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Old June 17th, 2010, 11:12 PM   #1
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Cowl tag mystery

I have a 1970 442 W-30 that was shipped to a car dealer in Canada from Michigan. It is a automatic, Matador Red h/t, black buckets. It is pretty stock in appearance and was purchased two years ago from New York.

I feel extremely lucky to have this car as it is in pretty good shape. The carburetor is not correct as it currently has a 7040253 but I'm not concerned right now about that.

I'm sure this question has come up before in this forum or others but I thought I would put it out there again as it appears there are several users who have a lot of knowledge with the Oldsmobiles. The trim tag / cowl tag on my car has a "Z" before the trim code 930. Does anyone know what the "Z" means ?
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Old June 18th, 2010, 07:18 AM   #2
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Some discussion on this here previously:
https://classicoldsmobile.com/forums...code-help.html
Many thoughts on it but nothing real conclusive as to whether it was a Canadian designator or if it signified a 'special' trim. Maybe someone will have some new info.
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Old June 18th, 2010, 07:55 AM   #3
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I have a 1970 442 W-30 that was shipped to a car dealer in Canada from Michigan. It is a automatic, Matador Red h/t, black buckets. It is pretty stock in appearance and was purchased two years ago from New York.

I feel extremely lucky to have this car as it is in pretty good shape. The carburetor is not correct as it currently has a 7040253 but I'm not concerned right now about that.

I'm sure this question has come up before in this forum or others but I thought I would put it out there again as it appears there are several users who have a lot of knowledge with the Oldsmobiles. The trim tag / cowl tag on my car has a "Z" before the trim code 930. Does anyone know what the "Z" means ?
Notify Kurt (wmachine), as he is trying to get a record of this, so he can get to the bottom of this ("Z" code meaning).
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Old June 18th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #4
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Yes, we still don't know.

Being that the Z is located where it is, it *implies* that it has something to do with the interior. It is not specific to W30s, or 442s as W31s have it, too.
Being that so many that have the Z are originally Canadian sold, I'm wondering if it does have something specific to do with Canadian requirements for 1970? Possibly a safety thing like safety restraints of some kind?
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Old June 19th, 2010, 03:31 AM   #5
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Z49 is mandatory Canadian safety equipment...
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Old June 19th, 2010, 04:11 AM   #6
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I started looking around and found this, who knows?


Q - I own a 1970 442 W30 4spd (1 of 1032). I have deciphered all numbers, castings and codes with the exception of one item. On the Fisher Body broadcast card under the heading of SPCL (special?) is the letter "Z". This same code is on the cowl tag in front of the trim code Z 930 (Black Buckets). What does the "Z" stand for?

A - you have a Z code car. most Z code cars were a one of a kind car. (only car to exist with the options your car had) it had to be ordered by the customer with an out of the norm procedure. for example, my dad and i had a 70 442 W-30 that was sibring yellow with a light blue stripe and light blue interior. this was not a standard option of Color combo. that made it a special car and was given a Z code. what options do you have. all three of the Z code cars i seen were optioned with many options. power everything. contact me so we can talk Oldsmobile's. i would like to know more about your car. congratulations on finding a Z code car.
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i have a 70 Rallye 350, 67 442, 91 quad 442 W-41, 70 442 W30, 72 442 W-30, 67 cutlass 66 ninty eight, 70 vista, 76 ninty eight.



http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...0181452AAhM8lU
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Old June 19th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #7
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Thank you for the responses. It sounds like the "Z" in the cowl tag is still a mystery but I've read about some new possibilities in this forum. Obviously, some expert enthusiasts.
Thank you all !
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Old June 21st, 2010, 06:30 AM   #8
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Z49 is mandatory Canadian safety equipment...
Okay, this is a very solid lead. I did a cursory google of the Z49 option code and found it was used for many years (before and after 1970), and it is the option code for export to Canada. But I did not find any details as to what the modifications for Canada were. I anticipate that the exact content of the code varied from year year to year.

