ALSO: They NEVER made a 442 emblem that was red, orange & YELLOW. For some reason I see a lot of repainted original emblems with the "2" painted YELLOW. (notice the side scoop above) Note: The air cleaner "pie pan" DOES have a YELLOW 2.
Another of my pet peaves is, every magazine article including the OCA's JWO (who should know better) have a yellow 2. Haven't any of them seen a 442 emblem?
The frames "ARE" different... A true 442 has 4 holes where the rear-end upper control arm bolts to the frame (note: 10 bolt rears are in the 3rd hole from the top, 12 bolts are in the 2nd), the non 442 has only 1 hole. You can see the difference in the pictures below. This can't be counterfited without cutting and welding connecting points to the frame or trying to accurately drill the other holes. ( The top & bottom holes were non-functional, since there were none on the opposite side that matched up with them.) Note: On the drivers side frame, just ahead of the central body mount is the car's vin number stamped into the top. You may have to remove the body, scrape off the paint to find it. Go to the frame page for detailed pictures and info.
This is the ONLY correct tailpipe for the 65 442. Notice the double crimps and the stainless tip. These pipes came as original equipment. They were very hard to find from a dealer as a part item. The right side is numbered 390178 and the left is 390179. These numbers can be found on top at ther rear tip.
This chart will help you decipher what engine type your have in your Cutlass. While the data is somewhat inconclusive, it provides an overall point of reference for engine decoding. If you have information to fill in the gaps or see an error, please contact me.
In order to figure out what block you have in your car, you must locate the Casting Number. This can be found at the front of the engine on a flat surface behind the timing chain area. ( See picture at top of page) Look to the right (if facing the fan) of the oil filler tube and you will see the stamping on the block. This number should match one of those below. Remember, big blocks are identified by a letter for the ID Code, while small blocks carry a number.
Big Block reference chart:
Casting NumberID CodeCIDYear(s) ProducedNotes
381917A4251965B Bodies (big cars) only
389298B4001965 One year only 442 motor. Cam bank angle is 45 degrees
389244D4251966 - 1967Big car engine. Toronado is different internally.
390925E4001966 - 1967 Lifter angle was changed to 39 degrees.
396021F4551968 - 1972Most common big block. Two types of "F" letters: stick type, and one with two vertical hangers and a base.
396021Fa 4551972 - 1976Very common casting
396026G 4001968 - 1969442 and Vista Cruiser
231788L4551976 Motorhomes (1973 - 1978) maybe marine use also.
Small Block Reference chart:
Casting NumberID CodeCIDYear(s) ProducedNotes
39555823501968 - 1970
395558 3501973 - 1974
2A 2601976 - 1981Solid main webs for 2A's only? At least for '76
557751 2B 26019?? - 1981Windowed main webs for 2B's only?
5572654A4031977Solid main webs possibly
5539904A4031977Solid main webs possibly
5549904A4031977Solid main webs possibly
5572654B4031977 - 1979Windowed main webs always.
Information gathered from various books and individuals. Credit goes out to the FAQ compilers at 442.com
This is the correct air cleaner used on the 65 442. It has more of a stainless look, rather than shiny chrome.
Boxed lower control arms were included with the 442 package and were not used on the standard F-85 and Cutlass models.
Things to look for when buying a 442. If they are missing or incorrect, find out why.
Rear Panel Moulding:
As you can see by my pencil marks, the 442 emblem will cover up the F-85 and Cutlass mounting holes, so you can use any panel on your 442. You simply have to drill 2 new holes.
Interior Chrome & Seat Variations:
Notice the side trim on the seats are different. The Convertible and Holiday Coupes have a brushed look with squared top and pleated seat coverings and the Sport Coupe is shiny with a rounded, pointed top and square tufted seat coverings with buttons.
Kurt Shubert & Mike Stilwell for their contributions of accessory codes and more.
Head Light Bezels & Grill Paint Scheme:
The 442 head light bezels have a slightly different paint scheme. The one on the left is from a 442. Notice that only the two horizontal bars closest to the center have chrome exposed (same as the grill), where the non 442 models (bezel on the right) have chrome showing on all bars and blackened in between.
Notice the cross member, at the rear spring perches, on the 442 (left) has a lip in the center (for no apparent reason) and the regular Cutlass and F-85 (right) do not.
Note: The convertible frame is very similar in appearance to the heavy duty 442, but the rear frame number is ......
9777400 S NOT 9780503 S which designates the convertible 442.
Protect O Plate- for those of you who aren't sure what a Protect O Plate is or looks like, this is it. It gives specific details about the options and accessories added to your particular car. If you are fortunate enough to have yours, it can be very helpful.
Click the picture to enlarge to full size.
Window Sticker options from a 65 442 Holiday Coupe built in Fremont, California.
Click the picture to enlarge to full size
4 Speed Shifter Handle Variations:
The shifter on the left is from a 65 bench seat & the one on the right is from the bucket seat model (with or without console). They both have "442" engraved on both sides. 66 models and up have the Hurst "H" engraved under the "442". The insert shows how they bolted to the shifter linkage unlike the later model which pinned to the Hurst shifter.
The "Frame Number" on the left rear of the frame just forward ot the tailpipe hanger holes is unique to the 442. The center picture shows the location and the left & right pictures are from 2 different cars. Both contain 3864503 S coupe or 9780503 S convertible.
This HURST shifter is from a 65 442 equipped with the optional M-14 Heavy Duty 3-speed transmission ( Ford Toploader ), Introduced in February of 65 ( late production ). Notice it has "442" under the Hurst Logo. The M-13 3 speed came standard with the tubular Saganaw handle shown on the right.
Build Sheet from a 65 442 Sport Coupe built in Fremont, California.
Click the picture to enlarge to full size
Air Cleaner Pie Pan:
These are the two different air cleaner plates found on two different original 442's. ( they are NOT decals ) They are made of a thicker aluminum and held down by a chrome center disk. The one on the right is always accompanied by the "Ultra High Compression" sticker. Both are correct, but the one on the left is more common, at least in my area. As noted earlier "the 2 IS YELLOW" I don't get it!
65 Correct Wheel Covers:
These are the two different Hub Caps found on the 65 442's. ( there are more ) The spoked cap has the two bar spinner ( 66's have 3 bars ). The Dog Dish Hub Caps pictured are correct for 65 and are always accompanied by steel wheels ( R code ) painted the body color. These were not the only hubcap options.
Correct Oil Caps:
These are the two different Oil Caps found on the 65 442's. The one on the left is for the Lansing built cars and the one on the right ( Top Hat Style ) is for the Fremont built cars with the closed PVC system. It is also found on the 66's and up.
One of the hardest things, for most people, is to identify a clone. I hope this helps.
The 65 442 ONLY came with the 400 cu in engine. There were no 330's, 425's or 455's, only 400's. There are myths & urban legends that say some very early 442's may have come with 425s. This has NEVER been documented and the only way to do this would be with the original window sticker or build sheet. The simple truth is that when the 400's were blown, the only dealer replacement available at the time, was the 425 and this accounts for some early 425's being found. They NEVER shipped from the factory with them..
Engine casting number:
The engine casting number is located behind water pump, on top of the timing chain housing, in plain sight. The 400 cid engine has 389298 B cast in large raised letters.
Both heads have a large raised "A" cast on the left side of each, left of the spark plug hole.
The right head will contain an Engine Unit Number stamping begining with "V". This number is stamped (not cast ) into a flat machined pad on the front of the head. The heads could have been swapped at some point in time so it could be on the rear of the left. It should always start with a "V"
Head Casting Letter Engine Unit Number
Engine Casting Number
Most came with square-bore 4GC carbs, but a few came with spreadbore Rochester Quadra-jets.
and PCV valves. These two items are found only on late build '65 442s.
Carburetor datatag numbers are ( Air conditioned 7025151 ) ( Non-Air Conditioned 7025150 ) The only functional difference appears to be the presence of a "hot idle compensator valve" on the 7025151 model. These units had the plugs on the front for access to the jets, which can be easily seen.
Emblem Location & Identification:
The (Red - Dark Orange - Bright Orange) 442 emblems are located on the Grill, Tail Panel, Side Scoops, and Dash. The 4 speed shifter handle has 442 ingraved on each side. Later models had the Hurst emblem under the 442, NOT the 65. The Heavy Duty M-14 3 speed did use a complete Hurst shifter & gate, which had the word "HURST" spelled out.
442's built in Lansing, Michigan have a "4V" on the firewall data plate. ( 4 is the column number ) "V" signifies that side scoops and all 442 (W-29) related items were installed . If you have "HV", it means you also had the thin upper body chrome running along the side of the car. "HVC" designates top door sill and thin body chrome were added plus W-29 option. 442's built in Fremont, California, "DO NOT" have the 4V or any definitive codes identifying it as a 442 on the dataplate.
Lansing Data Plate
Fremont Data Plate
The first thing that needs cleared up is the firewall Dataplate. The two examples below are Lansing, Michigan and Fremont, California. The dataplate on the left is from Lansing and Always has the 4V to identify the 442 option. The one on the right is the Fremont dataplate. Yes it does say "LANSING, MICHIGAN" but it is the Fremont, California plate. The "BF" after the word "BODY" is the Fremont Plant code. California built cars are the only ones that have "Magic MirrorAcrylic Laquer" on the bottom. There is no way to identify a 442 from this plate, only the frame variations will authenticate a 442.
N-98 Chrome Reversed Wheels:
Oldsmobile actually offered a chrome reverse wheel as an option in 1965, the N98. Click on any picture below to see the information.
This is the correct driveshaft for the 65 442. It is a solid tube which necks down at both ends. It is a larger diameter than the standard F-85 and Cutlass shafts. Some of the non 442 shafts have a rubber sleve to damper vibration, but were never used on the 442 due to the increase horsepower and torque developed by the 400 engine.