Unlike other GM brands, Oldsmobile wasn’t intended as a performance marque. However, when the muscle car revolution was happening in the 1960s and early 1970s, Olds didn’t fail to deliver. And perhaps the best way to remember the marque’s muscle efforts from that era come from the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 with the W-30 package.
Born as a performance package for the 1964-introduced Cutlass, the 442 became a dedicated model in 1968 and stayed that way until 1971. So, what makes the 1970MY special? Well, that was the year when GM removed the rule that prohibited intermediate offerings from packing engines larger than 400 ci (6.6 liters).
As a result, Oldsmobile’s infamous 455 ci (7.5 L) V8 became the standard hardware of the 442, which meant 365 hp and a monstrous 500 lb-ft (680 Nm) of torque.
And, if you opted for the W-30 appearance and performance package, as is the case with the example discussed here, the output would jump to 370 hp. More importantly, the hardtop coupe (no B-pillars) would receive functional air scoops, a free-flow air cleaner, an aluminum intake manifold, along with performance camshaft, “F” cylinder heads, carburetor and distributor. The result was a beast that could easily dip into the 13s quarter-mile range.
This ’70 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 spent around 45 years in a barn
Those who like to follow the stories of classic muscle cars online might be familiar to this Oldsmobile—after being with its original owner in Wisconsin until a few years ago, the coupe was sold to its current owner.
That part of its story is documented in the video below, which comes from YouTuber The Auto Archeologist, who also tells a brief story of the car.
It seems the machine hadn’t been driven since the 1970s, having gotten its last plate in 1974. And, despite its indoor storage, the vehicle features plenty of rust, even though most of it is superficial.
Alas, the original owner damaged the front end when attempting to get the vehicle out of the barn. And it’s said that some painters who came to fix the barn managed to steal some of the parts, such as the said intake and carburettor, while damaging the hood.
In addition, the cabin has been occupied by wild animals, most likely racoons, so it had to be partially stripped. And while we’re here, we’ll mention that the odometer shows
Note that while the 442 does come with the original motor, the V8 doesn’t run, with its condition being unknown. The factory TH400 three-speed automatic is also present.
Can this muscle car be saved?
Last month, the ’70 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 was listed on Bring a Trailer, being offered by a seller in New York, presumably the man who picked it up from its original owner.
And while the bids reached $20,250, this didn’t meet the reserve. Now, if you check out the comments section of the listing, you’ll notice many enthusiasts mentioning the potentially high restoration costs for the non-running project, which is most likely why the offers didn’t climb higher.
For the record, in the current sky-high market, the average price for a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 can easily climb past $100,000, even though you should also be able to find decent examples in the five-figure range.
Hopefully, the opinions of the seller and those of any prospective buyers will align in the future, so this muscle icon can return to the blacktop.