Spotless Classic: 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30

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Hidden away in this shed is one of the most desirable classics ever to grace American roads. It is a 1970 Oldsmobile 442, and as you will see, its condition is good enough to knock your sock off. It presents superbly, and its mechanical condition is a match for the rest of the vehicle. The owner has decided that the time is right to send it off to a new home, so he has listed it for sale here on eBay. The Olds is located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and while the bidding has rocketed to $47,143, this remains short of the reserve.

Before we delve too deeply into this 442’s overall condition, there are a few things that we need to consider. The owner lists the vehicle as a W30, but it seems that he isn’t 100% certain that it is the real deal. The VIN confirms it as a 442, and it sports all of the components that would indicate that it could be a W30, but it is something that potential buyers might need to investigate carefully. That is because this could have a significant impact on its potential value, and we’ll touch on that shortly. The first thing to note about this Fire Red 442 is that it presents incredibly well. The paint has a few minor flaws and marks, but it still holds a beautiful shine. The owner describes its condition as being a 9.2/10, and that is probably is a fair assessment. There’s nothing that would demand attention in the foreseeable future, but a fastidious buyer might want to address the few chips and marks in the pursuit of perfection. The panels are close to perfect and include the fiberglass hood with the twin scoops that was an integral part of the W30 package. There are no dings and dents, and the photos show no signs of rust issues. The white graphics and decals offer a striking contrast, and these, along with the original wheels, are in excellent condition. The chrome and trim are just as impressive as the rest of the vehicle, while I can’t spot any problems with the glass.

The 1970 Olds 442 was a muscle car before tightening emission regulations could bite deep into vehicle performance. As such, its numbers-matching 455ci V8 should be pumping out a conservative 370hp if it is a genuine W30. The seller believes that an automatic transmission initially backed the 455. That is something that potential buyers should consider if they are searching for an unmolested classic. A previous owner has installed a Tremec 5-speed manual transmission, along with a heavy-duty clutch and a Dynotech driveshaft. The 442 is also equipped with power steering and power front disc brakes. With the original Hydramatic in place, this vehicle would have been able to storm the ¼ mile in 14.1 seconds before winding its way to 126mph. You would have to think that with the more efficient Tremec, a sub-14-second ET would be possible, while it should improve on the top speed figure. The owner says that all of the correct mechanical components, including the cylinder heads and intake, are present to suggest that this is a genuine W30, and he rightly points out that if it isn’t what it appears to be, someone has spent a lot of money to create a clone. The 442 runs and drives exceptionally well and is ready to be enjoyed by its next lucky owner. He includes this YouTube video that provides a comprehensive overview of the vehicle and allows us to hear the 455 running. It sounds perfect, with no evidence of rattles or other odd noises.

Just because a classic car offers stunning performance, there’s no reason why it can’t also involve some comfort. This Olds has you covered on that front because its interior looks spotless and extremely inviting. The Hurst shifter isn’t original, but otherwise, the interior has managed to remain unmolested. The upholstered surfaces look flawless, as do the headliner and the dash. There is no visible wear on the wheel, and the dash pad shows no evidence of deterioration. The luxury feel is continued with the inclusion of air conditioning, along with an AM/FM stereo radio with a rear speaker. The only faults that the owner identifies are some slight crackling with the radio, along with his belief that the A/C would benefit from a recharge. Otherwise, it’s a case of slipping behind the wheel and enjoying what should be a rapid but comfortable driving experience.

This 1970 Oldsmobile 442 is a stunning car, and I think that any enthusiast would park it in their driveway with great pride. The only question mark that hangs over it is whether it is a genuine W30. It is hard to believe that three little figures could make much of a difference to the vehicle’s potential value, but the difference that it does make is profound. If this is a regular 442, it should be worth around $60,000 any day of the week when you consider its condition and the transmission change. If it does prove to be a genuine W30, you can expect to double that figure easily. It is a stunning car, but it also teaches an important lesson to anyone considering making a classic car purchase. It graphically demonstrates the importance of doing some thorough research before committing to handing over the cash. If you do your homework and like what you find, would you be tempted to join the bidding war on this stunning 442? If you do, I could hardly blame you.

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  1. nycbjrMember

    Pretty!! But does the 5 speed restomod make it more or less valuable since it’s not numbers matching? Would a period correct 4 speed been more appropriate? Enquiring minds want to know!

    Like 10
  2. Don Diego

    So do inquiring minds.

    Like 19
    • nycbjrMember

      Haha thx what I get for typing and eating lol

      Like 3
  3. Dave

    You did not make mention of what the W30 package is

    Like 0
  4. Jcs

    Great looking Olds!

    Owner ; can you please give the carburetor and distributor numbers? Easy way help identify authenticity to eliminate any confusion.

    In the video you state that there are only three minor imperfections and point them out, going in to say that the rest of the car is perfect.

    There appears to be rust bubbling up under the paint just ahead of the right rear wheelwell. I see no shots of any if the other common areas, is this isolated to just this area? How long has it been like that?

    I would imagine that these questions would come up in any conversations with a serious buyer.

    Best of luck in the sale, she is gorgeous.

    Like 9
  5. A.G.

    Why does such a nice looking car have a ‘git-by’ positive battery cable?

    Like 3
  6. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Not the biggest Olds fan, but sure looks good to me.

    Like 0
  7. Keith

    Nice 442 but really need to prove the W-30 option. More fakes then real ones out there now.

    Like 4
  8. Ron Ron

    Are those bucket seats original in the car?

    Like 0
    • Joe Padavano

      That’s the correct pattern, but the upholstery appears to have been overstuffed when they were recovered.

      Like 0
  9. Steve S

    I would have to change the 5 speed manual transmission to the period correct 4 speed manual transmission. If you change the gearing a little it will still get the same time in the 1/4 mile as the 5 speed.

    Like 1
  10. Joe Padavano

    The ebay ad even says “…WITH W 30 UP GRADES…”

    That’s code for “no, it isn’t a real W-30”. FYI, the factory four speed W-30 cars came with a 328/328 deg cam that did not create enough vacuum to operate power brakes or A/C, so those were not available with a manual trans. The AT W30 cars got the same 258/287 cam as did every other 442 with automatic that year, so you COULD get PB and A/C on those cars. You could also get A/C on a non-W 442 with manual trans.

    The seller knows he’s got an uphill battle to justify this one-of-none car, as evidenced in the “I do believe…” statements in the ad. As with most fake W-30s, the car has side striped that appear to have been painted by Stevie Wonder. And sticking the repro engine code sticker on the diesel Olds oil fill cap doesn’t give one confidence that the seller even has a clue as to what’s real and what isn’t. Make your own judgement about this car.

    Like 22
  11. Brian Weyeneth

    I’m with Joe on this one.

    Like 1
  12. cmarvMember

    Well it does have RED fenderwells !

    Like 2
  13. Rixx56Member

    Impressive driveshaft!?
    Unimpressive exhaust…
    My Olds’ 30 over 350 pwr brakes work
    fine at 484/492 w/308° duration.

    Like 0
  14. Big sal

    SS1 wheels came with the 1970 442, not the color matching honeycomb wheels

    Like 0
    • Poppy

      You could certainly get “argent” SSII wheels on any ’70 442. Certain models that year (e.g. Rallye 350, and Indy Pace Car models) had color matched SSII wheels (Not sure if they called them SSIII yet in ’70).

      Like 1

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