Street Machine: 1968 Oldsmobile 442

The seller of this 1968 Oldsmobile 442 tells us their plan was to “emulate and tribute the ‘street machine’ era of the mid-1970s, while still preserving originality to the car.” Job well done, seller. This 442 was sent in by a Barn Finds reader who found it here on eBay in San Jose, California. After 21 bids have pushed the current high bid to $18,000, the reserve appears to have been met.

In 1968 the 442 became a standalone model. As all GM A-bodies were for the 1968 model year, the 442 was all-new. Total 442 production for 1968 was 33,607, which was about a 35% increase over 1967. Most buyers opted for the Holiday coupe version like this one as they accounted for 24,183 of total 442 production.

I’m curious if I’m in a minority, so please weigh-in in the comments section, but I love this 1970s “street machine” look. Even if you’re not a fan, I think you’ll be able to admit it’s been well executed. The seller details what they’ve done: “Out back are a pair of 15×10 Ansen Sprint slot mags and they’re complemented by a pair of Western Wheel 14x7s to accomplish a massive rake. All seventies-style modifications performed (air shocks, pinstriping, and wheels/tires).” All original parts are available if you want to return it to stock. The Provincial White paint with black fender stripes and black vinyl top is a timeless color combination. The body and paint are original, so it should come as no surprise that there is some rust in the fenders, rockers, rear quarters, and around the vinyl top.

The interior looks like it’s in very good condition. The black bucket seats look great, save for a small seam rip on the driver seat. The front seat bottoms have been replaced. There’s a factory 8-track player mounted under the dash. The walnut steering wheel matches the shift knob in the full length-console. It’s not always easy to judge the condition of an all-black interior from photos alone but this one looks to be – at the absolute minimum – driver quality.

Under the hood is a non-original 455 cubic-inch V8 with a 1970 date code. The seller says the original 400 cubic-inch V8 was removed around 2000 and replaced with the 455 but offers no detail as to why it was replaced. A console shifted TH400 automatic transmission sends power to the optional 3.42 rear end. We’re not given any information on its running condition, but the seller says they drive it and they have “documentation of all repairs, upgrades, and maintenance from 2011 ‘til now.”

Hopefully, you’ll weigh-in in the comments section, but I’d guess this 1970s “street machine” look isn’t for everyone and will probably turn-off a few potential buyers who otherwise may have been interested. It’s done the opposite for me – the 2nd generation Cutlasses and 442s have never grabbed my attention, but this one has changed my mind. Would you keep the “street machine” look or return to stock?

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  1. Member

    hope it has headers & thrush mufflers for an exhaust. nothing else needed on back….

    • Dave

      Hooker headers, Thrush mufflers, and Hijacker rear air shocks.

      • khwilm

        Don’t forget the traction bars

      • Poppy

        ..and Yosemite Sam “Back Off” mud flaps…

      • Mike

        What? No side pipes? LOL

  2. Farhvergnugen

    Needs a period tiny-diameter steering wheel, but at least the bumper wasn’t drilled for fog lights.

  3. bud lee

    I do like the 70’s ” street machine ” look but , I know that a 1 ton lumber wagon has a smoother ride .

  4. Tony Primo

    For the proper’70’s vibe you need your glass pack mufflers to terminate at the rear axle. The guys with more money had chrome side pipes.

  5. Poppy

    What, no Cal Custom die cast aluminum “bare foot” accelerator pedal?!

  6. Superdessucke

    Kind of interesting now to look back at the relative popularity of the GM muscle cars in 1968:

    GTO: 87,684
    SS396: 57,595
    442: 33,607
    GS 400: 13,197

  7. Retiredstig Member

    This is the way we built them in the early/mid ’70’s alright, at least in my part of Northern California. In the comments above, the guys mentioned several mandatory changes that everyone made. In my area you could tell who had the best after school job, (or had graduated) because the could afford Crager SS wheels with BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires. Chrome rear sway bar with baloney cut exhaust tips hanging over the rear axel and a chrome rear end cover were also very stylish. Most guys substituted yellow Accel plug wires, but the Moroso Blue Max wires on this one were acceptable.

  8. TimM

    Got that 70’s rake and looks like a solid car!! The primer rear quarter makes me think it went sideways once to many times!!

  9. DON

    Don’t forget the stickers ( Accel ,Thrush, Highjackers, STP ,etc.) on the quarter glass and under the trunk lid !

    • David

      and the NHRA sticker in the rear quarter window

  10. Socaljoe

    I never did like the stink bug look of having the ass end jacked up.

  11. Rick Rothermel

    Better re-aim the headlights after that dumb tail-high stance.

  12. Vince H

    I am with Socaljoe on this one. Bring the back of the car down to earth.

  13. sirlurxalot

    He needs to let some air out those shocks. You only rake it enough to clear the larger-than-stock tires.

