Curbside Time-Lapse: 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 – Crudful Extreme

I continue to improvise on a theme of jalopy.

There’s a short street near my apartment building, just a block long, on which this particular 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass  442 was parked, dutifully shifted on alternate-side parking days, between 2014 and 2020. The owner, a gray-bearded man of advanced middle age – one *might* even say elderly – lived above the Dunkin’ Donuts, and alternated between this Olds 442 and a powder blue Volkwagen Super-Beetle of slightly earlier vintage but equal or greater hydrous ferric oxide content for most of four years until the Beetle disappeared in 2018.

The 442 in January of the Plague Year.

I pointed the car out to my older son every time we walked past. “There!” I would exclaim. “That is an Oldsmobile CUTLASS SUPREME FOUR FOUR TWO.” And then I would quiz him. We talked about whitewall tires and eight cylinder V-bank engines, crankshafts and overhead valves and carburetors, and – since I confirmed by VIN this had a 403 –

I would emit my best imitation of a V-8 engine, and then we would go on our day happy that a forty year old car was still there to be enjoyed in 2017, 2018, and so on.

I rarely heard the 403 in this car though. Just once, when I saw the owner and a friend with the hood up and bush mechanic kit sitting on the sidewalk on a warm autumn afternoon. There was that V-8 burble. I got a brief sketch of the car’s history – he was not the original owner, but had purchased the car in Queens Village in 2013, in much better condition.

Like the owner, the 442 inexorably decayed.

When I think of “Four-Four-Two” I think of a young Sandra Bullock identifying a red 1970 442 to Sylvester Stallone in the satirical action film “Demolition Man” – a growling muscle car able to go toe to toe with the gracile electric cars of the future – Los Angeles in 2032. Oh, that car went up for auction in 2011.

Cars evoke memories from youth, I guess.

This 442 was not that red car. Neither the one in the 1977 ad, nor in the 1992 movie. It was just old and tired and falling apart.

 Laminations of rust on the bumpers, and elsewhere.


Evidence of at least one collision. The left flank wasn’t *so* bad.

Another left rear quarterpanel dent.   But oy vey.  

Factory from this vantage! Or not.


Filler no no bondo here just honest ochre-in-waiting.  Let’s zoom that right rear pillar?


No the other side.


And towards the rear.





And now it’s gone.



The marque weeps.