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Looking to buy a 1968 442

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Old January 15th, 2018, 01:57 PM
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Looking to buy a 1968 442

Hi Guys,

I hope you can help. I'm from the UK and looking at buying a 68 Oldsmobile 442. As you can imagine, I don't know much apart from what I have read. My first question is, did the 68 Oldsmobile have the factory option rear spoiler? The garage I'm speaking to said that the car was fitted with it at the factory.

This is the car (see picture)

Anyway, i appreciate any help I get and thank you in advance.

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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Raffi View Post
Hi Guys,

I hope you can help. I'm from the UK and looking at buying a 68 Oldsmobile 442. As you can imagine, I don't know much apart from what I have read. My first question is, did the 68 Oldsmobile have the factory option rear spoiler? The garage I'm speaking to said that the car was fitted with it at the factory.

This is the car (see picture)

Anyway, i appreciate any help I get and thank you in advance.
Welcome. I moved your post to it's own thread.

No, Olds NEVER installed a rear wing on the 1968 cars - the wing didn't exist in that model year. The first use of the wing was the 1969 Hurst Olds, and that was the ONLY car that got the wing in 1969. For 1970-71 the wing was available on any Sport Coupe or Holiday Coupe under RPO W-35. It was dropped as an option for the 1972 model year, though many have had it added.

Since the shop or seller is misinformed about the wing (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt), you should determine what else about the car is not true before you put down real money. For starters, verify that the VIN starts out 344778xxxxxxx to ensure this is a real 1968 442 Sport Coupe and not a clone. Good luck.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:07 PM
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Hi, I don't know much about the 68 442 but I believe the wing in back did not start until 1970 on the 442 models. The car looks sharp, does it have its original engine and tranny? I'm sure the members who have the 68's will chime in and give you more knowledgable advice but in the mean time what options does the car have and what's the overall condition of the vehicle? Welcome aboard BTW!
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:09 PM
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errr, I was typing when Joe was posting
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:27 PM
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Joe / Tom.

I really appreciate that.

I've tried to do my own investigating as I want to give the seller the benefit of the doubt too. From what I can see, they have replaced the engine themselves to a 455/461. Before that, it looks like a 445 (i hope that's right). However, the pictures show that the markings on the engine that they removed were 33M148019 (which I think means its a 73 engine?) I also saw the numbers 34477 too which I think mean it's probably a 442. But other than that, I am stumped as to what to look out for. Can I post some pictures for you to give feed back on?
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Raffi View Post
Joe / Tom.

I really appreciate that.

I've tried to do my own investigating as I want to give the seller the benefit of the doubt too. From what I can see, they have replaced the engine themselves to a 455/461. Before that, it looks like a 445 (i hope that's right). However, the pictures show that the markings on the engine that they removed were 33M148019 (which I think means its a 73 engine?) I also saw the numbers 34477 too which I think mean it's probably a 442. But other than that, I am stumped as to what to look out for. Can I post some pictures for you to give feed back on?

Again, thank you.
Posting photos is the best way to get useful feedback. Include clear photos of the VIN tag at the base of the windshield and the cowl tag under the hood. If the VIN starts 34477, it is DEFINITELY a 442, no probably about it. You are correct that a VIN derivative stamp on the engine of 33M148109 is a 1973 block, so (at least originally) that means low compression pistons and crappy J-casting smog heads. If the motor has been rebuilt and/or parts (like heads) swapped, there's no way of knowing what's inside it.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:33 PM
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Here are the images the seller has provided (car in its current state) I'll post the images I found of the car before it had the new engine - I'm hoping to see the olds Friday.













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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:36 PM
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This is all I have until I see it later this week. I have asked the seller repeatedly for more information including VIN and cowl plates but heard nothing yet. I'm hoping its because he's busy.

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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:41 PM
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I think I see a J on the heads on that 455.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:56 PM
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Nice color on that '68, very clean undersides and under hood. Do not think the '68 came with disk brakes but more knowledgeable will confirm. Motor must have come out of an a/c car with alternator on drivers side. Wonder what that is on the firewall ?
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:59 PM
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Well, lots going on there.

