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Old October 2nd, 2011, 03:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is it a 442 or not ??

I'm looking at a '72 Olds that the owner says is a 442, and says that in 1972 it was an option to get a 442 and you could order it with a 350 engine. With that engine it did not have the cut out rear bumper, but did have the emblems. He also said that the vin wouldn't tell you if it was a true 442 or not. My question is how can you tell if a 1972 Olds is a true 442 ? I'm seriously considering buying this car in the next day or two, so any info would be appreciated asap.
Thanks
Tom
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 04:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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read this

http://www.442.com/oldsfaq/of442.htm#442

This site is usually correct, but caveat emptor!
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 04:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Looks like the information he gave you was correct.

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Old October 2nd, 2011, 04:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Without documentation, you cannot tell for sure, as anything pertaining to the 442 could be added to any Cutlass (excluding Supreme hardtop & 4 drs) to make it "one".
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 04:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a friend who has a '69 442 and he says the vin will have a (44) in it. I think it was a 44, but I remember it was two numbers and he swears any '69 442 WILL have those two numbers in the vin., otherwise it is a clone. Is he correct, and if so, is it only in 1972 that the vin WON'T tell if it is a true 442 ?
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 05:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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68-71 are the only years that the 442 was a model -not an option- so they start the VIN with 344. all other years it was an option so with out paperwork to back it up it is tough to tell.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 05:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The VIN for '68, '69, '70 and '71 will tell you if it is a true 442. In model years before and after that, 442 was an option so the VIN won't tell. There are things to look for, however, with the '72 model year. You could get either a 350 (with "7" heads) or a 455 (with "G" heads) in a 1972 442, and either had a 4bbl carb. You could get an auto or manual transmission and dual exhaust was standard. The 455 engine 442 cars came with the notched bumper; the 350 engine 442 cars didn't get the notched bumper (some people have later added the notched bumper). Either 4-4-2 engine option had front and rear sway bars with boxed lower rear control arms and their was a 4-4-2 decal on the air cleaner. That's about all the telltale signs there are, as far as I know.

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Old October 2nd, 2011, 06:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I believe that the notched rear bumper was standard with the 455 442, an extra-cost option with the 350.

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Old October 2nd, 2011, 06:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Eric,
I agree with you.
I know in earlier years, there are like 3? different front sway bars used. The difference is on the very ends, where there is a little arrow type thing. The way that arrow is aligned tells what type of model it is used on. I think the FE2 suspension was available & maybe standard?, only with the 442 option in '72? If your '72 Cutlass has the 442 option, it should be evident by that specific sway bar. Not many people know about this & almost on one would swap theirs out I wouldn't think.
See your local factory service manual for more details.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 07:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good call, Scott! The ends of all of the different size sway bars had characteristic shapes.

I thought that they were in the CSM too, but it turns out I found them in the Inspector's Manual.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Hope this helps!

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Old October 2nd, 2011, 07:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah, those are the ones. Thanks for the pictures, I was to lazy to find them.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 07:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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In 1972 the 442 was a decor package. I believe you could even get the 350 with a 2 barrell and single exhaust. I was not aware you could get the cutout bumper as an option with the 350. I am sure some of the resident experts will speak up.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 07:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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We just did!
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 08:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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... I was to lazy to find them.
You're not lazy - I wasn't going to do it either... but then I got curious, and started looking around, and then I found the picture, and then I figured oh what the heck.

Also, I had more important things to do that I really wanted to avoid, and this helped .

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Old October 2nd, 2011, 09:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The W29 option should also have "Cutlass Supreme" on the glove box and the "Oldsmobile" script on the left side of the hood.
FE2 suspension came with W29 as well.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 09:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You're not lazy - I wasn't going to do it either... but then I got curious, and started looking around, and then I found the picture, and then I figured oh what the heck.

Also, I had more important things to do that I really wanted to avoid, and this helped .

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Good on ya Eric!! I woulda done it too, there is always crap around here to do but I can keep myself pretty busy doing "research" on the computer. It helps I have one in the garage
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 07:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I believe that the notched rear bumper was standard with the 455 442, an extra-cost option with the 350.

- Eric
Nope, sorry. The only 350 powered A-body to get the notched bumper was the 1970 Rallye 350. All others got the straight bumper and turndown tailpipes with dual exhaust, including the 350-powered 1972 442s. You could not order the bumper as a separate option. It was standard on all BBO cars, however.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 10:02 AM   #18 (permalink)
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1972 350 4bbl was standard. Could order 350 with 2bbl and you received a $33. credit. Dual exhaust was standard with L75 (455) and L75 (W30) but Could order N10 (dual exhaust) with 350 or could be added later. Inspector book states that N10 could not be ordered with with L75 or L77 and this is due to the fact that dual exhaust and cut-out bumper was mandatory with the big blocks.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 10:12 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The VIN for '68, '69, '70 and '71 will tell you if it is a true 442. In model years before and after that, 442 was an option so the VIN won't tell. That's about all the telltale signs there are, as far as I know.