So pursuant to this lead, what did the Z49 option consist of in 1970?
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Old June 21st, 2010, 08:54 AM   #9
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I was looking at a red70 w30 hardtop from California that was originally a Canadian car - couldn't make up my mind and eventually was offered the car at an even fairer price - past it up and it ended up in NY a few years later - wonder if this is the car "that got away" good luck with it.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 12:48 PM   #10
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Just to add, my car was sold new in Canada (Irvine Motors, Scarborough, Ontario)and does list RPO Z49 but does NOT have a 'Z' in front of the trim code on the cowl tag.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 01:02 PM   #11
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Just to add, my car was sold new in Canada (Irvine Motors, Scarborough, Ontario)and does list RPO Z49 but does NOT have a 'Z' in front of the trim code on the cowl tag.
Thanks, that is good to know on a peripheral level.
I believe this Z code on the data plate was a 1970 only thing, but it is obviously quite difficult to be certain.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 01:21 PM   #12
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?

just out of curiosity, did export cars have KPH speedos ?
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Old June 21st, 2010, 02:52 PM   #13
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just out of curiosity, did export cars have kilometers per hour speedos ?
Yes, but ony starting in 1977 for Canada. Probably the ones shipped to Europe or Asia (don't think that would be a huge number) would need km/hr as standard production to meet those countries laws. GM did start making overlays for Canadian cars back when the roads went metric, but they didn't catch on very well. I could have bought one for my 72 Cutlass, but it was easier to keep it stock and tell the cops I didn't have a conversion for metric in my car. FYI, most of the expressway speeds 60,70 or + translate to 100, 112 or more KM/hr.

Now, if you come up north and try to do 100 or 112 miles per hour the cops won't turn a blind eye because all speedos have metric equivalents on the gage.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 04:05 PM   #14
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My '70 W30 has the Z on the both the Fisher broadcast card and cowl plate, but it was shipped to Alabama. So there goes your Canada theory. Also, the idea that it signifies a one-of-a-kind car is just silly.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 04:09 PM   #15
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In the Pontiac world, there are no separate codes for Canadian cars, and since GTOs were built in Oshawa, I would think something would stand out if it were a Canadian legal issue.

I'm guessing it's something pertaining to how Oldsmobile did things.

BTW, the guy who posted on Yahoo Answers is a member here. Whether he's right or wrong, I dunno.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 04:18 PM   #16
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Here's some more info. My '68 Cutlass S, built in Canada, sold in Canada, has the Z49 (pronounced ZED not ZEE ) option code. It is not noted on my cowl tag. It is described as "Mandatory Canadian Base Equipment Modifcations." on my info I recieved from GM Historical Services. My speedo is in miles per hour. I do not know what the mods were. My favorite option code was W84 - "Fuel For Delivery"


Adam

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Old June 21st, 2010, 07:28 PM   #17
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Here's some more info. My '68 Cutlass S, built in Canada, sold in Canada, has the Z49 (pronounced ZED not ZEE ) option code. It is not noted on my cowl tag. It is described as "Mandatory Canadian Base Equipment Modifcations." on my info I recieved from GM Historical Services. My speedo is in miles per hour. I do not know what the mods were. My favorite option code was W84 - "Fuel For Delivery"


Adam
Same as mine, I also have zed49 and W84. I would bet that W84 means Will go 84 miles with this much gas!!.

So modifications were done to the cars built IN Canada, and for export to Canada. The Z mystery continues.....
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Old June 21st, 2010, 08:02 PM   #18
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My '70 W30 has the Z on the both the Fisher broadcast card and cowl plate, but it was shipped to Alabama. So there goes your Canada theory.
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The Z mystery continues.....
No, that certainly does not kill the Canadian theory at all. Just because it has a Canadian Equipment code does *not* mean it could not have been sold new in the states. There are a number of circumstances in which that can happen. And did. As long as the Canadian option does not preclude any US regulations, it can be sold here.
This type of research is not that easy!
And just for the record, BG, you say "shipped to", do you mean sold new in Alabama? How do you know that for sure? That info still may prove valuable in the hunt.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 08:48 PM   #19
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Allan R - Same as mine, I also have zed49 and W84. I would bet that W84 means Will go 84 miles with this much gas!!.

