Like New 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442 Needs A New Home97
The original Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 allegedly got its name from its four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission and dual exhausts, but the name eventually became synonymous with Oldsmobile performance cars, so not all models with a 442 badge featured such a setup.
By the time the Cutlass nameplate had reached the later portion of its life in the early 1990s, the Oldsmobile 442 had been undeniably watered down. The sixth-generation Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442, built for the 1990 and 1991 model years, featured a 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. General Motors justified the name by saying it had a four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder and two camshafts, but this engine wasn’t really setting the Cutlass apart at the time.
While the 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442 wasn’t a worthy successor to the legendary muscle car that made the nameplate famous, it still makes a fairly interesting used car, in our opinion. Take this one currently for sale on Facebook Marketplace, for example. This is a relatively obscure and decently reliable GM vehicle in great condition and, best of all, it’s for sale for less than $4,000. That seems like a good deal to us, no matter how underwhelming this 442’s performance may have been when it was new. This car has clearly been well taken care of throughout its life, as well, and stayed with the original buyer in California from 1991 to 2015.
The body of the car has 135,000 miles on the odometer, while the engine only has about 44,000. The owner says the vehicle underwent an engine change at a GM Goodwrench service center in 1995 when the car had 91,000 miles on the clock. The clutch was also upgraded at the same time, which seems to be the last time it was serviced, surprisingly.
Is this unique Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 worth the $3,950 this seller is asking? Let us know in the comments down below.
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I almost bought one years ago for under $2k, price isn’t bad but don’t need one now.
I know about the “need” part. It’s the ‘want’ that was always a problem with me. For all of that, I’ve had my day in the sun. Still, this survivor is a real looker.
Jufair price, appeared to be in good condition
4 Cylinder 4 Speed 2 tail pipes?
It’s a 5 speed.
What a beautiful example of a vehicle from a bygone era. That spoiler adds a jaunty touch. Someone is going to wind up with something special.
I had a 1990 Chevy Beretta GTZ with the same engine / transmission package. Certainly not a powerhouse by todays standards, but for 1990 it was a speedy little thing. Plus you could set the cruise at 100 and it could happily do that all day long, and get nearly 30mpg doing it. The only downside was that even though it wasn’t turbo’d or supercharged, it was a high compression engine, so it required premium gas. It was just about the most comfortable road trip car I’ve ever owned.
That 1990 Chevy Beretta GTZ was a real looker back in the day. I always wanted one too.
made at the wilmington delaware assembly plant i might add….
Roger Smith’s Cookie Cutter Cars caused the failing of Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saturn.
That Quad 4 was a noisy engine especially with air intake noise at heavy throttle; plagued by head gasket failures. The Calais could not compete with its foreign competitors and never deserved the 442 badge.
Bought new built Fire Engine Red 1989 Cutlass Calais SC with Quad 4. Got a 5 yr/100K Warranty which was good thing as went threw 5 Head Gaskets in 4yrs and 98K. An expensive fix each time from Dealership except for my $50 each time deductible saved me well over $5000. Sold it as Warranty expired
This was a great example of why Pontiac refrained from a Grand Am GTO based model.
This car was not a looker like the Beretta GTZ was and these engines really did have head gasket issues and not all that much power looking back.
But even today it is difficult to do a decent FWD car with more than 300 HP right. Most just will not put the power down to the ground.
When driving my Beretta GTZ I’d watch the temp gauge slowly climb to about 1/2, then plunge to about 1/4, over and over again. It’s no wonder they had head gasket failures, that aluminum head must have been flexing like crazy on top of the cast iron block. Fortunately GM came out with a redesigned head gasket, so when they failed (like mine did) the new gasket solved the problem. Also, they were prone to burning out the expensive Ignition “Coil Cover.” The cover was easy to replace, but they were pricey. (as much as $65 these days) They had to be changed fairly often too (I think I was changing it every year) otherwise the Quad 4 would develop a horrible misfire.
Despite the issues though, I still miss that car…
If only the GTZ had the Turbo LNF engine and the suspension from the Cobalt SS with AWD.
Yes been there and done that on the GTZ, My buddy owned one but I drove it often. If we went some place on weekends I would drive as he got tired of shifting gears all week driving for work. He had head gaskets go but GM paid for it when they recalled them. I replaced coils. And finally it got broken into and trashed inside. It was all repaired but he was getting married and needed a house so it went before he got the miles too high on it to sell. While not a perfect car it was one of the better ones in a dark era for GM.
I was interested, so I looked at the listing…
Oldsmobile Cutlass · Quad 4 442 5 speed
London, KY · over a week ago ·
I want it.
