Potential: 1969 Oldsmobile 442

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Could this be a low mileage real 442, complete and original? It’s an automatic, but it is an A/C car. There’s no way to be sure if this is a real 442 without looking at the data plate, although some of you might see something in the pictures that shows it’s a clone. 1969 was the year before Olds put 455 CID engines in all the 442s so this 1969 listed on craigslist has the 400 with 290 HP and a 3 speed automatic. It’s mostly original, including the wheels, and complete except for the headliner and back window shelf. They don’t say how long it’s been sitting. They do say the engine needs rebuilding.

FRONT seats

They say the upholstery is decent. Selective photography makes the seats look pretty good from here, but it appears there is a big chunk of foam showing in the bolster of the driver’s seat.

reunk floor

They say there are “two small rust areas in trunk”. That’s a of daylight in just the one area and the frame looks rather rusty. This makes one wonder about the rest of the description.


Could there really be a four barrel under that air cleaner? Is the engine a 400? The AC lines are there but I don’t see a compressor or the new alternator mentioned in the ad.

left rear

This could be a really promising project if it’s for real. The bottom of the quarters don’t look too good. This is one of those ads you would like to believe, but what chance is there that’s it’s really an original low mileage matching numbers 442 with minimal rust? If so, how much is it worth? I really look forward to seeing the comments on this one.

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  1. piper62j

    Nice find.. I was a part time mechanic at Kaysun Olds in Fairfax VA my last year in the service when these were new.. I can remember the guys huddling around them when they came off the truck.. Personally, I like the 68 much better, but both 68 – 69 are basically the same car.
    One of the line mechanics had a bronze 68 he raced every weekend and during the week, on his coffee and lunch breaks, I helped him rebuild the engine.. Go figure.. he just loved the car.. I learned a lot from him…

    Great find and great car..

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  2. Anthrax

    Needs a lot of works. I’d say about 20k at which point it would be in “acceptable” condition. I wouldn’t pay anymore than 5k for it. The lister says its 99% complete – ya like 99% of it needs to be completely restored. Lister also says there aren’t many in this condition – wrong. Picked mine up for 27k with a rust free frame and body and a #2 paint job. Once you lay down the 20k for the restoration, this car will be at market value, nothing more. No profit to be had here.

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  3. Joe Nose

    If the seller didn’t like the vinyl roof, they should also have removed the chrome trim around the C pillars.

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  4. sparkster

    Must be Oldsmobile Monday. My uncle passed away at 92 and his 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass was on the way to the wreaking yard as my other relatives are not “car” guys, even though it had been garaged since new in California and ran great. i informed the relatives that I would bring it home. Except for the wheels I found for $22 on Craigslist it’s all original. And yes that’s a factory white painted roof. Too bad he never checked the 442 box when he bought this new

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    • John

      My Uncle had one like this when he came home from Vietnam. I remember him driving it and slamming through gears from a stoplight. Sadly it was stolen.

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  5. sparkster

    Do I restore it or keep it original ?

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    • Cody

      Original. Don’t do a thing. Just be the caretaker for the next generation. Cool car.

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    • Chuck

      Triple Nice just the way it is, especially the white Painted top

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    • Tom

      Original. Love the color.

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  6. j d

    Sparkster – nice orig Olds! The barn car is no way all orig- low mileage. These cars were good for flipping 100k several times over!

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  7. db

    290hp 2bbl means that it is a Turnpike Cruiser with low compression 9.1. But that is a four bbl air cleaner. A/C was available on these and the 4bbl auto along with the four speed, just not on W machines in ’69. If a Lansing built car, the data tag will not tell you if it is a 442, as they used the Cutlass body numbers there (discussed in the Fisher Body Manual), you need to check the VIN to see if it starts with “344”, if so then it’s the real deal.

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  8. KevinMember


    I wouldn’t touch a thing! Beautiful car and keeping Grampa’s love for the car intact? Would be a great way to pay respect to a man who obviously had good taste. Sorry about your grandfather but enjoy.

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  9. Tom

    I am going to guess that this is a correct 442. I own a 1969 442 and the right parts are there. Yes, a 4-barrel Quadrajet fits under a red single snorkle air cleaner on a 1969 400 ci V-8. Some of the proper A/C equipment is in place, but the compressor seems to be missing.

    Other than the VIN, which should start with “344”, the other give-aways for a 442 (over a Cutlass) are boxed trailing arms, rocket logos on the door panels, a 442 woodgrain applique over the dash, bumper exhaust cutouts, bronze (not gold) engine paint, and the obvious 442 badges. This one has all of it and appears to be correct. They made about 17k 1969 442s so they are rarer than a Chevelle or GTO. I would say $8k tops for this car in its current condition.

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  10. NewportBill

    I have a 69 conv. AC / 4spd, and I echo Tom’s comments. From what I can see, this is a real deal 442. I would add that it is (correctly) missing the trunk trim used on Cutlass (see Sparkster’s) and it has the one-year-only narrow wheels (made wider in 70 — again, refer to Sparkster’s)

    Speaking of Sparkster’s — keep it orig. It is amazing!

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    • Tom

      Nice! Great looking car. Sits real nice.

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  11. Tom

    Here is a shot of my 1969. Its a Canadian built post car. Because it was built in Canada it has a Chevy, non-posi, 12-bolt rear.

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  12. Tom

    One more shot of the engine.

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  13. joel ewing

    I don’t think you COULD order a true 442 with a 2-barrel carb…..at any point in the 442’s life-span. Or…let me change that to say…..on ANY real 442 from 1970 or older. I’m 62, so I was def. around when this car was in it’s heyday….and I’ve been an Olds freak forever. Didn’t “442” actually mean….”4speed….4 barrel….Dual exhaust”??

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  14. db

    As I pointed out before, the turnpike cruiser was a factory option, 290 hp 2bbl. In ’72 the 350 2bbl was standard on the W29 (442), with a 350 4bbl and 455 4bbl as the step up engines, including the W30 motor. 442 meant that one year only in 1964, as that was the only set up available, after that the 3spd manual was std. with the automatic and four speed as options, throw in the 3 deuces for ’66 just for fun.

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