In response to the wildly successful Pontiac GTO, the Oldsmobile 442 debuted in April of 1964. The 442 was a Cutlass trim package, with the moniker derived front the four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual gearbox, and dual exhaust. The 442 package drew from the B09 Police Apprehender Pursuit Pack that came with an aggressive cam, a heavy-duty suspension, and six-inch wide wheels shod in redline tires. The 442 would soldier on as a trim package until 1968 when it would become its own model.
1968 would bring a complete redesign for GM A-Body models, including the Oldsmobile 442. All new sheetmetal featured a more sculpted body with a more rounded beltline. The wheelbase had been shortened from 115 inches to 112, but the tire track was an inch wider front and back. The roofline on the coupes flowed into the rear deck, producing a more fastback appearance.
For the 1970 model year, the Oldsmobile 442 had mild appearance changes. The grille was silver with vertical bars, rectangular parking lights resided in the front bumper, and the taillights were vertical.
1970 was to be the peak for Oldsmobile 442 performance. As we have discussed before, the government was soon to start pushing for increased fuel economy standards and emissions standards. Insurance companies were beginning to balk at covering muscle cars with massive horsepower ratings. Rather than squander their final year of muscle-car bliss, GM pulled out all the stops. The previous corporate rule limiting displacement in mid-size passenger cars to 400 cubic inches was lifted, and all the GM divisions that were building stoplight heroes responded. Oldsmobile stuffed a massive 455 cubic-inch Rocket V8 under the 442’s hood. Previously, the only Cutlass that had been equipped with a 455 cube V8 was the Hurst/Olds package in 1969.
If you were savvy enough to mark the correct option box, you could snag the W-30 package for your Oldsmobile 442. The W-30 pack would get you the “Select Fit” components that included a W-25 fiberglass hood with air induction through functional hood scoops, red plastic front inner fenders, a low-restriction air cleaner, a Winters aluminum intake, and a higher-lift, longer-duration cam. You could also specify a close-ratio, heavy-duty four-speed manual gearbox shifted by a Hurst Competition shifter. The Rocket 455 with the W-30 package was rated at 370 horsepower and a massive 500 pound-feet of torque. Rear tires didn’t stand a chance.
Our feature 1970 Oldsmobile 442 coupe is finished in special order Rally Red over a black vinyl bench seat interior, it is powered by its original 455 Rocket V8 backed by the numbers-matching four-speed heavy-duty transmission. It is equipped with Rally gauges, Tic-Toc-Tach, AM-FM stereo with 8-track player, Sport Suspension, Positraction rear end with 3.91 gears, and Super Stock wheels shod with Firestone Wide Oval raised white-letter bias-ply tires. The 442 has won numerous awards, including 1998 Springfield, Illinois Oldsmobile Nationals 1st place and best of class, 1999 Dallas, Texas Oldsmobile Nationals 1st place and best of class, 2000 Parsippany, New Jersey Oldsmobile Nationals Senior Preservation 1st place (995 out of 1,000 points), 2004 Columbus, Ohio Goodguys National Super 70s pick, 2005 Columbus, Ohio Goodguys Nationals Mighty Muscle Pick, 2005 Columbus, Ohio Goodguys Nationals Muscle Car of the Year finalist, August 2005 Hemmings Muscle Machines feature write-up, 2006 Hemmings Muscle Machines 12 greatest muscle cars ever, and a 2006 Hemmings Muscle Machine of the year finalist.
This stunning 1970 Oldsmobile 442 will cross the Mecum Auctions block at their Dallas, Texas event taking place September 20th through the 23rd.