of the Olds 442 Muscle Cars
There are those who claim that it was Oldsmobile that created the first
muscle car when it stuffed its hot new fullsize Rocket V8 into its midsize model to create
the Olds 88 and Super 88 series in the 40's and 50's. But it wasn't until 1964 that
Oldsmobile would actually build out a true Musclecar encouraged by the success of General
Motors Pontiac GTO. Oldsmobile was the first GM division to follow Pontiac's lead, and
began to offer fullsize musclecar options in its midsize Cutlass model. The package
included the top engine available from Oldsmobile, a 330 cid V8 with the police high
performance engine package. It was named the 4-4-2 package, originally signifying the
engine's 4 barrel carb, 4 speed manual transmission, and dual (2) exhausts. Although the
specifications would change through the years, the name stuck in the minds and hearts of
street racers. Although never the fastest or the best seller of the GM A-bodies, the 4-4-2
was known for its balanced performance, exceptional handling and the "W" and
Hurst special editions that would come out in later years.
The 4-4-2 package was technically available on all Oldsmobile midsize
cars, including the cheaper F-85 and more luxurious Cutlass, except station wagons (it was
therefore possible to have a four door 4-4-2). Due to a late introduction and a confusing
promotion campaign, only 2,999 4-4-2's were sold in 1964. Oldsmobile finally got the 4-4-2
package right for 1965. They eliminated four door models and made it optional on all two
door F-85s and Cutlass models. The previous engine was replaced with a new 400 cid engine,
generating 345bhp and 440lb-ft. The name now signified the 400 cid engine, 4 barrel carb,
and dual exhausts. The package included heavy duty issue shock absorbers and springs,
battery, clutch, front and rear stabilizer bars, fat tires, and 4-4-2 badges.
In 1966 ...The base engine was tuned to generate an extra 5 bhp, but the
big news was the introduction of Oldsmobile's first tri-carb option since the late 1950s.
This boosted output to 360 bhp and the transition between the carbs was smooth. A long
list of options were available including five transmissions and eight axle ratios.
Handling remained top-notch due to suspension upgrades and critics again proclaimed the
4-4-2 as the most balanced muscle car. Oldsmobile also quietly made available a new
performance option only for the triple carb engine that consisted of an air-induction
system, front bumper openings and internal engine modifications. The option was known as
No sooner had Oldsmobile released its tri-carb setup, then GM banned such
setups for all of its divisions in 1967. Undaunted, Oldsmobile introduced two new engine
options for its 4-4-2. The first was option L66, the "Turnpike Cruising package"
which included a detuned 400 cid engine with a two barrel carb. Of greater interest to
enthusiasts was the return of the W-30 package. This "forced air induction
system" included special air ducts, fan shroud, camshaft, heavy duty springs, and
chrome valve covers and an air induction air cleaner that had huge hoses connecting it to
special air induction slots above and below the parking lights. The 4-4-2 package was now
only available on the higher price Cutlass models, which combined comfort and performance.
(W-30) 400/360: 0-60 in 6.7 sec, 1/4 mile in 14.98 sec @ 95mph.
The big news for Olds enthusiasts was the introduction of the Hurst/Olds
in 1968. The prototype had been designed as a one-off by Jack "Doc" Watson for
his boss George Hurst, the designer of the Jaws of Life and the most respected name in
transmissions. Watson took a 4-4-2 and dropped in the 455 cid V8 from the Oldsmobile
Toronado. Encouraged by the success of the transplant, Jack Watson was able to convince
Oldsmobile executives to authorize a limited run of Hurst/Olds. All Hurst/Olds featured
Force Air systems and Turbo Hydromatics with Hurst Dual-Gate shifters and came in only one
color combination, Peruvian Silver with Black accent stripes and rear-deck panel. Only 515
were produced for 1968, and they are highly prized today....(Hurst/Olds) 455/390: 0-60 in
5.4 sec, 1/4 mile in 13.9 sec @ 103 mph.
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