1963 was the year that the Beatles released their first and second albums in Britain, the year Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, and the year that JFK was assassinated. In the frenzy of a changing world, arts and sciences still persevered. That fact was evident in the wonderful cars of '63 that we'll take a look at today.
...and P.S. we left a big one out on purpose to do a future newsletter, can you guess what it was?
Every year, the talk of the office on the day following the big game revolves around either the game, the halftime shows or which was the best commercial. The game ended up being a bit more interesting than the first half would indicate, and the halftime show was a massive production, but how did the car companies do with their commercials? Just before the game, I threw out the question on our Facebook of which car brand would have the best commercial. According to the USA TODAY Ad Meter®, we have the answers.
Can good things come from in-company-rivalries? In the 1960s, the Pontiac division of General Motors had released the GTO, which became a cultural icon as we have covered in our story All Rise for the Judge. In response, Oldsmobile, a fellow division of GM released the 442 option for it's Cutlass models. In 1968, the 442 became it's own separate model.
So why the name 442? Well first, remember it is pronounced 4-4-2, not four hundred and forty-two. This is in reference to the combination of a 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission and 2 exhausts. The engines inside of the early 442s were 400 cu in. V8s, painted bronze-copper.
Oldsmobile partnered with Hurst, to develop the Hurst/Olds, an enhanced version of the 442. The 1968 model featured a Peruvian Silver paint scheme with black striping and white pinstripes. While this was a pretty conservative paint scheme compared to it's successor, the black trunk lid added an unforgettable distinction. We also can't forget the 455 cu in. engines that were dropped in, along with a force air system, 3-speed turbo hydra-matics and a console mounted Hurst® Dual-Gate shifter.
The following year the Hurst/Olds got even more ambitious, adding a unique and more efficient dual-snout scoop system on the hood. The trademark paint scheme now featured a white body, with a more daring firefrost gold striping. On the deck lid Hurst added an air foil that not only looked awesome, but allegedly provided 15 lbs. of down force at 60 mph.
Hurst wouldn't put out another of their H/O 442s for a few years, but Oldsmobile stepped up after General Motors loosened the leash a little, dropping their cap on engine sizes. The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 now came standard with a 455 V8 that was rated at 365 hp and 500 lbs/ft of torque. In addition to the engine size, they adopted the dual-snout scoops on a fiberglass hood. Things also got a bit more psychedelic, with the introduction of Dr. Oldsmobile, and his "Performance Committee" of cartoonish personifications of the car's attributes. Their marketing also pointed out that if you were sick of being in a super groovy band surrounded by attractive females, you could escape from the ordinary in their 1970 442.
So can the car go? Well, see for yourself. I was browsing YouTube looking for old Oldsmobile commercials and came across this shaky, but cool drag strip video.
Millions entered, but only 1 could be chosen. OK, around 500 entered, but it was still a tough task to think of the best caption for this photo. Kevin Bowen came up with the winner and we sent him our caption contest prize pack. His caption "This is not what we meant by winterizing your car" was selected by a process, which involved 4 rounds of different unbiased judges. If you didn't win this time, don't worry, we're going to be doing this more throughout 2013. So keep looking out for our next caption contest.