By 1972, a number of factors were squeezing the muscle out of the muscle car, namely insurance regulations and a combination of fuel consumption and emissions output expectations. As such, manufacturers shuffled things around and began to embrace higher levels of luxury with improved handling abilities, often with a whole bunch of garish decals and the name “SPORT” on the fender. Oldsmobile sidestepped too many decals and simply used an S.
Oldsmobile commanded a heavy hand on the streets and tracks of America through their 442 and Hurst-prepped cars, establishing a serious reputation as a performance leader in the muscle car segment. In typical Olds fashion, though, these muscle cars were also known as the gentlemen’s hot rods for their healthy roster of luxury amenities, relatively sedate styling, and often staggering sticker prices, making them fairly unique in the market. But, for 1972, with all those regulations coming forth, Olds felt the 442 needed to fade into the woodwork a bit, and thusly demoted it as an options package rather than a stand-alone model. The company also introduced the Cutlass S as a sort of tweener car bridging the gap between the Cutlass and Cutlass 442. It was handsomely styled with items unique to the S package, most notably the hood, creating a muscular, purposeful look. It also offered customers better handling and came standard with a 350ci V8 with either a 2 or 4-barrel carburetor, the latter offering smart performance. Since the 4-4-2 had become an optional ‘Styling and Handling’ package, it could be added to the Cutlass, Cutlass S, or Cutlass Supreme – which, of course, meant it could also be optioned with the ginormous 455ci V8 engine, the plant that put Olds on the performance map.
Not many Cutlass S 442s were so equipped like this one – in fact, only 134 units would pack the 455. Presented in Pewter Silver with black stripes and interior, this Cutlass S 442 is very well equipped with the 455, TH400 automatic transmission, 10-bolt Positraction rear end, Ram-Air hood, heavy duty cooling, performance suspension package, Tic Toc Tach, power steering, power brakes, power windows, center console with floor shift, rear window electric defogger, twin sport mirrors with remote, interior light group, and much more. They weren’t called the gentlemen’s hot rod for nothing!
The paint is 12-years old, which might explain the stripe – according to a research letter from GM illustrating the equipment on the car, it’s listed as having left the assembly line in Freemont, California wearing Cameo White stripes, so maybe they were (thankfully) switched to black when it was painted. The massive engine has been rebuilt, the trans and diff were fully serviced, the car has been fitted with new carpeting, headliner, upholstery, and an Alpine stereo hidden in the glove box feeding Kenwood speakers – like the list of options, what’s been done to bring this car to a level of greatness is lengthy. By the pictures, it’s hard to find fault with anything about this Olds Cutlass S 442, the paint and interior look fantastic, the engine and compartment are likewise, and all things considering, it’d be hard to find another one like it – after all, it’s a Cutlass S 442 455, one of only 134 made. So rare, in fact, we could only find one comp in an undated auction sale for $31,250. All-in-all we feel the price on this one is totally fair. *For mature audiences only.
"Olds Cutlass: If your friends could see you now. (Buckle up for safety's sake)."