This is a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 that was imported into Sweden and bought by Mikael Persbrandt as a 60th birthday present for himself. Persbrandt is a celebrated actor best known for his roles in The Hobbit and the English TV series Sex Education.

When he’s not acting Persbrandt is an avid amateur racer on both two wheels and four, and he occasionally takes part in cross-country rallies in Europe like the modern running of the world famous Tulip Rally. He’s now offering the restored 442 W30 for sale out of Stockholm, Sweden.

Fast Facts – The Oldsmobile 442 W30

  • This is a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 owned by Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt. It was imported to Sweden and purchased by Persbrandt as a 60th birthday gift for himself. Persbrandt, known for roles in The Hobbit and Sex Education, is also a keen amateur racer.
  • The car is now being offered for sale in Stockholm, Sweden. The 442 designation originally referred to its four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and twin exhausts. The Oldsmobile 442 was developed in response to the success of the Pontiac GTO. It began as an option package for the F-85 and Cutlass models before becoming a standalone model in 1968.
  • The W30 performance package, featured on this car, included a lightweight fiberglass hood with functional scoops, high-flow air filter, aluminum intake manifold, and high-performance camshaft, cylinder heads, and carburetor. W30-equipped 442s are highly sought after by collectors.
  • This particular 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 has been extensively restored. It’s powered by a 455 cubic inch (7.5 liter) V8 engine, officially rated at 370 bhp and 500 lb ft of torque, though this was likely underreported. The car features a 3-speed automatic transmission, 15-inch Cragar Keystone Klassic chrome alloy wheels, and Cooper Cobra Radial G/T tires. It’s finished in gold with black racing stripes and a black vinyl interior.
  • The interior of the car includes a classic four-spoke steering wheel, air conditioning, an Oldsmobile-branded push-button radio, and a top-tinted windscreen. The 442 model continued in various forms until the early 1990s, transitioning from a high-performance muscle car to an option package on smaller, less powerful models. This particular 442 W30 represents the peak of Oldsmobile’s muscle car era and is now available for purchase through Collecting Cars.

What Does The “4-4-2” Designation Mean?

The “4-4-2” model name used on the Oldsmobile 442 is a reference to the car’s original specification which included a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual transmission, and twin exhausts – or four-four-two. Perhaps a little confusingly, the model could be ordered with an optional three-speed automatic transmission while still retaining the 442 model name.

Above Video: This is an original television commercial for the 1970 Oldsmobile 442, this car is finished to a similar specification as the one featured in this article.

The Oldsmobile 442

The Oldsmobile 442 was hastily developed as a response to the surprise success of the high-performance GTO option package for the Pontiac LeMans which had been developed at the behest of John DeLorean and released in late 1963 as a 1964 model year car.

Both divisions of General Motors, Pontiac and Oldsmobile had a long rivalry, and it was quickly clear to the Oldsmobile brass that they were going to need a GTO competitor to remain relevant. A team was put together to develop a new option package that included Olds engineer John Beltz, Dale Smith, and division chief engineer Bob Dorshimer.

The three men developed a new option package based on the pre-existing B09 Police Apprehender Pursuit option package to save time. Power was provided by a four-barrel 330 cubic inch (5.4 liter) V8 with shorter valve spring retainers, longer pushrods, heavy duty M400 rod and main bearings, and a high-lift camshaft. Power was rated at 310 bhp with 355 lb ft of torque.

The car also benefited from the fitment of the heavy duty suspension package which included springs with a 30% higher rating, heavy duty shock absorbers front and back, 15/16 diameter front and 7/8 diameter rear sway bars, boxed lower rear control arms, and revised bushings.

Oldsmobile 442 Vintage Ad

Image DescriptionThe Oldsmobile 442 was a key competitor for the Pontiac GTO, but it never quite reached the same level of notoriety. Image courtesy of General Motors.

The 442 package also shipped as standard with the tough Muncie M20 manual transmission, a heavy duty clutch, a quicker steering ratio, a performance rear axle ratio, and twin exhausts.

The 442 package, initially written as 4-4-2, was offered on any Oldsmobile F-85 or Cutlass model (except the station wagon), and unlike the coupe-only GTO, a number of four-door examples of the early 442 were made.

The Pontiac became a standalone model for the 1966 model year and the Oldsmobile 442 followed a couple of years later in 1968, becoming its own series until 1971. These standalone 442s are now highly sought after by collectors, and they remain far more rare than their GTO counterparts.

The W30 Performance Package

The most desirable 442s are those with the W30 performance package installed, the exact specifications of the W30 packaged changed between model years to some degree, but for the 1970 442 shown here it included a lightweight fiberglass bonnet with dual functional scoops, a high-flow air filter, an aluminum intake manifold, and a higher performance camshaft, cylinder heads, and carburetor.

By 1972 it was clear that increasing emissions restrictions and rising insurance rates were taking their toll on muscle cars, and the 442 reverted to being a higher-performance option package for the Cutlass Holiday coupe, the Cutlass S sport coupe, and the Holiday coupe.

Oldsmobile 442 W30 17

Image DescriptionThis car is powered by the big block naturally aspirated 455 cubic inch (7.5 liter) V8 producing 370 bhp and 500 lb ft.

This wouldn’t quite be the end of the line for the 442 however, it was resurrected in the mid-1980s on the G-body Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme platform as a high-performance variant. There was one final use of the 442 name in the early 1990s as an option package, though it’s probably best forgotten now as it was used on the front-wheel drive, four-cylinder Cutlass Calais.

The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 Shown Here

The car you see here is a restored 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30, making it one of the most desirable examples of the GTO competitor. It benefits from an extensive recent restoration and it’s powered by the naturally aspirated 455 cubic inch (7.5 liter) V8.

This engine was good for 370 bhp and 500 lb ft from the factory, though this horsepower figure is widely believed to have been underreported as was commonplace at the time to keep Uncle Sam and the insurance companies from meddling.

This car is fitted with the 3-speed automatic transmission and it rides on period-correct 15 inch Cragar Keystone Klassic chrome alloy wheels with Cooper Cobra Radial G/T tires. It’s finished in gold with contrasting gloss-black twin racing stripes with a black vinyl-trimmed interior with wood veneer inlays and chrome trim accents.

Oldsmobile 442 W30 2

Image DescriptionDespite the car’s American heritage, it looks completely at home in the Swedish countryside here near Stockholm.

Inside the car you’ll also find a classic four-spoke steering wheel, air conditioning, an Oldsmobile-branded push-button radio, and a top-tinted windscreen.

The car is now being offered for sale out of Stockholm, Sweden directly from Mikael Persbrandt’s personal collection on Collecting Cars. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.

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Images courtesy of Collecting Cars

Published by Ben Branch -