One Repaint: 1971 Oldsmobile 442 W-30

This 1971 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 is one heck of a survivor! This car has clocked only 19,000 miles since new and has its original drivetrain. The only things not original are the wheels and the paint. This super slick custom paint job was done in 1979 for the original owner. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t think this paint job looked way better than factory, but then again I am a big fan of late ’70s style paint work. This car is being sold by Orlando Classic cars and can be found here on eBay with a $59,000 price tag. 

442’s are already cool enough on their own, but I have to say that the paint scheme on this car is really doing it for me. The inner fenders have been painted red inside and out, which accents the engine bay nicely (too much for some, I’m sure) and also shows in the inside of the front wheel wells. That beautiful blue engine is 455 cubic inch Oldmosbile V8. In 1971, the compression ratio was lowered across the board and as a result the W-30 optioned cars put out 350 horsepower versus 370 in 1970.

The interior of this car is so nice it almost looks restored, and that’s really going to help to sell it. Because of the low mileage, there are no rips in the seats or damage to the dash. None of the knobs or levers show any signs of wear, not even the shift knob (though it is an automatic). This Olds has seen care all of its life, and it shows. Though the automatic may be a turn off for many people, I have found that it can be a turn on for nearly as many. This car would be one heck of a cruiser, and if I had this much money to spend on a car I would be all over this one.

This picture looks like it could’ve been taken in the late 1970s or early 1980s. This car is definitely a time-capsule, and although the paint job isn’t exactly orthodox it is certainly flattering. The slotted aluminum wheels also do a lot for it, and in my opinion this Olds is sitting just right. Even if this isn’t your style, it certainly is nice to imagine what this car was doing back in its heyday!


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  1. Rock On Member

    I’m pretty sure that the red inner wheel wells are plastic or painted to look like it.

  2. Anders

    W-30s came with red plastic fender wells from the factory.

    Like 1
  3. Howard A Member

    Not a fan of black vehicles ( although, I drive one) this is one of the nicest looking Cutlass’ I’ve seen in a while. Now, for anyone wondering ,,THIS is what a 40+ year old car with 19K miles looks like. Trunk, engine, interior, it all fits. Just amazed someone didn’t beat the snot of it. Now, about that price,,,wow, I suppose, the sky’s the limit here. Try and find one this nice, with these options.

    • Tommy D

      What options…I don’t see any?

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Tommy, um, really? The W-30 package was the Cutlass on steroids. I’ve seen some pretty bare bones Cutlass like this. Just ask ” Dr. Oldsmobile”.

        Like 1
      • Tommy D

        I agree, W-30 is the ULTIMATE option, but other than that; no A/C, no tilt wheel, no pwr windows…no real options I can see, other than the big one.

      • Howard A Member

        Reason for that, I speculate, is Olds was trying hard to change it’s “Old” image, and this was still offered as a performance car, so many options you mentioned would probably be left out. The seats and console and inside trim, sport mirrors, it was no bare bones Cutlass.

    • Sam

      Black muscle car for the “liberal” Amish.

    • Trey

      It’s not a Cutlass.

  4. gregwnc

    Someone with much deeper pockets than me will have a one of kind car. Super nice, I like everything about it, even the custom paint. Agreed, this is what 19k miles looks like!

  5. Chuck

    Nice ride, but the paint work is a little “over the top” for my taste.

    • Fred w.

      If it weren’t over the top , it wouldn’t be 70’s!

    • Dolphin Member

      Fred W: Right!

      I have a 1970 car at the local collector car paint shop right now that’s getting it’s factory original ’70s paint color back: brilliant orange.

      The 1970s: the last decade to have actual COLOR on cars, as opposed to “any color you want as long as it’s black, gray, or silver, or a slight variation of one of ’em”.

      • Trey

        In 1970, they all were green or goldish. How are today’s cars any different?

  6. BiggYinn

    The 70s can keep the paint job not to everyones liking (or mine lol) was the decade thst taste forgot with good reason …other than that very nice car

    • Woodie Man

      That’s putting it mildly… From disco to polyester , mainstream American taste went to hell . If it is a “custom” paint job I would suspect it is not a factory original recreation. Am I wrong?

  7. edh

    I’ve seen more wear and tear on 3 year old Honda Civics with the same mileage.

  8. Gunner

    Absolutely amazing. Last year for the 442 as it’s own model. I love the paint on this beast, and the stance that says “I’m ready for you”. The wheels compliment the body lines, and condition speaks for itself. For me, this may be the most desirable 72 that I have ever seen. Someone loved this beautiful automobile and it shows. Nice find.

  9. Alan

    Last year I bought All original 1979 Hurst/Olds G body Cutlass Calais. Original 7K miles car ! White/Gold color combo. Almost showroom condition with all books & owners manual. Asking price was 23K I got it for 21K

  10. Brian R

    $59,000, that is much more over the top than the paint job.

  11. Milt

    Need to hear it. Any videos out there?

  12. Dan

    Ugly paint scheme….ugh….I know some of you a may like it but…..a little too garish for me….stock paint theme was nice……shew…

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Agreed. The black and gold may have been fine, but the red is too much.

  13. Metoo

    That paint job is beyond mere ugly.

