Howdy - 1968 4-4-2 LOTS of questions

Old August 11th, 2015, 06:59 PM
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Howdy - 1968 4-4-2 LOTS of questions

Hey from West TN. My name is Dave and I'm a new 4-4-2 proud owner.
1968 - 3 speed auto on the column - bench seats - electric windows
I have a ton of questions and need a lot of help and guidance so please be patient with me.
The car looked outstanding on Craigslist and in person. It was restored about 10 years ago and still looks and runs great. Has about 2000 miles on the restore and a total of 43K miles from what the title says. Not sure how accurate that is but...
We went and got her and brought her home this past Saturday.
Anyway, I would like help finding a build sheet or deciphering the VIN to know everything I possibly can about how this one was equipped when it rolled off the line. I have checked the GM Archives and they have 1969-1972 files but nothing on the 1968.
I have several things to do to this ride before the wife and I start attending shows and cruise-ins. I am taking my time to just make it as good as I can by an amateur. I'm hoping there is a good wealth of information here that folks are willing to share. And I'll return the favor anytime I possibly can!!!
Thank for letting me join.
Dave
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:16 PM
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Good lookin' Olds, you're in the right place..
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:31 PM
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Welcome

Nice looking 442. For us to help, we need cowl information from the tag and a VIN if possible.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:35 PM
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Great looking car welcome
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:36 PM
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VIN no problem.
344878M169017
Cowl tag...where is that located and how many numbers/characters am I looking for?
Also disappointed CarFax did not have the VIN in it's database. Guess it's too 'vintage" for them? LOL
Appreciate the help!!!
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris J View Post
Great looking car welcome

Thanks Chris!!!
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:53 PM
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Well, it's a legit 442, anyway. Unless it's been rebodied or something, which isn't terribly likely. And it was built in Lansing, Mi.

The cowl tag, as its name might imply, is located on the cowl just above the brake booster/MC assembly. Take a photo and post it up here and all sorts of fascinating info may be revealed.

Yeah, Carfax isn't real big on '60s muscle cars.

Oh, and welcome to the site. Nice looking car!

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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:00 PM
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Nice!

Sweet Ride! I've always liked black on this body style.

The cowl tag is on the top/driver's side of the firewall, under the hood and forward of the VIN. See the pic. It will tell you the year, model, trim and paint codes and possibly some additional options.

There is a pad machined into the block, below the number one cylinder that will have a VIN derivative stamped into it. It is sometimes hidden by generator or PS pump mount brackets. This should match up with the last six digits of the VIN. It will look something like this "38M123456" - 3 for Olds, 8 for 1968, M for Lansing MI plant, and 123456 to match the last six of the VIN.

The body sequence number on the COWL tag will not necessarily match the VIN or engine (and trans) VIN derivative .
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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:13 PM
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Welcome to the site, nice car.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:18 PM
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Kewl...an old guy CAN learn new stuff. LOL
Yep, forgot about the cowl tag. Picture attached. Good info on the block, will check that tomorrow. I know the paint color has been changed from original but this triple black sure looks good to me.
Appreciate the help MUCHLY!!!
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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:27 PM
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Great car! Mine is a '68 with a bench seat and auto on the column as well! Lots of people here with '68s to help out whenever you need it. Post that pic of your cowl tag and it will tell you more about your car.


Randy C.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:41 PM
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Here goes on your cowl tag:


10E = time build code = October (10), 5th week of that month (E), 1967.


ST 68 = style/model year = 1968


33687: 3 = GM division = Oldsmobile; 36 = model series = Cutlass V8; 87 = body type = holiday coupe. Don't let the "36" code upset you; your VIN says you have a real 4-4-2. Lansing marked all of their '68 4-4-2s as Cutlass V8 on the trim tag.


LAN = assembly plant = Lansing MI


174445 BODY = Fisher body number (no relation to the VIN at all)


TR 957 = interior color and front seat type = parchment color with a split bench seat


F - 6 PAINT = lower (F) and upper (6) body color/type of top = teal frost (F) for a lower body color with a parchment vinyl top (6).


That's how your car came from the assembly plant! I've noted a couple of things from your pics. First, the steering wheel is from the 70-72 model year cars. As well, I don't recall a fold-down arm rest being offered with the bench seat for '68 so yours might be an upgrade. Also, your W36 stripe was not on the car from the factory. The 442 numbers are in a different place for the W36 stripe than without the stripe and your numbers are positioned for a non-W36 stripe car. It sure looks like your car was well taken care of and that is what's most important. The bench seat is great...your honey can sit right next to you when you go cruising!

Randy C.

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Old August 11th, 2015, 10:28 PM
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Very nice and welcome from Sacramento CA. Great to see another 68 owner!

Bill
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Old August 12th, 2015, 03:42 AM
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Wow..
Many thanks. Lots of great info to absorb. I guess she has had a complete makeover. At least it is a valid 4-4-2. I am a bit disappointed until I step out into the garage and look at her. Or fire her up and drive down the road. She sounds, looks, drives and rides great.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 03:55 AM
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Welcome to CO Dave, nice ride. Dig your avatar too.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 05:21 AM
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Nothing wrong with that 68!

