LMC has proudly added this extremely rare '71 Olds 442 W-30 Convertible to its special collection.
Olds 4-4-2 was a muscle car produced by GM's Oldsmobile division as a response to the Pontiac GTO. Introduced in 1964 as a performance option package for F-85 and Cutlass models, it moved into stardom as its own model from 1968 to 1971. The "4-4-2" name (pronounced "Four-four-two") derives from the original car's four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts. As early as 1965, 4-4-2s were available with 3-speed automatic transmissions, but were still referred to and badged as "4-4-2"s. By 1968 badging was shortened to simply "442", but Oldsmobile brochures and internal documents continued to use the hyphenated "4-4-2" model designation.
Despite storm clouds on the muscle car horizon, the 4-4-2 returned in 1971 in hardtop coupe and convertible body type with only minor modifications. Although the stranglehold was now on the American muscle car engine output, the base 455 cu.in. was rated at 340 hp while the W-30 performance machine achieved a rating of 350 hp. The changes included the bold "block black" grille with silver surround, 442 script, silver headlight bezels, round parking lights in front bumper, and horizontal tail lights within the rear bumper. Only 110 W30 models were built in 1971 which included the fiberglass force induction hood and turbo 400 transmission as the 442 evolved into a total performance package. Not only did it perform like gangbusters but unlike its other performance brothers, 442 provided the highest level of owner comfort of all GM mid-size cars.
"It's not your father's Oldsmobile." That was the marketing slogan Oldsmobile division used to help convince the marketplace. Perhaps no Oldsmobile drove that slogan home more than a 442 with the optional W30 package. As a descendant of the famed Rocket 88 these 442's provide a new meaning to rocket power for the legion of Olds supporters.
This 1971 Olds offered here was 1 of only 32 of the 442 W30 Convertibles produced with the desirable combination of a Muncie Wide Ratio 4-speed Floor Shift Transmission. It was originally delivered through Royal Pontiac-Olds of Butler New Jersey and a copy of the Car Invoice confirms all the optional equipment noted. The 442 has been lucky enough to have been owned by a succession of prominent muscle car collectors widely known for owning the best and rarest examples. The meticulous nut and bolt frame off restoration was performed by a well regarded marque specialist, known for his quality of workmanship and exceptional attention to detail. This exceptionally well-detailed restoration was completed to be authentic to original specification and is impressively documented by a collection of accompanying paperwork, including the build sheet, dealer invoice, and the Protect-O-Plate, as well as Owner's Manual.
This rare "last of the breed" has forced-air induction system through the special fiberglass hood scoops with the large black racing stripe patches. When opening the massive hood to view the outstanding detailed restoration of the engine bay you are captured by the colors that only a 442 W-30 can show off - the distinctive Olds blue engine flanked by the most unique feature of the W30 package being the Red Inner Fender liners. These reduced weight and provided added visual enhancement around the front wheels. This was the last of the great road-burning Oldsmobile's having the 350HP from the four-barrel carburetor 455 cu. in. Rocket. "Dr. Oldsmobile," the mad scientist along with his support team with the likes of "Wind Tunnel Waldo", was memorably depicted in period advertisements explaining the impressive muscle. 'It comes factory-blueprinted to save you the trouble and expense'. As mentioned, the engine is numbers matching and is the one it left the factory with, complete with correct 396021F block casting code. It also carries correct VIN stampings on both the engine's stamp pad and on the body of the transmission itself. This 442 has the Hurst Black-Ball competition shifter, a HD Performance Anti-Spin 3.73:1 Axle Package with a W27 rear axle cover to assist in delivering the power to the asphalt. The factory rated the optional W-30 version as being capable of 350 gross horsepower, but as with most muscle cars of the era, that was only a number to satisfy the insurance company's bean-counters. Its actual performance was sparkling, with a 442 capable of crossing the quarter-mile in under 15 seconds at just over 100mph. Stopping for this 112" wheelbase Olds was accomplished by hydraulically actuated front disc and rear drum brakes.
Stunningly dressed in its factory color of Saturn Gold with the Black painted racing stripes, black bucket interior and Black convertible top it is a real attention grabber. The paint is in outstanding condition with a deep glow as is all the rich looking chrome around this big muscle car. From the side, the car looks somewhat formal, with sweeping front fenders and doors that blended into the quarter panel that has a hard line kick-up which gave it a distinct look. These lines are enhanced with the special black racing stripes along the contour of the body and with full size chrome bumpers molded into the front/rear styling. Super Stock II Wheels, the gold styled steel wheels with wide bright chrome beauty rings have Goodyear Polyglas GT raised white letter tires finishing off the ready-to-strike performance look.
Inside a luxurious compartment awaits the distinguished muscle car owner. The driver slips into a beautiful condition Black Bucket seat with head rest and is surrounded by a nicely styled dash with like new "Rocket Rally Pac" gauges including a "Tic-Toc-Tach". Other interior features include the AM Pushbutton Radio with the Bi-Phonic Rear Radio Speaker, Sports Console, Power Steering, Black Custom-Sport four-spoke steering wheel with the Tilt-Away option, Tinted Glass, Power Windows, Vanity Mirror, dual body tone sports-style side mirrors and the Light package. Oldsmobile went the extra mile when designing the Black interior with the faux wood-grain trim that extended onto the door pads as it is both comfortable and stylish. In the case of this car the restoration has provided an almost better than from the factory presentation inside and out.
In many ways this is a 'Gentleman's Hot Rod' as sophisticated top-down style met the brutally powerful 455 V8 torque. Dr. Oldsmobile's W-Machine was both a performance car and a great handling turnpike cruiser - living up to the '71 advertisement claim the 442 W-30 was 'The complete escape machine'.