70 442 W30

The Judge Has a new running mate.

The Judge and it’s new running mate.

After having success with the Judge restoration and enjoying its performance, I decided to look for a GM running mate of about the same vintage and rarity.  It didn’t take long to realize that an Olds 442 W30 fit the bill.

After researching the W30 option I concentrated on finding a 1969 or 1970 model.  Those two years represented attractive body styles and also the peak of performance capabilities.  During my research, I also discovered that the W30 option was much like Judge option in that it achieved additional power through a ram air approach. Also, real W30s are rarer than Judges and more valuable.

More research, many discussions, and a lot of searching led me to a numbers matching rally red 1970 W30.  After a week or so of negotiation, I finally bought the car and drove it home.

The Olds was a mechanically solid four speed car that presented itself very well.  It needed some detail work, but I bought the car with the intent of making it a winter project.  Before heading south, however, I needed to take care of a few items that were outside of my capabilities, including wet sanding and buffing what was already a high level paint job, new front seats, new front and rear bumpers, and a new headliner.  Even though the car ran great, I had it mechanically examined and had the brakes rebuilt to insure safe operation.  I also took advantage of access to my lift and cleaned and painted the rust free undercarriage.

The Olds 442 was a reaction to Pontiac’s GTO.  Much like the Pontiac, the 442 was based on the intermediate F-85.  The 442 designation stood for four barrel carburetor, four speed transmission and dual exhaust.  The car included performance additions and special badging to let the neighbors know this was not your father’s Oldsmobile.

Engine sizes and horsepower increased over the years, and by 1970 the 442 included a larger 455 cubic inch engine that benefited from GM’s decision to drop it’s previous 400 cubic inch limit.  The 1970 442 was based on the Cutlass, and more than 19,000 were built.  All of them were assembled in Lansing, Michigan.

The W30 option was a high performance version of the 442.  It included a ram air system (OAI), fiberglass hood, hotter cam, red plastic front fender wells, four speed stick or three speed automatic transmission, boxed control arms, and reduced insulation for additional weight reduction.  Engine horsepower increased from 365 to 370 when the W30 option was chosen.  All W30 engines were factory blueprinted and hand assembled.  About 3100 W30s were built during the 1970 model year.

My W30 was built in February, 1970 in Lansing.  It is numbers matching with the VIN appearing on the block and four speed transmission.  The heads are the correct F code and the aluminum intake sports the correct OLDS 455 identification.  The exhaust manifolds (W and Z codes), and the Rochester carburetor carry the correct designations.    All the date codes coincide with the early 1970 build date.  The paint code on the cowl tag shows as —  which indicates a special order paint.  The car’s rally red paint is a special order 1970 color.





It was time to prepare the car for it’s trip south for the winter.  There, it will receive new arm rests and inside door panels, outside door handles, original radio, correctly repainted gray wheels, spare tire and jack, engine compartment and trunk rehab, new package shelf, rear spoiler, and miscellaneous mechanical and electrical repairs.

The restoration of the W30 can be followed on a separate blog as the work proceeds over the winter.


Ready to head south



  1. Hi Phil!!

    It is really good to hear from you!!! I see that you are still deeply involved in the wonderful hobby of old cars. The website is great!! I hope that you will continue it for years to come, so I can keep up to date on you and your wonderful cars.

    Your friend – Bob Rose
    (From Dar Rose—Don’t you dare sell that ’57 Chevy. Thanks!!!)

    • Bob,
      Great to hear from you and Dar. Do you still have the T-Bird and the Porsche? The Bel Air has been a real source of pride and the leader of the pack. The only thing I have had to replace is the tar top battery. I don’t think I did a very good job of maintaining it. I will replace the replacement battery with another tar top next spring. It will take a lot to sell the car, but you did too good of a job restoring it. I’m afraid to drive it very far. Bob, you are one of the first people I dealt with when I started collecting and I have yet to find anyone as honest and classy as you and Dar. Some close, but none equal. Say hello to Dar and tell me about your current collection.

  2. You were just talking about a W30 when we saw you in HH. Glad its coming together…..beautiful car….always liked that style….hope to see it (and you) in Feb 2015 when we’re back to Palmetto Dunes.

    • Thanks for the comment, Rick. Looking forward to seeing you guys in Hilton Head.

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