In these past weeks, there seems to have been a push in the promotion of electric cars and how hugely they will benefit the environment — which, in truth, remains to be seen — as well as an amplification of the threat of global warming: how rapidly our environment is deteriorating, how much of the ice shelf is diminishing, and the record summer temperatures that have sizzled the Northern Hemisphere — although, hasn’t the planet frozen over many times before?
It all makes for a very depressing read, but what saddens me the most is the fact that there seems to be not a single association, club, organization — call it what you want — that is representing the vintage / classic car enthusiasts. There’s almost the impression that we accept that we have destroyed the planet and are now accepting responsibility — as if we are saying to the policymakers, “Yes, we will go with the flow; have it your way!”
Could this be a reflection of the apathy and lack of vision within these clubs and associations? Are we dealing with committees that have run out of puff, or maybe lack the energy, or are too proud, to unite in one voice to protect and preserve our pastime? Yes, I can see that most of you enthusiasts are nodding your heads in affirmation — I have seen it before!
What are classic car clubs doing, collectively or independently, about our freedom to drive our cars in the future? Will these same clubs tell us that we can’t use our cars once the Zero Carbon Act comes into force, or that we will be allowed to use combustion-engine cars only on weekends?
Are clubs, organizations, associations, etc. getting involved in discussions with the government — do car enthusiasts have a voice? Are car enthusiasts being given a fair representation in this maddening rush to save the world from the harm (or so we are made to think!) caused by fossil fuels? Why is it that only cars are being targeted? Cargo ships, cruise liners, yachts, recreational boats — what about their pollution in the seas and oceans around the globe? What about aircraft? Avgas is the largest source of lead in the air, and it has been proven through various health statistics that lead in a person’s bloodstream contributes to learning disabilities and behavioural issues, especially in children. Maybe these industries are very strong-generating fiscal tools that no one dares to touch?!
Shouldn’t classic car owners and enthusiasts be subsidized to keep their cars on the road and to maintain them in running order? The ‘planet rescuers’ seem to fail to acknowledge that these cars are not just a set of wheels mounted to a metal body and driven by a motor; they are not just a means of getting from A to B; they are our history, our story, our beginning!
Classic cars will always be bought and classic cars will always be sold — they are an international currency! If conditions are not favourable in New Zealand, they will find a home elsewhere — but, at the same time, New Zealand history will be leaving our shores!
In the scheme of things, our cars are too few in number and are used too limitedly to represent any environmental threat. In reality, the environment will be more threatened when electric vehicles dominate our roads, if that should ever happen. For this reason, should clubs not be lobbying for their members, to ensure for them that classic and vintage vehicles are excluded from the Zero Carbon Act?
Generations should be working together, not in competition with each other. The whole point of a classic car club is to remain the hub of the classic car community. Clubs can lead the way in driving this popularity by utilizing new digital platforms — by promoting themselves to an even larger number of enthusiasts via universal socialmedia platforms and digital channels. Most clubs are in desperate need of modern expertise that may not always be found in their established circles. New-generation members want to contribute to the present and the future of a club, and that should be the heart of the question for every progressive club: why should new-generation members want to join a classic car club in the digital age? When prospective members see an organization that is supportive, open, helpful, and acting expressly in the interests of the cars and the people who own them, they will feel far more convinced of the authority and usefulness of that organization.
This is the way forward; this is the way to ensuring that our ‘ beauties’ can in the future be driven on the road without much fanfare! We must unite and speak together as one, seeking one representation that truly has at heart the classic car movement! There is no room for personal agendas or personal gain — the clock is ticking. If we do not come up with a solid front, classic cars could become mere showpieces — mummified bodies that have been deprived of life purely because the policymakers decided to switch off life support! Are we truly providing the necessary go-to hub to enable the policymakers to make informed decisions about the future of our classic cars? Maybe not!
New Zealand offers great craftsmanship and some truly special classic cars; it is our duty, collectively, to ensure that we preserve them and keep them ticking over for future generations.
Until then, safe driving!
gear, a positraction differential, and a performance camshaft raising the output to 310hp (231kw). The package also included a stiffened frame for torsional rigidity; boxed rear control arms; a heavy-duty clutch; and, of course, a four-speed manual gearbox — that’s basically where the name ‘442’ originated, originally signifying the engine’s four-barrel carburettor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts.
