This 1972 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 is proof that Oldsmobile wasn't giving up on the muscle car era. With a 455 cubic inch V8 under the hood, a shape that is still one of the most attractive muscle cars of all time, and plenty of Oldsmobile comfort, this car represents a great way to own a legend without the giant price tag.
Finished in correct code 24 Nordic Blue, this 442 is every bit the upscale cruiser that GM envisioned when it launched the nameplate in the mid-60s. It was nicely restored several years ago and still looks great, with extremely straight sheetmetal, great panel gaps, and the proper black stripes that frame the wheel wells and highlight the hood scoops. It was repainted a few years ago and shows some signs of age and use, but even from a few feet away, this 442 looks quite good. Reproduction 442 and W-30 badges warn potential predators away from this big block powered rocket, and the chrome is brilliant all around, including the rear bumper whose exhaust cut-outs only came with the L75 455 engine. The '72 Cutlasses were also dressed up with black inserts in the headlight buckets and fine mesh grilles up front, and six-element taillight lenses in back.
Blue buckets with a center console is how the car came from the factory and the interior appears to be largely original. The seat covers are in excellent shape and show a lot more detail than the repro stuff, although the carpets are likely newer replacements that feature the correct weave. As an upscale model, the 442 got lots of wood on the dash and door panels, and the gauges feature brushed stainless faces that still look good 40 years later. This one also keeps it just the way the factory intended, including the stock AM radio and no aftermarket gauges or other add-ons aside from a set of embroidered '442' floor mats. The dash pad, headliner, and back seat all remain impressively well-preserved and the trunk is outfitted with a correct mat and matching spare wheel with a vintage Uniroyal bias-ply spare tire that probably dates to the car's earliest days in the '70s.
The engine is the car's matching-numbers L75 455 cubic inch V8, which in 1972 grunted out a very impressive 300 horsepower and 410 pounds of torque with the W-30 option package. Some would say that performance was over by 1972, but this engine proves otherwise. With an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold and 4-barrel carburetor, it starts easily, idles well, and pulls like a big block should with torque available at any speed. The engine bay is quite tidy, with an OEM look that includes the ram air setup on top of the air cleaner. Underneath, there's a correct TH400 3-speed automatic transmission and a 12-bolt rear end coded TO, which means a set of 3.73 gears and a limited slip, so acceleration is explosive to say the least. The 442 also received the FE2 suspension which included heavy-duty springs and shocks, front and rear sway bars, and boxed lower rear control arms (which have been upgraded to Hotchkis units). To attract attention, there's a snarling Flowmaster dual exhaust system plus those beautiful 14x7 Rally wheels wearing 215/70/14 BFGoodrich T/A radials.
The 442 is legendary, and though the muscle car era was winding down, this fantastic W-30 proves that it was far from over. Fast, fun, and beautiful, call now because this Olds won't last long!