Randy C.
There is a certain option that shows in some VINs that can verify the car as a real 1972 442.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 10:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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There is a certain option that shows in some VINs that can verify the car as a real 1972 442.
Yup that would be an X and that would identify it as a W-30 and 4-4-2 naturally.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 11:09 AM   #21 (permalink)
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1972 350 4bbl was standard. Could order 350 with 2bbl and you received a $33. credit. Dual exhaust was standard with L75 (455) and L75 (W30) but Could order N10 (dual exhaust) with 350 or could be added later. Inspector book states that N10 could not be ordered with with L75 or L77 and this is due to the fact that dual exhaust and cut-out bumper was mandatory with the big blocks.
Right, but N10 did NOT include the cutout bumper.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 03:53 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Correct again Joe, maybe I worded it weird or something. But anyone could order correct mufflers and fluted tips and cut out bumper right over the parts counter back then. Hence "the added later" part.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 04:42 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Stirring the pot...

Quote:
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I believe that the notched rear bumper was standard with the 455 442, an extra-cost option with the 350.

- Eric
In 72, yes all 455 442s would have the notched bumper. Zero - nada - zilch on the 350's even with the N10 option. I know we discussed this before and beat it to death with Joe's help. Hmmm maybe we could go back in time and change all that?? Plus take a Mr. Puter and data base to log all the production stats!!!! FWIW I'm putting a notched cutout bumper behind my 350 simply because I already bought it and because I think it looks cool. I'm sure there were others (as Scott alludes to) who decided to break their piggy bank and 'upgrade' to a notch out, trumpets and hangers at the parts counter.

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In 1972 the 442 was a decor package. I believe you could even get the 350 with a 2 barrell and single exhaust..
Yes, it was a handling and appearance package called the W29. You could get a 442 in 72 and order any of the engines Olds produced that year. There were a lot of 2bbl Cutlass models built in 72. You had to order 'up' if you were buying an f85, Cutlass or Cutlass S to get a 4bbl or BB. The Cutlass Supreme was the break even point - you automatically got a 350 4bbl unless you wanted something smaller or bigger.

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The W29 option should also have "Cutlass Supreme" on the glove box and the "Oldsmobile" script on the left side of the hood.
FE2 suspension came with W29 as well.
Sorry Rob, Gotta disagree with you on this one. The W29 option could be ordered on any of the Cutlass lines. Yes, it should have 'Oldsmobile' on the hood as you say - because the 442 scripts take their place on the grill. But, on the glovebox? No. The 72 442's will not have 442 on the glovebox, and they weren't all Cutlass Supremes either. The glovebox will have only 2 emblems: Cutlass or Cutlass Supreme. The FE2 was part of the W29 package. So were the stripes on the side and on the hood. Ironically the front stab bar did not automatically get upgraded to 1" with the FE2, but you did get boxed control arms, body braces and rear sway bar.

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Yup that would be an X and that would identify it as a W-30 and 4-4-2 naturally.
Scott...what about the "U" and "Z" codes????

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There is a certain option that shows in some VINs that can verify the car as a real 1972 442.
Not in 72. The only thing that will be helpful about a 72 VIN is the engine code and the manufacturing plant. All Hurst Olds were Lansing cars. Only 4 plants built 442s in 72: Framingham, Lansing, Fremont and Arlington. (codes G, M, R, Z). IIRC Most 442's were from Lansing. But unlike previous years, in 72 there was nothing in the VIN to specify 442. That's why documentation (bill of sale, window sticker, build sheet, broadcast sheet) is so important for authentication of this model year.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 02:14 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TK-65 View Post
There is a certain option that shows in some VINs that can verify the car as a real 1972 442.
Quote:
Yup that would be an X and that would identify it as a W-30 and 4-4-2 naturally.
Quote:
Scott...what about the "U" and "Z" codes????
Allan the X in the VIN is the ONLY way in '72 to tell only by your VIN if in fact you do have a 4-4-2 as mentioned above by TK. The X stands for W30 which automatically gave you a 4-4-2 by default. however the U code in your VIN or any other letter other than X in the VIN did NOT represent 4-4-2 solely and were used on all platforms including but not limited to Cutlass, Cutlass Supreme, 4-4-2, etc...
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Old October 4th, 2011, 03:07 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Allan the X in the VIN is the ONLY way in '72 to tell only by your VIN if in fact you do have a 4-4-2 as mentioned above by TK. The X stands for W30 which automatically gave you a 4-4-2 by default. however the U code in your VIN or any other letter other than X in the VIN did NOT represent 4-4-2 solely and were used on all platforms including but not limited to Cutlass, Cutlass Supreme, 4-4-2, etc...

