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HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W32

Pick of the Day: 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W32

A W-Machine a mother could learn to love

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Just like Chevrolet’s Camaro Z/28, Oldsmobile applied an ordering code to its performance options. Most famous is the W30 package for 1966-72 4-4-2s, but there was a one-year-only W-Machine that was an unusual take on the performance market. That car, a 1969 4-4-2 W32 Sports Coupe, is our Pick of the Day. This Oldsmobile is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership outside Philadelphia. (Click the link to view the listing)

In case you’re not in-the-know, the Camaro Z/28 received its name from its ordering code, as the press often referred to it as the “Z28 Special Performance Package.” That being said, a road test in the March 1967 issue of Car and Driver was titled “Chevrolet Camaro Z-28,” so it’s no wonder Chevrolet branded the package.

Image courtesy of the GM Heritage Center

Oldsmobile did a similar thing with the W30 package for the 4-4-2. From 1966-72, W30-equipped cars could be counted as offering the highest specifications for the 4-4-2. Starting in 1968, Oldsmobile started to get more aggressive promoting the W30. Though brochures called it the Force-Air Induction package, the press often referred to it as the W30 option. Seeing an opportunity, Oldsmobile began marketing the W30 and the F-85/Cutlass S W31 small-block as part of Dr. Oldsmobile’s W-Machines. Several months into the model year, a new W32 package was added to the W-Machine roster.

The W32 has been a difficult package to understand since its inception. The best way to frame it requires looking at the standard 4-4-2 engine. This 400ci V8 was rated at 350 horsepower when equipped with the standard three-speed manual transmission, but order an automatic and horsepower dropped to 325. Why Olds did this is anyone’s guess, but it didn’t help the brand’s performance reputation on the street.

The W32 was basically the standard 350-horse 400 with high-performance equipment – a street W, if you will. “Designed to give prospects maximum performance in a street automatic package,” claimed Oldsmobile in a marketing bulletin, suggesting this “’street automatic’ will have strong sales appeal for the 4-4-2 enthusiast prospects.” Included with the W32 were the following:

  • Outside air ducts, induction hoses, and special dual intake air cleaner.
  • Heavy-duty water pump with aluminum fan and special fan clutch.
  • New ignition distributor.
  • Special duration/lift performance camshaft.
  • W32 front fender decals.

Mandatory options when ordering W32 included:

  • M40 Turbo Hydramatic Transmission
  • G80 Limited slip differential with G92 3.42 axle
  • P37 F60x15 Super Wide Oval fiberglass belt tires and 7-inch wide Super Sport [sic] wheels or P81 F70x14 red-stripe fiberglass belted tires
  • G88 3.91:1 or G89 4.33:1 axles are no-cost options
  • V02 Heavy-duty radiator with G92 axle ratio
  • V01 Heavy-duty radiator with G88 or G89 axle

Options not available with W32:

  • A93 Power door locks
  • C60 Air conditioner
  • Y72 Engine cooling equipment

The first factory shipments were scheduled towards the end of January 1969. By the end of July, Oldsmobile had only built 297 W32s, divided among 25 Sports Coupes (with B-pillar), 247 Holiday Coupes (hardtop), and 25 Convertibles.

This Glade Green metallic 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 is one of the 25 W32 Sports Coupes. It has received a frame-off rotisserie restoration that retains all its factory components including carburetor, distributor, water pump, and aluminum fan with clutch. “The interior is period-correct with ebony black bucket seats and rear bench seat,” says the seller. “The steering wheel fronts Rally Pac instrumentation including a 120-mph speedometer, 7000-rpm tachometer with inset clock, and readouts for fuel level, coolant temperature, and oil pressure.” Other features include console, AM radio, rear speakers, power steering, and power front disc brakes. Wheels are reproduction Hurst items.

Aside from the W30 red fender wells and rear trunk stripes, the restoration of this 4-4-2 appears to be faithful to factory, and Steve Minore’s Rocket Report certification adds to this Olds’ pedigree beyond the included GM of Canada documentation and window sticker. How many miles would you add to the 995 post-resto miles currently on the odometer? Snap this up for $84,900 and tell us!

Click here for this ClassicCars.com Pick of the Day.

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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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I had a 1969 442 Convertible back in the 70s, Red with a white interior , with a white to. Nice car, no stripes, never came with them! Bad color, boring…also bad wheels, should have kept the originals, that “Quitey ..Klinked as you drove it slow. The little aluminum trim rings that fit in the holes in the wheels, made that sound,they were lose fitting, plus the chrome beauty rings look a lot better than what’s on this car. Not stock!!! Wheels look Plastic.. not worth the $$ To many miles on it! also the red striped tires look bad…not stock! maybe worth $20,000 on a good day. Canadian car, rust, for sure??

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