How about this? 84 Km is just over 50 miles. Maybe they sell the car with enough gas to go 50 miles .

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Old June 21st, 2010, 09:18 PM   #20
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Both my Z coded 1970 W30 and W31 cars have W84 fuel option, V48 "engine coolant- increased protec (antifreeze)", and 5W30 grade oil, specified on the valve cover decal. Another theory, maybe they used the Z code for cars sold in northern winter climate conditions ( cold places like Edmonton or Detroit, not mild Vancover ) that would require fluids suitable for the temperature in the winter. I know when I had an oil change in California and asked for 10W30 they looked at me funny and said you mean straight 30 weight? Nope, I am from Canada.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 09:23 PM   #21
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No, that certainly does not kill the Canadian theory at all. Just because it has a Canadian Equipment code does *not* mean it could not have been sold new in the states. There are a number of circumstances in which that can happen. And did. As long as the Canadian option does not preclude any US regulations, it can be sold here.
This type of research is not that easy!
......................................
Kurt,
You know that we're all in agreement that there's really poor record keeping from GM to validate a lot of information - especially Oldsmobile. I was trying to figure out the Z approach. I looked in my SPECS guide and there's not a single thing there with that code or option. I'm wondering if it wasn't a factory only code in the production line.

I wonder if GM Canada can shed a light on this. I'll send George Zapora an email and ask if he can validate what the Z code is. Don't get too hopeful though.

Just out of curiosity...I know that Oshawa cars were built for the Canadian market (amongst others) and Lansing played a big part in filling Canadian orders. Does anyone in Canada have a car that was made at one of the other plants that may also have this code?
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Old June 21st, 2010, 09:34 PM   #22
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The Z49 is an RPO option. That option is not on the data plate. All Canadian cars get Z (zed)49 (you guys speak Canadian eh?) whether they want it or not. My car also has the Z95 option which as far as I know is a Canadian dealer UN-install. Basically, you could legally have your catyltic converter removed. Again that wouldn't be on the data plate. So the mystery continues.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 11:50 PM   #23
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Additional information on my car is that it was shipped in April 1970 to a car dealer called Lalonde Chev Olds Ltd., Ville de Laval, PQ. I noticed several users from Canada so I thought I might throw that out in case someone knows something about this dealer or others purchased cars from the same location. I believe that I may still have the original owners name also in some of the paperwork.

Stevengerard - If you lived near Dublin or Alamo, Ca. I believe that's where this car resided between 2000-2005. Then as you say it was purchased by a New York resident and then back to the West Coast again when I got my hands on it.

The cowl tag on my car clearly has the "Z" with no space between the 930 code. I'm not sure I understand what others are talking about when they refer to the Z49 option code and how it relates to the "Z" on the cowl tag....
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 08:12 AM   #24
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Another theory, maybe they used the Z code for cars sold in northern winter climate conditions ( cold places like Edmonton or Detroit, not mild Vancover ) that would require fluids suitable for the temperature in the winter.
The fact that the Z is in the trim code area on both the data tag and broadcast card points in the direction of it being interior related. And it is certainly a Fisher Body item, so that totally rules that out "fluids" as far as I'm concerned.


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Kurt,
You know that we're all in agreement that there's really poor record keeping from GM to validate a lot of information - especially Oldsmobile. I was trying to figure out the Z approach. I looked in my SPECS guide and there's not a single thing there with that code or option. I'm wondering if it wasn't a factory only code in the production line.
There are many more RPO codes than don't show up in the SPECS for various reasons. Export numbers are one example.
A Z RPO code here is just a logical guess. It may have nothing to do with *any* RPO code.

