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ASEMaster35yrs , Master Auto Tech
Category: Classic Car
Satisfied Customers: 2095
Experience:  Master Auto tech since 1972,I own a 65 mustang and have built a 57 ford race car from the bottom up
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Resolved Question:

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Classic Car
Expert:  Bluewolf6 replied 6 years ago.

Hi Bob,

In a sense your car is the 442 options but that option was dropped. Here is the story:

The 442 name reverted to an appearance and handling option package (option code W-29) in 1972 on the Cutlass Holiday coupe, Cutlass S sport coupe and Holiday coupe, and Cutlass Supreme convertible. The W-29 option was not available on Cutlass Supreme notchback hardtops. This package, which had a modest sticker price of $29, consisted of the "FE2" suspension upgrades (heavy duty springs & shocks, front and rear sway bars, boxed lower rear control arms, and 14- by 7-in [356- by 178-mm] wheels), side striping, fender and decklid badging, faux hood louvers, and a unique grille. A rear bumper with cutouts for exhaust tips could be had when ordered with the optional 455 engine. An L75 455 in³ V8 was available to keep the high performance flame burning, but the smaller Oldsmobile 350 V8 came standard. A special edition Hurst/Olds paced the Indy in 1972. The 442 option in 1972 included the famed W30, which included the still-potent L77 455 engine, which produced 300 hp (220 kW) and 410 ft·lbf (556 N·m)s of torque and incorporated low-restriction dual exhausts. Other notable components included a lightweight aluminum intake manifold, the W25 fiberglass ram-air hood, anti-spin differential with 3.42:1 gears (3.73:1 available), and heavy duty cooling. Due to the low-vacuum at idle, air conditioning was not available, and power brakes were only available with an automatic transmission. Only 113 W30 convertibles and 659 W30 coupes were made in 1972, making this a very rare option.

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Expert:  ASEMaster35yrs replied 6 years ago.
Yes in answer to your question you can sell your car as a 442 if you have the W-29 option

72 OLDS 442



'71-'72 fenders have bumps every several inches or so, on the inner edge where the hood sits. Whereas, original 1970 fenders will be flat.

Special striping on hood, trunk (deleted on trunk if W-35 spoiler added), and sides.

442 exterior-only badging (Cutlass plate was on glovebox). Special grill.

With the 455, you got the cutout bumper and dual exhausts and chrome tips. The cutout bumper could be added to the 350 CID 442.

For a 442 convertible only, the interior emblem should be "Cutlass Supreme", not "442", as it was based on the Supreme body style.

GA heads, with automatics getting the 1.998" intakes valves and 1.685" exhaust valves. Manual transmissions came with the 2.072" intake and 1.625" exhaust valves.

442 was now an option package. It was not a performance option, but handling and trim. Code W-29 was the 4-4-2. Unlike previous years, you could check the vin to determine if a car was a 4-4-2 or Cutlass, but in 72 the 4-4-2 went back to an option. The only way in 72 to tell by the vin if you had a 4-4-2 was if it contained an X for the engine which designated the W-30 package, which by default gave you the 4-4-2.


There were only minor external appearance changes from 1971. 1972 marked the end of 442's with big blocks as standard. The 350 engine was now an option. The W-25 OAI fiberglass hood was optional on all Cutlass variations. All 1972 4-4-2's are the W-29 option (regardless of engine size).


The notchback ("57") body style was only used on the Supreme and the 72 H/O. If you've seen one with 442 emblems, they were not factory installed. Unfortunately, since the 442 reverted to an option package in 1972, there is not a unique 442 VIN. The W-29 442 package was only available on four models that year, the Cutlass sport coupe, two holiday coupes (Cutlass and Cutlass S, I believe), and the Supreme convert. Note, however, that there were notchback bodies made with the W-30 motor in 1972, as this was optional on the H/O. As a result, you could have a notchback VIN with an "X" engine code in 72.


The 442 trim package was available on the Cutlass (350 2bbl), Cutlass S (350 2 bbl), and Cutlass Supreme (convertible only, 350 4 bbl). The Cutlass and Cutlass S could be ordered with the L34 engine (350 4bbl), and all of them could be ordered with the L75 engine (455 4bbl). If you got a automatic trans with any of these you got 2.73 gears standard. You could order 3.08 or 3.23 gears with any of the engines with an automatic. If you had a manual trans you got 3.23 gears, period. The exception is if you got a W-30, in which case the gears were 3.42 (auto or manual) with 3.73 optional (auto or manual).


