It’s a shame so many enthusiasts overlook Oldsmobile when shopping for an awesome A-Body toy. Big block Chevelles and aggressively styled GTOs seem to be naturals when it comes to muscle car wish lists; but, in reality, GM’s more proper divisions created some of the nastiest stoplight warriors ever unleashed on American streets. Oldsmobile, the General’s humble technology division, definitely did their fair share to glorify the rise of Detroit. And this 986 point 442 convertible is a prime example of their much-lauded ‘bar brawler in a tuxedo’ sales mentality. Featuring an original, numbers-matching drivetrain, an intense Crimson Red on White color combination and an incredible, frame-off restoration, this Olds is one of the coolest muscle cars on the planet! And if you’re looking for a documented, investment grade classic that’ll bring home big trophies, and net an even bigger return, it’s your roundtrip rocket ride to the moon!
Before we begin this drop-top’s thorough aesthetic and mechanical breakdown, here’s a detailed look at both its VIN and cowl tag numbers:
* 3: Oldsmobile
* 44: 442 V8
* 67: 2-door convertible
* 9: 1969 model year
* M: Assembled in Lansing, Michigan
* 287334: Production sequence number
* 69 -- 1969 model year
* 33667 -- 3: Oldsmobile, 36: Deluxe F-85 body that’s equipped with a V8 engine 67: 2-door convertible
* LAN -- Assembled in Lansing, Michigan
* 289285 – Lansing production sequence number
* 935 – Red bucket seat interior
* 52 -- Crimson paint
* 02B -- Assembled during the second week of February, 1969
Despite its early February build date, workers at GM’s Lansing, Michigan production facility undoubtedly let their thoughts drift to summer as this rich convertible rolled down their assembly line. With a striking combination of top-down appeal and open road prowess, it’s virtually impossible to picture this Olds in anything other than a sunny, summer landscape. Not long ago, the car underwent a professional, frame-off restoration in which none of its bolts were left unturned, and all of its panels were massaged to better-than-factory condition. Fit and finish is light years ahead of most 60s classics, with even gaps all around. A correct coat of GM code 52 Crimson basecoat was sealed in modern clear and detailed with bright white stripes for all to admire. And today, six figures into the future, this 442 is a razor-sharp muscle car that intimidates like a cruise missile and shines like the family’s best silver.
Like all of GM’s third generation A-Bodies, the 442 continued to get better year after year. The car’s clean and modernist lines were no doubt a play on its parent division’s engineering leadership, and the resulting design continues to age exceptionally well. At the front of that design, a classy chrome bumper hangs clear parking lamps below black, stainless-trimmed grilles, a bold “442” emblem and four halogen headlights. At the top of those grilles, a squared, ‘power bulge’ hood anchors finned louvers in front of like-new glass and an optional power top. At the sides of that glass, slick stainless trim complements new “442” fender emblems and cool rocket-shaped marker lamps while traditional chrome door handles reflect spotless chrome mirrors. And behind those markers, a second chrome bumper centers new tail lights and crystal clear reverse lamps between a large “442” trunk emblem and trumpeted, 442-specific exhaust tips.
Hoist this Oldsmobile’s mirrored hood and you’ll find an original, 400 cubic inch Rocket V8 which is branded with a correct, 442-specific 396026G casting number and matching 39M287334 partial VIN. Since Rocket blocks are devoid of date codes, we can use that partial VIN, which translates as a 1969 (9) Oldsmobile (3) engine that was installed in car 287334 in Lansing, Michigan (M), to authenticate this convertible’s status as a real deal, numbers-matching 442. Professionally rebuilt and fully detailed, the hot V8 is a super-efficient wedge head design that utilizes a standard stroke and undersquare bore to create stout 10.5 to 1 compression, 325 horsepower and 440 lb./ft. of stump-pulling torque. Stomp the throttle and a big Rochester Quadrajet mixes juice from new stainless fuel lines with wind that’s supplied by a Fire Red, single-snorkel air cleaner. At the sides of that carburetor, “K” branded heads hang above restored, cast iron exhaust manifolds that make quick work of spent gases. And at the back of those heads, a correct points distributor shoots fire through fresh 7mm plug wires. Aesthetically, the car’s satin black inner fenders and correct Bronze block look fantastic against its smooth Crimson paint. And the entire engine bay, from its pliable hoses and Delco Moraine brake booster to its new battery topper and Frigidaire AC compressor, features a clean, factory-fresh appearance.
The bottom of this awesome 442 is completely solid and shows no signs of significant wear or question-inducing battle scars. Behind that 400 cubic inch V8 lives a 400 of another sort: a rugged Turbo-Hydramatic 3-speed that’s branded with a correct 1969 (69) 442 (OG) assembly tag. That proven transmission sends power to a stout, 12-bolt rear end that’s equipped with tall, pavement-melting gears. That driveline hangs in a mandatory heavy duty suspension, which includes better shocks, thicker coil springs, reinforced control arms and a standard rear sway bar. Braking is provided by familiar front discs and power-assisted drums. Turns come courtesy of correct, factory-optioned power steering. At the center of the car, aluminized, true-dual pipes funnel spent gases into great sounding turbo mufflers and trumpeted, stainless tips. At the corners of the car, Crimson, Styled Steel wheels spin 225/70R14 BF Goodrich Radial T/As around spotless trim rings and Oldsmobile-branded center caps. And literally every part on this A-Body’s powder-coated frame has been carefully finished to a trophy-winning level of detail.
Inside this pristine drop-top, you’ll find a new White interior that’s both comfortable and appealing. At the center of the car, stainless-trimmed seats ride on fresh red carpet that’s protected by thick rubber floor mats. At the sides of those seats, clean White door panels center straight stainless trim on bright chrome handles and optional power windows. In front of those panels, a warp-free dash hangs familiar 442 trim between rebuilt Rallye gauges, which include a cool tic-toc tachometer, and a modern, direct-fit radio. At the base of that dash, an optional console frames a small chrome shifter in bright chrome trim. In front of the driver, a satin-spoked steering wheel laps a striking Oldsmobile horn button. And behind the cockpit, a fully restored trunk props a fifth Styled Steel wheel and fifth BF Goodrich radial on a fresh gray mat.
Documentation for this killer Oldsmobile includes an original owner’s manual, original warranty paperwork, an original Protect-O-Plate and the car’s 986-point Oldsmobile Club of America judging sheets.
Tired of the same old Chevelles and GTOs you can find anywhere, anytime? Then take a close look at this phenomenal 442 convertible! Fully restored and highly documented, it’s a super cool muscle car that’s poised to gain value by the year. Whether you’re an emphatic Oldsmobile collector, or a serious muscle car fan who wants something a little different, this rare A-Body is the perfect investment!