Solid Survivor: 1979 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds W30 442

I’m always a bit hesitant to look at an older car and declare it to be rust-free, but the 1979 Oldsmobile 442 shows a lot of promise in that regard. The owner provides a huge catalog of very clear, high-resolution photos, and it looks really promising. It also appears to be original and unmodified, a real survivor. If you have always had a hankering for a 442, then you will find this particular car located in Tucson, Arizona, and listed for sale here on eBay.

As I said at the beginning, rust in the 442 is conspicuous by its absence. Having said that, it is going to take some work to return the car to its former glory. For the 1979 model year, the 442 was only available in paint combinations of either black and gold or white and gold. I have a preference for the black/gold, but I have to admit that the white/gold combination makes a refreshing change. There are a few minor trim pieces missing, and the paint has been pretty well baked by the Arizona sun, but the solid base is definitely there for restoration.

This is a numbers-matching car, so the original 350ci Rocket V8 engine is still in situ under the hood. It is backed by a THM-350 transmission and the original rear end. The car has been sitting idle since the early 1990s, but a bit of tinkering by the owner has the car up and running. It is said to run well, with no strange noises or smoke. The owner has driven it around the block a few times and says that everything works as it should, although it will require some remedial work (flush the gas tank, etc.) before it is fit to hit the road. For your money, you also get power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning.

With an older car, unless they have been stored in a climate-controlled environment with little exposure to UV, there is always going to be a price to pay, and this Oldsmobile is no exception to that rule. The Arizona sun has been kind to the body but has exacted its toll on the interior trim. Some of the vinyl is in reasonable condition, but the majority of the plastic and cloth trim will need to go on the “replace” list. The original dual gate Hurst shifter is still present, and while the interior is crisp, it is completely original. The car has also been optioned with power windows, power locks, and cruise control.

While it may need a full restoration, it appears that anyone taking on this 442 will have a solid base from which to work. The car has some nice extras fitted, and it is a numbers-matching car. The car is being sold with a low reserve, and while bidding has only reached $1,026, the reserve hasn’t been met. There is certainly some promise in this car.

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Comments

  1. Mark

    I can not believe this is a 40 year old car. Guess I am almost dead!

    8
  2. UK Paul

    A lot of verbal diarrhoea in the advert but seems a decent car.
    Interior is well worn from sun damage. Is it all available to replace?

    1
  3. Roger

    I don’t know what it is but I just love 442’s and wish I still had my 67.

    2
  4. Tony Sollecito

    I bought the black/gold model new, absolutely loved it. But, this model is strictly a Hurst/Olds, 442 was not part of the model name. 442 in 1979 was basically a fastback, ugly Cutlass.

    3
  5. CCFisher

    I suggest that potential buyers inspect the frame rails just aft of the axle. It wasn’t unusual for these late 70s A-bodies to have rust-free bodies and rotten rear frame rails.

    5
    • Joe Mac

      Good amount of pics on eBay. Frame rails look good (see pics w/ wheels removed). AZ cars rarely suffer frame rust. Paint & interior is where your money will go on this one. Seller mentioned he lowered the reserve. Nice project IF low enough….happy bidding!

      7
    • Maynard Reed Jr

      By 79 they g bodies. But you are right about the frame rails.

      • Joe Mac

        AZ = Arizona

  6. Joe Mac

    Since I’d have to paint it, this car would be getting the black / gold paint scheme. Much sharper looking than the white / gold.

  7. Randy R Novenske

    Not a fan of that body style or year, a relatively nice W-30 with less then 30k miles is for sale in Ohio right now for $14K

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Please send in the link so we can feature it. Thanks!

      1
  8. Richard Conte

    I am VERY INTERESTED in the car. How can I find out what the owner will take for a final price.
    I live in Massachusetts.
    I am looking to restore a 442 as I have a 350 V-8, low mileage Olds engine & trans that runs excellent.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      The link to eBay is right there in the first paragraph. Good luck.

  9. Joe

    It is not a 442. This is a Hurst Olds. Two different models. The 442 is a fast back design known as the aeroback which is more rare than the Hurst but not as desired.

    7
    • Darrun

      Good catch, Joe. A co-worker had a H/O, and was quite offended when you called it a 442. Of course, when conversation about it came up, it was always address as a 442 from then on.

      1
  10. Kevin Baker

    It has the 305, not the 350, according to the ad. This does not square with the “W-30” option so I can’t tell if that means it’s had an engine swap or it’s simply a typo. According to Hemings, if you want to restore it, interior components will be the most difficult items to come by.

    4
  11. James Hoving

    I own the His (black on gold) version to this hers version, you are correct, an H/O is a step above a 442. Plus, one of the 4’s stands for 4 speed, dual gate (his and hers) shifters only go to 3, no OD on that tranny tho I wish it did as he revs high at today’s highway speeds!

  12. Bryan

    Considering GM equipped most full-size and lesser cars with the Metric 200 (which replaced the TH350), I have a hard time believing that this 305 engined Hurst/Olds has a TH350. The Metric 200 was crap then and it is still crap!

    I knew people with GM cars with failing Metric 200 transmissions with less than 20k miles. Most transmission repair shops wouldn’t warranty them. The TH350 and TH400, however, were very good transmissions.

    2

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