Courtesy of Bonhams
Ordered from Olympic Oldsmobile in Chicago on October 1, 1969, Mr. Vilinis “Vil” Gaganis optioned this car with the G80 performance axle package, heavy-duty radiator, the M21 close-ratio 4-speed, the W-30 package and Twilight Blue paint over matching vinyl interior. Gaganis took meticulous care of his Olds, driving it about 75,000 miles in total. In 1998, he sold it to James Voight. During Voight’s tenure, the engine was rebuilt and fitted with hardened valve seats. From there, the car moved to the Wisconsin collection of well-known muscle car enthusiast Colin Comer. Comer reported the car to be “the finest original W-30 I have ever seen.” The car later came west to the Calabasas, CA, collection of Vic Preisler before being acquired by the studious Texas collector Jim Fasnacht. It was driven fewer than 500 miles during Fasnacht’s ownership. The present vendor acquired the car in November 2016. The paint is understood to be largely that which was applied at the factory, and the interior has also remained largely untouched. The numbers-matching engine sits under the hood. It has covered only 6,000 additional miles since coming out of the care of its original owner.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 2-door hard top
Years Produced:1968–71
Number Produced:3,100
Original List Price:$3,900
SCM Valuation:$83,500
Tune Up Cost:$300
Chassis Number Location:Base of windshield, driver’s side
Engine Number Location:Partial VIN on block pad, driver’s side front, below cylinder head
Club Info:Oldsmobile Club of America
Alternatives:1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6, 1970 Plymouth ’Cuda 440 Six Pack, 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air III
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 122, sold for $73,920, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Amelia Island Auction at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club on March 8, 2018. It was offered without reserve.

The Oldsmobile 442 was first introduced as an option package on the 1964 F-85 and Cutlass. The idea behind it was to compete with the new-for-1964 Pontiac GTO, in an attempt to keep the brand-loyal Oldsmobile buyer within the Oldsmobile family of cars.

Oldsmobile buyers had a tendency to fit in a more well-heeled demographic. So the idea of a performance 2-door hard top was more of a conceptual stretch than for a typical Chevrolet or Pontiac buyer. Even with some great performance added to the package, Olds buyers were more inclined to demand a higher trim level than a Chevelle or GTO buyer.

The name came from the original 442 performance configuration of a 4-barrel carb, 4-speed gearbox and a dual exhaust system. Beginning in 1968, the 442 was no longer an option package, but its own model. That run lasted from 1968 to 1971.

The W-30 secret weapon

Beginning in 1966, 442 buyers could step up to the already spunky high-performance L69 360-hp 400 engine by adding the RPO (Regular Production Order) W-30 “outside air induction” engine package. This created the most potent weapon you could put under the hood of a factory-built Oldsmobile.

By 1970, the W-30 option package was now a “gloves off” beast of American iron and perhaps the most underrated muscle car on the street, with a massive 455 V8 putting out 370 hp and a monstrous 500 foot-pounds of tire-shredding torque.

Not only was the 442 W-30 fitted with a beast of an engine, it truly was a case of “father knows best.” All sorts of performance modifications were included, such as a fiberglass hood with a wicked dual-snorkel functional air-intake hood (one of the coolest muscle-car hoods ever designed), weight-saving bright red plastic inner fenders, special camshaft, heads, distributor and carburetor. There even was a special aluminum differential housing. With the right tuning and a good hook-up, the “not your father’s” W-30 1970 Oldsmobile 442 could score a 13.7-second run in the quarter mile. That’s pretty impressive for a muscle car that wrapped the driver in a luxurious, well-appointed interior.

All things 442

The market for the best years of the brutal-yet-dignified Oldsmobile 442 has been on fire as of late. Just about anything out there with a 442 badge on it is doing very well.

In recent years, the 442 market has been hot and cool and hot again. During the big muscle car run-up, it took a while for the 442s to catch on. But once they did, their values shot up quickly, especially for the W-30 convertibles.

Today, we are seeing a torpedo shot in valuations — meaning that you’ve got to lead the target a good bit to own a really nice example. I’ve personally witnessed very nice 442 W-30s moving up the ladder at a fairly brisk pace. Even well done clones (especially convertibles) compete for very strong money on the auction block.

The ACC Pocket Price Guide reflects this push on the values. We are currently at plus-13% over the last guide, and that is a very strong indicator of the rush back to the auction block to grab one while you can — and values are responding accordingly.

Valuing the hot Olds

Our subject car is about as good as you’ll ever find. The ownership chain includes plenty of well-known collectors, and that certainly adds additional credibility to the condition and value dynamics. This car last sold at Mecum’s Dallas, TX, sale in November 2016 as part of the Jim Fasnacht Collection, for $110,000 (ACC# 6814167).

Today, a well-sorted 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 2-door hard top can easily swing from about $70,000 to $100,000 or more. Some of the best cars out there usually will have an asking price north of $110,000. These are the best of the best — with very little re-popped catalog parts on them — those with the original drivetrains, plenty of OEM parts and a full jacket of documentation. Air tight, no stories, no excuses, no asterisks.

This is one of those cars, and true comparables are nearly impossible to find. I think it may be fair to say that this could be the best example of an unrestored W-30 442 that’s actually been driven.

We could all Monday-morning-quarterback this and come up with all sorts of speculative answers as to why the car sold for $110,000 in November of 2017 and $73,920 in March of 2018. Granted, the Amelia Island sales, in general, are not the epicenter of American iron muscle-car sales. They’re more wine and cheese than beer and jalapeño poppers. But given the past owners and the probability that the car could sell for $100k, you can’t really pick on the venue. You needed some deep-pocket buyers, and they are stumbling over each other at Amelia.

There are always a few cars that fall through the cracks at auctions — always. This one did, and the new owner should be overjoyed by it.

The math here isn’t hard to do. With our median value pegged at $83,500 (without the bump for the 4-speed), a recent past sale of the car at $110,000, and values on the rise, this fantastic W-30 was an incredible buy on an incredible car.

And I think Mr. Vilinis “Vil” Gaganis, the original owner, deserves a special acknowledgement for preserving the old gal for future generations. Well done.

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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