1970 Oldsmobile 442 Experimental Wagon!

UPDATE – Reader Matt R let us know that this 442 Wagon has been relisted here on craigslist, this time without a price. Hopefully, the seller is actually ready to let this Olds go, so be sure to check it out and make them an offer!

FROM 2/27/2019 – If like me you’re a big fan of Oldsmobile muscle cars then you’ll find this offering quite a unique and interesting prospective project. This “Franken-Olds” is supposed to be a factory experimental cross between a 442 and a Vista Cruiser wagon from good ol’ Dr. Olds – An interesting concept whatever the origin. The listing says, “1970 Oldsmobile 442 Experimental, Only One Produced”. Located in Live Oak, Florida, you’ll find this Olds here on craigslist with an asking price of $32k. Thanks again to regular Barn Finder Ikey H for providing this tip!

This Olds was supposed to have started life as a 1970 442 and then it was modified into a two-door hardtop Vista Cruiser “to show the public to get their response”. The listing says the car was built by “Bently-Mitchell who built special cars for GM”. Probably meaning the Mitchell-Bentley Corporation or one of their subsidiaries who did do quite a bit of work for GM. The motor is listed as an Olds 455 but there’s no mention about condition or if this is the original engine.

This is supposed to be an original 4 speed car with factory console, power steering, power brakes and air conditioning. There are a number of photos showing various new and refurbished parts for the restoration. The listing says that all the parts are present for the car and that the metal is excellent and close to being ready for paint. I would have liked to see more and better pictures of the car to get a better idea of what all will be involved with this project.

The seller does seem to be sincere saying, “I am 75 years old. I own many vintage cars and I will never find the time to finish this beautiful car.” There’s no mention of documentation for the factory experimental status, but the owner says, “call and we will put a deal together”. So as always, due diligence is important in determining what a car like this is really worth. This is quite a unique and interesting concept. Do you think this is really a true factory experimental car? What do think this car is actually worth? Any Dr. Olds interns out there ready to hit the operating room?!

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  1. poseur Member

    Wow? Is it real? I vaguely recall a prototype performance GM midsize two door wagon but can’t recall if it was an Olds, Pontiac or Buick.

    If this can be proven to be legit and corporate ordered I can see it being undervalued as it would be one if a kind.

    But the lack of even one halfway decent pics of the body create a wagon full of doubt

    • Adrian Elliott

      Olds actually made 2, but not for sale to the public, not to mean that they couldn’t get out. One is accounted for. Both were spec’d W-30, and had red inner fenders. The other problem I see is that they were both typical 4 door bodies. Also, the Vista Cruisers were based off the Cutlass S body type, and this one is a 2 door Cutlass Supreme version. So I have a lot of doubts also.
      All that being said, even if it is a Frankenstein, but was done well, it would be a cool ride.

      • Chuck

        This IS NOT a “W-30 spec.” car, as it COULD NOT have power brakes (insufficient intake manifold vacuum due to the radical cam – these cars would barely idle), nor could it have air conditioning.

        Automatic transmission cars could have those things, but they are not TRUE W-30s. Those cars were seriously de-tuned, with a much milder cam, etc., but they still had very stout performance. True W-30s had poor street manners and were somewhat difficult to drive in normal city traffic.

      • Trey

        Chuck, an automatic W30 is not quite a true W30?

        That’s a crock. What are you smoking? Meth? Crack? Your undies?

      • Mark B. Morrow

        It would have to be based on the formal roof Cutlass in order to use the rear windows and quarter windows .

        The fastback used for 442 hardtops would not have worked with the wagon roof and quarter panels.

  2. Cadmanls Member

    Car has been for sale quite a time. Seriously have to wonder what documentation the owner has to verify the claims. Still would make a nice ride to cruise in

  3. DayDreamBeliever Member

    For Sale:

    One Bridge, located in Brooklyn, NY. You pick up, no deliveries.

  4. Boatman Member

    Well written, George!

