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1968–72 Oldsmobile 442 values are on the rise

Oldsmobile was quick to respond to Pontiac’s smash hit GTO with a sporty midsize of its own. While Pontiac went with an abbreviation of Gran Turismo Homologato, Olds went with a shortened numerical indicator “442.” When the package for the A-body F-85 and Cutlass launched in 1964, the moniker stood for four-barrel carburetor, four-speed transmission, and dual exhaust, although the reasoning for the name changed in ’65.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/11/01/1968-72-oldsmobile-442-values-on-the-rise

As the previous owner of a mid-size (80+ inventory; 200-250 sales per year) muscle car dealership, I can attest that 442s do not bring the attention (or buyers) of flashier other marques. Personally, I love first gen 442s; with the '66 tripower L69 my fave. That said, we’d get ten times the inquiries for a SS Chevelle, twenty times the inquiries for a '68+ Mopar, and even more inquiries for anything Mustang; so from a business viewpoint 442s (& GS Buicks) weren’t hot. But; damn the torpedoes, I like 'em and bought every nice correct '64 - 70 Olds 442 I found. A pleasant affluent couple in their late 50s came in one day from out of town. The husband had bought his lovely wife a V12 Aston Martin w/automatic trans as a gift but she wanted a manual trans car; and didn’t know what brand.They looked at everything we had from 'Cudas to Corvettes but kept going back to this certain 442. I finally took her for a ride in it; a really nice #2+ condition Viking Blue 1970 442 conv 4-speed (w/numbers matching ram-air 455 engine) and she was smitten. When it was her turn to drive, she drove it perfectly, ran it through the gears, and they bought it on the spot ($55k). Upon returning home they sold the Aston Martin and send us a nice thank you note. That kind-of exemplifies the 442’s original audience; older, sophisticated, more affluent than the usual muscle car crowd; the banker’s hotrod.

Correction needed. 68 Hurst Olds. Not Hurst 442

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What a great story on the couple, with plenty of money and choices deciding that the American iron was what she really wanted to drive. The Austin Martin is one of the most beautiful cars on the road these days, as I live in Newport Beach California and see them on the road here a lot, but while great to look at and listen to, they are not that fun to drive, and repair if needed is sometimes a nightmare. Good for her deciding on the 442!

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I am the original owner of a 1972 Olds 442. I purchased the Oldsmobile in November of 1971 and it was delivered in March of 72. I have owned it continually since. I have owned many new vehicles. As a police officer I have driven some powerful machines but my all time favorite car is my Olds 442. Oldsmobile is the original American automobile, first put in production in 1897. First v8, first production line, first automatic transmission, first American front wheel drive. Oldsmobile has always been an upscale act.
The world is made up of all kinds of people with different tastes desires and likes. That is ok, but I am 100% An Oldsmobile and especially an Olds 442 fan.

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the nicest car I every owned was a 1966 442, fast, reliable and gorgeous!
I miss it all the time

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I agree that the prices are not holding on these cars. I have a 1970 442 convert with 4 speed. It was originally an automatic. Have owned it for over 8 years and kept track of the auction results during that time. Am currently trying to sell my collection and am getting offers that are not reasonable.

I miss stated the car. It is a 1970 442 W30 convert with 4 Speed trans.

Hey, it’s subjective, but I like my friend’s 1970 442 a LOT - somewhat because of the blue exterior w/white stripe/white interior color combo which works perfectly for a female owned car (which it is). I can’t stop taking pictures of it. Here she is driving north on I-95 in FL - a near perfect place to own one of these all year 'round. Love the 455 and the “his 'n hers” shifter. Cruisin%20I-95%20a

I have alway loved the 68-72 Cutlass/442, I would take any even if it’s not the 442, I do own a 71 Cutlass Supreme convertible and enjoy it very much, and when I go to car shows I’m usually the only Oldsmobile there among the Chevelle’s etc. and personally I think the Oldsmobile’s are better looking! Many years ago I had a 442 and still wishing I had it! Sure maybe values have come down but they are still higher than I can afford.

I have owned 5 442’s and all of them were 1966 or 1967. One of them was an L69 Tri-power 4-speed with a dealer installed 4:33 rear end. I loved every one of them but they started to put a bad taste in my mouth due to the price of them going to high. I think they are overpriced these days to buy and are not worth what most are asking. Due to this I decided to go Corvette instead and have never looked back.

I’ve had mine for ~12 years now. Not a numbers matching original, but almost a spot on replica of the numbers matching original W30 that I could’ve bought in High School for $2500. It’s still the closest thing to a time machine that I’ll ever see! It’s a head turner for sure, and it runs well up at over a mile high in altitude!

@majorbob: I had a more basic 1972 442 as a driver back in the early 1980’s. I loved that car, it would do anything I asked of it except pass a gas station. I sold it off when I got a good job 25+ miles from my home. I’ve regretted selling since then.

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I’ve had mine 43 years now and still enjoy it very much.

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@jberenyi: of course the new Corvette is a superior car to the fifty year old Olds (or any other classic) but does it take you back to a better time? We love our 2019 Z06 conv; it’s a fabulous car; but ten minutes in a '66 442 makes my wife & I 17 all over again… BTW, with patience, a nice #2+ condition 442 can still be found in the $30s, and easily found in the $40s; I think that’s far from being over-valued and worth every dime.

I caught the Olds bug 5 years ago. I now own a 1968 442 convertible (all stock) and a 1967 442 holiday coupe (modified). I plan to continue growing my collection of these fabulous cars. Why? Because I have always liked going against the grain. Classic Oldsmobile muscle cars are undervalued and underappreciated but, in my opinion, are probably some of the most beautiful cars of the era. There is no better feeling than rolling into a cruise night or car show and having the only Oldsmobile there. I like standing out in a sea of Chevelles, Mustangs and Corvettes. Values don’t mean a whole lot to me. I own these cars because I enjoy to restoring and driving something that’s different. Not to mention that the low end torque of the Olds engines will effortlessly plaster you to the back of the seat!

FWIW, an Austin is a car no longer built; the Aston Martin is what you’re referencing.

I love seeing so many Olds fans. I understand the financial side classic automobiles. I have owned many classic Oldsmobiles that I resold. So I get that angle. But my 442 is not about the money and it is difficult to explain. I would say that my Olds 442 is a member of my family. So many life events, both pleasurable and not so good, have occurred around this Olds of mine. I know that some of you folks understand without my explanation. To sale this vehicle would be like putting a price on a family member.
Speaking of automotive regrets, I have only one. In 1972 shortly after I purchased my 442, I became the 2nd owner of a 1970 Olds Cutlass SX W32. It was a beautiful car in a special order Ming Jade green with a white vinyl top. I purchased this Olds for my wife and we kept it for 25 years. When I begin the restoration of my 442 I realized I was not able to provide the funds to restore both vehicles so I sold the rare SX for $3500. It went to a guy that cared about it but I have always been sorry I was unable to keep both of them. The SX had been a daily driver and had seen some rough service and needed some serious body work.
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