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I wonder if GM Canada can shed a light on this. I'll send George Zapora an email and ask if he can validate what the Z code is. Don't get too hopeful though.
Great idea. Also ask him if he knows what the Z49 option is in detail.

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The Z49 is an RPO option. That option is not on the data plate. All Canadian cars get Z (zed)49 (you guys speak Canadian eh?) whether they want it or not.
I'm not following you here Ken. Sure, the Z49 is for Canadian cars. But how can you be sure that is not the Z on the 1970 data plates that we are talking about? Sure would be nice to know exactly what the Z49 is for 1970.

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I'm not sure I understand what others are talking about when they refer to the Z49 option code and how it relates to the "Z" on the cowl tag....
That is what we are trying to find out: *is* the Z49 option related to cowl Z?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 08:38 AM   #25
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could there have been some different cooling/heating parts on cars going to Canada ?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:34 AM   #26
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could there have been some different cooling/heating parts on cars going to Canada ?
Already covered, See posts numbers 20 and 24.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:44 AM   #27
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Kurt, I don't have a dog in this race, but do you think that this "Z" was stamped on the trim plate by the Fisher body plant, for all bodies that were to be sent to a Canadian plant for final assembly?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:59 AM   #28
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Kurt, I don't have a dog in this race, but do you think that this "Z" was stamped on the trim plate by the Fisher body plant, for all bodies that were to be sent to a Canadian plant for final assembly?
Looking for all ideas! In theory, that's a good guess. I don't know that any bodies were ever shipped to Canada for assembly, but that can't be the answer in this case because all of the 1970 W-cars were fully assembled at the Lansing plant.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 03:55 PM   #29
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....This type of research is not that easy!
And just for the record, BG, you say "shipped to", do you mean sold new in Alabama? How do you know that for sure? That info still may prove valuable in the hunt.
Sorry, didn't mean to imply there was anything easy about this. And you're right, just because a particular Z-car wasn't shipped to Canada doesn't mean that the Z-code isn't related to Canada.

As you've pointed out, the Z-code likely has much more to do with Fisher Body than with Oldsmobile. I think that will be the key to finding an answer. I bet that, with a little legwork, anyone here who lives in Lansing could find a Fisher retiree who knows the answer. I also dream of some day finding a file cabinet from Fisher Body with records of all Olds bodies produced. Just because the Olds records were supposedly burned or lost doesn't mean the Fisher Body records were lost. For some model years (such as 1970), this would validate (or invalidate) everyone's W-30.

As for "shipped to Alabama," I could've been more specific. Both the original owner and selling dealer of my car were located in Gadsden, Alabama. I get this from the Car Shipping Order and New Vehicle Warranty, of which I have the originals.

Has anyone looked for a correlation between the Z-code and a floor shift (manual or automatic) and/or console? I realize these were installed by Olds final assembly, but maybe it affected some of Fisher's work.

As long as everyone's all wound up about the Z special trim code, anyone want to take a stab at the "2" code in the "PP" box on the Fisher broadcast card?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 07:29 PM   #30
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I'm not following you here Ken. Sure, the Z49 is for Canadian cars. But how can you be sure that is not the Z on the 1970 data plates that we are talking about? Sure would be nice to know exactly what the Z49 is for 1970.
Kurt, I'm just saying that the "Z" on the trim plate is most likely not pertaining to the Z49 RPO code. I say that because no other RPO codes appear on the trim plate...as far as I know. 2. Z49 has nothing to do with trim. Z49 is the option (not really an option in Canada) that makes sure for one thing, that the car has a heater. A car in Texas or Arizona may not need it, but it's law here. The actual explanation says "Z49-Mandatory Base Canadian Equipment Modifications"

I find that between the 70 and my 76, there are a lot of similarities as far as trim plates go. The interior code is in the same place, so is the time build code, the upper and lower body colour, the body type, the assembly plant and the placement of the codes. Since my 76 doesn't show it (and I know I have it) and it doesn't pertain to trim, I think it's reasonable to say that the Z in front of the interior colour, has nothing to do with Z49.

