Help needed with a 442 for christmas! What do i have?

Old December 8th, 2018, 11:48 AM
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Help needed with a 442 for christmas! What do i have?

Hey guys! Ok.. here's the story!
My husband's father purchased a 68 Cutlass 350 RamRod W-31, off the showroom floor. It was complete with a build sheet. My husband grew up working, driving & loving this car. His father passed away about a year ago and the car was sold. My husband was heartbroken.
I have been searching for a comparable car since then. As you know, it's nearly impossible to find that car and if I did, I wouldn't be able to afford it without selling a kidney!
. So, I found this car, pics attached, 3000 miles away and I'm transporting as I write this. I found a 68 442, 400/ auto, vin begins with 344878H. Is this car a true W-30? I am aware that build sheets from Lansing are unheard of. It does have W-30 specific traits & parts wirh factory fasteners such as, c red inner fenders, scoops under the bumper, rear end is coded as a 3:90 positraction. Any other parts that I could trace the numbers to either verify or exclude this car from being a true W-30?
. I am aware that the W-30 emblem on this car is incorrect. The previous owner's son thought it looked cool to add them where they are currently.
. Andy and all help is greatly appreciated!! I don't want to sound like a complete idiot when I give him his present..lol!





Last edited by DTTACKETT; December 8th, 2018 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Not finished
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Old December 8th, 2018, 12:04 PM
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Welcome. There is nothing in the VIN that will prove that the car is a W-30 - it can only DISPROVE it if the car was not built in Lansing. I'm assuming that "H" in the VIN is actually an "M", since Olds did not use the letter H for assembly plant in the 1968 model year. Assuming it really is an M, then at least it is a Lansing-built car. The car DOES appear to have all the right parts, and they appear to have been on the car since it was born, so that's a good sign. The red inner fenders look old, the air cleaner is a correct 1968 version, the brakes are manual drum, and the fender emblems are even in the correct location for the W-36 stripes that were standard on the 1968 W-30 cars. Those metal W-30 emblems are not factory installed, however. The 68s had no external markings to show that they were actually W-30s. If the engine has "D" heads, I'd say that you've made an excellent choice.
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Old December 8th, 2018, 01:11 PM
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M... not a H.

You are right! It is a M!

Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Welcome. There is nothing in the VIN that will prove that the car is a W-30 - it can only DISPROVE it if the car was not built in Lansing. I'm assuming that "H" in the VIN is actually an "M", since Olds did not use the letter H for assembly plant in the 1968 model year. Assuming it really is an M, then at least it is a Lansing-built car. The car DOES appear to have all the right parts, and they appear to have been on the car since it was born, so that's a good sign. The red inner fenders look old, the air cleaner is a correct 1968 version, the brakes are manual drum, and the fender emblems are even in the correct location for the W-36 stripes that were standard on the 1968 W-30 cars. Those metal W-30 emblems are not factory installed, however. The 68s had no external markings to show that they were actually W-30s. If the engine has "D" heads, I'd say that you've made an excellent choice.
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Old December 8th, 2018, 02:10 PM
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welcome! - looks like a great starting point
here's a prior thread on the same 442
https://classicoldsmobile.com/forums...clovis-ca.html

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Old December 8th, 2018, 02:12 PM
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That's the suspected W30 from CA. Looks like a good solid project with good signs of being an original car. But I know it doesn't has the numbers matching drivetrain. We look forward to the pics and progress of the build!
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Old December 8th, 2018, 02:26 PM
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W-30?

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction! We are in ohio but driving the car back from CA now. As stated, I bought it as a Christmas present the same day it was posted. Dang auto transport left me hanging for over 2 months so I had to drive out to pick it up.

Originally Posted by hurst68olds View Post
welcome! - looks like a great starting point
here's a prior thread on the same 442
https://classicoldsmobile.com/forums...clovis-ca.html
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Old December 8th, 2018, 02:31 PM
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W-30?

Yes, it's the same one. I purchased it for the sentimental value it would hold for my husband. He has original parts from another W-30 that his father purchased new, before the W-31, that I'd assume he will use on this one. His dad only bought the W-31 because his 6 month old W-30 caught on fire. Both vehicles were 68 models. I'll make sure that he posts pics of his progress, over the course of his restoration! Thank you all!!


Originally Posted by Magna86 View Post
That's the suspected W30 from CA. Looks like a good solid project with good signs of being an original car. But I know it doesn't has the numbers matching drivetrain. We look forward to the pics and progress of the build!
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Old December 8th, 2018, 11:19 PM
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Your husband is a very lucky man in many ways. Your resilience is commendable. Good luck on your journey and new project. Sorry you had to let the W-31 go. I was wondering if the large alternator pulley had any significance as far as a W-30 only part, or was that the standard issue for a 1968 442?
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Old December 9th, 2018, 12:01 AM
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Like shiftyyear mentioned , your husband is very lucky to have a cool car gal ! I'm sure he will be very happy with his present .
He will find many members here with good knowledge, they can help with any questions to do with period correct parts, body and mechanical restoration.
Looking forward to more pics of the build once its started .
Have a safe journey home !

Eric
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Old December 9th, 2018, 04:55 AM
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Looks like a great buy. Congratulations. Keep us informed. Pictures are great.
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Old December 12th, 2018, 07:24 AM
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What I've found!

