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History of the Olds 442 Muscle Cars

The highly rated 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.

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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 W-30.

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. Performance:
(W-30) 400/360: 0-60 in 6.7 sec, 1/4 mile in 14.98 sec @ 95mph.

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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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The rebirth of a Musclecar legend-- the 2007 Carrol Shelby Cobra GT500-SVT powerhouse Musclecar.

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Carroll Shelby helped launch the new GT500 at the New York auto show in March 2006

Ford says the 2007 Shelby Cobra GT500 Mustang will be the most powerful factory-built Mustang in history, more powerful than the 1969 Mach 1 428 Super Cobra Jet or even the legendary 1969 Boss 429. Think about that for a second. Let it sink in. Mustang worshipers may take a knee if you have to, but the reality is this: When this car hits the streets during the summer of 2006, it'll have 470-plus horsepower, making it the most powerful Mustang ever built.

2007 Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 - Mustang and vintage 1969 GT500 2007 Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 - Front
The new Shelby Cobra GT500 next to a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 KR, or King of the Road model powered by a 428-cubic-inch V8 rated at 335 hp. The 500 hp new version has the striping (nose to rear air-dam) and lowered stance giving it the classic menacing look.

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