Red Fenders and Matching Numbers: ’71 Olds 442

Wow – not too many 442s remain as original as this 1971 example is, nor do they still retain all of their desirable factory options like this car does. The Oldsmobile comes with the W30 package and a 4-speed manual transmission paired to the 455, and if that wasn’t good enough, the body is in incredible shape with original paint from stem to stern. You’ll find this survivor 442 here on eBay, where bidding has almost met the Buy-It-Now price of $39,750.

One of the more curious features of this 442 are the inner fenders, which were painted red and also considered light-weight, and only available on W30 cars. Since so many of these 442s were driven hard, most have had those fenders replaced due to accidents or rot, so finding a car that retains them is a top priority for fans of this model. It doesn’t hurt that the drivetrain is as original as the rest of the car, with numbers matching on all major components.

Inside, the un-cracked dash looks like brand new, and the seller says all glass and interior components remain original to the car. Even the lettering on the Hurst shifter handle still looks like new, and the luster to the steering wheel is usually one of the first things to disappear after just a few months of ownership. It’s clear that in addition to being used sparingly – it has only 40,000 miles – the previous owners lavished care and attention to the Oldsmobile from Day 1.

Sometimes, when it seems like everything about a car is perfect, it can be let down by a disappointing paint color code (see the Calypso Coral Mustang we featured yesterday that was covered up by ugly black paint). Not the case here, as this 442 also wears a gorgeous paint combo in addition to the best options. It’s clear to me that when ordered, the original owner wanted a car that ticked all the right boxes, literally and emotionally, and bidders are responding accordingly today.


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  1. 455Bob

    1971 442 W-30 4 Speed is the holy grail. 1971 production was low due to union strike. The inner fenders were not painted but, were molded red plastic. The motor is missing the alloy intake manifold. The listing has been removed for some reason. Don’t understand why the W cars do not bring the money that Camaros, Chevelles, and Mustangs do.

    Like 2
  2. Flmikey

    …looks like the seller has priced this beauty exactly right…worth every penny but not trying to gouge the buyer…I’m no 442 expert, but is the air cleaner wrong on this car?

    • RayT Member

      Don’t know about the air cleaner, but I’m pretty sure the valve covers aren’t original. Or did Oldsmobile offer M/T (Mickey Thompson) engine dress-up bits as options?

      Perhaps the air cleaner shown went on at the same time….

    • Jim O

      Yes it is. The original on a W30 has a vacuum operated flapper door to let the air from the hood scoops in. The valve covers are also wrong. The intake may or may not be correct (they may have painted the original one). And IIRC the T handle shift knob isn’t correct either (all originals I’ve seen had a ball not a T handle). Still it is a W30 and most of the parts that are incorrect can be purchased through most restoration places.

      • ACZ

        The R.P.O. (Regular production option) W30 is defined as O.A.I. or Outside Air Induction. That should answer the air cleaner question.

  3. Rocketbrian

    The air cleaner, valve covers and heater and rad hoses are wrong, but easily corrected. All Cutlasses and 442s had plastic inner fenders from 68 to 72. W30s got the red ones. Quite the car no doubt.

  4. Vigorous Vegas Vic

    Simply stated, a beautiful car
    Vastly different from Mustangs, Trans Ams abd GTO!’
    Great color, good performance and a long vanished auto marquee
    Buy her, drive her, car show her … And Cuz, kids? She gets lonely do add a nifty Tornado to your stable!

  5. chris lawrence

    That is the car to have. Price can’t be beaten.

  6. Bruce Best

    My fathers two brothers at the same time owned a 442 like this one but in Red and a bright Orange AMX of the same year. To say that there was some brotherly competition going on would be a understatement. That being said the rides to the store, zoo, parks and to grandparents homes for the holidays was memorable.

    The 442 was similar to this one but the red of the car and the red fenders were similar enough that I never noticed them. The AMX on the other hand must have had a second battery to make that paint glow because you could never miss that thing.

  7. Jim L

    I find the statement about the plastic fender wells kind of strange. I had a ’70 Cutlass Supreme that came with plastic fender wells.

    • Poppy

      I agree. All of them were plastic and thus “lightweight” The red ones were just flashier.

  8. z28th1s

    I had a ’71 Cutlass ‘S’ in high school in the early 80’s that was the same color. I always liked that car and the color was awesome!

  9. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    I remember reading that the factory 4-speed ’71 W-30 Olds 442s were equipped with true M-22 Muncie Rock Crusher transmissions. The M-22s produced an unmistakable whine.

  10. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Passenger side inner is plastic, 100% ! Driver side…not completely certain but looks like it sure could be.

    Awesome car and seems like a bargain compared to other make/models

  11. MDW66

    My brother has a 1971 Vista Cruiser with the same code 62 paint. It was called bittersweet poly! He brought his back from Arizona almost 20 years ago (Feb 97) and has been enjoying it since he completed the restoration soon after.

  12. ccrvtt

    It’s a ’71 442.

    What else is there to say?

  13. Greg


    4- four-barrel carburetor
    4- four-speed manual transmission
    2- dual exhaust

    Scroll down to 1971. >>>

  14. Grumpy

    Hard to believe such a fast muscle car would come with no power brakes! I would love to own it.

  15. ACZ

    The simple reason is that the cam has too much overlap so there is insufficient vacuum at idle. This is before the days of electric or belt driven auxiliary vacuum pumps. This only effected stick shift W30 s. Automatic trans models used a cam with less overlap because of the vacuum required by the transmission and were also able to supply a power brake booster.

    • ccrvtt

      This is why this is the best car website! Thanks for the info.

  16. Rando

    I had a customer that had one of these. He had to get a second set of red liners because someone stole the originals (!). And he had a set of plain black metal ones as well, for “every day use” so folks would not be tempted. He used his car as his DD.

  17. Wildfire

    I had a 72 true 442 however mine had power brakes ~ when I converted a 73 Monte Carlo (long gone) to a 5 speed we had to remove the power booster to put in the slave Cylinder ~ other then a stiffer peddle never really noticed the difference and the inner fenders were plastic but not red
    What surprises me is that this car is not well over $45 K as stated above
    the 71 IS the Holy Grail for the 442

  18. leiniedude leinieduede Member

    Winning bid of $33,850.00. 25 bids. 12/12/2016.

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