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Classic Used Oil Generators: 1968 Oldsmobile 4-4-2
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By Vern Parker

How many teenagers are accompanied by their fathers when they go shopping for their first car?

Not many, I would guess, and if so the fathers, being fathers, would more than likely be in favor of a stodgy, under powered "safe” vehicle.

On the other hand, Zaman Khan of Lorton, Va., has a different tale to tell.

By the time in the mid 1980s that young Khan was 16 years old he had saved enough money to purchase a used car.

That is when Khan recollects, "My dad took me driving around Alexandria, Virginia, to see what cars were for sale around the area.”

He says they came across a gasoline station that had a 1967 Ford Mustang convertible for sale as well as a 1968 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 convertible.

Father and son stopped and investigated the two desirable cars which both appeared to be in good condition. Khan asked his father to decide which car they should buy. "To my surprise he was in love with the lines of the 4-4-2,” Khan says. "We purchased it on the spot,” Khan says, "and that was the start of my love affair with my 1968 4-4-2 convertible.”

The teenager drove the black car home with the white top in place. For the next few years Khan happily used the Oldsmobile as a daily driver, making mental notes of what he liked – and disliked – about the car.

After graduation the economic facts of life forced the sale of the car in 1989. The car might have been gone but it was not forgotten. More than a decade passed before Khan saw another 1968 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 convertible for sale, this one near Boston, Massachusetts.

"I had 12 years to think about the mistake I had made by selling the car,” Khan says. After a bit of long distance haggling Khan took a train to Boston and bought the Oldsmobile in February 1998.

This latest Oldsmobile even looked like his first one. Khan enjoyed driving his Oldsmobile until the urge overcame him to make the car over to his liking.

When new the 3,580-pound Oldsmobile had a base price of $3,150 and rode on a 112-inch wheelbase. The convertible versions accounted for 5,142 of the 4-4-2 models.

Initially the 4-4-2 denoted a 4-speed transmission, 4-barrel carburetor and 2-exhausts. The nomenclature remained even as the reality changed.

As the Oldsmobile was disassembled preparatory to a proper restoration severe rust problems became apparent. Such problems are common in cars from New England.

In addition to the myriad of parts acquired from after market suppliers Khan bought an engine hood from Arizona, a pair of doors from North Carolina and a trunk lid from California.

The thoughtful Khan took his wife, Jasmin, to visit her sister in Canada. While there he just happened to find some Oldsmobile trim pieces for his car in Toronto.

Khan says his 1968 Oldsmobile is the last year in which wing vent windows were featured. The rear window in the black convertible top is glass. All the glass has been replaced including the tinted windshield.

After the rust problems were corrected and the car was stripped for painting the original Scarlet Red paint was uncovered. Khan opted for the original color with black upholstery and a black top. The distinctive 4-4-2 stripe on the front fenders is silver.

Befitting any proper 4-4-2, the rear bumper has a pair of notches to accommodate the trumpet exhaust tips. "I love the sound of it,” Khan says.

Like so many antique car owners before him, Khan discovered that on a frame off restoration everything is a big headache.

His project began in April 2009 and was completed a month shy of four years.

"I had a budget at one point, Khan says with a smile.

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