Very nice car Dave....lovin the 68's!
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Old August 12th, 2015, 05:31 AM
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A great welcome folks, I appreciate that. For a newbie, it's a good feeling.
I just made my introduction post, probably should have done that first. But was a bit anxious to get started learning.
Will cruise around and look for the classified section. I guess my first post there will be to offer a swap of steering wheels. LOL
This one is super clean and after looking at the BAP catalog, I suspected it had been changed and wasn't the correct one. I suspect the interior is all updated also. One clue to me is the drivers door panel has a mirror remote stick but the mirror is a manual one. The correct one though. But no passenger mirror to match. After looking at many pictures online, it seems about 50% had passenger side rear view mirrors.
We bought an enclosed trailer to take our car to long distance shows. This was my first time to pull such a box and I had maximum pucker factor going on not being able to SEE my cargo. And it was a 2-1/2 hour drive one way. I was finally able to relax a little AFTER the wheels touched my driveway. Here I am unloading.


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Old August 12th, 2015, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rcorrigan5 View Post
Here goes on your cowl tag:

Also, your W36 stripe was not on the car from the factory. The 442 numbers are in a different place for the W36 stripe than without the stripe and your numbers are positioned for a non-W36 stripe car.
Randy C.

Hmmm...this has me a bit confused. According to the BAP catalog, page 112, this racing stripe was an option for 68'. And it, as well as the 4-4-2 emblem, are in the correct place. At least comparing my photo to theirs. And red was an optional color.
But it certainly may not have been on the car originally, since we know for a fact the paint color WAS changed.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 09:29 AM
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Sharp car. I've always liked black cars with black vinyl tops.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 09:48 AM
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Stripe and emblem location

I think your stripe looks pretty close in it's forward/rearward location, but the numerals seem too high on the fender. View randy's (rcorrigan5) avatar - that stripe and emblem location are known factory installed and correct. When the stripe was ordered, the numerals are located a little lower than on non-stripe cars. Having said all this, a lot of stripes are just "off" a little, especially some of those seen in the catalogs. Once you know and recognize the differences they are usually pretty easy to spot.

I really like your car! Especially the sound of it emerging from the trailer!!
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Old August 12th, 2015, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by rcorrigan5 View Post
Also, your W36 stripe was not on the car from the factory. The 442 numbers are in a different place for the W36 stripe than without the stripe and your numbers are positioned for a non-W36 stripe car.
Hi, how do you know it didn't come with the stripe from the factory? Just because you infer it's not original doesn't imply it was not factory-built with the stripe.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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She sounds sweet, congrats!
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Old August 12th, 2015, 10:35 AM
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Nice color! I see a few things that are not correct. But Im not here to take away from your car. I see a very nice score! Body is laser straight. Enjoy it, drive it and if your interested is getting down to the nuts n bolts your certainly in the right spot. Ill bet it puts a smile on your face every time you drive it!
The car on my avatar was originally a "teal" well turquoise (K code not F) car with code 6 top and pearl gut. Neither K or F are very common colors for sure. Ive personally never seen a K code parchment car in person. Cant recall seeing a F code either. But I did the color change to suit me. Eventually I think Im putting the parchment interior back in it?
Ask away as 68s are my thing...one year wonder!

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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by droldsmorland View Post
Nice color! I see a few things that are not correct. But Im not here to take away from your car. I see a very nice score! Body is laser straight. Enjoy it, drive it and if your interested is getting down to the nuts n bolts your certainly in the right spot. Ill bet it puts a smile on your face every time you drive it!
Ask away as 68s are my thing...one year wonder!

LOL
Many thanks, it does put a smile on my face even when I'm not behind the wheel. I just walk by the garage door and look in and the smile returns.
Please clue me in to what you see as not correct. We have already established the steering wheel is for the later model. The seats were in question but a bench with armrest seems to have ben an available option. According to a restoration upholstery vendor shows.
I think the entire interior was updated, just my suspicion.
I know I'll not have a Barrett-Jackson quality car but I would like to stick to the little details of a factory setup if possible.
Thanks for the info!!!
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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:12 AM
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And an absolutely beautiful 4-4-2 in your avatar!!!!
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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:25 AM
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Welcome aboard

Sweet ride
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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ezman604 View Post
I know I'll not have a Barrett-Jackson quality car but I would like to stick to the little details of a factory setup if possible.
Thanks for the info!!!

I've been to Barrett-Jackson. Your car may be better than "Barrett-Jackson quality".

I appreciate your efforts to keep your car original, or at least discover what's correct and what isn't. This can mean the difference between a nice driver restoration and a butchered restomod.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:46 AM
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Dave, if you are interested there are numerous threads/discussions about the W36 stripe on here, that touch on what Randy was saying, among other facts.
I do like it on your car
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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:53 AM
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Thank you much Sammy. I'm getting settled in here and will do a search and lots of reading as I find time.
But time is a at a premium for me.



















