Oldsmobile’s 4-4-2 has its roots in the early days of the muscle car era. Shortly after the Pontiac GTO hit the market in 1964, Oldsmobile jumped on the bandwagon with its own performance salvo. The 1964 4-4-2 was equipped with a 330-cubic-inch police-spec engine along with police-spec suspension and brakes. The name “4-4-2” in 1964 simply indicated a four-speed transmission, four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. In short order, Oldsmobile had a 400-cu-in big block engine on offer for 1965, as well as additional creature comforts, like an automatic transmission, to the options list. Although the 4-4-2 was officially limited to 400 cu in through 1969, Oldsmobile used a loophole to use its 455 by partnering up with Hurst, branding such cars as Hurst/Olds offerings with a special paint job and Dual Gate shifter.
By 1970, GM dropped its engine-size limits in the A-Body platform, opening the floodgates of power. The 455 became standard in the 4-4-2. This brute offered an advertised 15-hp bump over the 400-cu-in engine to 365 horsepower, but also a significant increase to 500 lb-ft torque over the 400’s 440 lb-ft in the W-30. In addition to the power increases, the 1970 4-4-2 is arguably the best-looking of the entire model run.
Convertibles are among the rarest and most sought-after 4-4-2s for 1970. While the W-30 convertible is considered the “Holy Grail” of Oldsmobiles, the standard convertible is quite uncommon on its own. This 1970 4-4-2 Convertible offered at RM Sotheby’s is one of 2933 cars believed produced that year. Notable options on this car include a four-speed manual transmission (most 4-4-2s were selected with an automatic at the time) and the Rocket Rally Pac gauge cluster. This car was the recipient of a recent body off restoration and judging from the images, the attention to detail and the dedication to correctness is quite high.
This example was offered at RM Sotheby’s online-only Palm Beach sale last month, where it went unsold with a high bid of $104,500. This is a very close to condition-appropriate bid, which tells us a couple things. First, even amidst today’s uncertain times, great cars are still receiving strong offers. Second, while it is still for sale, the high bid may be within striking distance of being sold. If this car strikes your fancy as much as it does ours, it is still available to make your own.