  14. Retired Stig

    These cars were gorgeous, fast, and had far nicer interiors than any of their competition. If you want an ugly 1975 time machine, this is certainly it. Otherwise you better have quite a few extra dollars hanging around after you buy this to strip and paint it

  15. jw454

    Love the paint job. I’d keep it just as it is with the exception of changing the wheels to Cragar SS and BFG TA radials. I may also have to remove the graphics from the top of the windshield. It just depends on how they look in person.

    Like 1
  16. T Mel

    The 70s are coming back to some extent. If you look at fashion, furniture, and other things, listen to some leading designers today, they’re talking about the current influences of 70s style in their work. Maybe in a year or two, this car will start to look better to some of you. It already looks great to me, but I kinda live for the 70s and 80s.

    Like 1
  17. LAB3

    Wow man, that paint is like totally cosmic but I’d be inclined to see this more as an investment grade car than a driver, in that case the paint hurts the value.

    • Hoberg

      Wouldn’t a third respray hurt more than a day 2 job from the time It was used?

      Like 1
      • Chuck

        What ?

      • Jeffro


  18. Neil

    I never was a fan of these over the top paint jobs, or graphics of any kind.
    I love the basic look. I hated ” The Judge ” stickers, even back in the day. To me, they cheapen the car. I mean, I absolutely hated the stupid Road Runner decal.( Beep Beep, really? ) Looked like a comic book cartoon to me.
    But, to each their own.

  19. 68 custom

    It is ok for a 442 not to have a 4 speed when equipped with the Hurst dual gate shifter, like this one is! nice car dig the paint, looks right on this one!

    Like 1
    • Trey

      442s have had automatics since 1965.

  20. victor sanchez

    I could use some help with this, I had a 1970 Cutlass S/X it was as follows Gold with a dark brown interior with the dual gate shifter Fiberglass ram air hood red plastic inner fenders 455 with the W-30 emblems and the rear bumper with the the cutouts. I went to an Olds car show and mentioned my car and this one guy pretty much told me I was a closet case. I bought this car when it was about 8 years olds am I a nut job or ??? just curious. Thanks guys

    • Michael thomas

      you can pretty much make anything. The hood I think was a w25 add on .the w30 emblems would have been customer installed as there was no way GM put them on that car.

    • CMARV

      The red fender wells would have been an over the counter part back then , as were the emblems , cars could be special ordered too . I have a 70 Buick SportWagon that was cloned to a Stage 1 car in the early 80’s . Rusty Stage 1’s were cheap back then , and so were rustfree wagons . That was a great time , valuable cars weren’t so valuable that people didn’t mind putting their personal touch on it .

      Like 1
      • dgrass

        The early 71 442 W 30 came from the factory with red plastic inner fender wells as part of the W 30 options package, the 442 (not W 30) and later build date W 30’s black. More than likely these are not painted (based on the color) and represent an early build date.

        I am not sure when the changeover was made during the production year.

  21. JW

    I love it just as is, but I also miss the 70’s as the riots of the 60’s were over and the BS of today wasn’t even thought of, such a fun and boring combination of a time in my life.

  22. B

    One repaint too many…

  23. Mike

    Do your research author, red plastic inner-fenders were standard on W-30’s.

  24. Michael thomas

    If you remember the 70″s you most likely where not there. I like custom paint and am a painter that has done some weird stuff. The body lines are ruined with this paint job. Not all of it but parts.

  25. Hoberg

    considering it was painted almost 40 years ago and looks so awesome and representative of the times, I would not change it. Find one in that condition and mileage with the original paint and see how much money you would drop on THAT one.

    Like 1
  26. Troy S.

    Street Freak!! A mild one none the less since there isn’t a big dumb blower or tunnel ram sticking up out of it with a bunch of chrome engine junk.No need to fool with an engine like this since it made plenty of power right from the factory. This is an absolute time capsule and let’s just keep it that way.

    Like 1
  27. Coventrycat

    Looks like a model I built in 1976.

    • Jeffro

      I remember sniffing the model glue in 76. Lol

  28. ccrvtt

    My first car was a 1962 Cutlass convertible. My third was a 1969 Cutlass coupe – one of my favorite designs of all time. I like the wheel arches on the ’68-’69’s better than the ’70-’72’s. And I don’t like the rear fender creases above the wheels on the later cars. But the overall shape is classic and the best of the B-O-P intermediates of that era. This car is in great shape. The paint is a matter of taste…

    Oldsmobiles built in Lansing benefited from the exceptional labor market. I am not a union guy (my dad was a labor-relations negotiator) but I truly believe that central Michigan had some of the best workers in the world, and they made Oldsmobiles special cars.

  29. Glen

    It’s funk-a-delic baby! I’m kind of drawn to this, the more I look at it, the more I like it.

    Like 1
  30. Moparman Member

    I LOVE those slotted wheels! I had a set of American Racing slots w/ tri-bar spinners on my Charger. Why don’t we have something similar today, instead of 6 zillion spoked wheels??? :-)

  31. Frank

    The red inner fender wells are red plastic from Olds. That was a specific thing with W30 package. As well the aluminum intake. I’m not sure if that paint scheme was ever offered. And I would personally like to see some docs on that.
    For future reference on Oldsmobile related questions. 442.Com

    • Trey is notorious for being a poor site to depend on.

      Paint job is obviously not stock.

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