Could it be the stripe in the outside of the car? Since 930 means "black with bucket seats", perhaps the Z means a stripe of the same colour on the outside of the car. We have to ask: Is the "Z" code only on W30 cars and if so, does the W30 stripe match the interior colour? Maybe that's something to look at.

Another Canada "Option" was W84. That just meant "Fuel of Delivery Canada" and had nothing with a W30 car. When you drove your car off the dealership lot, I suppose they wanted to at least get you to a gas station instead of having you running out of gas on the lot.

My tag has 26X in the third row (after the AN7 swivel bucket code) below the paint code and I'm still trying to figure that one out.

I'll keep looking and see if I can come up with anything else.

Here's my guess. The "Z" pertains to the seat trim, either vinyl only or cloth and vinyl (Z meaning all vinyl) and the colour is 930 "black with bucket seats". Probably has nothing to do with being sold in Canada.

Last edited by 442much; June 22nd, 2010 at 07:46 PM.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 08:09 PM   #31
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Kurt, I'm just saying that the "Z" on the trim plate is most likely not pertaining to the Z49 RPO code. I say that because no other RPO codes appear on the trim plate...as far as I know. 2. Z49 has nothing to do with trim. Z49 is the option (not really an option in Canada) that makes sure for one thing, that the car has a heater. A car in Texas or Arizona may not need it, but it's law here. The actual explanation says "Z49-Mandatory Base Canadian Equipment Modifications"
All came with heaters unless specifically deleted (with an RPO code in fact).
I know what the Z49 code says, but *nobody* has said what that means!!
I wouldn't be so quick to eliminate something when we don't know what it means and it has a strong Canadian connection.
Sure there are no RPO codes on the body tag. And Z is not an RPO code. But it doesn't mean that it isn't related to one.
Due to the location of the Z, like it is part of the trim code, I'm still looking at the interior as the place to look, and I'm wondering if it has anything to do with Canadian safety restraint requirements for 1970. That are *not* requirements for the US that year.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:20 PM   #32
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I agree with Kurt. Since there is no space between the 'Z' and the 3-digit trim code that follows it, it HAS to be related to the trim in some way. Could it be a vender source code related to the trim used (i.e. 930 coded interior came from 'X' vender and X930 coded interiors came from 'Y' vender)? Or maybe the 'X' prefix meant a slightly different grain in the vinyl or something?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:48 PM   #33
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Ok, here is what I found

"I spoke with GM parts tech and there is no set modaficaton with that rpo it just means that the vehichle meets canadin build standards as far as chemicals in paint and oils and lubrcations used to be sold in canada if you have a newer GM built after 90 check and see if option code is on that vehicle as well if you give me the last 8 of the vin i can input it on my computer and check cause the rpo code is supose to be valid up to 2020"

Also found this from a Canadian Chevelle forum:
http://www.chevelles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=223902&highlight=z49

I still believe that it's something to do with vinyl or cloth and vinyl seats.. Anyway, I checked my Intrigue - it also has Z49.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 05:57 AM   #34
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Ok, here is what I found
"I spoke with GM parts tech ........"
[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]Also found this from a Canadian Chevelle forum............
Yeah, I found that Chevelle thread too. Lots of round about ideas, but still no facts.


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Could it be the stripe in the outside of the car? Since 930 means "black with bucket seats", perhaps the Z means a stripe of the same colour on the outside of the car. We have to ask: Is the "Z" code only on W30 cars and if so, does the W30 stripe match the interior colour? Maybe that's something to look at.
Just to address this, I looked into it and pretty well ruled it out when I found W30s out there with nothing different with exterior trim that didn't have the Z.

