One-Owner Original 1965 Oldsmobile 442!

This promising St. Louis, Missouri classic seeks a new owner for the first time… ever. It’s taken me a few decades to warm up to the first-generation “442,” and today this particular 1965 Oldsmobile 442 looks just right. More than 20 suitors here on eBay have driven the bidding over $2800. It would be comical to bid too much on this car with the scant information provided, but maybe someone will go check it out, twentieth-century-style, and snatch an original-looking muscle car.

One suggestion:  when taking a picture of an item that’s wider than it is tall, turn your phone 90 degrees and it will fill the frame more completely; like magic! Sadly the listing lacks the pictures and information needed to drive bidding beyond the exploratory level where you must assume everything not pictured or described is missing, damaged, rusty, or not working. There might be a Peugeot turbo-diesel under the hood, just kidding, there’s a 455 under the hood.

The original paint and sagging headliner tell a story of lengthy wait for that “someday” restoration that never came to pass. However, it may have dodged the horrible fate of being left to rot in a field or under an evil canopy of pine trees, sending their dagger-like needles into every piece of trim and every gap, where they absorb moisture and create rust holes in the cowl vents and elsewhere that you can put your hand through.

I’m not sure I would restore this car. That paint might come to life with some careful application of the right products. Then you can use the word “patina” about ten times an hour at the car show. Apparently the one owner moved from Montana to Missouri at some point. Though “4-4-2” has stood for different things over the years, in 1965 it was “400 cubic inches, four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts.” By the time the Olds Calais-based 442 came around, I remember jokes like “Next year it will mean ‘Four Tires, Four Headlights, and Two horsepower more than the base model.” Don’t make fun of this ’65 though. With 345 HP and 440 lb-ft of torque, it might get the last laugh. Thanks to for some details. What’s your opinion of this unmolested power coupe?


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  1. SquareLeft

    These were fun cars with gobs of torque. My neighbor Ernie’s family had a new ’65 442 convertible with a 4-speed – burgundy with a black interior and white top. Cruising to King’s Root Beer after school with the top down and a couple of pretty girls for company was about as good as it got in 1966!

    That said, my biggest fear about this car is the VIN plate. It should be attached with rosette rivets, but it isn’t. For a car that’s supposed to have its original paint, that’s a big red flag!

    Given a good, honest explanation and the proper documentation, it would be welcome in my garage any day!!

    • Joe

      Rosette rivets were mandatory starting in January 1965. Late 64 built cars like this one are hit and miss. Some have them and done don’t.

  2. ccrvtt

    It’s an Oldsmobile so naturally it’s great. Yeah, I’m a homer, and I remember when these came out we were proud to have a hometown competitor for the GTO. This car actually looks solid, with no telltale spots on the doglegs and rockers. Would look better with the Motor Wheel ‘mags’ and some redline tires – an easy fix.

    442s started to hit their stride with the ’66 models and their peak was in ’70-’71 with the W-30s. My ideal would be the ’69 H/O, but any one of them is a great find.

  3. Mike

    4 Barrel 4 Speed 2(Dual) Exhaust.

    Like 2
    • GAS2HI

      That was for the 1964 442. 65 = 400 ci 4 barrel and duel exhaust. Fun fact, in 1964 you could get a 442 in a 4 door! A guy down the block had one and talk about a sleeper… ( In early 64 most folks didn’t know what a 442 was, let alone a 4 dr 442!! ( talk about a unicorn )

      • David

        I had a 65 convertible black with a white drop top and the factory stock tach on the console inside mine still had the original chrome air cleaner on it and in the orange reddish color it said 442 ultra high compression. The engine was correct it was a 425

    • Steve Cudd

      In 64 it was 4 barrel, 4spd, duel exhaust. 65 was 400, 4spd, duel exhaust.

  4. Hugh

    There is a link to click that shows about 25 pictures and a lengthy discription you have to be on a pc not phone to see on eBay.

    The vin tag is correct. HE has the protecto plate that confirms the V code and the NJ heavy duty transmission

  5. Jeff

    The rosette rivets were implemented later in 65, if the car was produced earlier the plain stainless rivets are correct.