The "S" emblem above the trunk lock was not used on 442s, so at a minimum the trunk lid has been replaced.

The grey (silver?) dash and seats have been painted/dyed. The cowl tag will tell you the original interior and exterior colors.

The steering wheel is not an Olds wheel (likely a Buick) and is 1969-newer. The only three spoke wheel offered in 1968 was the (fake) woodgrain, and the original wheel would have used a different hub that was smaller in diameter to match the 1968 steering column. The hub on that wheel is from a 1969-up column that has the ignition key in the column.

This is a former A/C car that has had the A/C components removed and an aftermarket A/C delete housing installed on the firewall. Are the heater hoses just temporarily removed? I've never seen a 1968-69 dash pad that was cracked that much. The deleted A/C means that this car doesn't have the fresh air vents in the kick panels. I can't tell if there are any vacuum hoses to the firewall to operate the original vacuum-operated controls that would have let fresh air in the vents in the dash.

The flimsy bracket holding the alternator is only part of the correct factory bracket system. Without the rest of the bracketry, it may deflect and allow the belt to slip. More to the point, without A/C the alternator should be on the passenger side. I'm guessing that the aftermarket tall valve covers will interfere with the factory bracketry in either case.

Manual steering will really suck at slow speeds unless you look like Popeye.

The "2" on the passenger side fender looks misaligned like the emblems were added. It's still possible this is a real 442 and a rusty fender was replaced with one from a Cutlass, but the VIN will tell.

The plastic baffle under the core support is missing. This part closes the "hole" behind the bumper and forces all air through the radiator. This may or may not affect cooling.

The rubber bumper fillers at the ends of the bumper are missing.

I will say that someone spent a lot of time detailing under the hood and hiding the wire harness, which looks nice. Of course the windshield washer tank was apparently deleted as a result.

That's all I've got with these photos. Try to get a pic of the head casting number also.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by classicmuscle.442 View Post
Nice color on that '68, very clean undersides and under hood. Do not think the '68 came with disk brakes but more knowledgeable will confirm. Motor must have come out of an a/c car with alternator on drivers side. Wonder what that is on the firewall ?
Disk brakes were optional in 1968, but they would have been the four piston calipers. These are an aftermarket kit.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Koda View Post
I think I see a J on the heads on that 455.
I can't tell from the photos posted.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:03 PM
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That really is very kind of you. Thank you so much for doing that. I will try to get more when I see the car. Hopefully, it's still worth seeing?

Again, I really appreciate it.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:05 PM
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some of those engine compartment pics are "build" pics, some are more complete than others
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by hurst68olds View Post
some of those engine compartment pics are "build" pics, some are more complete than others
There are two different brackets shown in the photos and I don't know which one is being used. There's this one that reaches back:



And then there's this one. They are not the same part. This second photo almost looks like the first one was cut off.

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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:21 PM
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Do you think it's worth seeing? I have asked the seller for car history / information and heard nothing.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Raffi View Post
Do you think it's worth seeing? I have asked the seller for car history / information and heard nothing.
Depends on the asking price, what you're actually looking for, and how far away it is. This is obviously not an "investment grade" car. If you want a cool American car that's fun to drive (manual steering excepted ) and the price isn't stupid, yeah it might be worth looking at. Unfortunately I have no frame of reference on musclecar values in the UK. Here that car would probably struggle to bring $25K and likely would be for sale for a long time, with the ultimate sale price of under $20K (assuming the seller didn't luck into an uninformed buyer with way more money than brains).

Then again, there were a lot of overpriced sales at Kissimmee...
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:32 PM
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I feel my dream of driving a 442 slowly fading away.

I take your advice and am really thankful. It gives me a lot to think about. It was cheaper than I expected (you're pretty close with the last number) Maybe i can negotiate - after all, its a car for a lifetime.

Again, this has been a great experience. Thank God this forum exists.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
There are two different brackets shown in the photos and I don't know which one is being used. There's this one that reaches back:



And then there's this one. They are not the same part. This second photo almost looks like the first one was cut off.