  14. Dave Mathers

    The very first thing I would do is lower the rear end back to stock height. Other than that it looks pretty good. I love the 455 block in blue with the 400 intake in bronze.

  15. Vance

    Being from Southeastern Michigan, and a 1981 high school graduate, this is the look all muscle cars had at the time. Chevelles, Novas, Camaros, Mustangs. Cutlasses, had ’50’s in the rear and 70’s in the front. The only
    car that had all 4 tires the same size were Corvettes. Now I prefer the tires to al be the same size to give it a smoother look. Traction bars, Cragars,stickers, Jensen or Pioneer stereos and speakers, and local classic rock radio, you were ready to go cruising on a weekend night. Along with a few ” beverages” of choice you were all set. That was a long time ago, but the memories stay with you.

    • E.L. Puko

      Craig 8-track.

    • Troy s

      Before classic rock was called classic rock.

  16. E.L. Puko

    Jensen Triaxials.

  17. Ken Jennings

    Okay, how about the usual 70s outcome? I remember seeing a lot of idiots with cars jacked up like this lose them and often themselves because of the screwed up handling. Pure idiocy then, now too. The seller should be ashamed.

    • Dave

      Have a heart, willya? It needs a CB radio too, how else are ya gonna know where the Smokeys are?

      • Ken Jennings

        They will be at your accident scene. They will direct the traffic around the wreck. They will allow the coroner in to declare you. They will knock on the door of the people who care about you most. Moral of the story, sometimes it is best to leave good engineering alone as designed.

    • karl

      I think Ken was telling kids to keep off his lawn even when he was a kid .
      Is this any different from the kids of today who purposely try to drift their cars ? How about the ones who to cut the springs and lower their cars so that it practically scrapes on the road , or goes the “Donk” route and puts giant wheels all around ? Theres also the guys who camber all 4 wheels so the car looks like its a squashed bug . The truth is that this was a style kids did, but the cars were not ill handling dangerous rides ;it depended on the driver and common sense .

    • Bmac777 Member

      I’m not saying these cars were always safe but,I think most of those wrecks were more the fault of inexperienced drivers. These cars were limited on cornering without the jacking which did make them a little worse . Raising 6 or 8 inches wasn’t an extreme difference.
      I drove plenty of cars with rakes like this but , you have to learn your cars limitations, like a hard pull when you hit brakes , I actually had one that you had to pump the pedal once before the brakes worked. Yikes
      If this was your car you wouldn’t take it into a 60 degree bend at 50 with your foot on the gas and if you did that’s on you.
      In the 80’s when younger kids could get newer cars there were still a lot of cars wrecked on corners showing that whether if it’s a new Camaro or a old jacked up A body, inexperience will kill you

  18. AZVanMan

    I was 8 in ’68, and us kids would jack-up the rear end on every toy car we could. It was all about looking cool then, and gave the impression of speed. 5 decades later, not so much, but for classic cruising it would turn a lot of heads.

  19. Troy s

    There’s no mistaking the look here, before anyone cared about “numbers matching” original stuff. I feel I caught the tail end of all that, but by ’84 the jacked up look seemed gone with a few older hold outs being the exception. Back in the sixties I believe the opposite was a trend, the California rake or whatever it was called, with the front end higher.
    Killer ‘Olds 442 with that 455 in it now…why would that happen? Torque. Lots of it too with a nice charge. A little too high in the rear for me but it is more interesting than an all original showroom looking restored version in my eyes.
    This is what the muscle cars really looked like, not too long ago really. Like it, dislike it, nobody liked these cars at all unless they were gearheads until nostalgia set in along with the collector angle and big money. I’m not kidding either.

  20. Tnw

    My mom asked me why they jacked up the rear end of cars. I told her the6 get better gas mileage- they’re always going downhill 😊

  21. BONE

    Nice period look car , but I would question the original paint ; the door strikers are painted and some of the rusted areas look like there may have been some Bondo applied at one time .

  22. Stevieg Member

    I want this car! This is how I remember these when I was in high school even in the mid 1980’s (we are in Wisconsin…we might be a little behind the times lol).
    That reminds me, my nephew in Arizona just told me he heard a great new song. It was Hotel California lol. Where did my sister go wrong?

  23. Geoff

    Takes me back to my high school years in the late 60s early 70s. The things we did to our cars were often unsafe and counterproductive from a performance stand point but we sure thought they were cool. Its funny how things evolve over time. These days everything gets slammed to the ground so low that cars have to come to a full stop at every speed bump. Except for trucks of course which still get the nose bleed jack up albeit at both ends.

  24. victor Sanchez

    Talk about going back, I had a 1967 GTO in my senior year ( 1972 ) I had Hi-jackers, Crager SS wheels, a Craig Pioneer stereo in the glove box, side pipes that looked like headers and of course my girl friend I thought I had it all. Now about 5 years ago I did a frame off on my 1969 Camaro Z/28 and basically put the car back to the way it was before we FIXED them up /// good times for all

  25. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $18,000.

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