  6. Troy s

    Kinda like the worn look here, on the outside that is, but that engine has me curious. Seller claims it is a 455 which replaced the original 400 years ago, but the 455 came out of a ’68 Cutlass. Hmm. Out of an H/O Cutlass maybe?Only way that could have happened. Would be more interesting to see it turned into a fair looking driver or period correct street machine as opposed to a trailered museum piece, at least for me.😎

    • Stymie

      It could have come out of a Cutlass SX they had a 455 in 70

      • Troy s

        In very small print the add states ’68 455 out of another Cutlass replaced the original 400. Yes, a ’70 could’ve had a 455, only the Hurst/olds came with a 455 in ’68. It’s possible I reckon.

      • BOP Guy Member

        Troy S, I was gonna say that the 455 didn’t come out until 1970, like Pontiac. But after a little research, I found that Olds DID have the 455 out in 1968, two years ahead of Pontiac. My bad! One of the many things I love about BarnFinds is that I learn something new all the time!

  7. Steve R

    The engine is pictured.

    At the bottom of the description there are 20+ pictures of the car including the several of engine, including cylinder head casting numbers, and interior.

    Steve R

  8. Rube Goldberg Member

    This is a rare find, but I agree, it should have a 400. I had a friend with a ’64 ,442, and could very well have been one of the 1st ones. There were 4 places it said 442, on the dash, behind each door, and the trunk. Other than that, there was no difference from a regular Cutlass, however, the 330 was a hot motor, dubbed the “police apprehender pursuit” option ( an Olds police car?), and put out 310 horse, and that car was no slouch. If you have a ton of money to pixx away on a restoration, this the car to do it to. This was Olds’ answer to the GTO.

  9. SquareLeft

    Thanks for the comment about the rosette rivets. I always thought that GM (and others?) made the switch beginning with the ’65 model year. After doing some serious digging, it appears that the change-over was made in January of 1965 (1/1/65?).
    That’s the great thing about forums like this! Even old guys can learn things (whether they want to or not!).

    • Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

      @Squareleft. I am coming up to 79 and believe me, I learn something new EVERY DAY! It makes staying above ground as exciting as ever it was.

      • Dick Johnson

        Ken, coming up to 79? There’s a 93 year old flight instructor whose cat-like reflexes are rarely used due to his Cray computer mind. He still drives an older performance car that he bought new. He says there’s always something to learn… and pass onto others.

  10. Todd Finison

    One owner…you mean two owner car. Whoever buys it would be third owner.

    Like 1
  11. Ben T. Spanner

    I had a 1964 Cutlass 2 door post with the 330 4 bbl bucket seats and console with tach. Automatic. Bought it for nothing much in 1970 when I got back from ‘Nam. I like the 1964’s best followed by the 1965’s.

    It’s much better to start with a semi solid example, such as this. If this is the model you want, this could be the car for you.

    • BOP Guy Member

      I’m with you. When it comes to the GTO and 442, I like the 64’s best, followed by 65’s. After 67, I really don’t care for the body style.

      Like 1
  12. jim

    If it is a 65 442, which I am very skeptical about, I believe that’s the wrong grill. Looks like just a regular cutlass grill. I would like to see the tag on the firewall.

    • mike D

      I am pretty sure this is the real deal, tho the grille might have been replaced with a Cutlass grille ,paint looks pretty faded if it sells for a low price you put 10-15K into it ( probably more) it would be a nice car!

    • SquareLeft

      Now you’ve got me doubting it! Here’s a link to the showroom brochure showing the 442.
      The grille illustrated in the brochure is very stylized (see photo, above), but the 442 emblem is definitely there. Another difference appears to be the location of the emblem on the rear of the car (see same brochure page). But, again, the cars used as models for these brochures were all pre-production units, so things could have been changed before the cars were introduced.

      And, since I had lots of time today, I tracked down a couple of photos of the car I referenced in my first post. By the time these photos were taken (1971), Ernie had made several changes to the 442:
      GTO hubcaps, racing stripe and fender-mounted mirror added
      Paint removed from side trim behind doors
      BTW – Ernie’s wearing the white T-shirt and that’s ole’ SquareLeft himself in the striped shirt and white bellbottoms.

      • joe

        The 442 grill was painted flat black with cheap paint. It usually washed off after a few years. No other difference between the F85, Cutlass or 442 grill.

  13. Shane F

    If she was a 4 speed I’d see my right nut to get her.

  14. Steven D Visek

    FYI there was just a great write-up on the 1965 4-4-2 in the February, 2018 issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines:—s-About-Time—1965-Oldsmobile-4-4-2/3751493.html if you are a subscriber.
    And three years ago they did a Buyer’s Guide on it: which anyone can view.

    Like 1

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