HomeCar CulturePick One: 1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W30 or Buick GS Stage 1?

Pick One: 1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W30 or Buick GS Stage 1?

These two convertibles share a little and a lot


These two 1972 muscle ragtops are painted in the same Flame Orange hue and feature the top engines in their respective lineups. How do they compare?

Flame Orange 1972 Buick GS Stage 1

Nineteen seventy-two was a difficult model year for American performance but, considering General Motors lowered compression one year before the 1972 federal mandate, the public already knew what to expect. The biggest impact on GM performance was the method in which horsepower was measured: the 4-4-2 W30 went from 350 horsepower gross to 300 net, while the GS Stage 1 went from 345 gross to 270 net. Nonetheless, they both were able to pull solid 14-second ETs — not like 1970, but among the fastest cars for the model year.

They are almost equally rare too. Oldsmobile produced 113 4-4-2 convertibles with the W30 package, while Buick produced 81 Stage 1 GS convertibles. Narrowing the Buick down, only 15 were built with the four-speed transmission. If the W30 was a four-speed, it would be one of 33.

Check out the AutoHunter Cinema video from Barrett-Jackson’s 2023 auction in Scottsdale and then tell us which car you prefer if you were in the market for a powerful convertible in 1972.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.


  1. Couldn’t be an easier choice. The Buick has the junk lubrication system that’s famous for knocking rods and mains. The Olds engine is bullet proof.

    • No that has been eliminated by in the know machinest years back.
      I would gladly have either! But would prefer a hardtop.
      But as far as Mr. Badwrench and his opinion……go back to your small block chevy.

    • No contest. The 442 front grill, along with the rest of the appearance wins! In fact, the 70 or 71 are at the very top of my bucket list (as long as it’s a ragtop)!

  2. I’ve restored numerous Oldsmobiles over the years and had fun with every one of ’em!! So for me I’d take the 442 over the plain Jane buick any day!!

  3. Owned 2007 Mustang GT with better Cam and intake. Owned 1969 Chevell SS 396. Would love to have either my 1965 F-85 or my 1970 442.

  4. Buick all the way,the olds engine had its issues as well as the buick.i have fixed more olds engines than Buick and I drove a gs to hs.


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