Keep digging Ken, I know you're a hound for this type of thing. Sure, it may not be a Canadian thing, but I'm still looking in that direction because almost ever one that has it was sold new in Canada. Kinda hard to ignore that!
The Z also may not be related to the Z49, but until we get a clear definition of what that was *for 1970*, it is still being considered. Bear in mind that there were requirements that that differed between the US and Canada that the difference depended on what year it was. Like daytime running lights.

I'd like to see the answers to 2 questions that *should* be able to be answered:
1. Exactly are the Z49 "modifications" FOR 1970.
2. Were there any interior safety requirements for Canada in 1970 that were not required in the US, again in 1970. (If so, my guess is something to do with restraints)

(Wrong time of year to be trying to beat this down..........no time!!)
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 06:25 AM   #35
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It has to be something on the interior that Fisher did before the body went to final assembly. DRL's weren't required by law in Canada until the late 80's though were they?
The only real difference would be a KMH speedometer that I can think of.
Maybe a beer bottle opener? The natives have been know to die of thirst for lack of one up there.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 07:10 AM   #36
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It has to be something on the interior that Fisher did before the body went to final assembly. DRL's weren't required by law in Canada until the late 80's though were they?
The only real difference would be a KMH speedometer that I can think of.
Maybe a beer bottle opener? The natives have been know to die of thirst for lack of one up there.
DRL's became law in 1990 and the KMH speedo came about in 1977. As for beer, lots of people were saved when they brought in the"flip tab" and twist off bottle. Lots of lives saved. t was a humanitarian thing.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 08:43 AM   #37
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OK, enough is enough. I called GM Canada and got the information from the horse's mouth, George Zapora of Vehicle Program. Very nice guy.

I asked if Z49 was a block heater, in car heater etc. He said that Z49 was: Canadian Warranty, Canadian stickers, Canadian Owners Manual in English or French and Canadian Certification by the CMVSS (Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) which fell (falls) under the MVSA (Motor Vehicle Safety Act). It has nothing to do with specific parts.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 10:29 AM   #38
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your right about george, i called him direct after receiving my paperwork and he told me whatever else he knew about the options
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 11:55 AM   #39
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OK, enough is enough. I called GM Canada and got the information from the horse's mouth, George Zapora of Vehicle Program. Very nice guy.

I asked if Z49 was a block heater, in car heater etc. He said that Z49 was: Canadian Warranty, Canadian stickers, Canadian Owners Manual in English or French and Canadian Certification by the CMVSS (Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) which fell (falls) under the MVSA (Motor Vehicle Safety Act). It has nothing to do with specific parts.
Great Ken! I think it is safe to cross off the RPO code connection.

How about this one?:
Were there any interior safety requirements for Canada in 1970 that were not required in the US, again in 1970. (If so, my guess is something to do with restraints)
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 12:13 PM   #40
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After George gave the break down, I said I was looking at a car and it had a Z in front of the interior colour on the data plate, second row, (little white lie ) He said that has to do the trim but couldn't tell me right off hand. I asked if it had anything to do with the seat make up (my theory). "Possibly", he said. "It has something to do with trim"

As far as I know there were no restraint differences between Canada and the US in 1970. Seat belt laws didn't come into effect here until 1985 and not in all provinces. Now it's Canada wide, but at first, some provinces required seat belts, some didn't.

In 1985 the US went to a 2.5 miles per hour impact bumper and Canada stayed with a 5 miles per hour requirement. Also in 1985 a rear center brake light had to be on all 1985 and newer vehicles (don't know if this was a requirement in the US). 1990 was the DRL's and the Km/h speedo and odo came into effect after. Until I see different, I still say it's something to do with whether the seats were vinyl or vinyl and cloth. 930 is a black interior but only with bucket seats. There are different "black" codes for bench or notched back seats. I guess someone will dig it up eventually.
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