Although the specifications would change through the years, the name stuck. Oldsmobile’s muscle car package proved to be neither the fastest kid on the block nor the biggest seller; however, the 442 did earn an enviable reputation for its balanced performance and exceptional handling capabilities. W-30 option The 422 enthusiasts who wanted the ultimate performance package opted for one option above all else: the W-30. As far as they were concerned, it transformed a good-performing car into a tyre-shredding monster capable of holding its own against just about anything that Detroit could bolt together.
It was 1966 when the first W-30 package appeared. It consisted of three two-barrel carburettors, an external air-induction system — which forced cool air to the carburettors via tubing from the front bumpers — a highperformance camshaft, and a Hurst shifter. The battery was relocated to the boot to make way for the induction tubing.
Unfortunately, in 1967, GM banned multiple carburettors on all vehicles except the Corvette, which meant that 1966 was the only year in which three carburettors were available on the W-30.
The W-30 continued to be offered with various factory horsepower ratings — generally underrated — through until 1972, peaking in 1970 at 370hp (276kw). It wasn’t until 1972 that the W-30 could be identified by an ‘X’ in its VIN, making it almost impossible to replicate.
Other components of the W-30 package included a lightweight aluminium intake manifold, the W25 fibreglass Ram Air hood, a positraction differential with 3.42:1 gears (3.73:1 available), and heavyduty cooling. Due to the low vacuum at idle, air conditioning was not available, and power brakes were available only with an automatic transmission.
As we all know, all good things must come to an end, and 1971 was the beginning of the end for all muscle cars. The Oldsmobile 442 was in no way immune to these changes. Performance numbers took an immediate nosedive, with the ’ 71 Olds 442 that boasted the W-30 option and 455ci (7.5-litre) V8 just a shadow of its former self, down 70hp (52kw) to 300hp (224kw) net horsepower. The writing was on the wall in letters 10m high that the 442 was at its end as a stand-alone model. In 1972, the 442 would return to its roots with its tail between its legs, once again as an option on the Cutlass models.
As pointed out earlier in this story, John Murray has been passionate about American muscle cars for as long as he can remember. As a youngster back in the 1960s, John would spend his hard- earned pocket money on US car magazines, reading them cover to cover to keep up with the latest and greatest models. John would also send off letters to Detroit’s ‘ big three’, asking for new- car sales brochures, and they would always oblige by sending large envelopes jam-packed with leaflets. John always looked forward to receiving them, and would read them for weeks on end.
John’s parents owned a few American cars back in the 1960s and 1970s. His father taught him to drive the family 1960 Ford Fairlane at the age of 14 years, and was trusting enough to let John get behind the wheel on his own after he’d got his licence — although he wasn’t too impressed when he caught John doing a skid in the family Pontiac.
Fast forward a few decades, and John now owns an enviable line-up of Detroit’s finest iron. His beautifully restored, awardwinning, very rare 1970 Chevelle LS6 has graced our pages, as has his 1972 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 and the 1971 Oldsmobile 442 he previously owned. Our sister magazine
NZV8 has also featured the 1970 Buick GS 455 that John used to own.
John’s latest acquisition is this outstanding 1964 Oldsmobile 442. He discovered the car while searching through a US muscle car forum, and knew the moment that he saw it that he was looking at something extremely rare. This car was one of only 563 Oldsmobile sports coupés built in 1964. As John already owned a 1972
The third owner carried out a full body-off nut-and-bolt restoration on the Oldsmobile, keeping it exactly as it was when it rolled off the showroom floor
Oldsmobile 442 W-30, the last of the breed, he thought it would be a good idea to own an example of the first, too, and sent the owner, Vinnie Savioli, an email. As it transpired, Savioli, who lived in Massachusetts, spent the winter months in Florida to escape the freezing weather, so John dealt with his cousin, Dave Castine.
Dave was extremely helpful in providing John with additional photos, history, and other information. John also made contact with the friend of a friend, who had seen the car and who confirmed that it was an outstanding example of a rare muscle car. He told John that if the car hadn’t been fitted with air conditioning, he would definitely have bought it for himself.
John was also provided with the ownership history of the Oldsmobile, which showed that the original owner had the car until 1975 and the second owner had it until 1998. The third owner carried out a full body-off nut-and-bolt restoration on the Oldsmobile, keeping it exactly as it was when it rolled off the showroom floor in 1964. He travelled only 5000km in it before selling it to Vinnie Savioli in 2009.
Based on this information and the many photographs he received, John decided to proceed with the purchase. Famous Pacific Shipping was given the task of shipping John’s precious cargo to New Zealand.
The Oldsmobile arrived in early 2018. It was exactly as, if not better than, John had expected, and he is looking forward to the summer months, when we are assured it will be driven and displayed at various events for us all to admire.
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