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

TypeSizeCarbHorse PowerTourqe
W-31350ci1x4bbl325 hp @ 5600 rpm360 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
W-30400ci1x4bbl360 hp @ 5400 rpm440 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
V8400ci1x4bbl350 hp @ 5000 rpm440 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
W-32400ci1x4bbl350 hp @ 4800 rpm440 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
Hurst/Olds455ci1x4bbl380 hp @ 5000 rpm500 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm

Performance Statistics

0 to 60 mphQuarter MileEngineSource
n/a13.8 sec @ 102.3 mph455ci/380hpPopHot Rodding 8/69
n/a13.9 sec @ 103.0 mph455ci/390hpPopularHot Rod
5.9 sec13.9 sec @ 101.3 mph455ci/380hpMotor Trend 6/69
6.2 sec14.1 sec @ 100.1 mph455ci/380hpCar Life
6.3 sec14.2 sec @ 100.8 mph390ci/315hpCar Life
6.6 sec14.9 sec @ 96.0 mph350ci/325hpCar Life
7.3 sec15.1 sec @ 94.0 mph350ci/325hpHigh 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.

2 Comments

  • So far everything that I have read does not it the 455 in any of the 442s except the Hurst version. I can testify that atleast 1 was produced with the 455 and was not a Hurst. A friend of my father ordered it. It came with track lock rear, 4spd w/Hurstshifter, front disk, ps, Mark 111 ram air under the frontbumper, orange plastic inner fenders.. Green with White stripes. Rally wheels. i dont remember the rear ratio but I thought it might have been 390 or 410. Last known area was Racine Wisc in 1976 when I traded in on 71 Capri Classic. It was really quick up 100 then started to flatten out a bit.

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