Olds 442

1969 Oldsmobile 442

“Don’t throw away the lumber. You’ll need it to crate up and cart off the competition. Olds 4-4-2 W-30.” 1969 Oldsmobile 442 sales brochure

  • The car received a new grill design that gave the car a more modern and sleek look.
  • The intakes for 442 models equipped with the W-30 Force Air Induction models were moved under the bumper.
  • A new W-32 option replaced the previous year’s “Turnpike Cruiser” models designed for commuters.

When first glancing at the 1969 Olds 442 models, the new grille seems to indicate a drastically different car than the one that came before it. But in reality, other than that new grille, the car was very much the same as the 1968 442, which had been the first year the car was ever issued as its own distinct model. But the new grille represented a car looking toward the future as far as styling was concerned, and its design would inform the design of Oldsmobile grilles for much of the next three decades.

Behind that grille, things were just about the same as they had been the previous year. The standard engine was a 400 CID V8 that produced 350 horsepower. This power was cut down to 325 with the inclusion of the optional three-speed Turbo Hydra Matic automatic transmission. Adding the W-30 package added cold air induction that Oldsmobile called the “largest factory air scoops in the business.” At over 26 square inches, this claim is likely true.

The “Turnpike Cruiser” had been introduced in 1967 with a detuned engine that could run on regular gas and save highway commuters fuel money. Though it was discontinued for the 1969 year, the W-32 package did essentially the same thing and used Force Air induction on a detuned engine.

Introduced the previous year in very limited quantities, the Hurst/Olds model was back for 1969. This model had been originally designed for George Hurst, namesake of the famous transmissions. The car featured a 455 CID V8 engine, Force Air Induction and 380 horsepower. This rating was 10 less than it had been the year before. The car was only available in a Regal Gold and White color scheme.

1969 Oldsmobile 442

As it had been the year before, the 442 was available in three models: the sport coupe, the hardtop coupe and the convertible. However, other than body style, there was really little to distinguish the models, as they came with essentially the exact same standard features and options list.

Total production for the year was 29,601, which was almost exactly 4,000 less than the previous year. The hardtop coupe was the bestselling model, with 24,193 built, while there were 2,475 sport coupes and 2,933 convertibles built for the year.

Competition

In 1968 and 1969, the muscle car era was at its absolute peak, and the Oldsmobile 442 was one of the best examples, particularly when considering the cars great handling and good ride in conjunction with its considerable speed. While other muscle car models of the day far outsold the 442, it was always praised as one of the best muscle car examples.

But the hard times were just around the corner for the muscle car class, and these would be caused by insurance surcharges for muscle car drivers, and performance would soon begin to suffer as strict emissions standards would put into place by the government. When this was added with the first oil crisis that would come in 1973, it would pretty much mean the end of most muscle cars.

Fortunately, the 442 would soldier on long after most of those short-lived models. That balance of power and ride it provided would secure its relatively long future.

Engine Specifications

Type Size Carb Horse Power Tourqe
W-31 350ci 1x4bbl 325 hp @ 5600 rpm 360 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
W-30 400ci 1x4bbl 360 hp @ 5400 rpm 440 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
V8 400ci 1x4bbl 350 hp @ 5000 rpm 440 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
W-32 400ci 1x4bbl 350 hp @ 4800 rpm 440 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
Hurst/Olds 455ci 1x4bbl 380 hp @ 5000 rpm 500 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm

Performance Statistics

0 to 60 mph Quarter Mile Engine Source
n/a 13.8 sec @ 102.3 mph 455ci/380hp PopHot Rodding 8/69
n/a 13.9 sec @ 103.0 mph 455ci/390hp PopularHot Rod
5.9 sec 13.9 sec @ 101.3 mph 455ci/380hp Motor Trend 6/69
6.2 sec 14.1 sec @ 100.1 mph 455ci/380hp Car Life
6.3 sec 14.2 sec @ 100.8 mph 390ci/315hp Car Life
6.6 sec 14.9 sec @ 96.0 mph 350ci/325hp Car Life
7.3 sec 15.1 sec @ 94.0 mph 350ci/325hp High PerformanceCar
Overall rating
4.0
Looks
5.0
Performance
5.0
Parts Availability
2.0
Collectability
4.0

Engine specs are wrong

Listing of available engines is incorrect. The 350 cu in W-31 motor was never offered in the 442, only in the F85 or Cutlass. The base V8 in the 442 was 400 cu in, 4bbl carb. With manual trans (either HD 3 spd or 4 spd) it was 350 HP. With the TH400 automatic, it was 325 HP. The W-32 option was 350 HP and outside air inducted with the TH400 trans. The W-30 was 360 hp and the Hurst/Olds was 380 HP.

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