1971 OLDSMOBILE 442 HITS THE DARK YEARS
Of course 1971 was a terrible year for car enthusiasts. It was the year that the US government mandated the adoption of low-octane, low-lead fuels and ultimately no-lead fuels in anticipation of the introduction of catalytic converters. To deal with the lower octane, GM lowered the compression ratios on its engines, more on the higher compression engines. This, of course, hurt performance badly, and it showed. And the ’71 Olds 442 was no exception. 1971 OLDSMOBILE 442, A BETTER CUTLASS
Of course, Oldsmobile was as anxious to cash in on the Muscle Car Boom as every other GM division. They already had the very successful Cutlass line, which covered the whole gambit, from 2-door Convertibles, Coupes and Hardtops, to 4-door Sedans and Wagons. But Oldsmobile selected the Hardtop and Convertible models to dress up and ‘hop up’ to turn them into the 4-4-2.
1971 OLDSMOBILE 442 MODEL YEAR CHANGES
The Sport Coupe body style was eliminated from the lineup, first time since the 442’s inception in 1964. Only the Convertible and the Hardtop Coupe remain. The 1971 442 stands out from other similar years by it’s blacked-out front grille outlined in chrome, silver headlight bezels, and the round turn signals set in the front bumper. Out back, there are rectangular tail lights. The 1971 above is missing its headlight bezels.
1971 OLDSMOBILE 442 PERFORMANCE DOWN
As an example, the big 455 V8 was down to just 340hp, and even with the top-tier W30 option it only made 350hp. Even the W27 performance package was relegated to nothing more than a fancy aluminum rear cover plate of the differential housing. Acceleration suffered accordingly, down to a 15.2-second quarter mile at 99mph, and zero-to-60 times of around 9 seconds.