One-of-One 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 Looks Fabulous in Plum Crazy Purple

Introduced for the 1964 model year, the Pontiac GTO became an unexpected success and kickstarted the muscle car wars. Over the next few months, other GM brands jumped on the high-performance midsize bandwagon.
1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible 8 photos
Photo: MuscleCarOfTheWeek/YouTube
1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 convertible
Chevrolet created the Chevelle SS, Buick launched the Gran Sport, while Oldsmobile beefed up the Cutlass to offer the 442. The package remained available throughout the golden muscle car era. It included various engine options based on the 330-, 400-, and 455-cubic-inch (5.4-, 6.6-, and 7.5-liter) V8 mills.

But Olds didn't settle and rolled out an even more exciting performance package called the W30 in 1966. The bundle added an air induction system, a hotter cam, and relocated the battery in the trunk. Underrated at 360 horsepower, the W30 was ordered by only 54 customers in 1966, with an additional 97 examples put together by dealers.

The 442 W30 soldiered on through the early 1970s with various modifications and remained a somewhat rare specification. Oldsmobile made 504 cars in 1967, 172 units in 1968, and 1,389 examples in 1969. W30 production then spiked to around 3,100 vehicles in 1970.

The latter is the most common W30 ever built, but the example you see here is rarer than hen's teeth. And it's all thanks to a special-order color that many muscle car enthusiasts would describe as sacrilegious. That's because this 1970 442 Cabriolet was finished in Plum Crazy, an official Chrysler color back in 1970.

And no, this is not a color change one owner applied sometime in the past. This 442 was finished in this Mopar hue by Oldsmobile. It seems hard to believe, right? Well, then, let me explain.

In 1970, the company allowed dealers to commission special-order paint for $50 (about $400 as of 2023). And by "special-order paint," I mean any hue, not just certain colors from an options list. A specific dealer from Virginia Beach took advantage of this option and ordered quite a few cars in uncommon colors.

He did it so that he could have one-off rigs in his showroom but also because special-order units did not count against the 442 allotment that Oldsmobile had in place at the time. This metallic purple drop-top is one of those cars. And according to the current owner, the hue is an exact copy of Mopar's Plum Crazy purple and was applied at the Oldsmobile Experimental Center.

Restored to original specifications, the Olds packs all the factory W30 goodies, white stripes, and a white convertible top. It's as clean as they get and looks downright fabulous in this color combination. Needless to say, it's just as spectacular as a white-striped Plum Crazy Dodge Challenger from the era.

I know some of you diehard fans may find it unsettling, but this purple Olds is now my absolute favorite 442 out there. And I would love to see one in Panther Pink, though I doubt it exists. Yup, I have no problem mixing GM cars with Chrysler paints. And if you like flashy and unique muscle cars, you shouldn't have an issue either.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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