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1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30

In this edition of Muscle Car Milestones, we’ll take a look the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30. 1970 is considered by many muscle car aficionados as the year the muscle car came into its own. Horsepower and torque ratings were through the roof and every manufacturer offered something special this model year. Oldsmobile’s standout in the horsepower war was the 1970 442 W-30. This A-body was a gentleman’s hot rod that blended high performance with a plethora of creature comforts. It was the best of both worlds. Let’s see what makes the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 just what the doctor ordered.

The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 was available as a fastback pillared coupe, fastback hardtop coupe, and convertible. A walkaround of the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 reveals a lightweight fiberglass hood with functional scoops, dual hood stripes, and chrome hood tie-downs. Body-side and trunk stripes, “W-30” badging on the front fenders, and 14×7-inch wheels with G70x14-inch bias-ply, glass-belted tires with raised white letters were also part of the W-30 package.

During the 1970 model year, General Motors finally dropped the edict that mandated engine size could not exceed 400 cubic-inches in the A-body. The standard powerplant in the 442 W-30 was now a 455 cubic-inch Rocket V8 with 370 horsepower and a whopping 500 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine featured a standard Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, aluminum intake manifold, and dual exhaust. A heavy-duty radiator with power-saving clutch fan, low restriction air cleaner, and high-overlap cam were also included as standard equipment. Drivers could choose between the M21 fully synchronized close-ratio four-speed manual transmission with Hurst Competition shifter or the M40 Turbo Hydra-matic 400 three-speed automatic transmission. The W-30 also included a 3.42:1 anti-spin axle package, which included the aforementioned heavy-duty radiator and heavy-duty axle shafts.

Oldsmobile gave drivers a surplus of options to dress up their 1970 442 W-30. Notable options include Super Stock II wheels, a rear deck spoiler, and aluminum axle carrier and cover. Inside, drivers could opt for a Hurst Dual-Gate shifter for the Turbo-Hydra-matic, sport steering wheel, and Rock Rally Pac, which includes a 7,000-rpm tachometer, clock, and temperature and oil gauges.

Speed & Supercar put the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 to the test in their May 1970 issue. The 442 W-30 sprinted from 0 to 60 in 7.5 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 14.30 seconds at 98 miles per hour. Those times are pretty respectable for a full-size banger tipping the scales at almost 4,000 pounds. After all was said and done, Speed & Supercar stated “Our test Olds 4-4-2 with the W-30 package wasn’t the strongest thing on the strip, but it turned out to be one of the best supercar packages we’ve driven all year.” Speed & Supercar went on to praise the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 for its handling, suspension, and build quality.

It’s been said all good things must come to an end. With that in mind, the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 was one of the last great supercars from General Motors’ Class of 1970. With Uncle Sam cracking down on tailpipe emissions and Big Insurance waging war on the muscle car, it was only a matter of time before horsepower began to suffer. Unleaded fuels requirements and lowered compression ratios also dealt a knockout punch for the muscle car. Was the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 the last great muscle car from Oldsmobile? We tend to think so.

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