There's 2 different type of oil fill caps and it looks like 2 different type of intake manifolds.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 04:34 PM
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Also the tail light lenses are not 442 lenses. The pinstripe is missing from the dash. The fender numerals are too low on the fender.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Yellowstatue View Post
Also the tail light lenses are not 442 lenses. The pinstripe is missing from the dash. The fender numerals are too low on the fender.
Good catches. The dash has been painted, so I assume that's where the pinstripe went.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
American car that's fun to drive (manual steering excepted ) .
i see a power steering pump and hoses in the first engine pic.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 06:16 PM
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Someone spent a lot of time and money on that car. If its priced around the $20k mark, it would make a fun toy whether a 442 or not.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cherokeepeople View Post
i see a power steering pump and hoses in the first engine pic.
You're right. How did I miss that?
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Old January 16th, 2018, 11:08 AM
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[SPOILER]Hi Everybody,

Thanks for your help. I'm going to see it anyway. I figure its worth the distance just in case its a real 442. And I have a good feeling...

I found the sales description -

1968 Oldsmobile 442

For sale is this very nice Genuine 1968 Oldsmobile 442

This 442 has had extensive work done to it over the last couple of years which includes:

Full performance 10.4:1 compression 455cu (450hp / 500lb-ft+) engine build with all pictures of full engine build (9k in engine alone), transmission overhaul with shift kit & 2400 stall converter, powder coated suspension and steering with all new bushes and steering components, large front disc brake conversion kit with dual circuit servo assisted, new brake lines, new rear drum brake assembly, heavy duty front sway bar kit, Stewart Warner Green-Line gauge kit, new wiring loom, HD radiator with large Kenlowe fan kit.... etc etc

A large amount of money has been spent on this vehicle in the past 2 year with all invoices, receipts and pictures to prove all work carried out.

Last edited by Raffi; January 16th, 2018 at 11:17 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 11:11 AM
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Don't be surprised if the VIN is 34477 but the cowl tag is 33677. Fisher Body used Cutlass S cowl tags on real 442s in the 1968-69 model years. This is well documented in Oldsmobile factory documents and is not a cause for alarm. Good luck.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 11:15 AM
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Much obliged.
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Old January 17th, 2018, 03:07 PM
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Good news - I think.

Here are images of the VIN and Cowl. I think, going by this, I can assume its a 442. Doesn't explain the Cutlass S badge on the trunk. Hopefully that was just a replacement and everything else hasn't been faked.









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Old January 17th, 2018, 03:56 PM
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The VIN says it's a real 1968 442 Sport Coupe
TR 943 is blue bucket seat interior
L-4 is Teal Frost paint with blue vinyl top
11E is fifth week of Nov 1967 assembly date
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Old January 17th, 2018, 04:32 PM
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Thanks Joe.

I thinks it all good news, just getting the dash upholstered and then I can take it.

I saw the cowl stated vinyl roof but it's a hard top?
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Old January 17th, 2018, 04:38 PM
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Look at the last three digits of the VIN...
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Old January 17th, 2018, 04:50 PM
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What does that mean?
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Old January 17th, 2018, 04:54 PM
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Isn't that just part of the production number?
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Old January 17th, 2018, 05:14 PM
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What engine do you have?
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Old January 17th, 2018, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Yellowstatue View Post
Look at the last three digits of the VIN...
Good eyes!
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Old January 17th, 2018, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Raffi View Post
I saw the cowl stated vinyl roof but it's a hard top?
Vinyl roof COVERING.

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Old January 17th, 2018, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Good eyes!
Stop looking at my eyes...
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Old January 18th, 2018, 01:12 AM
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Hi I'm confused. If the cowl says that its a vinyl top but the car is a hard top does that mean the cowl is a fake?
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Old January 18th, 2018, 01:40 AM
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just like the added spoiler & Cutlass S trunk emblem - things change in 50 years - upon inspection you should see evidence of filled trim holes from the missing vinyl top moldings

& with the B-pillar it's a "SPORT COUPE" (A.K.A. sedan) not a hardtop

Last edited by hurst68olds; January 18th, 2018 at 01:42 AM.
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