Classic beauty emerges – 1969 Oldsmobile 442 heritage is washed for the first time in nearly 20 years


It’s been almost 20 years (as of 2023) since GM discontinued Oldsmobile, but the brand’s legacy still lives on thanks to a long list of achievements and fantastic cars.

Founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, Oldsmobile offered the first speedometer in 1901 and was the first carmaker to use chrome plating in 1926. It also produced the first turbocharged car in 1962 and introduced the first heads-up display system in 1988. And these are only four of more than 30 industry firsts.

Regarding cars, enthusiasts will never forget the 88, 90, Toronado, and Cutlass Supreme. But none of them is as iconic as the 442. Born in 1964, it became a legend of the golden muscle car era, and the second-generation version (1968-1972) is now a highly desirable classic. Of course, the Hurst/Olds version is the most popular.

Built in cooperation with Hurst Performance, fitted with high-performance V8 engines, and produced in limited numbers, it has everything it takes to draw crowds at classic car shows and make collectors spend big bucks at public auctions.

But the Hurst/Olds is not the only rare iteration of the 442. The W-32 you see here is actually much more challenging to find.

A one-year option offered in 1969, the W-32 bundled the 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8 engine with an automatic transmission. However, the said mill wasn’t the entry-level version rated 290 horses. Olds used the Ram Air version that delivered 350 horsepower and a stunning 440 pound-feet (597 Nm) of torque.

This rating placed it only ten horses below the range-topping W-30 version in 1969. Compared to the Hurst/Olds, powered by the bigger 455-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) V8, the W-32 was down only 20 horses and 60 pound-feet (81 Nm) of twist.

But while it’s not quite as quick as the Hurst/Olds, it’s a much rarer rig. Specifically, while the Hurst-prepped muscle car moved 906 units, the W-32 found only 297 customers. And that’s about 1.1% of the total 442 production for the 1969 model year.

The W-32 you see here is one of those cars. And because it’s a Holiday Coupe, which was Oldsmobile talk for pillarless hardtops at the time, it’s one of only 147 cars made. The Sport Coupe and the Convertible are the rarest at 25 examples each.

Moreover, this 442 is a mostly stock survivor of the relatively low-mileage variety. Showing only 60,000 miles (96,561 km) on the odometer, it spent its recent years in a barn. Come 2023, and the owner decided to drag it out into the light and give it a makeover at the folks over at WD Detailing.

And our hosts discovered a solid layer of green paint underneath all that barn dust. Once covered in mold, the interior also popped back to life after thorough detailing. And they also discovered the original build sheet under the rear seat, confirming that this 442 is indeed a W-32 and a rare gem.

Granted, the 400-cubic-inch V8 will need some work to fire up again, but this 442 is almost ready to hit the road. Check out its incredible makeover in the video below.

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