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Muscle Car Project: 1968 Oldsmobile 4-4-2

While the 4-4-2 (aka 442) came out the same year as the Pontiac GTO (1964), its following developed more slowly. It would not become its own series until 1968-71, which was during the heyday of the U.S. muscle car. This one is located in Medina, Ohio, appears to have been outdoors for several years, and no longer has a transmission connected to the motor. Thanks, Jim Carmony, for the tip. This project car can be acquired for $3,500 here on craigslist.

The Oldsmobile 4-4-2 started life as an off-shoot of the F-85 and Cutlass intermediate series. The name (pronounced “Four-four-two”) came from the original car’s four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts, although some hold that the ‘2’ was for a posi-traction rear differential. After seeing production of just 3,000 in 1964, it built up steam to 36,000 by 1968, of which more than 26,000 were Holiday coupes like the seller’s (the sports coupe came with a pillared roof and doors). The car was powered by a 400 cubic inch V-8 that shared components with the new 455. 4-speeds were good for 350 hp, while the automatics had 25 less. The seller tells us this 4-4-2 came with an automatic even though the handle looks like a Hurst shifter. The whereabouts of that tranny is unknown and the status of the engine is not mentioned. Kudos to Drivin It Home for tracking production history.

This ’68 4-4-2 doesn’t come with any history and few details. We assume that it’s been sitting where it is for quite some time, so rust could be an issue, although none is mentioned. The car wears a non-matching hood, and the front bumper and grill are missing, so we assume the car was in an accident and that may have led to its demise. It has or had a vinyl roof but all or part may be gone now. The front bucket seats are ripped up, but that could be the worst of it for the interior. The dash is surprisingly clean and the glass looks good.

Assuming there aren’t a lot of hidden issues, this could be a decent restoration candidate. Other than the missing items already mentioned, the rest of the car appears to be there. The seller says he has a lot of extra parts that are also for sale, but not with the car as priced and they can be packaged separately. Hagerty is optimistic on the resale value of the 1968-71 4-4-2’s, pegging a range of $17,000 for fair and $51,000 for Concours. The seller’s asking price leaves room for the needed work to be performed.


  1. bry593

    Evidence suggests an owner was in process of a cam change. Only the teardown was completed and at that point, something caused the project to stall. My guess is the cam lobes were worn round and a simple cam change became a full on and expensive engine rebuild.

    The hard to find in good condition headlight housings were likely sold off at a later date.

    Like 4
  2. bry593

    Forgot to mention, that is the original hood. Notice the faux hood louvers. Standard on 442 and S models.

    Like 4
  3. local_sheriff

    As with the ’65 442 below it could be a doable pro-touring/resto-mod build where 100% originality isn’t the goal – IF it can be bought cheaply. Will definately require a handy DIY next owner with plenty of spare time

    Like 2
  4. Mike D

    a correction needed for the above, though us die hard motor heads know better, but for the newbies 442 4=400ci 4 v carb 2 dual exhaust

    Like 2
    • JoeBob396

      For the original 64 model it stood for 4 barrel, 4 speed, dual exhaust.

      Like 8
    • john hugh

      your wrong mike….4 bbl 4sp dual exhaust

      Like 3
    • john hugh

      newbie lol thats you

      Like 0
    • robert semrad

      Mike, the early 442’s only had 330 c.i.
      The later ones, ok, but they couldn’t have named the car after the number of cubic inches, because there were only 330 of them. Later on, when they put the automatics in them, they kept the name “442”, because the die had been cast by then, so to speak.

      Like 0
  5. Poppy

    There’s a ’68 4-speed convertible in Columbus, but the ask is crazy considering the rust

    Like 1
  6. Xpert1

    My first new car purchase was a 1968 Olds 442. Jade green metallic paint and black interior, 4 speed transmission. Got it out the door at a local Olds/Cadillac dealership for $3,110.00.
    Ran a 13.16 at the local dragstrip the following year. Loved how the long stroke V8 would rumble at idle. Very well built car.

    Like 3
  7. Tom

    On the articles descriptions of the missing parts: they state that “the front bumper and grill are missing”.
    However the 1st part of that statement is obviously False .,as shown and clearly visible in the 1st photo of this review article.The FRONT BUMPER IS (actually) IN PLACE. And in other photos in its listing g is visible as well . So theres a typo blunder needing correction. Though it doesnt disrupt the overall add for the car. The motor shot , looks as if the Remaining hulk of the block etc have been emerged in water at some point in thus cars life, so rusted and flaking of what remains of the block’s paint. The cross member is also bad rust covered, fender wall liners etc look as bad to. $2000 + parts car here imo .donor car for someone’s existing 442 project at best.

    Like 2
  8. Gus Fring

    Do your research, it did NOT stand for “Posi-Traction”. Especially since Oldsmobile didn’t even call it that.

    Like 1
  9. Troy s

    There may not be any factual history on this 442 but by the looks of things I’m pretty sure it was ran hard. The gauges, shift handle, tach on the steering column, motor damage,, it all tells a story of what it was. And why not run it hard, fast cars.
    It’s a broken down day two machine, never got to day three!

    Like 0

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