Original 400: 1968 Oldsmobile 442

Initially offered as an options package, by 1968, the Oldsmobile 442 had graduated to becoming a distinct model in its own right. However, this was short-lived, with it once again reverting to its previous role from the 1972 model year. This particular 442 was from that first year as a stand-alone, and it is a striking looking car. The owner states that it needs some TLC, but the supplied photos show a classic with a lot of promise. The time has come for it to head to a new home, so it has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The Olds is located in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, and if you hand the owner $15,500, you could park this beauty in your garage. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder rex m for spotting the 442 for us.

The owner only supplies photos of one side of the Buckskin Oldsmobile, but they look quite promising. The panels appear to be straight, with no evidence of dings, dents, or rust. If the other side looks this good, then potential buyers could be onto a winner here. The owner makes no mention of any rust issues below decks, so if it is solid, then whipping it into shape might not be a difficult assignment. The trim and chrome appear to be in good order, as does the tinted glass. The 442 rolls on its original Super Stock II wheels, and there is a matching spare in the trunk. Taken at face value, it appears that there are no issues with the exterior that would require immediate attention.

When buyers walked into an Oldsmobile dealership in 1968 to order their 442, they faced some tasty engine choices. This car features a 400ci V8, rated at 325hp. This brute is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission, while power steering and power front disc brakes were standard equipment. While this was not the most potent combination in the 442’s arsenal, the fact that the vehicle could demolish the ¼ mile in 14.9 seconds confirmed that this was no slouch either. The 442 is a numbers-matching classic, but the engine bay has been treated to a few cosmetic enhancements. I also think that the intake has been changed, but I can’t confirm that. The owner does say that the 442 runs and drives very well, so it seems that the open road is beckoning this classic.

The interior of the Olds features bucket seats, a console, and a floor shifter. The car was ordered with air conditioning, but this doesn’t function. The interior presentation isn’t bad for a survivor of this vintage, and it could remain untouched. The door trims have been cut to fit speakers, and a CD player has been installed in place of the original radio, so both would need to be changed if the buyer is seeking complete originality. There is also a good collection of aftermarket gauges, but removing them shouldn’t be an issue as they have been mounted below the dash. The rest of the dash presents well, the pad is free from cracks, and the remaining upholstery looks pretty good. It is a bit hard to be sure, but the carpet could be showing its age a bit. However, splashing out a mere $250 will secure a new carpet set that would fix this.

In its first year as a stand-alone model, the 1968 Oldsmobile 442 acquitted itself well in the market. A total of 33,607 buyers liked these cars enough to slap down their hard-earned cash on one. This one looks to be a real beauty and should offer its next owner impressive performance for the price. With good examples easily selling for more than $25,000, this one could be worth a closer look. If it is as good as the photos suggest, buying it could be an excellent way to close out 2020.

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Comments

  1. Jerry Member

    If u like the Chevelle body style but don’t want to pay a Chevelle price, THIS is the car to get!!

    Like 16
    • Bob

      This ranks # 3 in my line of A-bodies- Chevelle, GTO, 442, Buick GS.

      Like 1
  2. Rick L Mahan

    I had one just like this. Was a very good strong running car. Never did see how fast it would go, chickened out at 110 mph.

    Like 1
  3. Joe Padavano

    There’s a whole lot going on with this car, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Appears not to be the original engine (or at least not the original paint on the engine), despite the claim of numbers matching (OK, that’s easy to check). The disc brakes likely were added, as that’s an aftermarket M/C and there’s no sign of the metering valve used on factory disc brake cars. The front of the hood looks like it has had some significant bondo work, since the stock chrome trim is missing and that’s a common rust area. Same thing with the trunk. Originally there was a pot metal trim piece at the trailing edge of the trunk. Those holes have been filled, likely when the rust at the edge of the trunk was fiberglassed over (yeah, another common rust area on these). Of course, not the correct exhaust trumpets either.

    Those are not the original SuperStock wheels. 1968 cars were optional with 14×6 SSII wheels, but they did not have the chrome bezels around the five windows, they had silver paint there instead. These wheels have the square corner bezels from the 1980s. It looks like these are snap-in wheel centers from 1975-later, but you can’t tell for sure from the photos. And don’t get me started on the stripes. ;-)

    Like 6
    • Bob

      Good eye, Joe. I was to respond that the $15k price tag looked to be a steal, but after reading your assessment, it seems about right.

    • Jerry Member

      Remember Joe, its not a show car….but a cheaper way to get into the classic car game.

      • Joe Padavano

        Jerry, buying a car with rust issues and missing hard-to-find parts is not a “cheaper way” to get into the classic car game. Ask me how I know… ;-)

        Keep in mind that this isn’t a Chevelle. You can’t just open a catalog and buy a lot of repro parts, and a lot of the repro sheet metal that is available is crap that requires a lot of hand labor to make it look good.

        Without an in-person inspection and a critical eye for issues, there is no way to tell how good or bad this particular car actually is. It’s definitely been repainted, which is the first red flag – what’s going on under that new paint.

        Like 2
  4. Poppy

    Minor point on “its original Super Stock II wheels.” Those appear to be 14×7 SSII rims, which weren’t available in 1968. Pre-1970 SSIIs were 14×6 with a few exceptions like the 15×7 ’69 Hurst Olds wheels.

    Like 4
  5. Scotty

    I’ve got one of these sitting out back except it’s a Supreme but in all respects looks like this except mine is an origional 4 speed and has a 350. When it was running and after it had been beat by the previous owner that puppy would still get 4 feet of scratch going into 3rd. And it’s ride was so much better than these new cars it was unbelievable

    Like 2
  6. Brian K

    I’d love to detail this car with a paint correction and throw a new carpet in this. I’d finish it off with a fresh cap, wires, rotor and oil change. This is a great car to jump into the game.

    Like 3
  7. Troy s

    From a twenty mile an hour roll, then stomp on it, that’s what I’d like to do with it. And again, and again…
    It’s those curvaceous lines that get me all bothered on these 442’s. That and the sporty interior that has a slight maturity to it, what’s not to like?

    Like 1
  8. Skorzeny

    Compare this to some of the recent Camaros on here, seems like a no brainer. This would be a lot of fun to get back on the road, and I think would get more looks than a Camaro. ‘68 and ‘69 the best years on these. Things got ugly in ‘70.

    Like 2
  9. chuck

    Seems like automatic transmission models survived in better condition than their 4 speed brethren. Probably not thrashed in as much.

    Like 3
  10. Mark

    You are not exactly demolishing the 1/4 mile if it takes 14.9 seconds

  11. Ken

    I thought 1968 came with an ST-300 2 speed automatic trans, Article says its a 3 speed. TH-400 3 speed auto. trans. in 1969 I think.

  12. Ken

    I was wrong. My Olds friends say 67 442 used a TH-400 and 66 still used a ST-300 2 speed. So sorry. FIM (foot in mouth).

    Like 2

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