1-of-549: 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

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By 1970, the Oldsmobile 442 was at the peak of its power, and this has made the 1970 model a car that is much sought after. This 1970 model has the added advantage of being 1-of-549 cars that rolled off the production line as a 442 Convertible with a 4-speed manual transmission. If you would love to get your hands on this beauty, you will find it located in Itasca, Illinois, and listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $30,442, and the reserve has now been met.

The owner is pretty candid about the fact that the 442 is not a rust-free car. He actually suggests that for any restoration to be done to a decent standard, then the new owner will need to look at replacing both fenders and both quarter panels. That’s pretty sound advice on a car of this potential value and desirability. He has already replaced the deck lid with one that is rust-free, so the next owner does get a start there. One thing that I did notice, and it might be nothing, is that the lower section of the front bumper has quite an upward bend in it, much like you would expect if the car has ridden up over something. This has pushed the entire front bumper out of alignment. The hood is also out of alignment. These two facts might be totally unrelated, but they would be well worth investigating. The Olds is also fitted with a power top, and while it is all original, the owner says that it still looks new.

The 442 was all about what was under the hood, and in 1970 it was a 455ci V8. In this car, that monster engine is hooked to a 4-speed manual transmission, while you also get power steering and power front disc brakes. This is a full, numbers-matching car, and that means that there will be 365hp available under the right foot. The owner says that the car runs and drives, but he does advise the next owner to get the car thoroughly checked before attempting any longer trips, as the car hasn’t had a lot of use in the past few years. One interesting fact about the ’70 model 442 Convertible is that while 549 of them were built with a 4-speed manual transmission, there were only 48 cars that rolled off the line with the 3-speed manual. So, keep your eyes peeled for one of those.

Apart from the covers on the seat backs, the interior of the Olds is said to be completely original. It is certainly in reasonable “driver” condition as it is, and I agree with the owner’s assessment that it would look a whole lot better with a good clean. Looking it over with a critical eye, there are a few things that would need to be addressed if the next owner was seeking perfection. Some of the vinyl trim, such as that on the tops of the door trims, is starting to look a bit tired and discolored. The carpet is also a bad fit, and the knob is also missing off the light switch. They are all only little things, but it is those sorts of things that will bug the person who wants their 442 to be pristine.

There’s no doubt that the 1970 model is the most desirable of the 442 derivatives, and this one has the potential to be a beauty. There are a number of jobs that will need to be undertaken to have it at its best, but if it is a car that survives a personal inspection, then it is also one that would be well worth the time and effort.

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  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Good eye,Adam! You’re right-under the drivers side of the front bumper is a big ding, and the drivers side headlights look like they’re out of whack. That with the hood alignment is something a potential buyer should investigate further IMO..

    Like 5
  2. CapNemo

    Door panel.

    Like 4
    • Rich

      Agree. Door panels or door cards. Every time i see “door trims” I cringe.

      Like 2
      • JRP

        If you ever worked in a dealership, especially in the body shop you would know they are referred to as door trim panels or interior trim panels. That’s what you call them when you write an estimate for an insurance company and when you order one from the parts department.

        Like 7
      • CapNemo

        Definitely very annoying. Using correct terminology and knowing the name of parts would greatly increase the professionalism and credibility. It’s like saying its had a repaint. No, it hasn’t! It’s been REPAINTED. Repaint is not a noun, and nothing can be given one.

        Like 7
  3. ccrvtt

    Seller is a dealer. Others on this site have had dealings with him. This car looks to have been rode hard and put up wet – too many misaligned body panels and lots of serious wear & tear evident.

    That said, a complete restoration to concours could net six figures or close to it.

    Like 5
    • 68-442-Vert

      Yup. Whoever bid 30K is in for a disappointment. Everything on this car needs work. I can see down the side and tell it is full of bondo. The front nose, brows and headlamps all ill fitting. Every piece of the interior stained and dry or just plain worn out. Under the hood, yikes! Well sold as they say…

      Like 1
    • Rosco

      Not any where near a six figure car when restored unless it were a W-30.

      Like 0
    • Doug

      Multiple six figures.

      Like 0
      • Rosco

        Maybe in a dream but not a chance in the real world. Have owned 1970 W-30 hdtps as well as a W-30 4 speed convertible (1 of 96) and this is not even close.

        Like 0
  4. Patrick Kelly

    No straight on side views, those rockers look iffy, and the doors. Wife says. 😂

    Like 2
  5. Al

    My 442(owned since new) has a 3-speed manual, I never thought it was that rare. Until this listing, I always thought it would have been better to have the 4-speed. Weird or what !!!

    So what is so wonderful about a 3-speed over a 4-speed? I opted for the 3-speed because I knew I was going to pull a trailer with it. I ordered mine with a transmission cooler, because of that trailer. Does that make even rarer?