Thx Scott,
Should have read the CSM a little more carefully; there it is on 0-2
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Old October 4th, 2011, 03:21 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Good call, Scott! The ends of all of the different size sway bars had characteristic shapes.



Click the image to open in full size.

- Eric
Actually it confused the hell out of me at first Eric. From what I understand you, Scott and Rob to say is that the sway bars had different ends so they weren't mixed up in the assembly process. Here's where I got confused. I didn't realize only one end of the stab bar was used to id it. I thought it was by both ends. Now that I saw the pics from the Inspectors guide it makes more sense. All f85 bars then must have one end with a round link mount. So my bar ends up being the std 398499 15/16
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 03:58 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Thx Scott,
Should have read the CSM a little more carefully; there it is on 0-2
No prob Allan, I just hope we aren't confusing the original post to this thread by thomaswatk.

Basically thomaswatk the only way to tell in 1972 if it is in fact a 4-4-2 (with no X in the VIN) is by original window sticker (be leery of repops), dealer car order sheets, build sheets, etc... As mentioned above documentation is everything! Nothing personal but most everyone cloned the '72 4-4-2 and it takes a well trained eye to see past the easy stuff to bolt on and appear to be right. Hope this helps brother
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Old October 5th, 2011, 10:54 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Thanks to everyone for all of these excellent responses. I know about everyone cloning these cars. I sold a great looking '68 Cutlass conv., and the guy started cloning it the next day. To each his own I guess.
We looked this car over as well as we know how. We checked behind where the 442 badges were to see if there were any holes there or any holes filled where another badge would have gone, and found nothing out of the ordinary. It appears to be an all original car with the metal line from the fuel pump to the carb., (old quadrajet ) and the metal line from the exhaust manifold to the choke. The exhaust looks old with the pipes turned down just in front of the bumper, etc.. Guess I'll never know for sure but I'm going to say it's a 442 anyway. Who can challenge it with any degree of authority ??
Thanks again guys.
Tom
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Old October 5th, 2011, 02:01 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Allan the X in the VIN is the ONLY way in '72 to tell only by your VIN if in fact you do have a 4-4-2 as mentioned above by TK.
Actually, it's not. There were a handful of 1972 H/Os built with the W-30 motor and those would also have an "X" code in the VIN. The 72 H/O was based on the Cutlass Supreme, not the 442 and there are actually 34257 cars with the "X" code in the VIN. (OK, as a stickler, they are actually 3J57 VINs...).
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Old October 5th, 2011, 03:31 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Actually, it's not. There were a handful of 1972 H/Os built with the W-30 motor and those would also have an "X" code in the VIN. The 72 H/O was based on the Cutlass Supreme, not the 442 and there are actually 34257 cars with the "X" code in the VIN. (OK, as a stickler, they are actually 3J57 VINs...).
Wow, for a second there I thought you had new stats on how many were made. One of my reference books suggests that there were 499 HO 3J57 models and 130 HO 3J67s built. It goes further to state the sunroof option was installed on 220 of the 3J57s.

I don't know if the info is 100%, but it's in the databook and price guide for 442 1964-1986 (Motorbooks International) The information says that out of all 72 production there were only 659 W30's (fastback/notchback) and 113 W30 verts.