The OAI hood was a separate option, and the notched bumper came standard with the 455 motor. All small block cars came without notched bumper unless specifically ordered. BTW, there was no additional cost when ordering different gears. The 70-72 442 wings were fiberglass, not aluminum.


Although the 4-4-2 models have been removed from the 1972 model lineup, any Cutlass or Cutlass S Coupe, or Cutlass Supreme Convertible can look or act a sporty and the 4-4-2 ever did. And there are three distinctive optional packages to do the job.


The first available package is the 4-4-2 Appearance and Handling Package (W29). This package is available with any engine, and comes equipped with the Hursh Shifter, special hood, body-side and deck-lid striping, 4-4-2 radiator grilles, emblems and black hood louvers. It also includes heavy-duty Rallye Suspension Package (FE2), which gives it the firm ride a buyer would expect of a car that looks like this.


Rallye Suspension Package (FE2)

Heavy-Duty Front and Rear Springs

Heavy-Duty Front and Rear Stabilizer Bars

Heavy-Duty Front and Rear Shock Absorbers

Heavy-Duty Rear-Suspension Control Arms

14 x 7" Wheels

The Rallye Suspension Package (FE2) is a duplicate of the former well-proven 4-4-2 suspension system. It includes the same heavy-duty components, which give these cars similar performance characteristics. This was a 442 option only.


Availability: Available for Cutlass and Cutlass S Coupes and Cutlass Supreme Convertible. May be used with Super Stock Wheels (N66, N67, or P05). Not available with Firm-Ride Shock Absorbers (FG2), Superlift Rear Shock Absorbers (G66), Heavy-Duty Suspension, (F41), or Heavy-Duty Wheels (N99)


W29 4-4-2 Appearance and Handling Package. Includes Body-side and Deck-lid striping. 4-4-2 Radiator Grille, Black Hood Louvers and Grille and Deck-lid numerals, plus options FE2 (Rallye Suspension Package), and Y73 (Hood Paint Stripe Decal). W39 (Hurst Shifter, 3-Speed Floor, Performance) included with Standard Synchromesh Transmission. Available with any engine. Required with W30 (Performance Package). N.A. with B84 (Protective Side Moldings with Black Vinyl Insert), or Y70 (Body-Side Paint Stripe), and J50 (Pedal-Ease Power Brakes) with L75 (Rocket 455 V-8 Engine with 4-bbl. carburetor).

With W39.........$70.00

Without W39......$29.00


Both of these pieces of literature offer a lot of information that won't be found in the standard sales catalog, but they can both be expensive to obtain. '72 Dealer Albums can be hard to find, because Olds told it's dealer to throw the pages away and re-use the binder for their '73 information.


It turns out that the "colonnade" styling from 1973 was originally intended to be released for the 1972 model year. A strike at GM forced the delay of those cars and the stretch of the 1971 cars to cover 1972. If you look closely, there is very little difference between the 1971 and 1972 A-bodies. The 442 grilles, for example, are identical, with the only difference being the 1971's are painted black and the 1972's are silver. Similarly, the tail light lenses are also the same, with the exception that the 1971's are solid and the 1972's have bars dividing each lens into three parts. Bumpers in both cases are identical, as are hoods.


Engine Specs:

In 1972 the VIN will indicate engine size:

Code H is the base 350 2-bbl single exhaust.
Code J is 350 2-bbl dual exhaust.
Code K is 350 4-bbl single exhaust.
Code M is 350 4-bbl dual exhaust.

L32: 350cu in, 2-bbl rochester, 8.50 CR, 160 [email protected], 275 ft/lbs [email protected] (base engine)
L34: 350cu in, 4-bbl rochester, 8.50 CR, 180 [email protected], 275ft/lbs [email protected]
W-30: 455cu in, 4-bbl rochester, 8.50 CR, 300 [email protected], 410ft/lbs [email protected]
L75: 455cu in, 4-bbl rochester, 8.50 CR, 270 [email protected], 370ft/lbs [email protected]


3 spd manual column (c)

4 spd manual floor

3 spd TH-350 auto (a,c)

3 spd TH-400 auto (b,c)

a = only 350 CID engines

b = only 455 CID engines

c = available with console at extra cost

Rear Axles:



Turbo Hydra-Matics


3-spd manual


4-spd manual

Edited by ASEMaster35yrs on 12/7/2009 at 2:36 AM EST
ASEMaster35yrs, Master Auto Tech
Category: Classic Car
Satisfied Customers: 2095
Experience: Master Auto tech since 1972,I own a 65 mustang and have built a 57 ford race car from the bottom up
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