These days, with gas prices climbing toward $5.00 a gallon, the era of cheap gas seems like a dream. But, once upon a time in America, gas was cheap and plentiful, and manufacturers made cars that maximized their large engines with performance, power, and speed. And no cars embodied that spirit better than the so-called muscle cars from the mid-‘60s to the early ‘70s. We told you about the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 we found up for sale late last year. We would love to see that car go head to head with today’s remarkable find, the 1969 Oldsmobile 442 Hurst/Olds:
The Mustang Boss 429 we featured was one of only 858 produced, making it extremely rare and quite a find. This 442 is just the competition it needs. From the listing:
“(T)here were approximately 906 to 913 Oldsmobile 4-4-2′s were made into Hurst H/O 455′s in 1969. A few prototype convertibles are included in that number. The fact of the matter is, only a few truly investment worthy examplars remain today. This example is #240 in the Hurst/Olds Club of America Registry and is also documented by her original IBM build card and extensive owner history, tracing back to the early 80′s. She also retains her original VIN numbers matching 445 engine and her original Hurt Performance modified TH400 transmission, OH691686.”
Could it keep up with the Mustang’s 375 horsepower with a reported top speed of 118 MPH? Again, we turn to the engine bay description on the listing:
“The numbers matching original 455 engine Rocket V8, factory rated at 380 Horsepower graces the engine bay, red and chrome like a jewel. The original, date coded 4 bbl carburetor fed by vacuum operated Ram Air as it is sucked in by those giant ‘Mailbox’ hood scoops. Other concours details include the original “D” heads, original numbers matching block, stamped belts and hoses, factory correct clamps, etc. The entire drivetrain has a mere 500 miles on it and runs and drives like new, because she is. No worries, just turn the key and go!”
Unfortunately, the description does not give a top speed, so we can’t compare the two vehicles that way. Suffice it to say, it would be a fun race to watch (and either of the cars would be even more fun to drive). If you have any thoughts about who would win this imaginary race, let us know below.
The 442 came about because the General Motors Pontiac division had scored big with their GTO model, which was racking up sales and mindshare as the first muscle car out of GM in 1964. Oldsmobile immediately played catch up, offering the 442 as an option package in 1964 on their midsize Cutlass models, calling it the “B09 Police Apprehender Pursuit” option. By 1965, Oldsmobile introduced the 442 as its own model – according to musclecarclub.com, “it was named the 4-4-2 package, originally signifying the engine’s 4 barrel carb, 4 speed manual transmission, and dual (2) exhausts.” The era of big-engine muscle cars was upon us, and the 442 lasted in various incarnations for many years after the launch.
Here is a 22-minute clip from the American Muscle Car show that details the evolution of the 442. You hear more about the Hurst edition 442 at about the 14-minute mark on the video: