One of the cars I learned to drive on was our family’s 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S – no power steering and a big throbbing V8 under its long hood. The car was a beast, but beautiful dressed in its Aztec Gold paint scheme.
For that matter, the Cutlass was one of the best-looking muscle cars of the late 1960s and early ‘70s, pacing the Indianapolis 500 three times between 1970 and ’74. (Remember the Hurst Shifter girl? You know you do!)
So when Auto World announced it would reproduce the 1968 442 W-30 model it made a lot of sense. Thank goodness they did their 1/18 scale die-cast model in a beautiful deep gold, known officially at the time as Cinnamon Bronze, with white 442 accent stripe and white interior. Sharp!
For 1968 the 442 was its own model, but it had begun back in 1964 as a $285 option package on both the F-85 and Cutlass models. Originally it was listed as the 4-4-2 package because it referred to adding a four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission and dual exhausts. Clever!
It was a response to crafty Pontiac pumping the performance of its LeMans model, a cousin to the intermediate-sized Olds F-85. Pontiac dubbed it the GTO, and the rest is history.
Performance was good for sales still in the late 1960s, so the Olds 442 based on the Cutlass body style was a hit, with more than 33,000 being sold in 1968. The fastback body style was new that year and under the Cutlass hood was a 400 CID V8 that delivered a healthy 350 hp. But the 442 upped that to 360 horses with a top speed of at least 115 mph. The W-30 model added a four-speed manual tranny and was tested doing a quarter mile at 13.3 seconds at 103.3 mph.
A lot of hot shoes were testing it on city streets and drag strips at the time too, along with Chevy’s Chevelle and Ponty’s GTO.
The Auto World version is as handsome as the original W-30 and aided by its rich paint scheme. But muscle starts under the hood and the attention to detail here is impressive.
All 442 engines were painted bronze-copper and so is this. Plus the W-30 had some distinctive variations. For one, it got Ram Air intake hoses and chrome-topped black air cleaner that was linked to under bumper air scoops. The hoses are here along with the chrome cleaner, plus bright red plastic fender wells, a unique W-30 feature. So bravo to Auto World for its accuracy in the engine bay.
Youngsters may not recall, but until about 1968 cars had no side marker lights, but in ‘68 Olds added them to their new Cutlass bodies and Auto World makes sure they are on this model too. There are vent windows here too, the last year they appeared on both hardtop and convertible models. Ah, the good ol’ days.
Trim is nicely painted here too, with silver around all the windows and up the front fender edges to the oval surround of the side windows, plus over the wheel wells. Recessed wipers also are painted silver.
The hood features chrome louvers and the front and rear bumpers also are chrome, the rear including the unique 442 bumper with exhaust cutouts and fancy exhaust tips. The lights look good too and the Olds has sport chrome wheels with the appropriate logo on the cap. Tires are redlines and treaded, but not branded.
Auto World believes in a fully detailed model, so not only do the hood and doors open, but the undercarriage is fully detailed too.
I love the white ribbed bucket seats inside along with black carpet and dash to create a racy look. The three-spoke steering wheel and floor-mounted shifter look like wood and the dash is very simple with three big round deeply indented gauges. There’s a 442 badge on the passenger’s side. However, there are no seat belts here and this was the first year for outboard shoulder belts up front.
Can’t say enough good about this one, it’s one of Auto World’s finest efforts to date.
Vital Stats: 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 W-30
Maker: Auto World
Stock No.: AMM1084/06