Readers Rides

The Ultimate Oldsmobile 442 By Jean-Francois Cleroux

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‘Born in 1970, I come from a family where the only mechanics we knew where working at the local service station when mom and dad had their car serviced. So the car passion never came from my dad, it is something I had since I was born.’

‘I was 12 years old when walking home, I saw a red 442 parked in front of a drugstore. I Didn’t know sweet nothing about the car, but certainly noticed the special shifter. I would find out later it was a Hurst Dual Gate. That car deeply caught my attention to the point of making a commitment to myself that someday, I would own one of those.’

‘After purchasing my first car when I was 15, nothing less than a Mach1 1970 and a Mach1 1973 as a donor car for the Cleveland engine. Then an Olds Delta 88 Convertible followed as a mean of transportation to travel across Canada to see the country. A Cutlass salon T-top, fully loaded that I kept and cherish for more than 8 years, until I had to sell it in order to be more ‘responsible’ as I had now a family of my own and winter beaters weren’t reliable enough to travel with young kids anymore. Man! Those years without a toy car were literally dreadful.’

‘Came back the memory of that 442 with that nasty shifter. As a promise I made to myself 25 year before and as my financial situation was much better, this was the right time.’

‘I took months to locate a good rust free example. If I was going to own one, it had to have matching numbers and be rust free.’
I found the car in a Pompano Beach old car trader. I took a flight and went to check the car out to make sure of what I was buying. Numbers matching drivetrain, the car featured a Dual gate shifter, Rally pack, W25 option with OAI and trunk release. ‘


‘Looking at the car cowl tag and info, the original color was code 20 Azure blue (or baby blue for those who wonder) without the vinyl top, but it does have a blue interior. Kind of cool and different than the popular red or black on black.’
‘So I purchased the car and waited 3 months before it got shipped and imported to Canada. The car needed work, but nothing I could not do myself. Working on your car is the fun part of the hobby.’
I redid the interior, rebuilt the engine to almost factory specs minus the oversized bore and slightly hotter cam. I have been slowly fixing and/or replacing parts as time and budget allows. Next step is the pain, to be Code 20 and re chroming of the bumpers. I go on occasion to ¼ mile track days, ride the car when it is nice out, but I having so much fun working on it.’



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The Ultimate Oldsmobile 442 By Jean-Francois Cleroux, 8.7 out of 10 based on 10 ratings

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