Larry Roebuck’s 1972 Oldsmobile 442
When Larry Roebuck was getting ready to retire from his career as an accountant, he started looking for a project to keep him busy. He had a ’56 Chevy before and felt that restoring another car would be good use of his time. As he started surfing the web for a new project, his wife Jeanne mentioned that a convertible would be nice to have. Being married for nearly 50 years at the time, Larry understood that it would definitely be in his best interest to find a drop-top project and it wasn’t long before his search led to this ’72 Oldsmobile 442 convertible.
The car was being sold by the grandson of the of the first owner and he supplied all of the original paperwork including the sales documentation and even a thank you letter from GM to his grandmother! All of the original parts were in place along with a 455c.i. V8 under the hood backed by an automatic M40 Turbo trans.
In 1972, the Oldsmobile 442 package was back to being a checkmark on the option list, compared to the three previous years where the 442 stood as its own model. The 442 option included boxed lower control arms in the rear, heavy-duty springs, shocks and sway bars, and 14×7-inch wheels. Strato bucket seats were included, though the center console was an option and it’s interesting to note that the convertibles featured a woodgrain treatment to the dash surrounds and trim. Larry’s car features the Custom Sport steering wheel, console and note the optional tic-toc-tach.
It was a running, driving car, but as with anything over 50 years old, it was time for a complete overhaul and facelift. Once Larry and his son Steven dug into the body, they discovered a little more rust than they thought, but persisted through the bodywork with the help of a number of friends, including a pal that laid down a fresh coat of the original Matador Red hue and white sport stripes using Sherwin-Williams paint.
The 455 was removed and rebuilt and the interior required a complete overhaul as well. Along the way there were some modern updates hidden in the process, such as the use of 134-refrigerant, a 700R4 trans to drop the cruising rpm, and LED taillight assemblies in the name of safety.
Since finishing the Olds, Larry and Jeanne have been averaging about 2,000 miles a year in the drop-top, with trips all over Texas, which is exactly what his retirement plans called for!
Photos by Todd Ryden