  5. bull

    This Olds will look good parked in front of my ocean front home in Arizona!

    • Chinga Trailer

      After the earthquake that may be true!

  6. Chebby Staff

    The only one produced…by my next-door neighbor. He never made another!

    21 pictures of plastic parts in bags, and only two of the car body.

  7. redwagon

    if i were in florida for spring training i would make the 3 hr one way trip to go look at it. of top concern would be the documentation and the execution of the coupe to wagon conversion. no doubt it has potential but the devil is in the details.

    • Van Cardwell

      Have you ever noticed that a wagon, Sedan, hatchback, coupe all look the same from the front. Go figure.
      I think I’ll sell my Spitfire limousine. Where can I find this guys photographer.
      Parts in a box? No self respecting Spitfire would go anywhere without a box full of parts. (Ignore the mopar boxes in the pile)

  8. Gary Anderson

    Cruiser with 442-style hood.

  9. Ralph

    My BS detector is in the red…….

  10. rustyvet

    Cool project, the fact he does not show a complete profile of the car says it all.
    He is 75 for gods sake, he knows better…

  11. Thad

    There’s been some discussion on Classic Oldsmobile along with a few better pictures…
    Unless it comes with extensive documentation, I call BS.

    • Brian Fusilier

      I have 50 acres of ocean front property in Arizona I can throw in for free if you buy my 442 station wagon

    • Skip

      Don’t believe it! I agree with most comments regarding this vehicle.

  12. Alexander

    Yeah right. Like we all couldn’t put 442 parts onto a Vista Cruiser. :) Back in the day, how many of us went to the scrap yard and extracted the needed muscle parts to put on a lesser vehicle on the cheap.

    “Experiment” is what this 75 year old did back in the 60s to write such things in 2019 and expect us to believe his claims. Great pics too! .

  13. George

    Not extensive, but the only references I found to 442 W30 Vista Cruisers were two full size wagons produced by the factory in 1970. I do remember seeing a two door last year for sale. There was no claim on that one to being factory, just someone creating their own thing.

    • Trey

      The factory didn’t produce those two. Just things for engineers to play with. No W30s installed in wagons officially.

      • Chris

        I agree with the majority here just a bunch of b.s. on this being a factory experimentle. Lots of bagged Chinese repro plastic parts doesnt make it a real deal steel GM 1 of none. Even the Craigslist ad doesnt show a decent body shot. The only one this ol man is fooling is himself if he thinks anyone is going to pony up 32K for this made up coupe wagon.

      • George

        True enough. They pulled them off the line for the engineers to play with. Unofficially they added the bits to them. Many clones have been made of them too. I’ll take a clone!

  14. Saul

    @George. I think this explains why the ad shows nothing but sun glare at the rear of this hardtop-wagon creation. My feeling is, up close this wagon will reveal that it is a homegrown creation that has not aged well. We see them on Barn Finds all the time. Agree on the comments that his CL post shows more photos of bagged parts than the car itself. Why not at least one from the rear?

  15. Michael

    For a 1970 shooting brake you’d think at least a few pictures of the rear of the car might help validate sellers claim as far fetched it may be

  16. Dave

    Thanks, but I will stick with my 880 convertible. At least I know it’s real.

  17. Poppy

    Looks to me like a Cutlass Supreme hardtop with a section of Vista Cruiser roof grafted on. If the VIN shows a 442 model code, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t “borrowed” from another car.

  18. mainlymuscle

    I’m with the rest of you,on the BS call.I do have to say that I would love the black one in the link provided by Thad above.Apparently it might me the same car,but this one ,as offered,needs too much,for that much coin.If proven ???
    Perhaps $200-250k at BJ ?

  19. George

    Usually, they only have pictures of what can be seen from the garage door. Like all of the interesting views here… If you can’t move this one, move the other car out of the garage to get some good side shots too.

