1-of-268: 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible “Pace Car”

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It’s always interesting how some of the replicas that different manufacturers release to celebrate one of their models being chosen as the Indianapolis Pace Car are considered to be very desirable, while others are less so. The car chosen for 1970 was a winner on two fronts. Firstly, the manufacturer didn’t build thousands of replicas. Secondly, the car chosen was something that did ignite passion, even in its standard guise. The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 marked the pinnacle of performance for the 442, and the choice of the Convertible as the Pace Car virtually guaranteed Oldsmobile a sales success. Located in Bristol, Virginia, you will find this 442 listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $13,300. The good news is that with the reserve having been met, this is a car that is set to go to a new home.

This particular car is 1-of-268 442 Convertible “Pace Cars” that were built, and while it will require complete restoration, it is a car that could easily command a six-figure value once restored. Apart from a few missing minor trim pieces and badges, the 442 appears to be complete. The owner says that the floors, trunk, frame, and rockers, are solid. The biggest rust issue is in one of the rear upper wheel arches, but a repair panel is included in the sale. It also looks like there has been some form of repair performed on the trunk lid, but it isn’t clear whether there might be some Bondo present. However, the car does come with an assortment of extra parts, including replacement doors, trunk lid, and sundry other bits and pieces.

The owner of the Olds says that the interior is in basically good condition, and could be used as it is. He does point out the fact that the carpet on the bottoms of the door trims needs replacing, but it would be interesting to see how the rest of it responded to a good clean. The grip on the steering wheel looks quite bad, so would either require restoration or replacement, while the original radio is also missing. The rest of it actually does look pretty reasonable.

The 455ci engine for the 442 is currently out of the car, and while it is complete, it will require a rebuild. This is a W30-optioned car, so once rebuilt, that engine would be good for 370hp. Backing the 455 is a Turbo Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission, and a Posi rear end. Even disregarding the fact that this is a Pace Car, that is still about the most desirable configuration that you could order in a ’70 model 442, and it is one of the main reasons that it has become such a desirable commodity among collectors.

The owner rightly points out the Oldsmobile only built 268 examples of the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 “Pace Car,” and he further states that there are only about 52 known to remain today. I haven’t been able to confirm this figure, but that number certainly could be feasible. Even if all of those cars were to still be kicking around today, they would be a car that is highly sought after. Once restored, this is a car that would most certainly be spectacular, both in appearance and in performance. That makes it a car that is well worth restoring.

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  1. Jack Hammer

    This is a great car, totally worthy of restoration. I wish I had the cash and the space.
    I do remember, though, when I was in high school, the term 442 meant 400 c.i, 4 on the floor, and dual exhaust. No ifs ands or buts. I was kind of pissed when these came out, but after spending my entire life in advertising, I am not surprised that marketing people annoy me.

    Like 12
    • Jwinters

      442 originally stood for 4 barrel-4 speed-dual exhaust.

      Like 19
      • Steve S

        This car would be better with the 4 speed manual transmission since that is what the second 4 meant in 442 and it would be more fun to drive

        Like 4
      • Jack Hammer

        I stand corrected.

        Like 2
    • BoatmanMember

      1964- “The package was dubbed 4-4-2 based on its combination of four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts.” 1965- “The definition of “4-4-2″ was then restated as referring to 400 cubic inches, a 4 barrel carburetor (a 515 cfm Rochester 4-Jet),[5] 2 exhausts.” The 455 was introduced in 1970. In 1972 “The 4-4-2 name reverted to an appearance and handling option package ” ~Wikipedia

      Like 9
    • redwagon

      Wow! True confessions right there ^^^. :0

      Like 6
  2. Ramone

    This Olds has enormous potential. I’m sure the right buyer will buck up for it. 455, W30, pace car version convertible, not a rusty mess. I like it.

    Like 9
  3. Steve R

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I didn’t see where the seller claims it’s a W30, it’s not even mentioned in the ad, just that it’s a 455. He says something about 385 horsepower, but that’s a made up number. The “functional factory air filter intake flap” is there because of the hood and doesn’t mean the car came with a W30. Olds Rally’s in 1970 came with the same hood and air filter assembly, yet they only came with a run of the mill 350-4bbl engines.

    If the car is described, someone might come away with a good deal.

    Steve R

    Like 6
    • BoatmanMember

      “The 4-4-2 W-30 added a fiberglass hood (option W25) with functional air scoops and low-restriction air cleaner, aluminum intake manifold, special camshaft, cylinder heads, distributor, and carburetor.” Too bad he didn’t show us an under hood shot.

      Like 1
      • Steve R

        The hood was part of the pace car package, the W30 wasn’t. The pace car came with this hood no matter what engine it came with, there were even Cutlass 350’s equipped with the pace car package, they too came with the hood.

        You are right, the W30 came standard with this hood, but the presence of the hood on this car has nothing to do with that engine.

        Steve R

        Like 3
  4. Troy s

    Odd how the manufacturers played with horsepower ratings, I thought 385 horse 455 was in the big Tornado, 370 rating on the W/30 was actually what it made net not gross, it goes on and on…which pace car actually crashed during the race, was it the Olds? Read about that a long time ago.

    Like 0
    • TimM

      Nice car right on the edge of the rust belt again!!

      Like 0
    • D. W31

      It was a ’71 Challenger that crashed.

      Like 0
  5. Michael Ridley

    I would love to see a stock w-30 on a dyno. I had a 70 and it outran 427 Chevelle’s that had been built. Mine was bone stock. I think I read somewhere that IHRA in the pure stock listing by 73 had it rated at 435hp to compete with the other cars.

    Like 0
    • D.W31

      Roger Huntington put the 4spd. ’70 W30 @ 440 hp back in the day.

      Like 0

    W-30 package was not available on the Pace Car replica.

    BTW what’s with the eBay listing title: “Oldsmobile 442 convertible 1970 PACE CAR,1 of only 52,corvette,Ferrari,RARE”?
    What does this have to do with Corvettes or Ferraris?

    Like 2
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      It’s called keyword stuffing and I doubt it’s helping much.

      Like 0

        Thanks. Admittedly I don’t know many Ferrari collectors. I just kind of doubt they are into Olds muscle cars, but I could be mistaken. LOL.

        Like 0
  7. John Oliveri

    First and foremost I’d like to have this car decoded, cause if no real rust in the frame, or floors or rockers, that’s a take me home price, I wouldn’t care if W30 or not, gonna be a nice car, I’d probably add options like 8 track an d power windows, if only my wife would allow me another car w/o a divorce

    Like 1
  8. Stillrunners

    Won alot of beers over that 442 name !

    Like 2
  9. BoatmanMember

    Steve R.,
    In his story he says that the hood is functional. Was is on the pace car?

    Like 0
    • D.W31

      Yes, all Olds equipped with the W-25 O.A.I hood were functional.

      Like 1

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