Olds feels young again

Leg­endary 442 re­stored to lux­u­ri­ous, pow­er­ful glory

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - AUTOS - 57ford@mymts.net LARRY D’ARGIS

OLDSMO­BILE of­fered the 442 as a per­for­mance op­tion on the F-85 Cut­lass line be­gin­ning in 1964. An in­ter­me­di­ate model, with added per­for­mance, thanks to the win­ning for­mula of cou­pling a large V-8 en­gine with a light car, and equipped with stiffer sus­pen­sion and other road-han­dling abil­i­ties, it sold 2,999 units in its first year of pro­duc­tion. Its pop­u­lar­ity con­tin­ued to grow with 25,003 built in ’65, and a slight drop to 21,997 in ’66. For 1967, the 442 sold 24,829 mod­els and con­tin­ued to of­fer per­for­mance, style, han­dling and lux­ury op­tions.

Fea­tur­ing a 400-cu­bic-inch V-8, equipped with 10.5:1 com­pres­sion ra­tio and Rochester four-bar­rel car­bu­re­tor, it pro­duced 350 horse­power at 5,000 r.p.m. and 440 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 r.p.m. Avail­able as a two-door coupe, hol­i­day hard­top coupe or con­vert­ible, the 442 was quite the boule­vard cruiser no mat­ter what model the buyer chose. Along with an im­pres­sive list of stan­dard equip­ment, the 442 could be as loaded up as the buyer wanted, thanks to an even longer list of op­tions and ac­ces­sories.

For Brian Klassen of Mor­ris, the mid-’60s Olds was never re­ally on his list of must haves. “I didn’t like the big wheel wells on the Cut­lass, I felt the tire just got lost in it,” says Klassen. Years later a friend was sell­ing all of his Olds and 442 parts he had re­moved from many cars, and Klassen bought them and tucked them away for safe­keep­ing. He then started to keep his eye out over the years for a suit­able car to build and found a ’67 442 hol­i­day hard­top coupe in Rapid City, S.D., in 2008. It was a com­plete car with a rust­free body and frame, but the in­te­rior up­hol­stery was shot be­cause of sev­eral win­dow leaks. Klassen re­calls, “It was the first on­line car pur­chase I’ve ever made.”

The full restora­tion started with re­mov­ing the body from the frame and strip­ping off all of the me­chan­i­cals, in­clud­ing brakes, sus­pen­sion and the pow­er­train. The bare frame was then pow­der-coated black. Brakes, brake and fuel lines, sus­pen­sion, shocks and steer­ing com­po­nents were all re­stored to as-new con­di­tion. Klassen used a Hot Rod mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle of a ’67 442 build as a guide to repli­cat­ing the fac­tory mark­ings on the chas­sis com­po­nents. For the ex­haust, a cus­tom, 2.5-inch di­am­e­ter dual ex­haust sys­tem was in­stalled with Flow­mas­ter muf­flers.

The 400 V-8 was re­moved and re­built to fac­tory spec­i­fi­ca­tions, with the ad­di­tion of a high-per­for­mance camshaft by Mil­lar Auto Ma­chine in Win­kler. The three-speed Tur­boHy­dra-Matic au­to­matic trans­mis­sion re­ceived a shift-kit and a full re­build by Klassen’s friend Ed Rem­ple.

While all this was hap­pen­ing, Klassen stripped the body of all paint, trim and chrome and be­gan prep­ping it for paint. For that fi­nal paint, Klassen mixed a colour he ad­mits was a bit of an ac­ci­dent. “It’s re­ally an off-white with a lit­tle cream.” Look­ing closer at the colours avail­able in ’67 for the 442, it’s re­ally close to the Cameo Ivory that was an avail­able fac­tory colour. Set­ting it off is a con­trast­ing red side dual pin­stripe . For the vinyl top, Klassen chose a Ma­roon vinyl. While not a fac­tory of­fered colour, he wanted it to tie in with the com­pletely new twotone Oxblood and Red vinyl in­te­rior up­hol­stery.

The Bumpers were re­plated and stain­less-steel trim pol­ished by the House Of Sil­ver, with North Star Plat­ing do­ing the an­odiz­ing process. To fill those big wheel wells Klassen chose a set of Street Smart alu­minium rims from Bil­let Spe­cial­ties. They mea­sure 18 inches in di­am­e­ter on the rear and 17 inches up front, and turn on Nitto per­for­mance ra­dial tires.

For op­tions, Klassen’s 442 is pretty well a full load. Equipped with power steer­ing, power front disc brakes, power win­dows, tilt wood-grain steer­ing wheel, bucket seats, cen­tre con­sole, air con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol, re­mote driver’s side mir­ror, tinted glass and AM ra­dio. There’s also the Rally Pack in­stru­ment clus­ter with the com­bi­na­tion Tic Toc Tach. Klassen found the clus­ter worked prop­erly, with the ex­cep­tion of the clock. Af­ter see­ing an ad, a sim­ple phone call led him to a new, old-stock clock for a mere $100.

Since the restora­tion was com­pleted, Klassen has had the 442 on the 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour. The 950 mile run from Char­lotte, N.C., to Wis­con­sin Dells, Wis., was a great trip. Out of the 1,400 ve­hi­cles on the Power Tour, Klassen found only one other ’67 Oldsmo­bile Cut­lass, but not an­other ’67 442.

Born out of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the Pon­tiac and Oldsmo­bile divi­sions of Gen­eral Mo­tors, the 442 would see six gen­er­a­tions of pro­duc­tion, last­ing un­til 1991. En­gine sizes would grow to a mas­sive 455 cu­bic inches in 1970 and then shrink to a 2.3-litre Quad four­cylin­der in 1990, but the em­pha­sis was al­ways on power and com­fort.

Founded by Ran­som Eli Olds in 1897, Oldsmo­bile was a sta­ple prod­uct of Gen­eral Mo­tors un­til its can­cel­la­tion in 2004. To­day, th­ese 442 mod­els em­body a cer­tain style, lux­ury and per­for­mance that en­sures their po­si­tion in the field of col­lectable au­to­mo­biles.


Brian Klassen says he fell into the 442’s paint colour by ac­ci­dent, but Larry D’Argis says it’s a pretty good im­i­ta­tion of a fac­tory colour — Cameo Ivory.

The 442’s V-8 was re­built and in­cludes

a high-per­for­mance camshaft.

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