  20. Bobby G

    Never happened, all 68 -71 442’s had a unique vin 344. Vistas could be ordered with a 455, but it was not the same 455 that came in the 442. There is only one other model with the same engine as the 442, it was the Cutlass SX, with the W34 , many SX’s came with another lower compression 2 barrel 455. The 2 W30 Vistas that have appeared also do not carry the necessary 344 vin to truly be a 442, nor has anyone ever produced any valid documentation.There are now more 442’s running around with W30 badging than ever was produced, any Lansing built 442 can be faked as a W30 with parts that can be bought, only way to be sure is with the broadcast sheet that is tested and validated for age of paper and ink

    • Trey

      You mean W32

  21. FOG

    I can see, due to lack of additional body/interior photos, why there is quite a bit of dissenting discussion. Having more photos showing the “graft” would be better in telling how to place the work value in restoring of this concept vehicle. At 75 years of age, the owner may rightfully ask is price. The time and work to complete the car, would be the factors working against it.

  22. Joe Padavano

    This car has been offered for sale on and off for the last decade or so. It’s obviously the bastard child of a Cutlass Supreme and a Vista. The only thing “experimental” about it are the drugs being taken by whoever wrote that ad copy.

  23. Alexander

    My thoughts (and previous words) exactly! LOL

  24. mark houseman

    Can’t believe this guy is still trying to sell it as a “one off” car. It is as fake as they come. Buyer beware! A sucker is born every day and anyone that buy’s this will be one.

  25. Stevie G Member

    Someone spent a lot of time and effort making this car. I am not sure why. For the right price, I would buy it but this is a joke. Whoever created it in their back yard or garage had some talent, but really not a lot of taste. Yet I would drive it If it were cheaper lol. 24 large? Crack didn’t exist on the 1960’s lol.

  26. PatrickM

    He’s got the erector set. All you have to do is put it together. But, for that price, it’s no wonder it is still for sale.

  27. Will Irby

    I think I still have a copy of an old magazine that featured a road test of the factory version of this car. They called it “Wonder Wagon”. As I recall, the tag line for the road test described it as the perfect car for the owner whose kids shouted “Blow his doors off, Dad!” I will try to find the article and post it here.

    • Steve R

      I found some vague references to the “wonder wagon”, they were built from production line Vista Cruisers by engineers.

      This car is home made, if it were real and the seller had any documentation, some Oldsmobile enthusiast would have it in their collection where it would be undergoing restoration. The seller either fabricated his story or bought into someone else’s fabricated story.

  28. David Montanbeau

    My dad worked at the GM Tech Center in Warren MI. He would bring muscle cars home for testing on the street. (Woodward Ave) He brought cars like the one in the article. One that stands out was a Rotary, Wankle? engine Vega. The floor was stamped steel different than the stock Vega.

    • Troy s

      Read about some bad GTO running around on Woodward back then, blowing the doors off any and all would be street racers. Or was it the ugly duckling T-37? No one knew it was a factory prep car running ultra rare ram air V with a “GM” guy driving it. Was that your dad? Very curious.

  29. Joe Blow

    That’s impossible considering GM never made such an animal as the car in the article.

  30. michael h streuly

    I would not pay $38.00 dollars for that piece of S**T.

  31. Patrick Farmer

    There were a couple of Pontiac engineers back in 1969-1970 that would go to work on a Saturday and reprogram to build computer to make it possible to build a 455 H.O. GTO station wagon. I seem to recall that they got away with 6 or 7 being built before somebody caught on. The first thing I thought of here was this either a build line computer gag or Bull twinkies, but then I saw the quarter glass and I new it wasn’t home grown. Wagons have only recently, in the past 25 years, become a cool thing to hot rod. Sure there are guys out there long ago with the woodys and Nomads. I am referring to time during 1970’s and 1980’s when they were a major shame to be caught or driving on a date. Most guys that want a 442 station wagon would start with a plain Jane wagon and build from their. Building one out of a coupe is very similar to turning a notch back Mustang into a fastback. Or chopping the top on a AMC Pacer. The Pacer is really cool looking chopped. This website below chinched it. http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/m/mitchell_bentley/mitchell_bentley.htm
    Lots of cool stuff including station wagon building history. Wagons were the go to car in the junkyard because most station wagons were fully equipped with performance parts, 11-fins per inch radiators, oil coolers, separate trans coolers, heavy duty limited slip rear ends, heavy duty transmissions, bigger brakes…etc. Thank you again Barn Finds for presenting a story that leads to a wonderful discovery of automotive history. Don R. Mitchell, Michigan’s station wagon king.

