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Home/News and Feature Articles/*Featured Cars and Trucks/ Oldsmobile Featured Cars/

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Gene Horn and his '67 Olds 442 have a long, intertwined history. Gene first came to know of the car in 1971, he acquired it in 1973, and he finally got to work on it in 1977.

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Today the 442 looks great. It is a tribute to Gene's dedication and perseverance.

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1967 Oldsmobile 442 - Gene Horn's long, long road to bliss
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By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Gene Horn's 1967 Oldsmobile 442 was bought new from Manchester Oldsmobile in Manchester, Connecticut by a fellow named Dick Pedemont. Mr. Pedemont drove the car the three miles from the dealership to his house where he proceeded to remove the 400 cubic-inch engine and replace it with an Olds 425 with a dual quad (Carter AFB's) setup.

He drag-raced the Olds in the B/MP (B/Modified Production) class, turning elapsed times as low as the 11.4's. Dick competed at the 1967 and1968 NHRA Nationals with the 442. When he was finished racing the Olds as a B/Modified Production drag car, he added the Oldsmobile Track Pack W-30 ram air setup.

The first time Gene came across this Olds was at a car show at the Hartford, Connecticut State Armory in 1971. By then someone had transformed it into a show car. All of the 442 emblems and Cutlass Supreme trim had been removed, and the car was treated to a heavy metal-flake gold paint job with purple swirls on the sides.

On a summer night in 1973, Gene was hanging out with friends at Bess Eaton Doughnuts in Manchester. This same 1967 Olds 442 with the heavy metal-flake gold paint job pulls in, and Gene checked it out. This was at about 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.

The first thing Gene noticed was the ram-air scoops above and below the parking lights. It was a 4-speed, too, and he wanted this car. Gene offered to buy the car, and he came to a verbal agreement with the owner on price and a meeting time and place the next day to finish the transaction. Well, the owner had just come from a popular nightspot nearby and had had a few too many as he fishtailed and burned rubber as he left the doughnut shop parking lot. He also never showed up for the planned meeting the next day.

When Gene finally did catch up with him, he found that the owner had damaged the passenger-side front fender and had spun a rod bearing on the way home from the doughnut shop. But Gene bought the 442 anyway, for $150, and he towed it back home with a rented U-Haul tow bar attached to his 1966 442.

The '67 had 2nd series Tubular Automotive spaghetti Headers, black plastic fenderwells, and a correct 66-67 400 cu in 390925E short block with "C" heads. Unfortunately, the original owner had cut part of the top off of the W-30 air cleaner and lid. Gene assumes this was done because of the phenomenal success of the 1967 Brainbeau Oldsmobile 442 W-30 that received a similar treatment. Gene's new 442 needed a lot of interior work, but the body wasn't too bad other than the damaged right front fender.

But Gene couldn't get to work on the car right way, and it sat in the backyard of his parents' house until 1977 when he then transferred it to a new home and finally got it into a garage. He tinkered around with it, removing the damaged front end and pulling the interior out of the car.

Dave's Upholstery in Manchester reupholstered the front buckets and rear seat. The dashboard and padded dash section were in bad shape and the cut W-30 air cleaner kept bothering him. After years of stalling, he finally ordered one from an Olds dealer in town only to discover that they were no longer available.

Around 1980 Gene purchased a 1967 Olds 442 W-30 Track Pack car that had heavy damage to the rear section. It turned out that this car was an ex-drag car raced by John Hillman in 1968 and 1969 and known as the "Piecemaker" out of Glastonbury Connecticut. The W-30 air cleaner, dashboard and pad, steering wheel, driver's side door mirror and short block, all of which were in good shape, were transplanted into Gene's 442.

Gene rebuilt the 400 short block using TRW flat top pistons and installed a 308 degree 1966-67 442 W-30 grind camshaft from Supercars Unlimited. Engine and head machining was performed by Dick Pedemont of Auto Machine, the original owner of Gene's car. A stock cast iron intake manifold and Quadrajet carburetor sit on top. He added the red inner fenderwells and went with 14 inch Cragar SS wheels.

A stock factory Hurst Competition/Plus shifter is bolted up to a close-ratio Muncie 4 speed followed up behind with a 3:91 limited-slip rear. Unfortunately, the 2nd series Tubular Automotive spaghetti headers (same style as was on the 1967 Brainbeau Olds 442) that were bolted up to the engine were damaged and rusted out, so he installed stock cast iron exhaust manifolds.

Gene finally got the Olds registered and on the road around 1987 or 1988. He, his wife, and their two sons went to many car shows for about 10 years, but since the late 1990s, Gene hasn't done much with the car. He starts it up now and then, but it has been basically sitting in his garage.

He does have a set of reproduction 1st series Tubular Automotive spaghetti headers that he's thinking of installing. These are the same style headers that were on the 1966 Brainbeau Olds 442 where two tubes from each bank cross over underneath and bolt to opposite header. The 2nd series Tubular Automotive spaghetti headers did not have that feature. Both 1st and 2nd series Tubular Automotive headers look like a plumbers nightmare hanging down underneath the engine, but Gene thinks they're pretty cool-looking. That's his next project.

The 1967 W-30s draw their outside air from scoops hidden over and under the parking lights - kinda neat!

The car looks good from any angle.

Built to replicate the W-30 as it was put tigether in lansing in 1967 is feasable - due in part to Supercars Unlimited.

The interior is back close to stock to to some reupholstering and a dash from the famous "Piecemaker" drag race car.

From 1977, Gene's car as it was being loaded onto a trailer and taken to a garage where he could start working on it. Note the '60 Chevy wagon on the right.

The damage that occurred to the front fender on the night Gene first tried to buy the car from the previous owner.

Repaired front fender.

Here is a "back in the day" photo of the "Piecemaker". It was wrecked, but "pieces" live on in Gene's car.