March 11, 2009

AMERICAN ICON: Oldsmobile 442

"In the late 1960’s, Oldsmobile was making cars more fit for a mom in search of bargain soup than young men looking to tear up the streets. But they fucked up when they dropped a V-8 into a seemingly modest and boxy Cutlass. The wicked offspring was the ‘442’ and it was as fast as it was ugly -- and it was ugly as sin."

Probably my all time favorite from this whole era. The 442 started as an options package for the Cutlass, but became its own badge in 1968-71. Basically the only reason the 442 was set out, was to compete with Pontiac's success with the GTO (Gas, Tires, Oil... the three things it burned... no, but that's whats the gear-heads say).

4-4-2 name came from the fact that it utilized a 4-barrel carb, a 4-speed transmission and dual exhaust. When the 442 upgrade package was introduced for the Cutlass, it cost $285. That's a whole hell of a lot of bang for the buck.

My favorite model of the 442 is the Hurst/Olds. Instead of dropping a Hurst shifter in the car like Oldsmobile had done for "Hurst models" in the past, they did a complete overhaul both cosmetically and mechanically. They were all painted silver/white and had pin-striping. They are by far the best looking and most classy of the 442 models. If you're interested, google for more info, this was just a highlight reel.