Parked in 1974: 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30

It’s hard to believe that someone would walk into an Oldsmobile showroom, drive away in a highly desirable new car like this 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30, drive it for a mere 4-years, and then park it. That’s the story behind this car, and after 45-years of hibernation, it has emerged and is ready to be restored. Located in Kenosha, Wisconsin, it is a car that has generated its fair share of interest since it was listed for sale in a No Reserve auction. You will find it listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is sitting at $8,701. With 127 people currently watching the listing, I would expect that bidding might get a little lively as the end of the auction approaches.

Apparently, the environment where the Olds was stored wasn’t ideal, which explains why it now looks a bit on the crusty side. However, it has survived without succumbing to major rust issues. Its cause was probably assisted by the Ziebart treatment that it received when it was new. Apart from a small spot of rot in the floor on the driver’s side, the rest of the floors and frame only have some minor scaling. There is some surface corrosion around the car, but the only other rust of note is said to be an area at the bottom of the fender on the driver’s side. However, the photos do indicate that there might be a few other potential spots, so a personal inspection (which the owner encourages) would probably be a good idea. The original fiberglass hood has some damage on the front of it, but this should be able to be repaired, while there are a few dents and dings around the car. The owner does say that the car would benefit from a full restoration, and it is a car that would certainly justify the effort. To see it gleaming in its original Sherwood Green paint would be an absolute treat.

The interior of the 442 is completely original, with the exception of the carpet, which is new. It will require a full restoration, but the new owner will have a good base from which to start. The dash is original and unmolested, the pad is free of cracks, the floor console is still present, as is the rally pack gauge cluster, complete with the original Tic-Toc-Tach. The shopping list for the new owner will include seat covers for both the front and rear seats, along with a new headliner. It isn’t clear how healthy the rest of the trim is, but as I said, at least there’s a solid base from which to start.

Under the hood looks pretty tidy, and it is nice to see that the original red inner fenders are still present, and look like they would restore okay. Being a W-30 car, what you get is the 370hp version of the 455ci V8. Hooked to that is a Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, and a Posi rear end. Power steering and power disc brakes were also fitted from the factory. Apart from the carburetor, which is of 1969 vintage, the rest of it is original, meaning that this is a numbers-matching car. It is also said to only have 50,000 original miles on the clock. While the owner doesn’t mention documentary proof of this, if the story about the car only being driven for 4-years is correct, then this would probably be correct. Essentially, the only other thing missing is the original exhaust, which means that the original chrome exhaust tips are also gone. The owner hasn’t tried to start the car, which is almost certainly a good thing, because I think that I’d want to give everything a pretty thorough check before I hit the key for the first time.

The owner makes some pretty bold claims about the ultimate value of the 1970 442, placing it in the six-figure region. This is certainly a very real possibility with an immaculate car, and there is no doubt that this one is solid enough to eventually justify these sorts of dollars if it is restored properly. Looking back on sales results over the past 5-years, they have gone through a number of peaks and troughs, but values are now heading back in the right direction following a 2017 low. That might mean that now is the right time to buy and restore a car like this. Not only would the new owner finish up with a pretty amazing car, but once restored, it could also represent a pretty decent long-term investment.

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Comments

  1. Jeff

    The 442 is worth more than the house!

    12
  2. Al

    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.
    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.

    37
    • Fritz

      You not kidding on the gas mileage my neighbor bought a w30 in 70 you had to run the best octain and I remember him saying about 5 miles to the gallon lol

      3
      • Al

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

        5
  3. Retired Stig Member

    Something wrong here. That engine clearly has seen a lot of attention recently-with the fresh paint, bead blasted intake, incorrect carb, new carb seal and modern plug wire looms. Why hasn’t Mr. Real Deal and his Real Deal buddy who bought from a friend who bought it from an elderly real deal gentleman tried to start it? Couldn’t afford a battery? A little strange.

    43
  4. Tom Member

    Sorry, what’s the saying….if it’s sounds too good to be true….then…..

    4 years on the road….looks to have been owned by the equivalent of The DUKE BOYS!.

    If real and worth $125-175K…..it will take that much to make it a #1.

    Worth restoring but the current owner should put the funds into the perfect resto and sell it done. Not sure why you would rattle can the engine when the rest of the car is original…sure…but talk about stored improper & rode hard – put away wet !

    Why the quick no reserve auction. Makes no sense. 3 days and out ….way so no one can really do the proper research the purchase of this car requires?

    Great car if it is real and I am not doubting it. The write up was WAY to thick….love the paragraph about the build sheet and the ex-wife ….which at the end of it means and produces absolutely zero!

    Just not sitting right with me for some reason.

    22
    • Superdessucke

      LMAO @ Duke Boys! :-) Good one, and probably very accurate given how these cars were driven back then.

      There was probably a reason it was parked in ’74. And that reason was probably because it was a smoldering wreck.

      3
  5. CCFisher

    With gas rationing and limits on the amount of gas that could be purchased during the oil embargo, it’s entirely possible that the owner couldn’t drive this car. It was essentially worthless as a used car during the embargo, as well. He may have attempted to trade it in, got a $50 offer, and decided to just park it instead.

    6
  6. Will Fox

    First of all, the `73-`74 oil embargo didn’t last that long; it was a matter of months, not years. I know; I remember both that & the one in `79. Which means even premium gas to run this 442 was way under a dollar/gal. even by `76 when I got my license. Just sayin’.
    Since I can’t verify anything from a few photos, all I can say is, this 442 had a HARD 4 years before to got mothballed. 50K miles and it needs seat covers & headliner already? Hmm.Paint looks like this sat on the side of the house stored, not in a covered garage. And yes–under the hood looks like detailing finished this morning. Any value over $100K on this would require that amount plus put into a frame off restoration. The one good thing is, plenty of reproduction parts are avail. for these; again, with ALOT of $$$. well worth it, but that will depend on the price a buyer pays to take it home. Pay too much, and suddenly you will have a bottomless money pit. Good luck to whoever gets it. This car calls for a 442 afficianado as the next owner.

