Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 103

1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass 4-4-2 Convertible

  • Chassis no. 338675M181711

Sold for $27,500


345 bhp, 400 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, two-speed Jetaway Hydra-Matic transmission, independent coil-spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.

  • Recent meticulous detail on a restored original 4-4-2
  • Recent engine rebuild with 500-mile break-in
  • Correct and spotless throughout


Pontiac’s ad man Jim Wangers and division manager John DeLorean are credited with creating the muscle car and subverting General Motors’ dictum against big engines in small cars by creating a large-engine option for the intermediate Tempest. At the time, GM policy forbade the use of engines larger than 330 cubic inches in intermediate-size bodies. The immediate success of Pontiac’s 1964 GTO option laid waste to the policy, and the sister divisions rushed to ready their own muscle machines.

Oldsmobile was first to respond, making their F-85 police package available to the public. It had a four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts, so the marketing mavens christened it “4-4-2.” The engine was the same 330, but the modifications raised brake horsepower from 230 to 310. For 1965, Olds, too, was ready to break the rules, with a 400-cubic inch engine. An automatic transmission was now available, so “4-4-2” was redefined as “400 cubic inches, four-barrel carb, and dual exhausts.” Horsepower was now 345, and three-speed manual transmissions were also offered, the standard unit having a column shift and the heavy-duty three-speed a Hurst floor shifter.

This stunning red Cutlass 4-4-2 Convertible was purchased by the current owner in 2012. It had been restored about five years earlier, with the quality of the work reflected in a number of show trophies, but the new owner took it further. Careful examination by 4-4-2 enthusiast Bob Langtry established that, despite the lack of a build sheet or a Protect-O-Plate, it was to the best of his knowledge a genuine 4-4-2 with a matching-numbers original engine and other significant telltale features.

Though the car ran well, the owner decided to undertake a full engine rebuild to dispel any concerns. The Cutlass has covered just 500 break-in miles since its completion. Further detail work included electrical work and refurbishment or replacement of all trim, including the custom casting of a new rear trim panel, which is unique to the 4-4-2. The black vinyl upholstery was in excellent condition, but the underpinnings of the seats had suffered, so they were taken apart and rebuilt from the inside out. A correct Magnaflow exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers was installed. New red-line radial tires were fitted. The transmission is the original two-speed Jetaway Hydra-Matic, a new option for 1965. Mileage shown is barely 61,000, believed correct.

The black vinyl top, rear window, and boot are in excellent condition. The car has the wire-type wheel covers with two-bar spinners, all of which have been carefully rebuilt. A set of regular Olds hubcaps is included for use in touring. The undercarriage and luggage compartment are similarly clean and correct. Other equipment includes power steering, power brakes, an AM radio with correct antenna, remote outside mirror, and a car cover.

The car is accompanied by a set of original manuals, brochures, and handbook, as well as invoices for work done under previous ownership and for the current owner’s engine and detail work. This must be one of the nicest and most authentic 4-4-2s available in today’s marketplace.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more