While tightening emissions regulations, rising insurance premiums, unleaded fuels and activist politicians conspired to strangle the American muscle car out of existence, Oldsmobile held the line with its sophisticated but brutally quick 442. Only available with 455 cubic inch V8 power for 1971, the 442 continued to benefit from “Dr. Oldsmobile’s” therapy with its unrivalled performance, refinement and image.
The handsome styling of 1970 was essentially unchanged, and standard features included Strato-Bucket seats, special emblems and a deluxe steering wheel, while standard performance equipment included dual exhaust, heavy-duty wheels and special springs, stabilizer bars and engine mounts. The standard transmission was a three-speed manual unit, with a Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic and a four-speed manual optional. The few 1971 442s equipped with a four-speed manual transmission also received a lower 3.42:1 rear axle ratio, improving acceleration.
Although it was lower on power compared to the 1970 model year, due to an unleaded gas-friendly 8.5:1 compression ratio, the 1971 442 still offered 340 gross horsepower in standard tune and 350 horsepower with the W-30 option. Both engines were easily capable of propelling the 442 through the quarter-mile in less than 15 seconds.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2010 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California.
340 hp (gross) 270 hp (net), 455 cu. in. V8 engine, Rochester four-barrel carburetor, Muncie four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar, four-link rear suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 112".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel