Horror of horrors, the Oldsmobile 4-4-2 became an option in 1972, having been demoted from being its own model. While this may have reflected the declining popularity of high-performance cars, the inclusion of a smaller standard engine helped the 4-4-2 maintain its sales popularity. This one on eBay is the perfect example of a 1972 in its standard configuration.
The interesting thing about the 4-4-2 becoming a package is that there were now four configurations available for the enthusiast, as the W29 4-4-2 “Sport/Handling Package” was available on the Cutlass hardtop coupe, Cutlass S sports coupe (with B-pillar) and hardtop coupe, and Cutlass Supreme convertible. Included in the package were the following:
- Stripes on hood and body
- Hood louvers
- Chrome wheel moldings
- Special 4-4-2 grille
- “442” badging
- 14 x 7 wheels
- FE2 Rallye heavy-duty suspension including rear and front stabilizers
- 350 2bbl. V8
- Floor-mounted 3-speed manual transmission
This was somewhat of a fall from grace, as the 1971 4-4-2 hardtop came equipped with a standard big-block 455 and not a lightweight small-block. However, those wanting more power could opt for a 4bbl. version of the 350 (admittedly, still a lightweight), a 4bbl. 455 (similar to the previous year’s motor), or the W30 performance package, which was now rated at 300 net horsepower (compared to 350 gross horsepower for 1971).
This 1972 4-4-2 on eBay could be considered your most basic version as it has the smallest motor and the standard 3-speed manual transmission. The 4-4-2 ordered on the Cutlass S hardtop model was the most popular of the bunch at 7,800 built, but of the three coupes available that year, only 240 were built with the standard 3-speed (plus an additional 15 convertibles). The caveat with these cars is that the W29 was a package, so there’s no way to tell it’s a 4-4-2-equipped Cutlass without documentation; the only other way is if the car has the W30 package, as the engine was a 4-4-2 exclusive and would be specified in the VIN. In this car’s case, you can clearly see the W29 stamp in the manifest sheet . . . but is it worth $41,995? That’s strong money even for a big-block car.