In 1973-based largely on a redesigned Cutlass lineup that was enthusiastically received by the buying public-Oldsmobile grabbed a solid hold on third place in the industry sales standings. A total of 938,970 sales was an all-time model year high.
The totally new Cutlass series cars were based on extremely clean styling, good engineering and Oldsmobile's traditional reliability. Gone from the Cutlass grouping was the convertable, town sedan and the Vista Cruiser wagon.
A new front styling treatment featured seven-inch single side headlamps, new energy absorbing bumpers and bottom hinged grilles which retracted with mild front impact. The rear Cutlass design featured large verticle taillamps. Front disc and rear drum brakes were standard on all Cutlasses.
The gas crunch was starting and economy was getting the nod over sporty looks and performance. The trend was set in the early seventies and by 1973, the industry was getting serious.
A pair of special packages were offered in the Cutlass group: the 4-4-2 and Salon. The 4-4-2 by this time had been reduced to an appearance and handling option. It came optionally on Cutlass and Cutlass "S" coupes. If you opted for the W-29 option you got the 4-4-2 package which included: Body-side and deck-lid numbers, special grille, hood louvers, and stripes on the hood, fenders, and deck lid, plus rocker-panel and wheel-opening moldings. Rallye suspension package (also included): heavy-duty front and rear stabilizer bars, higher rate springs, heavy duty shock absorbers with 14x7� wheels. Available with any Rocket V8 engine. It all looked good, and the 442 performance enthusiast could dream. It was a $120 deal.
Two highly-detuned versions of the 455 were available, but both were a far cry from their earlier 10.5:1 compression ratio brethren. Buyers could choose from the L-77 270nhp and L-75 250nhp versions, which performed impressively under low-compression constraints.
Even though the car maker expected sales to go down, that didn't happen. The 442 production total for the 1973 model year was 10,137, the highest since 1970, and a production peak not topped until 1977.
Buyers were not the only ones who recognized the outstanding nature of the all new Cutlass models as Car and Driver Magazine named the Cutlass as the best family sedan in 1973. On the corporate side of things both Olds and Fisher Body announced a major 3-year expansion program in Lansing, Michigan to add more than 1-1/2 million square feet of floor space. In November of 1973 John Baker was named Olds general manager replacing Howard Kehrl who moved up the corporate ladder. Just a month later Baker, who came to Oldsmobile from GM operations in Canada, died.
1973 Olds 442: Olds Is News
10,137-442/W29 Option Produced
9,777 G37 Cutlass "S" Coupes (8,889-Automatics)
4,165 Built with U Engine Code (L75/455 CID, G37 Model)
L-75 455 w/AC received 3.08:1 gears;
L-77 455 w/o AC got 3.23:1 gears.
A01 Windows, Soft-Ray Tinted
A90 Trunk-Lid Release, Power
AK1 Seat Belts, Lap Deluxe Front and Rear and Deluxe Front Shoulder with: Bucket Seat
AN7 Swivel Bucket Seats
B36 Floor Mat, Heavy-Duty Rubber Trunk
B84 Moldings, Protective-Side
B93 Moldings, Bright Door-Edge Guard
C61 Air Conditioning
D35 Sport Outside Rear View Mirrors
D55 Console, Sports
FE2 442 Suspension Package
G80 Anti-Spin Axle
G90 Performance Rear Axle
JL2 Brakes, Power with Front Disc
K30 Cruise Control
L75 455, 4 BC, 8-cyl., 250 hp
M40 TH 400 Transmission
N10 Dual Exhaust System
N33 Tilt Away Steering Column
N34 Custom Sport Steering Wheel
U21 Gauges, Instrument Panel
U35 Clock, Electric
UM2 AM-FM 8-Track Radio
W29 4-4-2 Appearance and Handling Package, Includes Body-side and Deck-lid striping decal, 4-4-2 Radiator Grille, Special Hood with Black Hood Louvers and Grille and Deck-lid numerals plus option FE2
Y60 Convenience Group, Lamps and Mirror - Includes trunk and underhood lamps;instrument-panel and glove compartment lamps; instrument-panelcourtesy and map lamps; visor vanity mirror
Y72 Engine-Cooling Equipment, Heavy-Duty
Type: Original '73 Olds 455 (457hp @ 5100, 523tq @ 4000)
Block: Bored .060
Pistons: Speed-Pro Forged, 10.28:1 compression
Cylinder Heads: "B" Bracket Ported (R&R Performance)
, flow 278 in/227 ex, 75cc, 2.072/1.680 Stainless Valves
Camshaft Type: Engle JM 28-29 Hydraulic Flat Tappet
Cam Specs: .544/.544 lift, 246/257 duration at .050, 108LC
Rocker Arms: Comp Cams 1.6 Magnum Roller Tip
Induction: Edelbrock Torker , Holley 750-cfm Vacuum Secondary Stage 3 Carb (flows 840cfm)
Ignition: GM HEI distributor, MSD High Energy Module , Hypertech Coil
Headers: Hedman 1-3/4" x 3"
Exhaust: 3" (by Skip), with Supreme Automotive X-pipe , 2.5" Flowmaster Tailpipes
Transmission: TH400, TCI, Aluminum Deep Trans Pan
Torque Converter: Dacco 3,500-stall Full-Comp Converter
Rear Axle: Olds 8.5-inch 10-bolt, Posi, 4.10:1 gears (by Skip)
- 4-Spoke Steering Wheel
- Rally Gauges
- Cruise Control
- Air Conditioning
- Auto Meter Gauges
WHEELS & TIRES:
Wheels: Crager Rims, 15x7 front, 15x10 rear (soon to be replaced)
Tires: BFG Radial T/A 265/50R15 front, BFG 295/50R15 rear
BODY & PAINT:
Paint: Eclipse Blue #29
Cars Magazine test in '73:
Olds 455, 8.5:1 Compression
225hp @ 3600 rpm
360tq @ 2600 rpm
$5,250-Price as tested
0-60 8.5 seconds
� Mile 14.90 @ 97.25 mph
Top Speed 120
Goodyear Polyglas G70-14
New in '06:
Just got the Rallye Rims Sandblasted/painted and Chrome Polished