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Named after its four-barrel, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts, the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 was undoubtedly the brand’s hot muscle machine. The 442 was based on the Cutlass and shared the same platform with the Chevy Chevelle SS and the Pontiac GTO, also hot muscle cars in their own right.

The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 houses a 455-cubic inch big-block V8 engine in order to keep up with the horsepower arms race going on during that era. The engine on the 1970 442 can produce power up to 365 hp and a torque of 500 lb-ft. The W30 variant of the 442 could even produce up to 370 hp.

 Oldsmobile 442 1970© Swtrekker | – 1970 Oldsmobile (Olds) Cutlass 442 Restoration Photo

With its revised body style, the 1970 442 was awarded pacing duties at the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Indianapolis 500 race in 1970. The car received several praises form motoring magazines. Motor Trend said that the 442 is ‘probably one of the most identifiable cars’ in the GM franchise.

The W30 option of the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 has a fiberglass hood equipped with functional air scoops and a low-restriction air cleaner. It also features an aluminum intake manifold, and special cylinder heads, camshaft, distributor, and carburetor. For an additional $23, optional rear shoulder seatbelts may be added to your W30 1970 442.

The 1970 442 had several available options.  General Motor’s Variable–ratio power steering – the N47 – was made available for this model. You may also opt for a console-mounted Hurst Dual/Gate shifter if you choose the Turbo Hydra-matic transmission for the 442. An aluminum differential housing and cover – the W27 – was also made available for potential 1970 442 owners. Moreover, all 442s which housed V8 engines were equipped with GM’s newly-developed Positive Valve Rotators for 1970s to increase the engine valve life. Two W30 442-equipped Vista Cruisers were specifically produced by special order. These units were designed specifically to their owners’ requirements, little of which is known to the public.

The W30 1970 Oldsmobile 442 clocks in a speed of 102 mph on the quarter mile test in 14.2 seconds. However, its top speed for a quarter mile test was 13.7 seconds in a run conducted by Oldsmobile engineers on the same car with a freshly tuned engine. It should also be noted that the car can hit 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, a rare achievement for a car produced in the 1970s. The 1970 442 model runs on a four-speed manual transmission and 3.91:1 rear gears.

Hollywood actor James Garner raced a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 at the NORRA Mexico 1000 before he hit the silver screens. His 442, dubbed the Goodyear Grabber, was sponsored by Goodyear tires. The car was built by NORRA Mexico racing guru, Vic Hickey. Garner won six races in his two-year NORRA Mexico 1000 stint with the Goodyear Grabber. The car was restored and sold sometime ago, but it resurfaced in 2009 when current Hickey Racing owner, Ron Johnson, bought the car for $1000 from a seller who, admittedly, had no idea what the car was. After confirming that it was the Goodyear Grabber, Johnson worked on completing the car in time for the 2009 NORRA Mexico 1000 race.


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