1970 Olds 442 W-30
Considered by many to be the best that Oldsmobile put out, the 1970 Olds 442 W-30 is truly a classic muscle car. Not many think of Oldsmobile in terms of muscle cars; the high-end brand from General Motors was always more known for its large, luxury-oriented vehicles. The 442, however, was one of the finest muscle cars of the era.
For most of its life, the 442 existed as an option package. The 1970 Olds 442 W-30 fell midway through the brand’s four-year run as a model in its own right. From 1964 to 1968, it was an option package on the Cutlass and F-85 models. By 1972, the 442 was back to an option, thanks to the increasing insurance rates and gas prices that brought an end to the high-performance muscle car.
During its four-year span, though, the 442 outperformed many of its competitors. The 1970 Olds 442 W-30 represented the pinnacle. To compete with other muscle cars, Oldsmobile took advantage of the fact that GM had dropped its engine size limitation on its smaller and mid-sized vehicles. They introduced the 455-cubic inch V8 as the standard engine on the 1970 Olds 442 W-30. On the standard 42 for that year, the engine generated 365 horsepower and 500 foot pounds of torque.
That was not enough for everyone, which is why GM also brought out the 1970 Olds 442 W-30. This optional package on the 442 was the ultimate in performance for a street-ready car. Oldsmobile engineers clocked it at 13.7 seconds for a quarter mile back in the day, and now collectors often rate it as one of the fastest muscle cars of the era.
In addition to the usual performance aspects, the 1970 Olds 442 W-30 option included functional air scoops on the fiberglass hood, a special camshaft, an aluminum intake manifold, and special cylinder heads, carburetor, and distributor. The 1970 Olds 442 W-30 was not only the peak of the brand’s performance cars, it also represented the beginning of the end of the muscle car era.