455/4-Speed: 1972 Oldsmobile 442 W-30

Even with emission laws tightening around auto manufacturers in 1972, it was still possible for the astute enthusiast to find some pretty potent vehicles available in their local new car showrooms. The Oldsmobile 442 was just such a car, especially when ordered with the W-30 option. This particular Oldsmobile is one of those cars, and it has just been listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Forth Worth, Texas, and with the bidding now sitting at $25,500, the reserve has been met. An indication of just how desirable this car is can be best demonstrated by the fact that there are currently 129 people who are watching the listing.

It isn’t clear whether the Viking Blue paint that the 442 currently wears is original, or if the car has been the recipient of either a full or a partial repaint at some point in its life. The jury is out on that question, but when you look at the overall originality of the rest of the car, it is certainly conceivable that the car wears at least some of its original paint. The panels are arrow straight, while rust doesn’t appear to be an issue. If the Olds has spent a large part of its life in a Texas climate, then it is certainly possible that there are no rust problems to be addressed. The external trim and chrome appear to be faultless, while the same is true of the Soft Ray tinted glass. The wheels are clean and free of any marks or stains and are wrapped in a nice new set of Goodyear Polyglas tires.

It’s what resides under the hood of this Oldsmobile that makes it such a special car. What we have is a full, numbers-matching car, with the original 455ci V8 pumping out a very healthy 300hp. Hooked to the back of that mighty piece of cast iron is the original 4-speed manual transmission. In an era of declining performance figures, finding a car that was capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds and capable of demolishing the ¼ mile in 14.1 seconds was becoming something of a rare treat, but that was what Oldsmobile was able to pull out of the bag in 1972. The originality of this car’s drive-train is impressive, with everything from the 4-core radiator, the distributor, starter, and alternator, all being original to the car. If you take a close look, you can even see that the factory inspection stamps remain visible on the firewall. Also included with the 442 is an original Build Sheet, along with a copy of The Rocket Report which verifies all of the claims made about this vehicle.

The interior of the Olds isn’t perfect, but it certainly has held up well for one that is now 48-years-old. Apart from the carpet, the rest of the trim is original, and the only real fault is some stretching of the vinyl on the driver’s seat. One interesting aspect of cars from this era is the difficulty that manufacturers were experiencing with color-matching plastic trim pieces. The console in this Olds is a perfect example because while it might look a bit odd, it is actually original. The original radio is missing from the dash, but the owner states that the car comes equipped with the AM/FM Bi-Phonic stereo with rear speaker. So, that is a bit of a mystery. Otherwise, it does present very nicely. In addition to the Deluxe interior and console, the owner will also find themselves facing a set of Rally gauges through the original sports wheel.

If you are a person who has their heart set on owning a 1972 Oldsmobile 442, then this is a car that has to tick a lot of the right boxes for you. With only 659 Coupes being built and equipped with the W-30 option, that makes these a relatively rare and desirable car. The owner also claims that this is 1-of-289 that were fitted with a 4-speed manual transmission, and while I haven’t been able to verify this claim, it is certainly a very real possibility. One aspect of the car that surprises me is the fact that the reserve has already been reached because I would have expected it to have been set a bit higher than it has. Maybe this is a car that will be a great New Year’s buy for someone.

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  1. Robert May

    I would like to see how well all of the stickers, chalk marks, inspection tags,etc. on the underside held up over time.

  2. FordGuy1972

    A beautiful car that I would think will go for a lot more money when the hammer falls at the end of the auction. The condition is outstanding and I would think you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer one.

  3. DonC

    Beautiful car! I had a ’69 and wish I still did (don’t we all). Have to laugh, mine was missing the radio too like this one. And what’s with the air cleaner top? It’s either a true ramjet or not. Mine was not, so maybe I’m just not recognizing it correctly? Underside photos would be welcome. But I agree with FordGuy1972 – this is a beauty !

  4. Dan B

    The O.A.I. air cleaner under the hood is correct.

  5. Dave Rhodes

    again …no video … is it just me ?

  6. Mark

    I would check the VIN to be sure this is a W30. I was under the impression all W30’s had the red plastic front wheel wells??

    • Jonathan Freeman

      I believe the red inner genders were not part of the W30 option for ‘72.

    • Poppy

      You can’t even distinguish a true 442 by the VIN in ’72, let alone a W30. By then the 442 had reverted back to a trim level of the Cutlass S and Cutlass Supreme convertible. The W29 on the broadcast sheet shows it’s a true 442, but why it also/instead doesn’t say W30 is a mystery to me. I’m not familiar with this Rocket Report he keeps referring to, but my guess is that should authenticate it.

      • Bill Nagribianko

        I’d like to correct you on one fact. For 1972 only, the VIN had an “X” in it denoting it as a W30. True, no way to tell if it’s a 442 by the VIN for the reason you mentioned, but if it had the W30 option, you bet, the X in the VIN. For 70 and 71 the VIN was a 442 VIN but no way to tell a W30 except with paperwork.

      • Poppy

        Bill, I stand corrected. Thanks for the information. I have never heard that before, and I’ve been messing with Oldsmobiles since the ’80s

  7. Jack Pruett Member

    Nice looking car with very desirable options! I didn’t realize that there was a problem with the color of the plastic which seems to affect the dash, too. I wonder what the mileage is and whether it was repainted.

  8. Poppy

    Manual steering and brakes, too. Designed to go fast in a straight line and stop at your leisure.

    • Jack Pruett Member

      Were the brakes disk or drum? I think most of the Big Block Chevelles of that period came with power disk brakes on the front as standard equipment when you got the SS package.

  9. Troy s

    Great car although some say it was over after ’70. I don’t believe it, not really, as this low compression version still packed a wallop. The color, stripes, hood scoops, wheels, all of it…the sporty interior, it screams muscle car. Nice ride.

  10. Ronn

    Them seats are terrible.

  11. Skippy

    Decent car. I had a 442 convertible back in the early 80s. Comfortable, powerful car. The exterior looks correct, complete with the scoop and optional turnbuckle hood latches. I’m not sure what is going on with the interior but the new owner should fix it. Seat covers are horrible. Center console is, I hope, really faded. I see bidding is up into the mid-30s. Wow. Yet another car I should have held on to.

  12. JoeNYWF64

    I don’t think i ever seen a console from this era whose color was so off. Maybe a worker grabbed one for a lighter blue interior by mistake, or they ran out of darker blue ones that day?
    Wonder what is behind that panel above the radio in the dash – ashtray?
    Ever see a modern car painted this color?
    No air pump needed here(& on pontiac v8’s) for ’72 to meet emissions(outside of Calif), unlike small & big blocks which needed them in all states. Yet Olds & Pontiac V8s were discontinued in the mid to late 70’s – go figure.

    • Poppy

      I once listed a ’71 with a blue interior. The flash photography really accentuated the color difference more than it appeared in the daylight. I believe there was only one blue in ’72, but IIRC the ’70 blue was a lighter shade, so perhaps that’s an earlier year console. Yes that’s an ashtray compartment above the radio. Great for holding change, spare fuses, etc. Under hard acceleration, the heavy tray loaded with coins would slide rearward and pop open the door!

  13. Asleepatdawheel

    I would say it would be hard to find a nicer one. If I could upload a pic I would show you one nicer. It also has a radio with the 8 track . player. The car is the same color but has a rear spoiler and hood pins on it. Black interior with same color console. It was stored for over 20+years until it was brought back to life.

  14. TimM

    Clean well cared for muscle car with all the right boxes checked!! It should go for the asking price in this condition!! I wouldn’t kick it out of my driveway!!!

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