I was selling at the Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Honda store that year (1991). We still had new cars for demo’s and it was great. I loved being able to pick a new Buick every few months and not have to pay a dime! But back to this article, I had the sister car (Buick Skylark) demo in 1991 with the 3300 V6. This was basically the detuned version of the great 3800. Paired with that smaller Skylark, the car was fast as heck. Hate to admit it, but one night going home I was going a little too fast and went past a local police officer (who happened to be one of my class mates and friend). The power got the best of me and Wayne never knew what happened or where I went. Although he didn’t know it was me, a few years later at a class reunion, we were talking and I brought up that event. We all laughed and he said all he could see was my red tail lights.
1 always thought that 442 meant 400cubic. 4 barrel carb. And (2) dial exhaust
The first year or two you could only get a 4 speed in the 442 so it was 4 speed. I heard after they offered an automatic it changed to 400 cubic inch
1991 per Olds ment 4 cams, 4 valves per cylinder and dual exhaust. It did back it up with performance better then the latter V8 442s. Some cars that didn’t deserve it’s name around this time period would be Charger, Duster, Skylark GS, Nova, Capri…
The first year it only had a 330 ci., 1970 it had a 455, 1977 it had a 403, etc.
Most of you people commenting are ignorant. This car would blow the doors off any 442 made after 1972. The quad 4 in the Olds Aerotech in 1987 was 2.0 liters and had 1000 hp. I own a 1967 442 which I built at the age of 15. This car deserves its name. End of discussion.
What do I have to do to get that car, my name is Greg S. and I haven’t had a car since my wife’s death. My oldest son has a 2014 chevrolet camaro and my youngest son is in need of lessons but I am not a man of much means and all I keep hearing from everyone is thAt nobody has 5 speed’s no more, and I am the biggest fan of this whole thing. I don’t care for the newer cars, in fact I told everyone that I would not get a car unless it is an older model, well kept and must have a stick shift. I don’t have alot of cash as to where I am on disability when my back went out on me in 1998 and I woke up paralyzed but they fixed me up with surgery and with my first ssi check I bought a 5speed probe, I do detail work on all types of car’s and can install any stereo system with the most top notch technology, in fact until I found the car I wanted I bought 2 8inch Rockford fosgate speakers with a Rockford fosgate amp just waiting to put in a car I deemed worthy and I don’t know if you can tell but I seem that car worthy, I can pay monthly payments, I have alot of merchandise, lots of jewelry with diamonds and ruby’s and opals and many more I cannot mention right now but if your looking for a guy to take care of that car it would make the most awesome 40th birthday present which is November 2nd. If you could see my face right now I am just like a teenager again, please let me know what I can do to own that car, I’ll pay you $250.00 a month for 14months, plus I’ll throw in some gold and silver and let you pick out what you want within reason of market value of course, please do this and you will literally be saving my life. You can meet me first and if you don’t think I’m worth it then we’ll part ways, I’d be heart broken but I respect other pol’s wishes. Please considerate, I haven’t even drove since I was like 32, I kinda got beat down by police deputies in clayton county and I swear to you and God as my witness they totally jumped me for no reason but forget all that, you’ll never find a car enthusiast quiet like me.
What exactly was underwhelming about this car’s performance back in 1991? Looking at past performance figures this car would blow away any 442 made after 1972 including the weak 180 HP 1985-1987 G-body 307 equipped versions along with the 1983-84 Hurst version.
I have a 1995 oldsmobile aurora. An awesome car. Too bad they didn’t keep making them.
180hp from any 4cyl in 91 is impressive. All Honda enthusiasts were raving about 160hp from the 99-2k Civic Si. So it’s safe to say 180 was pretty good from a GM four banger.
run away motors are junk could not get a rebuilt motor in late 90s due to lack of cores and customers was not rebuildable he parted out a relatively nice car
Vernell I would buy it
Bought one of these in black brand new in 1990. The thing was a blast! One of the most reliable cars I ever owned…except for a head gasket change and a driver’s side window that wouldn’t roll down. The 5 speed stick was clunky as heck but never needed any attention in the 150k miles I put on it before I sold it. And it was fast…if I got off the line well I could keep up with 5.0 mustangs as long as they weren’t too new. I wish I had kept it…
BTW. The one in the pic has the wrong wheels but they’re nicer than the stock ones.
I love that car I would buy it
Had a 1990 oldsmobile calia. With the iron duke engine. Would love to have another one . None to my under standing are to be found in this state of pennsylvania existing. Don’t know if the quad four is an iron duke engine. But would have a home here and not let it get away!
The quad four is an much newer design (all aluminum, 16 valve) with nearly double the HP compared to the Iron Duke (cast iron 8 valve), so for sure not the same.