Drag racing is supposed to be fun, so having that mindset will help you enjoy your time at the track no matter what’s going on. Bill Marks likes to have fun, and that’s how he has approached the build of his exquisite 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442.
Marks has always been a car guy — he grew up in the era where it was cool to have a badass car, and the Oldsmobile brand has been a family tradition in the Marks household. Bill’s older brother owned several 442s and that made him appreciate the classic lines of the car. When Marks had the chance he picked up a 442 of his own. But this isn’t your average Cutlass by any means — it’s packing a nasty big-block Chevy, a giant supercharger, and it has a clutch for good measure.
“I found this car in a barn over 30 years ago and purchased it for just $500. It was your typical cheap barn find car: very rough around the edges, but it was what I wanted. The car lived its life on the streets for a long time, but as the years passed I wanted to make more power. It was a nitrous car at one point, and about three years ago we decided to really step things up in the performance department. That choice to make even more power led to the car turning into what you see today,” Marks explains.
The current chromoly chassis was fabricated by Kocher Chassis & Restoration. You’ll find the original factory steel roof, quarter panels, and rockers are still wrapped around the beautiful chassis. A set of Strange Engineering struts are in charge of the front suspension’s dampening duties; in the rear, you’ll find a custom 4-link rear suspension that holds a Mark Williams floater rearend and Koni shocks in place.
Jensen’s Engine Technologies built the 572 cubic-inch big block that’s nestled in between the front fenders of Mark’s 442. The rat motor features a Brodix block, aluminum cylinder heads, and intake. The F1-X ProCharger sends its boosted air inside the engine through the APD carburetor that rests on top of the engine. Marks controls the engine with an MSD Grid system and gathers data through a Racepak data logger. One of the coolest things about Marks’ 442 is the fact that he still bangs gears thanks to a Liberty five-speed transmission and Boninfante clutch.
Marks could have left well enough alone and just enjoyed a nice street version of his 442, but that’s not the route he wanted to go. The final product is a car he’s very proud of and loves to drive.
“I took the Olds to this level because it’s just so much fun to go fast. This car is really a handful to drive, but that’s what makes it great. I absolutely love getting behind the wheel of this car and driving it as hard as I can at the track,” Marks says.
Bill Marks has done things the right way with his 442. He has built a car that fits his vision and does what he wants it to do, and even if there are people out there who don’t like the car, he could care less. There’s a good chance if you look close enough you can actually see the smile on Marks’ face as he’s ripping gears in his wild Oldsmobile 442 when he’s making a pass at the track.