As for the avatar, I was tempted to have our 4-4-2 but as an old retired USAF guy, I'm partial to anything eagle and flag related.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Diego View Post
Hi, how do you know it didn't come with the stripe from the factory? Just because you infer it's not original doesn't imply it was not factory-built with the stripe.

The only reason I say that is because the 442 numbers appear to be too high up on the fender, plus a little too far forward. That's where they placed the numbers for a non-W36 car. Cars with the W36 stripe had the numbers placed lower and further aft so the bottom of the stripe appeared in the middle between the rear of the fender and the wheel opening, and the numbers looked centered between the bottom and top of the fender.


I didn't realize this until my brother decided to put the W36 stripe on his '68 and found out, via a stencil kit from either SupercarsUnlimited or Fusick, that the numbers go in a different place for the W36 stripe. Fortunately for him, he was able to relocate the numbers on his fenders and had the stripe put on when he had his car painted. It's shown in manual section 11, page 105 of the '68 assembly manual, in the bottom left and right drawings.


As an aside, another thing we discovered about that same time is that the 66-67 version of the 14X6 SSI wheel won't fit on a '68 or a '69 with disc brakes. We tried, but they just wouldn't go on! Olds did offer a disc brake-capable 14X6 SSI wheel late in the '69 production year (somewhat rare nowadays) but then starting the 1970 production year offered both in either a drum or disc brake-capable 14X7 wheel.


I believe I was too critical in my observations and I apologize for that. Bottom line, Dave, is that you got a winning car from the start and that's a great fortune ready to enjoy!

Randy C.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 01:38 PM
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It's all good Randy, you were not too critical. It's great information to know and made me dig and learn more. The stripe looks great on this car even if not placed exactly. But, I also discovered the Canadian built cars with the W36 stripe added did not relocate the 442 emblem. So mine has the appearance of a Canadian built option. LOL
I found the thread where the exact measurements were posted for a factory W36 stripe and saved the pictures for future reference.
ALL great info. I'm absorbing like a sponge and it is appreciated!!!
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Old August 12th, 2015, 02:02 PM
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Jl2? Does it have dual piston calipers?. You need the 442 on the front grill
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Old August 12th, 2015, 02:07 PM
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Haven't had a chance to look that close at the brakes and such yet, but will check. The grille emblem was in the glove box. They had repainted the inserts red I guess to match the stripe.

But the mounting studs were broken anyway so I ordered and just received today a genuine GM certified reproduction. Genuine diamel diamond? LOL
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Old August 12th, 2015, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Diego View Post
Hi, how do you know it didn't come with the stripe from the factory? Just because you infer it's not original doesn't imply it was not factory-built with the stripe.

Because nobody doing a restoration would take the numbers from the "right" location and move them to the "wrong" location and then put the stripe on.


Come on Diego




That all being said it's a very nice car. Is your plan to put it back to original?
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Old August 12th, 2015, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ezman604 View Post

But, I also discovered the Canadian built cars with the W36 stripe added did not relocate the 442 emblem. So mine has the appearance of a Canadian built option. LOL
I still haven't seen any proof of this......


Where did you find it?
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Old August 12th, 2015, 02:21 PM
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In my search here for W36. I'll see if I can find it again.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 02:55 PM
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Well crud...I KNOW I found it earlier today. I'll look more tonight and post the link as soon as I trip over it again.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ezman604 View Post
Well crud...I KNOW I found it earlier today. I'll look more tonight and post the link as soon as I trip over it again.
As the bearer of the W-36 correctness torch, I hope that any such "proof" is in the form of factory documentation and not something somebody wrote on the web. The factory engineering drawings, as reproduced in the Assembly Manual for 1968, clearly show the fender piercings in a different location with the W-36 option. Since the stripes were sprayed with a template, it is highly unlikely that one assembly plant painted them differently than the others (and differently than the engineering documentation).

My first two Oldsmobiles were 68s (a VC and a 442), so I've always been partial to them. Nice looking car.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ezman604 View Post
Haven't had a chance to look that close at the brakes and such yet, but will check. The grille emblem was in the glove box. They had repainted the inserts red I guess to match the stripe.

But the mounting studs were broken anyway so I ordered and just received today a genuine GM certified reproduction. Genuine diamel diamond? LOL
I had a '68 years ago, and it's my recollection that the grille emblem WAS painted red. Or could I be dreaming? Is the repop emblem red?
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Old August 12th, 2015, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by '69442ragtop View Post
I had a '68 years ago, and it's my recollection that the grille emblem WAS painted red. Or could I be dreaming? Is the repop emblem red?
Your recollection is faulty.

The 68 emblems are all black inside the chrome edge. I've got an NOS 68 grille emblem still in the box. It is NOT red. The only red one was the 1972 grille emblem.
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