Of all the intermediate GM muscle cars of the 1960s and early 1970s, the Oldsmobile 442 was best known for its winning combination of balanced performance and exceptional handling characteristics, in addition to its blistering acceleration. From its relatively humble beginnings in 1964 as a civilianized version of Oldsmobile’s “Police Apprehender Pursuit” package, the 442 was relentlessly developed into what road testers of the era hailed for its tremendous performance.
By 1970, a “perfect storm” of tightening safety and emissions legislation, rapidly rising fuel prices and stratospheric insurance rates threatened the very existence of the American performance car. Undaunted, Oldsmobile’s product planners took full advantage of the removal of GM’s edict prohibiting its intermediate models from using engines larger than 400 cubic inches.
Accordingly, the 1970 edition of the 442 featured a 365 hp, 455 cubic inch V8 as standard equipment. With its 10.5:1 compression ratio, stout reciprocating assembly, high-flow Rochester carburetor and dual exhaust, the 455 belted out an incredible 500 ft-lbs of sheer, pavement-melting torque at just 3,200 rpm. Even though the car was easily capable of 14-second quarter-mile times in stock trim, it was quite docile in everyday driving and, with its single carburetor and hydraulic valvetrain, surprisingly easy to maintain.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2010 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California.
365 hp, 455 cu. in. V8 engine, Rochester four-barrel carburetor, M40 Turbo-Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar, four-link rear suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, and front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 112".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel