Street Feature: Dan’s Jet Boat Engine-Powered Oldsmobile 442

Over the past few decades, the meaning of 4-4-2 on the 1964 and later Oldsmobile has taken on many different meanings. Many have pointed out that the 4 couldn’t be 4-barrel carburetor, because they offered a 2 barrel carburetor in later years, which they then attributed to the number 2. They also pointed out that the car didn’t always have a 4-speed transmission. Then there’s the whole quad 4 era, we won’t even get into that one.

The truth is that in 1964, when it was first introduced, the 4-4-2 stood for 4 barrel, 4-speed, 2 (dual) exhaust. In 1965, when the automatic was an option, the meaning switched over to 4 barrel, 4-hundred cubic inch, 2 (dual) exhaust. But after that, it just stuck with the original meaning, and was really not to be held to that standard in subsequent years.

Danny Allman, of Bakersfield, California, would throw another monkey wrench in the whole “what does it mean” theory with his 1965 4-4-2. We caught up with him at the NSRA show in Bakersfield, and wanted to know more about his Olds.

Dan’s 4-4-2 has neither a 400 cubic inch engine or a 4-speed manual. His 4-4-2 would actually stand for 4-barrel, 4-speed automatic, 2 (dual) exhaust, because he’s made a few changes to the car since he picked it up about two years ago.

When Dan found the car on eBay, he thought, “I could make a nice driver out of this.” The car had a 350 Olds engine and a 350 transmission, and a 3.08 rearend from a Chevelle. The body was a little rough, he tells us. “The front and back windows were rusted out, and when you opened the trunk you could see the fuel tank,” he said.

Dan wanted to keep the car close to stock, and has left the factory drum brakes and 14-inch Olds Rally wheels all around, and the interior has been reupholstered to stock specs. He left the interior up to an upholsterer, but went to work on the rest of the car himself.

That 350/350 combo had to go, and Dan went with a 1969 Olds 455 jet boat engine, and installed the 200 4R automatic with a Transco shift kit and 2,500 stall converter. His goal was, “to have a river that you don’t see every day,” he said. His other cars include a 1941 Chevy Coupe, a 1960 Bubbletop, and a 1960 Bel Air 2-door, so his Olds has good company.

Dan has dropped the front a couple inches with new springs, and has factory sway bars front and rear, with rear air shocks – a staple of nearly any musclecar from that era. He chucked the 3.08 in favor of an Olds 10-bolt rearend with 3.26 gearing.

As for future plans, he said he would likely re-do the car again if more 4-4-2 parts become available, but for now he just loves the way it drives, and of course, the looks he gets. It certainly caught our attention, and that’s what our Street Feature series is all about: drivers that catch someone’s attention.

If you would like us to include your car in our series, just send us an email. We’re all about drivers that have distinct character, and the only stipulation is that you have to enjoy your car as much as the rest of our gearheads do.

About the author

Michael Harding

Michael is a Power Automedia contributor and automotive enthusiast who doesn’t discriminate. Although Mopar is in his blood, he loves any car that looks great and drives even faster.
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