    12
  7. LT1 Mike

    I love it, and if you get it for the right price it is absolutely worth a restoration. Fun,fast, and rare cars indeed that will push you back in the seat on a Sunday cruise. I personally like the house also, it has plenty of character and beauty to it .

    7
  8. Troy s

    I could see it parked in ’74, or maybe even earlier, gas prices or not, probably too many speeding tickets, exhibition of speed violations?
    Seems cars like this here 442 by the mid to late seventies were driven by serious car folks or bought up by the gear head high schoolers…outside of that there was little to no interest in these until the later eighties, money wise.
    I like these on the rough side, not shiny trailer queen stuff, and this one definitely has that appearance, what amazes me is how clean that 455 looks compared to everything else…let’s keep it a four or five digit driver.

    2
    • Superdessucke

      I would say the interest started in the mid-80s, after Reagan got the economy rolling again, gas came away down in price, and ’60s nostalgia began in earnest as the Boomers started rolling into their unprecedented prosperity that’s kept values of these high, with a few ebbs and tides, for nearly 5 decades now.

      I know all this because I was always just behind the power curve, haha :-) The lack of these factors is also the reason why 1980s muscle cars aren’t really worth anything now.

      But otherwise points well-taken!

      2
  9. Richard F

    Give me a break! I wouldn’t buy anything from anyone who is too cheap to buy a flippin’ $80 battery…but then tells me his car is worth $70k plus. He should have spent less on spray paint for the wheels and engine and put that money to work on getting it running the correct way – with a new battery to start with! Reminds me of a time I bought a complete running ’68 RS/SS Camaro from a guy who insisted that I give him back the battery that was for his brother’s car. I laughed at him and told him that for the money he was getting from me, he could go buy his own dang battery and give it to whoever he wants to. Cheap A$$ small mind and tiny wallet flippers – the scourge of the hobby!

    9
  10. ACZ

    Something smells rotten in Kenosha.

    1
  11. NotSure

    Adam’s first sentence “hard to believe”….

    2
  12. triumph1954

    WOW! I really like those real deal original W-30 spark plug wires and boots .RARE!

    • Tom Member

      Yooouuuu’rrreee …….Mocking Me.

      Signed,

      Buzz Lightyear.

      PS. I think some on this deal is going to have a Cooper Cobra in their boot !!! Good luck..

      PSS – sorry, Real Deal Cooper Cobra

  13. Poppy

    The only original wheel is the spare. The rest are mid-’70 and later snap-on-center-cap style rims.

  14. Jim monte 72

    Anybody notice the oil pressure sender not hooked up. No belt in the pulley for the power steering the alternator looks to be all the way loose …. I smell a skunk. Those cooper cobras are way newer than 74. And the aluminum plug wire looms are far from barn find oem.

    1
  15. Stevieg Member

    Those seat covers look far more modern than seat covers from 1974. Just sayin’!
    Those early 1970’s cars rusted fast! So it is possible that this car rusted this bad in those 4 years…but I still don’t believe the story myself.
    Housing values in Kenosha has skyrocketed due to the Foxxcon plant being built in Racine. Whoever said the car is worth more than the house would have been close to accurate a couple years ago, not now though. And whoever said something stinks in Kenosha, I agree with you. I can’t decide if it is the story about this car or if it is just because of Kenosha being down wind from the meat packing plant in Cudahy.
    I am done trashing Kenosha. It is actually a neat town with lots to offer tourists & residents alike. My family has a strong historic connection to the town. If I weren’t so set on leaving Milwaukee to live in Phoenix, I would probably move to Kenosha.
    This car just doesn’t set right with me, but for the right price & a little elbow grease, it could be fun. I hope whoever buys it does right by it.

    2
  16. local_sheriff

    I’ve always had a soft spot for 70 442/Cutlass as it was probably the very first true American muscle car I ever spotted as a 4year old. This one sure checks out most boxes (gotta love that color!)but seller seems way optimistic about its potential value. There’s a LONG way to go before this example could reach 6 figures!
    Too bad 1st owner didn’t store it better – had it been in 45 years dry storage it could’ve been a true survivor. What we see here is 45 years of NEGLECT, however it’s well worth giving a full restoration

    3
  17. Alabama Hot Pocket

    Nobody’s noticed the RED inner fenders? BS picture.

  18. ACZ

    Exactly as they should be on a W30

    2
  19. Gordon Ward

    70 Olds 442 W30 with a brake booster on it. Maybe someone added that because they did not come with power brakes because of the cam. I know because I bought a 70 Olds 442 W30, ordered it from a dealer and still own it today. It is Sherwood forest green also. Mine is stored in a barn but it is alot better shape than the one on here. I don’t think those are sheet metal screws in the valve covers, just chrome colored bolts.

    1
    • ACZ

      The automatic trans cars had a different camshaft with less overlap that could support the vacuum modulator on the TH400 and a power brake unit.

  20. Gordon Ward

    Thanks for the info, I did not know that. I have the 4 speed and never thought about it being an automatic. My best friend bought a 70 Buick Grand Sport with an automatic in it. That thing would fly. I figured that the two cars were just about equal as far as performance but we never raced each other.

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