The Oldsmobile 4-4-2 (also known as the 442) is a muscle car that was produced by Oldsmobile. Introduced in 1964 model year as an option package for US-sold F-85 and Cutlass models, it became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, then reverted to an option through the mid-1970s. The name was revived in the 1980s on the rear-wheel drive Cutlass Supreme and early 1990s as an option package for the new front-wheel drive Cutlass Calais.
The "4-4-2" name (pronounced "Four-four-two") derives from the original car's four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts. It was originally written "4-4-2" (with badging showing hyphens between the numerals), and remained hyphenated throughout Oldsmobile's use of the designation. Beginning in 1965, the 4-4-2s standard transmission was a 3 speed manual along with optional 2 speed automatic or 4 speed manual, but were still badged as "4-4-2"s. By 1968 badging was shortened to simply "442", but Oldsmobile brochures and internal documents continued to use the "4-4-2" model designation.
The 4-4-2 became a separate model from 1968 through 1971. The wheelbase was 112 in (2,845 mm), and over 33,000 were sold for 1968. Despite the engine displacement staying at 400 CID, the engine was based on the new 455 cranktrain (4.25 stroke) and the bore decreased (to 3.87). Torque now came at 3000–3200 rpm as opposed to the early 400's 3600 rpm peak, mostly due to a milder base cam grind. Car Lifetested a 1968 4-4-2 with a 3.42:1 rear axle ratio and Hydramatic and attained 0–60 times of 7.0 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 15.13 seconds at 92 mph (148 km/h). Top speed was reported as 115 mph (185 km/h). The base motor was still rated at 350 hp (261 kW), but only with the standard three-speed and optional four-speed; automatics were rated at 325 hp (242 kW). W-30s were rated again at 360 hp (268 kW). Car Life also tested a four-speed W-30 with 4.33 rearend gears and recorded a 13.3 at 103.30 mph (166.2 km/h), which shows the long stroke did not affect actual performance although long term durability at high (6000 plus) engine speeds might be affected.
All standard 1968 4-4-2 engines are painted a bronze–copper color, as with the 1967s, topped with a fire-red air cleaner. W-30 option cars were equipped with Ram Air intake hoses leading from a chrome-topped dual snorkel black air cleaner to special under-bumper air scoops and set off by bright red plastic fender wells. In addition, a Turnpike Cruiser option was made available with a two-barrel carburetor; this was previously available on the Cutlass Supreme for 1967. 1968 was the first year for side marker lights and front outboard shoulder belts, and the last year for vent windows on hardtops and convertibles. 4-4-2s for '68 had unique rear bumpers, with exhaust cutouts and special exhaust tips.
It was in 1968 that Oldsmobile first partnered with Hurst Performance Research Corporation to create the Hurst/Olds rather than just adding Hurst shifters as with earlier models. The limited regular production run of 515 Hurst/Olds (459 Holiday Coupes/56 Sport Coupes) started out as regular 4-4-2s, but were treated to numerous distinct enhancements, both cosmetic and mechanical. All cars were painted Peruvian Silver (a Toronado color) with liberal black striping and white pinstripes, exterior and interior H/O badging (unique to '68), and a real walnut wood dash insert. Mechanically, the cars left the factory with two drive train combinations. Red 455 CID engines were backed by modified W-30 Turbo 400 automatic transmissions. A/C cars got a W-46 engine with a 3.08:1 rear while non-A/C cars got a W-45 engine with a 3.91:1 rear. While both engines were rated at 390 hp (291 kW), the W-45 engine received the cylinder heads from the W-30 and the camshaft from the W-31, making it more suitable for higher rpms. All cars came with bucket seats and a Hurst Dual-Gate shifter in a mini-console. Also standard were numerous regular 4-4-2 options such as disc brakes, heavy duty cooling, and FE2 suspension. They shared the red fender wells and ram air setup with the W-30. Popular, but not standard, additional options included the tic-toc-tach and wood-grained steering wheel. Power front disc brakes were optional.
Performance for the 1968 Hurst/Olds (390 hp): 0–60 in 5.4 sec, 1/4 mile in 13.9 sec @ 103 mph (166 km/h).