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Super-Rare 1967 Olds 442 With W30 Muscle Smokes Tires Any Day of the Week, Twice on Sunday

1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 442 W30 44 photos
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
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“With only 500 being made, you don’t see ’em too often.” To be accurate, five hundred-two units, it’s close enough as it is. The numbers represent the production run of a famous option package, the hottest numbers of the GM Oldsmobile division, the 442 W30 from 1967. The year marked several turning points for the fabled nameplate, leaving us with a limited pool of wow-factor candidates.

The W30 option first appeared in 1966 as a performance package for the F-85 and Cutlass twin cousins, but in 1967, it was retained only on the top-of-the-line Cutlass Supreme. Coincidence or not, it was the last year of production for the first generation of 4-4-2s, which saw the first spark of combustion in 1964.

The high-performing Olds offer was born under austere auspices. Not only was it poorly advertised (the literature didn’t specify what the 4-4-2 was all about), it had the misfortune of competing with the daddy of the new-born muscle cars, the Pontiac LeMans GTO. The GTO was the very reason the 4-4-2 came to be, but then Oldsmobile threw a box of wrenches in it when it chose the inauguration date in April 1964.

For those who have recently heard of the wonderful invention that is the automobile, on April 14, 1964, a certain American carmaker launched a certain model that made history. That demigod of pistons recently turned 60, but the pony is as nimble as ever. It’s the Ford Mustang, and everyone played second fiddle that year (including Oldsmobile, who definitely made one of its most foot-in-mouth moves with the 4-4-2 launch).

1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 442 W30
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
Nonetheless, the option caught on and gained momentum in the following years, and the high-performance option received its own high-performance version, the W30, in 1966. Only 151 were slated for production that year (54 from the factory, 97 as dealer-installed packages). Still, the public got the taste of it and asked for more.

Oldsmobile delivered but didn’t gleam with generosity in 1967; it assembled three times as many hot Cutlass Supremes with the W30 option, making them rare. Maybe not unicorn-level scarce, but not commonplace, either. Also, due to a censoring edict from GM brass favoring the Corvette above everyone else (another one, yes), the 1967 W30 engines weren’t the same.

When it first appeared, a trio of dual-barrel carburetors fed the 400-cubic-inch V8 (6.6-liter). One year later, in 1967, GM axed the option from all engines, bar Corvette. Pontiac didn’t like that one but had no workaround and played ball.

1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 442 W30
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
Oldsmobile was forced to follow suit, so the ’67 W30s came with a single four-throat carb. The signature air intakes stayed in their place (inside the grille, inboard of the headlights), and the dual-snorkel mirror-polished air filter still took up a considerable portion of the engine bay.

Of the 500 and change built for 1967, 337 were Holiday Coupes (which, in Oldsmobilese, means two-door hardtop), and one of them has been the smiles-per-gallon machine for Bill Henrey. He’s the owner of the car featured in yet another video by Lou Costabile, shot in January in Arizona. The man has had the car since 2005, and he bought it from an enthusiast who thoroughly restores the mighty Cutlass Supreme 442 W30.

The red plastic wheel wells are one telltale of the W30-armed Olds (the hottest engine in the 1966-1971 ‘Oldsmobile’s hottest numbers’ was easily identifiable by the colored mudguards in the fenders). The Saffron Yellow would probably be better suited to a plain Olds with no highspeed pretensions. Still, the red accents behind the wheels leave no room for error: this is a sleeper with 360 horses on tap and 435 pound-feet of torque (365 PS, 590 Nm).

1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 442 W30
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
However, this particular car has the California smog equipment (an air pump) fitted, but that doesn’t seem to bother it one bit when the driver plants his right foot all the way to the floor. In true muscle car fashion, this 442 W30 has a four-speed manual transmission.

The odometer reads (or rather read in January) 62,230 miles - 100,128 metric clicks – but this is one of those moments where we can all agree that this stunning classic made the best of its life and now enjoys a peaceful retirement.

One final note about the W30-equipped 442s of this generation: due to the peculiarities in the air inlets at the front and the five-inch fabric tubes, all cars with this rare package had the battery mounted in the trunk, together with the spare wheel. It was a small price to pay for the extra power offered by the quirky setup that pushed high-pressure cold air into the carburetor, boosting engine output noticeably.

A hotter camshaft, stiffer valve springs, and a modified oil pump helped the engine punch harder, and a fine-tuned W30 could score 6.7 seconds in the zero-to-sixty miles-per-hour (97 kph) acceleration test. Not bad at all for a 4,200-lb (1,905 kg) muscle car from 1967 that could also cover the standing quarter in 15 seconds at 95 mph (153 kph).

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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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