  32. Morgan Winter

    This might be the same car, found on Classic Oldsmobile forum. Backyard hack-job.

    • Patrick Farmer

      Mr. Winter,

      Thanks for the website tip. If this car is a home grown Joan, then the builder has great talent. Why I think it is not home grown is the fact that it has subtly in its lines. It is well balanced and looks like it could have been mass produced.

      I found something in the forum that I would like to share.
      It is a story about a man finding his stolen car on ebay. Over 40 years later he gets his car back. This guy is a true hot rodder.

      Thanks again for leading me to the web forum.

      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        As was offered for sale by the BHCC. Great story, thanks for sharing. Read one a couple of years ago about a woman who got back her 30 years lost (stolen) Corvette.

  33. Ted

    I’m picturing the old guy that owns this looking like Homer Simpson’s Dad as he sits in his boxers and a wife beater covered in mustard chewing on a pencil as he pondered what to put in his advert.

    • Patrick Farmer

      Can you see me!!!! I got to disconnect this camera.

  34. Troy s

    If it really was a factory experimental ride, never intended to be actually sold to the general public, didn’t cars like that usually get squashed by the factory? I don’t pretend to know anything, just seems strange that an experimental car left the factory and wound up in general population.
    Like the idea of a hot wagon, especially with these torquey long stroke 455’s, and the staging lanes had more than a few wagons running in the NHRA, but I don’t see a station wagon nursing the image of a 442 super car back then. That was huge in marketing back then…right?

  35. Maestro1

    Unless there is some quantifiable evidence regarding the car’s identity I would stay away from it. One way to check legitimacy would be to have a chat with the Oldsmobile Owners Club. And the condition it is in makes it about have the asking price.

  36. Comet

    I’d like to spend more time researching this car, but I need to go outside and feed my unicorn.


    HEI distributor was not offered in 1969 either.

    • Patrick Farmer

      You are correct, it was not offered in 1969. However this car is old enough to have been restored, driven to Crisco and restored again. HEI was a very popular upgrade. Points, singular or dual, need constant tinkering to get the most out of your engine. This required a feeler gauge set to dial in the correct gap. If it came out of tune or needed to be retuned after driving down Pikes Peak and you didn’t have your gauge set, you would have to use an envelope or a book of matches cover to get it close. Just explaining how breakers (points) work is just as irritating as setting the points on a car. HEI is a greater performance distributor than a dual point distributor. You have a sharp eye.

    • Patrick Farmer

      You are correct, it was not offered in 1969. However this car is old enough to have been restored, driven to Crisco and restored again. HEI was a very popular upgrade. Points, singular or dual, need constant tinkering to get the most out of your engine. This required a feeler gauge set to dial in the correct gap. If it came out of tune or needed to be retuned after driving down Pikes Peak and you didn’t have your gauge set, you would have to use an envelope or a book of matches cover to get it close. Just explaining how breakers (points) work is just as irritating as setting the points on a car. HEI is a greater performance distributor than a dual point distributor. Brian, you have a sharp eye.

  38. Barry Smith

    I found the below link on the Classic Oldsmobile site. At some point in the thread, a guy going by Carole71 claims to be the owner and says that 2 were built, 1 black which someone posted above and 1 white which is the one he owns, now red/primer. He claimed he was “told” the black one rusted out and was destroyed which contradicts 1 of 1 if it’s really 1 of 2. I call fake and most everyone on the Classic Olds site said same.



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