Well guys, I got the car home and my husband's uncle, who worked on my father in law's W-31 Ram Rod, has started going over it. No build sheet was found & it appears that this was the first time that the rear seat was taken out. Although that was disappointing, it was expected. What was found was pretty cool though.
The original rubber straps that go on the radiator are still there. After removing the carpet, the car looks brand new on the inside. The floor pans, trunk, etc.... are in perfect condition!
The 455 that is in the car, was freshly rebuilt... it has never been hooked up. The hoses, still have the stickers on them and have never had water in them. I'm running down the numbers but so far the engine numbers date it to 68-71. The tranny is the same. Someone put this motor & tranny in but never had the chance to run it. Even though the numbers do not match the car, I still consider myself pretty lucky. I didn't purchase the car for what it could be worth but for the sentiment. It's already bringing my husband's family back together after the death of my father in law! It's amazing what this car is giving back to this family!!


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Old December 12th, 2018, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by DTTACKETT View Post
The 455 that is in the car, was freshly rebuilt... it has never been hooked up. The hoses, still have the stickers on them and have never had water in them. I'm running down the numbers but so far the engine numbers date it to 68-71.
The engine VIN pad will tell you exactly what year the block is. The head casting letter will determine the year of the heads.
The second number is the block year of manufacture (1969 in the image below).

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Old December 12th, 2018, 09:12 AM
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When I saw this car posted a couple months ago I felt it was probably a real W30 but there was no way to verify it. Because it had no documentation, was a 455, and had been converted from auto to MT I felt you'd never get W30 money for it but at the $8500 asking price it was fair for a California 442 with minimal rust.

Good luck. It will be a great car
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Old December 12th, 2018, 12:03 PM
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why does the oil pressure sender location look like its been edited out of the picture of the timing shelf ?
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Old December 12th, 2018, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ReallyWildStuff View Post
why does the oil pressure sender location look like its been edited out of the picture of the timing shelf ?
Its there but sure does appear to be an optical illusion. Look again. It looked funny to me too.
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Old December 12th, 2018, 12:33 PM
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at first i thought the sender location had been DRILLED - but the edges of the circle appear to be made up of straight lines (like with a mouse)...weird
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Old December 12th, 2018, 02:52 PM
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if that car was closer to me.you would still be looking for a car.that is gonna be a sweet ride when it's done.
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Old December 12th, 2018, 04:23 PM
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awesome story!!! keep us posted!
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Old December 12th, 2018, 05:47 PM
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Looks like the insides are missing for the sender.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 12:02 PM
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Update!

While I haven't found the VIN on the engine as you guys tried to help me to, I snapped these pics, in case you could tell me something from them. All I got is it has E heads.





I am upgrading the distributor tomorrow to an electronic one, replacing the starter wire & with the help ( lots of help) from my uncle.. we're going to fire her up!! Can I post short clips on here?
I also found some old maintenance records in the trunk. They're in bad shape but the shop number, name & technician name is visible. I'm hoping to track down the story behind this car!
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Old December 14th, 2018, 12:20 PM
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Old December 14th, 2018, 12:40 PM
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I'll add that the heads are 1970 "E" castings. The intake is a 1966-67 factory casting (note the lack of a tapped port on the driver's side of the coolant crossover). The carb appears to be a Chevy unit. The valve covers are smooth, not the correct notched covers for an A-body with a big block.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 12:51 PM
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I'm totally winging it here. I really want to tell all you guys, how grateful I am to you all for sharing your knowledge & experience with me!! Yooouuu guys are really amazing!! Thank you so much fellas!!


Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
I'll add that the heads are 1970 "E" castings. The intake is a 1966-67 factory casting (note the lack of a tapped port on the driver's side of the coolant crossover). The carb appears to be a Chevy unit. The valve covers are smooth, not the correct notched covers for an A-body with a big block.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:02 PM
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Although it won't tell you it's a W30 there's a good chance the Fisher Broadcast card is under the rear seat, hog ringed to the springs
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:08 PM
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Cool story!
All the best to you and yours

Wow does the rocker arm area of the heads look clean! You could try and turn that 455 over and then prime it with oil possibly??
Fire it up!

Oh My x manifold for exhaust on the drivers side
Does Pass side have a W cast in it??

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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 11971four4two View Post
Cool story!




I believe so.. I'll check again. Why is that important?


All the best to you and yours

Wow does the rocker arm area of the heads look clean! You could try and turn that 455 over and then prime it with oil possibly??
Fire it up!

Oh My x manifold for exhaust on the drivers side
Does Pass side have a W cast in it??
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 11971four4two View Post
Oh My x manifold for exhaust on the drivers side
Does Pass side have a W cast in it??
Look again at the exhaust manifold. The "X" manifold with casting no. 412287 is from a 1973-74 BBO car and is functionally equivalent to the 402295 "W" manifold used on the 69-72 442s. This later "X" manifold also has internally divided runners. It was usually paired with the 402294 "Z" manifold. Do not confuse it with the 389269 "X" manifold used on the 65-68 cars.

In any case, the correct exhaust manifolds for a 1968 442 (including W-30s) would be that aforementioned 389269 "X" casting on the left and the one-year-only 398706 "T" casting on the right.
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Old January 27th, 2019, 02:33 PM
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Mr. Padavano, in a thread from Dec. you talked about the exhaust manifold numbers and casting letters. You said that the 68 ( including W-30s ) had a "T" cast for the right side. Was that meant to be a " Y " ? I checked the 3 that I have and they are all Y's.
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Old January 27th, 2019, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by krazee442man View Post
Mr. Padavano, in a thread from Dec. you talked about the exhaust manifold numbers and casting letters. You said that the 68 ( including W-30s ) had a "T" cast for the right side. Was that meant to be a " Y " ? I checked the 3 that I have and they are all Y's.
Yes, I did mean "Y", with casting no. 398706. Thanks for catching that.
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Old March 26th, 2019, 05:37 PM
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Just came across this thread. Belated congratulations any updates? Joe
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