1978-79 Oldsmobile 442
Back in the late ‘60s, the Oldsmobile 442 was a well-respected car. During its heyday, the 442 name stood for the 400 cubic inch engine, four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. But after the introduction of the big block and other options, all that changed while the name stuck. Although many legendary muscle cars died in the early ‘70s, Oldsmobile kept the 442 alive. Yet it was still far from the standards of its predecessors.
The mid-70s 442 was just an option on mid-size luxury coupes. Unfortunately, it was a marketing gimmick, rather than a full-fledged muscle car with powerful engines and crazy acceleration times. And even though Oldsmobile tried to keep the 442 legend alive, industry restrictions kept it from being more than just a couple of stickers on a regular model.
However, the lowest point in the 442’s evolution came in 1978 when they offered it as an option on the compact Cutlass. Tragically, Olds only provided the 442 option on V6 and 305 V8 models with four-barrel carburetors. The max power was 160 HP for 1978 and 170 HP for 1979. Sadly, that was about a third of what a true Oldsmobile 442 could generate back in the day.
The other shocking fact is that drivers could get the 442 option on a hatchback body, which was absurd. Fortunately, in the early ‘80s, the 442 returned as a more serious performance machine. But 1978 to 1979 were the lowest point in the history of this legendary muscle car.