The 1968 Oldsmobile 442 is a car that has captured the hearts of car enthusiasts for generations. From its factory delivery to its restoration, this car has been on a journey that is nothing short of remarkable. In this article, we will explore the story of this car, its original owner, and the passion and dedication that went into its restoration.

Kansas is a state that is all about looking to the West. The state’s name comes from the Native American phrase that translates to “of the wind.” In the distance, beyond the seemingly endless golden fields, begins the long upward climb to the Rocky Mountains. As a brand-new car, this 1968 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Holiday Coupe made that journey, ending it in Colorado with its rear tires wrapped in chains and ski gear strapped to its roof. In the beginning, this 4-4-2 was clad in Buckskin, the off-tan Oldsmobile factory color, with a black vinyl roof. As the photography demonstrates, it didn’t stay that way. Still in the hands of its original owner, the 4-4-2 has gotten a complete cosmetic makeover that firmly plants it on “day two” turf. Restored four different times before arriving at its present appearance, the car has been on a journey that started before it was even built, on the day John Breitenbach selected its specifics on an order form.

John Breitenbach, the original owner of the 1968 Oldsmobile 442, had just received a degree in engineering when he went out looking for his first new car. Being a fan of GM cars, he chose the 4-4-2 over the Dodge Charger, admitting that “I barely knew what a Camaro was”. He ordered it from O’Neill Oldsmobile in Overland Park, Kansas and started using it for vacations to the Rockies, thanks to its tallish 3.08 rear gearing specified for high-speed highway cruising.

The Oldsmobile was a daily driver for John, but he meticulously maintained it, perpetually garaging it and even oiling the door hinges regularly. In the middle of the 1970s, he gave the car away to his younger brother Don, who drove it for about a year and a half until he bought his first new car, a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am. John got the Oldsmobile back in late 1975 and began pondering restoration, despite a work assignment in structural engineering that took him to Thailand for a year.

In 1983, John commenced the first round of restoration, saving receipts for everything except for the Keystone wheels he had added during one of the revivals. He made a deal with a Chevrolet dealer that had its body shop next door to his warehouse, allowing him to work on the car in his spare time. John highly personalized the car and took a unique course in doing so, swapping in a black vinyl top and a two-level paint job that somewhat mimicked one of his favorite color combinations, that of the 1978 Chevrolet Corvette with the Indianapolis 500 pace car package.

Over the years, the car went through multiple rounds of restoration, from the engine rebuild to renewal, and full body-off rebuild and cleaning. The final product is an all-matching-numbers 1968 Oldsmobile 442 that is a rarity of original-owner cars from that era. Despite not being involved in the pursuit of trophies, John Breitenbach has a book titled “46 Years of Photos” that includes every historical photo he ever took of the car at dated events, plus personal photos, with family and others, including a lot of those trips west to Colorado.

In conclusion, the journey of a car, from its factory delivery to its restoration, is a remarkable tale of love and passion for cars and their restoration. The 1968 Oldsmobile 442, restored to its former glory, is a beauty to behold and a testament to the dedication and hard work of its owner.

You can check out the video below, which was made by the Lou Costabile YouTube channel