE it. The fact that he had the engine rebuilt is a testament to his enthusiasm for his FAVORITE vehicle. Who buys a car just to look at…psch…

      For the record, this isn’t a “pissing match”, I’m just stating things as an enthusiast, an Oldsmobile enthusiast that values ALL of their cars, not just their cars built in the 60’s. My 300k original non-leaky engines Aurora Autobahn pkg says hi ;).

      Any enthusiast that buys a car to look at isn’t an enthusiast at all, he’s an armchair “car guy” that has no intention of enjoying the fruits of his labors.

      Old fart, young whippersnapper, or whatever ya wanna call it, cars are built to be DRIVEN and the seller and enthusiast of this car did just THAT! All I have for him is respect and I’d pay and buy this car if it were the one that I wanted.

      Happy New year to ALL enthusiasts the world AROUND!

      RIP Oldsmobile

      Like 1
  6. Mark

    Looks like a good demo car.

  7. yellowtr6

    A buddy’s wife got a new one back in the day…it was surprisingly quick.

  8. Doc Member

    I had the 92 SCX and it was a fast 4 cyl.

  9. MitchRoss Member

    I had one and it was fast. If I could get it to hook up, it would smoke a 5.0 Mustang. The W41 was the only factory car I know that was banned from the Stock class in SCCA autocross. This is a cool car and a must for any Oldsmobile collection

    • JCA

      Sorry, but I don’t think you are “smoking” a 5.0 mustang with this. Possibly with the W41 but they were just limited production race car that no one had anyway. With a few cheap mods, a 5.0 was tough to beat. My friend had a Barretta GTZ with the Quad 4 and 5 spd back in the day. It was definitely quick but no match for the 5.0. And you can’t mod a Quad 4 cheaply like you can a 5.0. I think this Olds is limited production because the Barretta was a nicer looking design when it came out. So it’s rare for a reason

      Like 3
      • LARUSSO

        Why are a “few cheap mods” necessary to make it “tough to beat”? Not adequate enough out of the box it looked like it came in? 🤣

      • JCA

        Larusso, obviously you are jealous of the sheer power and muscle of the 5.0. You can tinker day and night with your Quad 4, wax on wax off and whatever else you think makes a difference. At the finish line, you will be humbled and understand the undeniable power of the way of the fist.

        Like 1
      • William Mundt

        The Berretta was a “nicer looking design when it came out”? Wow, now that’s quite a statement!

    • LARUSSO

      JCA if you could only see what’s in my garage, then you’d quickly realize that a lowly mustang is the last thing I’d be jealous of.

      It could be interpreted that taking offense to the prospect of a 4cylinder posing a viable threat to V8 reflects insecurity.
      And/or small hands.

      That being said, I’m unsubscribing to this article discussion so any retort on your part will not be time wisely spent.

      • JCA

        Its just a joke. LARUSSO is the karate kid…you haven’t heard of Cobra Kai? It’s only the number one show right now.

  10. Excursion love

    Take a look at the back end shot of the car…..a tow hitch ? What are we towing with a front wheel drive car ? This is an interesting car. I can appreciate different cars. Thanks to who sent it in. Please continue to find rare cars.

    Like 2
  11. Bob W

    Calling this thing a 442 is a crime against all the true ancestors before it.

    Like 1
    • Dave

      Ok, boomer.

      I bet you think that Corvettes without round tail lights aren’t real Corvettes either 🤣

  12. wjtinfwb

    Not a lot of these GM N bodies left, in the late 90s they were everywhere. Most of my experience with them was in the Pontiac Grand Am variant but I also logged a lot of rental car miles in Beretta’s and Corsica’s. The Pontiac’s looked the sharpest with the cladding and body color trim treatment but I liked driving the Beretta the best as it seemed most of those had the 3.1L V6 while the Grand Ams were commonly fitted with the Iron Duke 4 cylinder. None were impressive in their build or trim quality and really represented a low point for GM. A top of the cap for this owner however, squeezing 330k out of a 90s GM product is a testament to both great maintenance and a high threshold for automotive mediocrity.

    Like 3
  13. William Mundt

    I agree with everyone who has commented about the price the owner is asking. It happens too many times. The father thinks his son or daughter will want the car, so he spends some money, sometimes too much, on getting the car reliable again. Then the son or daughter “stresses that they have no interest in the car”, as is stated in the Ebay listing. (Read, “Dad, I wouldn’t be caught dead driving that thing!”). But the man has a right to ask what he wants for the car, even though he may find out there is no interest at that price.
    Also, Oldsmobile dealers weren’t the only dealers taking advantage of customers. Chevrolet dealers did it, and continue to do it.

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