The ultimate Oldsmobile has to be the 1970 442 W30. In the thick of the horsepower race, Oldsmobile was at the front of the pack, delivering a car to the public that was little more than a race car with license plates. Heck, the cam was so wild that it wouldn't make enough vacuum for power brakes! Today, the W30 represents an incredible value when you look at performance for your dollar, especially compared to its A-body stablemates, the GTO and Chevelle SS.
And yes, this is a real, numbers matching 442, although in typical GM fashion, the cowl tag doesn't tell us much beyond the basics:
ST70 1970 model year
34487 3: Oldsmobile
87: Holiday coupe
LAN Lansing, Michigan assembly plant
262500 Fisher body number
TR 930 Black bucket seats
PNT 75 75 Matador Red body and top
10C Built third week of October
B85 Body moldings
This particular 442 W30 has received a complete, every nut & bolt restoration by Thornton Classics in Telford, PA, the recipient of 14 AACA Grand National Awards and 17 Oldsmobile Nationals First Place awards. One of the owners of Thornton found this W30 in Scranton, PA as a survivor and restored the car for his personal collection. After finding a rare 442 Convertible, he decided to sell the car to free up capital to restore the convertible. The Olds has been trailered since the restoration was completed and has test miles only. This 442 W30 is a complete, numbers matching car, and is one of only 1032 4-speed W30s built in 1970.
In brilliant Matador Red, this W30 is, in many people's opinion, the most handsome of the GM mid-sized muscle. The proportions are just right, and the semi-fastback roofline makes it stand out among its cousins. Of course, you can't miss those massive hood scoops, subtly flared fenders, and cool trumpet exhaust tips that have their own cut-outs in the rear bumper. No doubt about it, Oldsmobile knew what they were doing. The paint is vivid, the black graphics expertly applied, and the finish work is show quality. With these cars seeing some long-overdue appreciation in the market, first-class restorations are becoming mandatory, and this one has received the ministrations of artists. Look how the light works on the rear ¾ view, accenting the bulging fenders without distortion. You just wouldn't see those lines on a car of lesser quality. The fit of the hood, which is fiberglass as original, is impressive given the dissimilarity of the two materials. I wonder if Oldsmobile had the same fit issues in 1970 that Shelby did?
Oldsmobiles were still straddling the luxury car line, so the 442 also received a good dose of bright trim, including the bumpers, grille, and stainless window surrounds. Sport mirrors were part of the package, along with die-cast emblems on the front fenders, deck lid, and nose. You'll also note the conspicuous absence of 'Cutlass' emblems, because the 442 was a separate model in 1970. The glass appears to be fresh, with a Soft-Ray tint, and the distinctive two-element tail lights offer fresh lenses for a factory fresh appearance.
Black buckets match the stripes on the hood, and the pattern on the 442 is unique in all of General Motors. Expertly replicated, the seats covers, as well as the foam underneath, are brand new, as are the door panels with their simulated burled walnut inserts, an Oldsmobile trademark in 1970. A center console, even in the upscale Olds, is a desirable option, especially when it hosts a Hurst shifter on top of the Muncie M21 close-ratio 4-speed. There's more burled walnut surrounding the handsome restored gauges, and the odometer shows just nine miles since the car was completed. It is truly new in every way. The trunk is very nicely finished, and you can see what your extra Oldsmobile dollars purchased in 1970, because it's fully lined, offering a matching spare Super Stock II wheel, spare tire, and complete jack assembly.
The 442 W30's big claim to fame was the engine, a purpose-built 455 cubic inch beast that makes enough torque to spin the tires through the first three gears. The W30 package included the aforementioned cold air hood, a special carburetor and aluminum intake manifold, a special air cleaner, and a high-performance camshaft. This car also features the G80 performance axle package and M21 4-speed (original and fully rebuilt/restored), which offered 3.91 gears on a limited slip differential, an extra heavy duty radiator, and the FE2 heavy duty suspension, not to mention an EVEN BIGGER cam, which precluded the use of power brakes. However, unlike, say, the LS6, the W30 was available with power steering, although you'll see that the pulley is quite large to keep the belt in place at high RPM and to help the pump survive the rigors of the track. The original, assembly line installed engine block is painted Oldsmobile iridescent blue, making it glow like some kind of exotic element, and the special W30 intake is left raw, as original. Correct hoses and clamps, reproduction decals, and accurate assembly line markings make this a show-quality engine compartment, and it is so fresh, that even the paint around the exhaust ports is virtually unblemished. This car is ready to compete today.
The chassis is also detailed, including the red oxide floors, satin black frame, and exceptionally well finished suspension components. The FE2 heavy duty suspension looks more or less the same as the standard setup, but experts will spot the differences and see that all the right parts have been installed. Front disc brakes were included with the 442, and work extremely well even without the power assist. There's a reproduction exhaust system that gives the big Olds just the right soundtrack, and hasn't sacrificed authenticity for cheap thrills that come with loud aftermarket mufflers. Thankfully, the 14-inch Super Stock II wheels haven't been color-matched to the body, instead wearing subtle charcoal gray paint and a set of original style G70-14 Firestone Wide Oval tires.
It appears that the day of the 442 is already upon us, but it's not too late. 442s are just starting to appreciate, so now is the time to move. Buy now and get in on the ground floor of the movement that will shortly put these into the six-figure range. It happened with the Ram Air GTOs, it happened with the LS5 and LS6 Chevelles, and it's happening as we speak with the Buick GS. Do not miss another opportunity to be a leader instead of a regretful follower who was a day late and a dollar short. This spectacular, numbers matching W30 is show-ready and poised to start collecting some serious trophies. Wouldn't you love to see your name on them? Call today.
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