    Like 10
    • PDXBryan

      So you actually had one of the super rare Olds 432s ;^)
      4 barrel carb, 3 on the floor, dual exhaust.

      Does anyone remember that Peter Cetera MTV video where he drives a 442 convertible?

      Like 6
      • Al

        Yes, and as stated April 26, 2019

        Well I bought mine in 1970, and believe it or not had a trailer hitch installed and towed a 1967 Airstream with it for about 15 years. Sold the trailer removed the hitch and drove the 442 sporadically for 20 years.
        Since then, I drive it about 400-1000 miles a year.
        [Actually 180-600 miles per year]
        That’s all spring to fall driving. Currently it has 103,000 original miles on it. I love driving it, but it is really too thirsty. I think it pulls to the right every-time it sees gas station.

        and on April 29, 2019

        6.1 mpg, whether in the city, the highway or pulling my trailer. It just makes no difference, go figure!

        Like 8
      • Poppy

        Yes, “Stay the Night” was the song and his hot girlfriend gets mad and drives the wheels off a gorgeous ’68 442 convertible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LTWwkBNilI

        Like 2
    • Poppy

      Al, unless you have 3.91 gears in your car it should manage better than 6 mpg. Is your timing set right and vacuum advance canister working correctly? On one of my Rocket 350s the vacuum advance wasn’t working and when I discovered that and remedied it, I got a 3 mpg improvement (and much snappier performance).

      Like 0
    • W9BAG

      And, and really, Al, with 500 lb.ft. of torque, having that extra gear would be somewhat superfluous. Just 1 less occasion to disconnect power from the drive train. A nice long second gear is really exciting !

      Like 0
    • W9BAG

      And really, Al, with 500 lb.ft. of torque, having that extra gear would be somewhat superfluous. Just 1 less occasion to disconnect power from the drive train. A nice long second gear is really exciting !

      Like 0
  6. cold340t

    For the last 15yrs., twice a week a Beautiful perfect W-30 Convertible drives by my work. Same color as this one but, with black stripe. Love these cars!

    Like 2
  7. TimM

    A really nice example of this car!! Needs a little bit to make it mint but it looks like a driver right now!!!

    Like 0
  8. r s

    Too much money for not enough nice.

    Like 5
  9. r s

    Are those W30 emblems on the fenders? Because that doesn’t look like a W30 motor. We went through this the other day, the W30 had a silver intake manifold. Anyone can stick emblems on a fender.

    Like 1
    • r s

      Possibly someone sprayed the intake but I have serious doubt as to whether this is a W30 or not…

      Like 0
  10. JOHNMember

    Way too much for what you are getting… but interesting comments on the W30 possibilities. It does have the W25 hood, and emblems, but the owner says “matching numbers” on the 455, Wrong heads and intake for a W30, but… it does appear that the fenderwells are or were originally red (part of the W30 package), the black finish or paint appears to have rubbed off in several areas. It is possible someone installed them, or black were not available maybe after an accident and painted, I’ve seen painted ones before. It does appear to have the correct 70 only front fenders, but that front end is a mess. The bumper is way out of whack, the left side headlights appear to be equally out of whack. The center’s of the 442/Cutlass bumpers bent easily the first time they were towed with the old style hook/lifts, Interesting car, but it needs a serious amount of work. The owner should be ecstatic with the bidding so far.

    Like 1
    • Poppy

      My ’70 came with a tweaked front bumper when I bought it 30 years ago. I took the bumper off and supported it with a padded chair on each end with the front point facing the floor. I then bounced on the center to bend it back and it looks great now. IIRC I had to put all or most of my weight on it but it fixed it.

      Like 1
  11. 36 Packard

    This would be so much better balanced with a nice modest 350 under the bonnet.

    Like 1
  12. JOHNMember

    Weight difference between a 350 and a 455 is only around 50-60 lbs, depending on a stock 455 or a W30. The 72’s came stock with 350’s.

    Like 2
  13. David Rhoces

    could have cleaned it up … makes you wonder how it was maintained

    Like 1
  14. Craig Donley

    Wow! This car would be better balanced if it had a modest 350 under the hood? If this car is a matching number car, and 1 of 549, why would you negate the BB for a small block? Yes, it needs restored, it’s probably not a W30, but it’s rare all the same. Is it too much? Probably, but that’s for the new owner to decide. How many cars listed all over the internet are too much? Most of the dealers and some private owners always seem to put on the W30 emblems or stripes as toopromote their 442’s or clones. Do your homework, potential buyers.

    Like 0
  15. W9BAG

    Is it just me, or does the front damage say “launch”.

    Like 2
  16. Srt8

    The passenger side looks higher in the front like the whole thing is tweaked. It almost looks like only 3 wheels would touch the ground if not for the suspension.

    Like 0
  17. Fran

    Not a “gold” motor

    Like 0

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