Monday, March 7, 2011
San Francisco Street Sighting - 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. This, my friends, is an Oldsmobile Cutlass 442. It certainly looks quick, doesn't it? It has mag wheels, racing stripes, bucket seats! It must surely be a real barnstormer.
The 442 was first introduced in 1964 as the hottest car in the Olds stable, a muscle machine with four barrel carburetor, four speed manual and two tailpipes. What it meant by the time this car was built, in the height of disco and the depths of the fuel crisis, is anyone's guess. For one thing, in 1975, the standard engine for the 442 was a 250 cubic-inch straight six. If you shelled out the money for the top-of-the-line 455 V8, you had 190 horsepower on tap. That's all. And catalytic converters. And you could order it with an automatic. "442" probably meant four seats, four wheels and two doors.
The body was decently clean and straight when I shot this car. I actually had to re-shoot it the following week when I saw it a second time, to get better pictures of a couple of angles.
I've always been hit-or-miss about post-1973 GM "Colonnade" coupes. The Oldsmobiles have some interesting details, though the overdesigned side scallops kind of ruin it for many people. I'm not sure what's going on with the maroon stripes, but given their combination with matching stripe trim around the wheel arches, I wonder if it's factory. The white-painted Olds Rally wheels probably are. [EDIT: The stripe package is factory, along with the louvered hood and body-color wheels. Color looks like it may be Cameo White over Cranberry.]
As a muscle car, it's not the greatest example; more of a mid-'70s disco cruiser for men who weren't ridiculous enough for a Trans Am. Still, it's a piece of history and I'll take any 442 I can find. Having shot it ten months ago, I hope it's still on the road.
Update, Aug 2018: It is still on the road! Plates obscured per owner's request.
Photographed March-April 2010