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Oldsmobile was founded in 1897 by Ransom E. Olds and was one of the best selling car companies in America. General Motors bought out the company in 1908 where it was positioned below Cadillac and Buick, but above Chevrolet. The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado was the first American front-wheel drive car. It was powered by a big block 425 cubic inch V-8 rated at 385 horsepower. Oldsmobile was phased out by GM in 2004.
The Oldsmobile Cutlass debuted in 1961 and continued production until 1999. By the 1980's, four different cars, all called Cutlass, were in production at the same time. The 1961 Cutlass was originally the sports coupe version of the mid-sized Olds F-85. The 442 version of the Cutlass was introduced in 1964. By 1982, a front-wheel drive Cutlass Ciera was introduced, while the Cutlass Supreme continued on as a rear-wheel drive car until 1988.
The 442 was Oldsmobile's entry into the muscle car market. Debuting in 1964, the 442 (four-barrel carb, four speed manual transmission, and dual exhaust) was an option package on the Cutlass. Though it started out with a 310 horsepower 330 cubic inch engine with 355 ft-lbs of torque, by 1968 you could order a Hurst/Olds with a 390 hp 455 that made 500 ft-lbs of torque. 1973 would be the last year for the original 442's.