This guide will also work well for '85-'87 442s, minus the spoiler/airdam details obviously. The '85 442 engine is exactly the same as the '83/84 H/O. Later ones are roller-cammed, but similar.
The 8th digit of the VIN should be a 9, indicating the 307 High Output Engine. Only the H/O could get this engine, and it was the only engine you could get in the H/O. If there's a 9, you can stop there, that's definite proof. If there's not a 9, it's not an H/O, period.
For further proof...
I don't know how to determine the production number, the VIN numbers are not sequential. If you own an '83-'84 H/O, I strongly recommend that you write to the Oldsmobile History Center, you won't regret it! They'll send you a photocopied info packet with lots of part numbers, diagrams, internal Olds memos, press release photos, and a letter on Olds letterhead saying what production number yours was. See here for their contact information.
What to look at when buying an H/O.
The areas likely to rust first are along the bottom of the doors, and
the rear frame just in back of the rear wheels. Doors aren't anything special,
other than the decals, so they can be replaced with any 80's Cutlass or
The following H/O specific items should be there. See farther down this page for sources and availability for each part:
Grilles (blacked out)
Headlamp Bezels (blacked out)
Hood Bump, trim on the bump should match all the way down the hood.
Hood and Dash plaque
Dual-Snorkel Air filter
8.5" rear end (only on '84). See here for identification.
"Common Problem Areas", along with fixes, are listed on my How-To page.
Parts sources and availability.
|Go to the Parts Department Link and call or e-mail Dal Slabaugh. He has worked a special deal to provide GM parts to Internet enthusiasts at 10% over cost. Dal really knows his parts and service is great!|
|General Motors||Check your local dealer, or http://www.partsvoice.com
is a good on-line search engine.
http://www.gmpartsdirect.com can provide parts if you know the part number. Their initial prices are cheap, but beware of the shipping/handling charges.
800-711-2793, ask for Parts Dept.
|A GM dealer specialzing in G-body (especially Buicks) parts. Cost + 10% + shipping, no tax.|
|Fiberglass reproductions of H/O body pieces, as well as a supplier of stripe kits and other more radical custom body kits.|
|Tamraz's Parts Warehouse
10022 S. Bode Rd.
Plainfield, IL 60544
|Good supplier of more common parts, like taillights, turn signals, grilles. Good prices, quick, and in new as promised condition.|
|Originality Plus||Only listed because sometimes they're the only source for hard-to-find GM parts. They know it and are always VERY expensive. They will price gouge you and I would not give them my business unless I had no other choice.|
|Stencils and Stripes||If anyone has a stripe or decal you're looking for, it's these guys. Nice guys, helpful and knowledgable on the phone, and great to deal with.|
At the Oldsgmail Store or
5014 Elm Street
|A fellow member of the Olds G-body mailing list, he now offers good reproductions of Lightning Rod shifter bezels, boots, and he's a distributor for Stencils and Stripes. He also offers a Lightning Rods rebuild service and frequently has many parts and/or a few sets on hand for sale.|
92 Geneva Ave., P.O. Box351
Westmont, NJ 08108
|Chassis & Body Service Manuals, owners manuals, sales and promotional literature.|
14269 Road 11J
Ottawa, OH 45875
|H/O Spoiler End-Cap Reproductions. $80 either side. Supposed to look/feel/fit like the originals, but I've never seen one in the flesh.|
|442.com Classifieds||A good place to look for or post wanted ads for Oldsmobile parts or entire cars.|
|Part||Availablity and Notes|
|I haven't seen an NOS one ever, let's call them extinct. Lauren Engineering makes a fiberglass reproduction. Your only option unless you get extremely lucky and find a used one in good shape.|
|Grilles (blacked out)||Not available from GM, but you can order Cutlass Calais grilles and paint the grey part black. SEM Original Trim Black works and looks very good.|
|Headlamp Bezels (blacked out)||Still available from GM. You can also paint a normal bezel. SEM Trim Black works good.|
|Amber Turn Signals||Still available from GM. These came on the Calais too.|
|Hood Bulge||If you find a used one, you'll likely have to buy the whole hood. Lauren Engineering makes a reproduction too. The hood trim from the front of the bulge to the hood ornament is not available anywhere at any price.|
|Best option is to talk to Angelo Valentini (listed above). Hurst (now owned by Mr. Gasket, www.mrgasket.com) will still service these (although they are running very low on parts) but they do NOT sell new ones, despite the fact that they're still listed in their catalog!|
|LR Shifter Bezel||Angelo Valentini (listed above) is making a very good (but not exact) reproduction. I see them occasionally for sale by private parties, always at a high price.|
Hood and Dash Plaques
|No longer available. Try classifieds on 442.com or hurstolds.com.|
|I see NOS ones for sale now and then. Wingtips are available from Scott Schmitz (listed above). Lauren Engineering makes fiberglass reproductions. No known source for the gaskets though.|
|Discontinued from GM. '85-'87 442 wheels are the same. If you could find some, repaint the centers argent, and add the stripe nobody could tell. Coker tire (www.cokertire.com) also makes reproductions, but the chrome quality is poor, people have reported rust pits after only a few months.|
Dual Snorkel Air Cleaner
|Long gone from GM, but occasionally for sale by private parties. Expect $200-$300 for a used one. There are a few aftermarket chrome lids that are good substitues for the stock one too.|
|Stripes||Can't buy stripes individually, unless you find some NOS GM ones from a private party. Entire reproduction stripe kits are available from Lauren Engineering or Stencils and Stripes.|