AJ’s Car of the Day: 1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Convertible

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Convertible

Car: Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Convertible

Year: 1972

What makes it special: The Oldsmobile 4-4-2 (also known as the 442) were muscle cars produced between the 1964 and 1980 model years. Introduced as an option package for the F-85 and Cutlass models, it became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, then reverted to an option through the mid-1970s. The “4-4-2” name (pronounced “Four-four-two”) derives from the original car’s 4-barrel carburetor,4-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts. It was originally written “4-4-2” with badging showing hyphens between the numerals, and remained hyphenated throughout Oldsmobile’s use of the designation. Beginning in 1965, the 4-4-2’s standard transmission was a 3 speed manual along with optional 2 speed automatic and 4 speed manual, but were still badged as “4-4-2″s. By 1968 badging was shortened to simply “442”, but Oldsmobile brochures and internal documents continued to use the “4-4-2” model designation.

What made it famous: By 1972, the muscle car era was unmistakably in decline due to the twin blows of rising insurance rates and soaring gas prices. The 4-4-2 name reverted to an appearance and handling option package at option code W-29 in 1972 on the Cutlass Holiday Coupe, Cutlass S Sport Coupe and Holiday Coupe , and Cutlass Supreme convertible. The W-29 option was not available on Cutlass Supreme notchback hardtops. The 4-4-2 option package consisted of the “FE2” suspension upgrades of heavy duty springs & shocks, front and rear sway bars, boxed lower rear control arms, and 14- by 7-in wheels, side striping, fender and decklid badging, faux hood louvers, and a unique grille. The rear bumper sported cutouts for exhaust tips, but only when paired with the optional L75 455 cu in V8 in place of the standard Oldsmobile 350 V8. 4-4-2’s could still be ordered with the additional W30 option, which included the still-potent L77 455 engine, which produced 300 hp and 410 lb⋅fts of torque and incorporated low-restriction dual exhausts. Other notable components of the W30 package included a lightweight aluminum intake manifold, the W25 fiberglass ram-air hood, anti-spin differential with 3.42:1 gears with 3.73:1 available) and heavy duty cooling. 

Why I would want one: Any car muscle car fan would have a 4-4-2 model on their wish list.

Fun fact: A special edition Hurst/Olds paced the Indy 500 in 1972. A H/O Vista Cruiser was provided for the Medical Director.
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