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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1971 Oldsmobile 442 marks ‘bittersweet’ muscle car decline

Pick of the Day: 1971 Oldsmobile 442 marks ‘bittersweet’ muscle car decline

The big-block performance car came toward the end of the high-powered era

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To some, it might seem symbolic that Oldsmobile debuted a color called “Bittersweet” (officially, paint code #62) in 1971, just as the peak muscle car era was facing a rapid decline.

The Pick of the Day is a restored, low-mileage 1971 Oldsmobile 442 2-door hardtop in that very color being advertised on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Hudson, Massachusetts.

oldsmobile, Pick of the Day: 1971 Oldsmobile 442 marks ‘bittersweet’ muscle car decline, ClassicCars.com Journal

According to the listing, this Olds two-door hardtop is one of just 112 units that were finished in Bittersweet for the 1971 model year.  Adding to that unique appeal is a long list of factory options including air conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes, a center console and a sport steering wheel – and the car has just 78,000 miles on the odometer.

The listing describes this Oldsmobile as a “professional frame-off rotisserie restoration.  Solid frame, floors, and trunk.  Undercarriage is just as clean as the top side. All body lines and door gaps are perfect.”  Even the interior is said to display perfect materials.

oldsmobile

The 4-4-2 nomenclature originally came about in 1964 as a nod to the combination of a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual transmission and dual exhausts.  The 442 shared General Motors A-body underpinnings at the time with the Chevrolet Chevelle, Pontiac Tempest, Oldsmobile F-85 and Buick Special. 

In fact, the 442 nameplate was initially offered only as an option package.  But Oldsmobile, like the other GM brands, was swift to move in on the hot muscle car segment, and the 442 became a standalone model beginning in 1968. 

oldsmobile

This 1971 442 draws power from its numbers-matching 455cid V8 mated to a three-speed automatic transmission.  The seller outlines the car’s mechanical condition by stating that the Oldsmobile runs and drives excellently.  “All electrical works as it should including gauges, interior lights, blinkers, etc.” 

The final year of the second-generation 442 was in 1972, when the name officially went back to referring to an appearance and handling package (option code W-29).  New regulations around fuel economy and heightened attention to rollover protection, impact-absorbing bumpers, and other safety standards led to a complete redesign called the Colonnade body style in 1973.

oldsmobile, Pick of the Day: 1971 Oldsmobile 442 marks ‘bittersweet’ muscle car decline, ClassicCars.com Journal

Taking that into consideration, this Oldsmobile 442 is wearing a color that was aptly named for the time in which it debuted.  The seller is asking $48,900 for the Bittersweet 442.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie grew up in a family of gearheads and enjoys anything to do with automotive and motorsports. He is a contributing editor to Redline Reviews, a YouTube channel with coverage from major auto shows. He also writes for Arizona Driver Magazine and holds leadership positions with a number of car clubs. Tyson has lived in Arizona for 10 years and his current obsession is Japanese cars from the early 1990s which, though hard to believe, are now becoming classics. Tyson can usually be found exploring offbeat and obscure road trip destinations on his blog "Drive to Five," which started as a way to share travel stories and experiences with his now-550,000-mile Acura.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Was motor rebuild how about the turbo 400 transmission is it a w-30 package?how long ago was car re-done? how many owners? Do you pictures from roitersier ? How long have you owned it? Where is car located?

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