The Smokin' Hot Oldsmobile 442

Hannah DeWitt
· 3 min read
If you're a
classic car
connoisseur, you may have heard talk of the Oldsmobile 442. This model didn't officially last all that many years, so you may not be as familiar with it as with more popular classic muscle cars like the
1970 AMC AMX
Curious to learn more about the 442 and how it stacked up against its competition? Read on to learn more. 
The Oldsmobile 442 was only in production for three years.

Why is it called an Oldsmobile 442?

The Oldsmobile 442 was produced as its own model for only three years, from 1968-1971, making it a real find for collectors out there these days.
American Collectors
explains, its name actually derives from some of its specs. The 4-4-2 of this Oldsmobile's name comes from its four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts.
The car was originally known, in fact, as the 4-4-2, with dashes included. Although the dashes were removed when the car became its own model in 1968, the manufacturer continued to use them in internal documentation. 
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The Oldsmobile 442 stood out from other Oldsmobiles

442s produced between 1968 and 1971 included a number of special features. A few examples include its trunk lid inlets for the taillights, a steering lock ignition switch on the steering column, and headrests that came standard on the front seats. Indeed, napping in the car had never been easier. 
The 442 also offered exhaust manifolds that came with new center dividers for better performance. 

How does this car compare with other muscle cars of its day?

Wondering how the Oldsmobile 442 compared with other muscle cars of its time? Let's take the 1970 AMC AMX and the 1970 Chevrolet El Camino for comparison. 
First, the rundown on the 442. It featured a high-performance W-32 engine, which came with Forced Air Induction plumbing that was only available with automatic transmission. The car's top speed reached 115 mph, and it offered a 350-horsepower manual transmission engine or a 325-horsepower automatic. 
The 1970 AMC AMX was similar to the 442 in that it was also a classic two-door muscle car, though it wasn't quite as powerful. 
Then there was the 1970 Chevrolet El Camino, which is one of the most memorable
vintage muscle cars
, thanks to its unique styling. We have to admit that the El Camino left the 442 in the dust in terms of horsepower. The top of its two engine choices offered a whopping 450 horsepower, which for its day was definitely impressive. Even today, it wouldn't be anything to sneeze at.

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