Solid Project: 1972 Oldsmobile 442

This 1972 Oldsmobile 442 is a numbers-matching classic that has the potential to once again be a very striking and rewarding car. It is a solid vehicle, and its rust issues are so minor that the majority of the work required to bring it back to its best could conceivably be undertaken in a home workshop. If a classic Oldsmobile is high on your wish-list, then you will find this one waiting for you in Cary, North Carolina, and listed for sale here on eBay. The listing is set to open at $10,500, but there have been no bids at this point in a No reserve auction. There is a BIN option available at $13,500, so that is something to consider if the bidding starts to take off.

With the double whammy of increasing insurance costs and tightening emissions regulations beginning to be felt in the muscle car sector, the 442 became an appearance and handling options pack (W-29) on the Cutlass range. This Cutlass S has received that W-29 pack, and when it was new, it would have been a pretty impressive sight finished in its Viking Blue paint. This has deteriorated somewhat over the years, but you can still get occasional glimpses of it around the car, and it gives you a real indication of the color’s beauty. Rust in the 442 is pretty minor, with very small areas in one front fender, one rear quarter panel, and a couple of spots in the trunk pan. None of these are extensive and should be able to be addressed with patches. The hardest section is going to be an area around the rear glass, but a replacement panel is included with the car. The 442 also features a factory Outside Air Induction hood, and while this does sport a couple of cracks, it is certainly capable of being restored. The owner says that the floors and underside of the Olds are solid, while the majority of the external trim and chrome looks quite good. One thing worth noting is the fact that the wheels and tires that are currently fitted to the Olds aren’t included in the sale. There is another set of wheels, without tires, that come with the car. The owner is willing to fit a set of rollers to get the car onto a trailer, but it sounds like the buyer might be well advised to take his own wheels and tires, just to be on the safe side.

The interior of the 442 is very original, and the condition doesn’t look to be too bad, either. The owner treated the front buckets seats to new foam but refitted the original covers. I noticed that the driver’s seat has a split in the back edge, but it is hard to be sure whether this could be repaired. The carpet is lifting from the bottoms of the door trims, but the rest of the trim, the dash, and the floor console, all appear to be in good condition. There have been no aftermarket additions, and everything is said to work with the exception of the radio and clock. The car also features tinted windows and factory air conditioning. However, the A/C doesn’t blow cold, so this will need to be investigated.

The best piece of news can be found when you lift the hood on the 442. This is a numbers-matching car, with a 350ci V8, a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. The car runs and drives, and has recently been treated to some significant mechanical work. The entire braking system from one end to the other, including all hoses, lines, discs, drums, shoes, wheel cylinders, and the master cylinder, have all been replaced. The car also wears new rear suspension bushes, new rear springs, all four shocks have been replaced, along with a new rear seal in the transmission and a new pinion seal in the rear end. The engine presents nicely, and apart from a noise coming from the rear end on over-run, it seems like there is little in the way of mechanical work left for the next owner to tackle.

There is no doubt that this 442 is a car with a heap of potential. It has a number of characteristics that make it a pretty decent proposition. The first of these is that it is a numbers-matching car, while it also looks like the sort of project where the vast majority of the required restoration tasks could be undertaken in a home workshop. With nice examples regularly selling for figures in excess of $35,000, this looks like it should be a financially viable project where the end result will be a pretty special car.

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Comments

  1. Jack Hammer

    nicer than the Jarama. It’s a beautiful bit of Auto Art, but then I read: “’72”. I’m out.

    1
  2. Retired Stig Member

    I have always thought this is (personal opinion, obviously) the best year of a really handsome car, and a fine change from all the fake Chevelle SS’s out there. This one almost had me reaching for the check book. The blue interior and slush box ended that. Sigh. Keep looking.

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  3. Troy s

    For those who could handle the insurance the 455 was still around. Stout car too. I doubt this one would get my hair’s standing up like the ’72 442 I took for a spin years ago, a 455 powered menace.
    Still, it’s a good looking car, like the color, hate the fact these wheels don’t come with the car.

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  4. TimM

    It would have been gone already if it were a 455 with a 4 speed!! In my opinion a 350 with an automatic doesn’t make it very special!!

    2
  5. Chris M.

    A 455 would be a definite upgrade but I wouldn’t be so quick to discount an Olds 350 Rocket. I’ve had 2, a ’69 and a ’71. The ’69 was stock and ran very strong and the ’71 was set up like a W-31 and was a monster.

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  6. Bing

    Agree with TimM. I got excited till I got to the 350 auto… Boring.
    Another point, when listing a car, don’t put a “bring your own wheels and tires” restriction on it. Put a set of wheels and four decent tires on it, so the buyer doesn’t have to figure that out. Reminds me of the real estate listings that says, “chandler does not stay”, ok, so go to Home Depot, put up a new China built chandler and put mommas lighting fixture in the attic…
    Just common sense in making it easy for a potentially buyer to say yes.

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  7. Jeff

    These old cool cars keep popin up. Suprised that this many are still arround in late 70s people were dumpin em like trash. Gas hit a buck a gallon. My boss at body shop took me to see a 70 442 ragtop. Old lady advertised in our local paper her husband recenty passed away and she HAD TO SELL IT AND MOVE sadly. She wanted a grand for it. He STOLE it for 750 bux it was gold with white top and interior. We did a color change on it making it triple black. Man it was NICE. We ran it to local auction and did as my boss said VERY WELL on it. Cant really rember what we got for it but my boss said we did ALRIGHT on it.

  8. BULL

    By 1972 the 455 engine in a 442 was LUCKY to do 15 seconds in the quarter mile. A REAL PIG. Not a chance of EVER being a MuscleCar!

    What you have here is a 1972 442 in Superb Colors, Ram Air Hood, Air Conditioning, Bucket Seats, Console, GREAT options to make a very nice driver car and enjoy the Hell out of it. That 350 Olds engine will run forever and the automatic transmission will make the car a joy to drive with A/C blowing cold while running 80 MPH COMFORTABLY down the interstate all day. A GREAT Power Tour, Cruisin the Coast or local fun car.

    When this project is completed you will be smiling ear to ear driving a BEAUTIFUL Ram Air 442 down the road never missing that Boat Anchor 455 engine for one moment!

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