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Moving Sale: 1968 Oldsmobile 442 Project

In the 1960s muscle car scene, General Motors had several formidable players. Pontiac had the GTO, Chevrolet had the Chevelle SS 396, Buick had the Skylark GS, and Oldsmobile had the 442 (aka 4-4-2). The latter was in production from 1964 to 1987, but its heyday was during the second generation (1968 to 1972). This ’68 edition is an unfinished project that looks rougher than it may be. It’s not numbers matching as the original engine is MIA, but a replacement “big block” is ready for installation. Located in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, this roller is ready for someone new to carry it past the finish line. It’s available here on craigslist for $10,000 OBO. Our thanks goes to Mitchell G. for this tip!

The 442’s name originated from having a 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission, and dual exhaust. It began as an option on either the F-85 or Cutlass in 1964, became a series of its own in 1968, and reverted to option status again in 1972. Sales would ironically peak in ’68 at more than 36,000 copies, possibly including the seller’s car. These performance machines were limited to 400 cubic inches at the time due to a General Motors policy which was occasionally ignored or gotten around by one of the divisions.

The seller says this is a real-deal 442, but the cowl tag doesn’t agree. A 442 should have body code 4477 for a Sport Coupe, but this one says 3687 which is for a Cutlass Holiday Coupe S. Whatever the case, a 455 cubic inch V8 from 1971 seems ready to be installed in the engine compartment, which the prior owner elected to paint blue (the paint under the primer would likely be Saffron, aka yellow). From the collection of photos provided, we’re unsure which ones best reflect the car as it sits today. One shows a nice yellow 442 in front of a storage unit, others show it on a trailer, and still more have it inside or outside of a garage with a cover part or all the way over it.

Bodywork on the Olds has not been completed but may be well on its way. The interior is missing its front seats, door panels, and headliner, but a beige back seat seems to be intact. Extra parts may be plentiful, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything you’ll need is there. The seller is moving and cannot take the auto with him/her, which is said to be the reason for the sale. If you want to restore a muscle car like this one, does this Olds with a TH-400 automatic transmission fit the bill as either a real 442 or a tribute?


  1. RMac

    10k? Primer, no seats, non original motor automatic non 442???
    The world has gone mad
    Love 68-69 cutlass and my college car was a 69 colas s convertible with 350 and th 350 lime green with a white power top white bucket seats console power windows and locks tilt and cruise the paint was worn through and the top tattered when I bought it in 1976 for $200.00 I drove it from NJ to Arizona 12 times and replaced the engine with one from a wrecked low mileage 69 4 door drive it at my first job for several more years and sold it around 1982 for $500 wish I never let it go

    Like 5
    • Gamble

      Agreed. It’s not a 442 and not worth 10K to finish the rebuild of a clone

      Like 3
      • Joe Padavano

        Go back and look at the 34487 VIN. That’s what matters. The car is a real 442.

        Like 3
  2. Joe Padavano

    A Craigslist ad lead photo of a car under a car cover is always a good way to generate interest…

    In any case, the writeup here is incorrect. It is well documented factory literature that 1968 and 69 442s came with Cutlass S 336xx cowl tags. The VIN is what matters, and this is a real 442 with a 344xx VIN as shown in the C-list ad. Also, 4477 is the body code for a 442 Sport Coupe (post car). This is a Holiday Coupe (hardtop), which is body style xx87, not xx77.

    Like 4
  3. Bunky

    Can you say “scam”? I know you can…
    I bought a one owner ‘68 442 just out of HS in ‘73. Just like the first pic, minus the vertical stripe on the fender. And mine was a 4 speed car. It was an awesome car! I’m not sure which pic is the actual car you get if you win the bid. Don’t walk away-run!

    Like 1
    • Joe Padavano

      What part of this is a “scam”? The photo of the yellow car is obviously NOT the current state of the car, just an image of what it could be. Lighten up.

      Like 6
  4. ACZ

    10 Gs for a pile of used parts. Uh, no.

    Like 1
  5. V12MECH

    Joe is right, vin is 344, look up info before commentary.

    Like 1
  6. Scott

    OK, the VIn checks out. The items that are not there are readily available in the reproduction market…not cheap, but available. You could do a lot with this car, either restore it or resto-mod it. Personally, my brother had a ’68 Hurst olds. With a unique silver and black paint job. I would consider putting it back together as a Hurst clone.

    Like 0

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