With the long-term popularity of GM A-bodies, it’s hard to find a factory example that truly stands out. Sure, you can go the Chevelle route, but there’s probably a guy two blocks down the street with a virtually identical car. Same goes for the most desirable Pontiacs. Now, I’m not trying to mock some of Detroit’s best muscle cars, but it’s always nice to see something a bit different. This 1970 Oldsmobile 442 has been restored with great planning and professional skill. In addition to its correct 455/4-speed drivetrain, the car bathes a roster of authentic details in a striking color combination. Best of all, these qualities exist within a balanced, fun-to-drive classic that wraps its occupants in sunny, open-air bliss.
Born in Linden, New Jersey, this sweet drop-top is a fully sorted head turner that highlights one of GM’s best eras of styling. Judging by the car’s current state, its restoration was a serious build which resulted in sweeping lines that make a great first impression. The paint is a two-stage rendition of era-correct Viking Blue, which creates a real sense of drama when draped across those clean lines. Naturally, panel fitment is crisp, besting factory work all around. And a glossy array of traditional black stripes bumps the car’s threat level from an eight straight to an eleven!
Like all second generation A-bodies, Oldsmobile’s 442 continued to get better year after year. It’s clean and modernist lines were no doubt a play on the division’s engineering leadership within the GM hierarchy, and the resulting design continues to age exceptionally well. At the front of the car, stainless-trimmed grilles center a silver “442” emblem between a bright chrome bumper, four T3 headlights and two clear parking lamps. Behind those grilles, a functional ram air hood leads the eye past twisting locks to like-new glass that’s framed in bright stainless trim and a fresh black top. Below that hood, traditional door handles perfectly complement dent-free wheel rings, body-matched sport mirrors and bold “442” fender emblems. And at the back of the car, a smooth decklid hangs a fourth “442” emblem above a broad chrome bumper, pristine tail lights and trumpeted exhaust tips.
Twist the car’s polished hood pins and you’ll find an era-correct, 455 cubic inch Rocket V8 that’s branded with a familiar 396021F casting number. Unfortunately, this block’s partial VIN was completely milled off during its rebuild, so we can’t authenticate its status as a numbers-matching piece. But we can tell you the big engine, which creates up to 400 horsepower in factory guise, is mechanically sound and ready to scorch the pavement. Stomp the throttle and a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor mixes juice from leak-free fuel lines with wind from a correct, low-restriction air cleaner, and shoves it into a high performance intake. Behind that intake, a traditional points distributor feeds fire through fresh 7mm Suppression Cables, which snake around “E” branded heads and clean, blue valve covers. Below those valve covers, familiar, cast iron exhaust manifolds shoot charred dinosaurs into big, true-dual exhaust pipes. Aesthetically, the car’s Satin Black fenders and Metallic Blue block look fantastic against its Viking Blue paint. The stout mill is all day reliable, spinning massive torque from one of the largest and most powerful valvetrains ever created. And the entire set up flat out rocks, from its Frigidaire compressor and Harrison AC components to its GM hoses and reproduction Delco battery.
The bottom of this topless 442 is restored to mostly factory guise, and displays no signs of terminal wear or question-inducing battle scars. Behind the wicked 455, a rugged Muncie M20 sends power to a sturdy 12-bolt that’s equipped with quick 3.23 gears. At the center of the car, exhaust flows through solid, true-dual pipes to American made mufflers and trumpeted stainless tips. At the corners of the car, styled steel wheels spin fresh G70-14 Goodyear Polyglas Customs around stainless trim rings and rocket-branded center caps. Standard fare for the 442 trim was a heavy duty suspension that’s built around beefy front control arms, better front shocks, thicker coil springs, boxed rear control arms and a standard rear sway bar. Braking is provided by a predictable combination of front discs and rear drums, which sip fluid from an unexpected Classic Performance Products master cylinder. Turns come courtesy of factory power steering. And everything from this Oldsmobile’s rust-free floorpans to its correctly marked driveline is straight, sorted and ready to hit the road.
Inside this old school Olds, you’ll find a high quality, wood-trimmed interior that’s restoration-fresh in virtually every way. At the center of the car, rebuilt bucket and bench seats ride on clean black carpet that’s protected by standard rubber mats. In front of those seats, a warp-free dash hangs familiar 442 trim around clear Rally gauges and a correct AM/FM stereo. At the base of that dash, a full console frames a chrome Hurst shifter that barks tires as easy as it rows through gears. At the sides of that console, great looking door panels are decorated with good looking stainless, crack-free armrests and small rocket emblems. In front of the driver, a custom sport steering wheel laps a striking rocket horn button. And behind the passengers, a restored trunk frames a correct jack, a correct mat and a full-size spare tire.
The sale of this awesome Oldsmobile includes a pile of build receipts.
So there you have it – a unique, fun to drive A-body. This Oldsmobile looks right, feels right, and certainly won’t leave you lacking in the attention department. If you’re ready to collect trophies with one of the nicest 442s around, don’t miss your chance to launch this fully sorted Rocket!