Total production of 72 442's is listed at 10344 and I'm guessing most of them would be 350's?
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Old October 5th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Actually, it's not. There were a handful of 1972 H/Os built with the W-30 motor and those would also have an "X" code in the VIN. The 72 H/O was based on the Cutlass Supreme, not the 442 and there are actually 34257 cars with the "X" code in the VIN. (OK, as a stickler, they are actually 3J57 VINs...).
Yup I almost forgot about the H/O's but back to the original post... I don't believe anyone would "down grade" their H/O to be a 4-4-2 especially if it was a W-30 H/O. Who know's? I guess anything is possible in this world we live in. Bye the bye does anyone know if there were any Supreme hardtop coupes other than the H/O's in '72 to actually have a W-30 and the X in the VIN? I know it wasn't "available" but we all know there were "special" builds to slip through the cracks and '72 was probably the end of all the "slips" through the cracks.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 05:47 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Bye the bye does anyone know if there were any Supreme hardtop coupes other than the H/O's in '72 to actually have a W-30 and the X in the VIN? I know it wasn't "available" but we all know there were "special" builds to slip through the cracks and '72 was probably the end of all the "slips" through the cracks.
Scott, see above. If the info in my book is accurate there must be around 770 W30's that weren't HO's. That's got to include a fair number of Supremes, as the data I've got shows it to be a mix of fastback/notchback. Inevitably, there will probably be some 'slips' that made it through as you already noted. Do you really think the record mgmt really got much better after 72? Great question BTW.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 06:05 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Scott, see above. If the info in my book is accurate there must be around 770 W30's that weren't HO's. That's got to include a fair number of Supremes, as the data I've got shows it to be a mix of fastback/notchback. Inevitably, there will probably be some 'slips' that made it through as you already noted. Do you really think the record mgmt really got much better after 72? Great question BTW.
OK, first, sorry for the confusion. 342575 was the Fisher Body Code, not the production number. As for under-the-table deals. the whole reason why the VIN format was changed in the 1972 model year was to make room for the engine code letter. This was driven by EPA requirements to tie the emissions-certified engine to the vehicle. A vehicle that did not have an engine that matched the VIN code could not have been legally sold by Oldsmobile. Yeah, some were likely built for engineering purposes, but they could not be legally sold and registered for on-the-road use.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 11:10 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Great info ! What I just bought is a '72 Convertable with 3J67 vin. What do I have ?
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Old October 7th, 2011, 11:49 AM   #35 (permalink)
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If the car is original and untouched maybe you can find a build sheet or broadcast card somewhere. IMO if its a small block car the spread isnt as great in '72 between a 442 & a Cutlass. I wouldn't obsess about proving its authenticity. If you can great. If not, that's cool too. Enjoy the car.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 12:46 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaswatk View Post
Great info ! What I just bought is a '72 Convertable with 3J67 vin. What do I have ?
3J67 means exactly what you posted: A 1972 Cutlass Supreme Convertible.

If you want more info about the car, post the whole VIN and the cowl tag info.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 09:06 AM   #37 (permalink)
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the vin is 3J67K2M228980
the cowl tag is ST72 34267LAN477950 BDY
TR 977 -A PNT

Where can I find out what I have ? Is there a web site I can go to ?
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Old October 8th, 2011, 09:34 AM   #38 (permalink)
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3 = Oldsmobile
J = Cutlass Supreme
67 = Convertible
K = 350 4bbl
2 = 1972
M = Lansing, Mich Assembly Plant
228980 = Production #

342 = Cutlass Supreme
67 = Convertible
LAN = Lansing, Mich
477950 = Fisher Body Sequence #
977 = White Strato Bucket Seats
- = Possibly a special order lower color
A = White Convertible Top
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Old October 8th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaswatk View Post
the vin is 3J67K2M228980
the cowl tag is ST72 34267LAN477950 BDY
TR 977 -A PNT

Where can I find out what I have ? Is there a web site I can go to ?
Absolutely you can go to Wild About Cars - free membership and use. They have tons of info on Olds and other car lines as well. This info comes out as:
3 = Oldsmobile division of GM
J = Cutlass Supreme
67 = Convertible
K = 4 bbl Rocket 350 engine (180 hp)
2 = check digit represents model year 1972
M = Lansing production
228980 = build sequence at Lansing

Your cowl tag decodes as
ST72 = 1972 production
3467 = Cutlass Supreme convertible
LAN = Lansing production
447950 = Body number
TR977 = White seats/interior
BDY = You didn't put in the paint code
BDY A = White vert roof color

If you have bucket seats in the car, the cowl tag should have A51. Otherwise you likely have a split front bench seat with armrest - option AP5

Interestingly enough, your car was produced at the same factory and same time mine was. If you have a broadcast sheet from the car you will find it was built in April of 72. My cowl tag body number is 442325 and was built on April 7, 1972. Your car was likely built in the 3rd or 4th week of April. Easy enough to find out. Look carefully at your cowl tag. At the bottom left close to the tag rivet should be 3 number/letter stamps. The first 2 represent the month, the last is the week. So your car should have something like 04C, 04D or possibly 05A.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #40 (permalink)
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It has the A 51, but the number on the left side at the rivet is O5B.......
You mentioned a site that has a ton of info, free to use, etc., but you didn't name the site.
Thanks for all the help
Tom
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Old October 8th, 2011, 12:57 PM
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