Rarified Air in Station Wagon Form

We hear all the time about how rare an exotic sports car will be.  Sometimes they come with wild stories of being handcrafted from fields of wheat or cut from a particular mold that only a blind monk on a life-long silence can replicate, but the reality is in order to command the high prices of the exotics very few must be made.  Not only are there few made but with the high cost and time to produce each one to the exacting specs the new owner wants commands a lot of attention, making it difficult to truly mass produce these cars.

Even though the scant numbers of most exotics blow our mind, they are not the rarest of the rare.  In 1970 there was a model that offered a very small variation on its platform and only built two of that variant.  Yes, that’s right, only two were made and currently both of them are not available for public viewing, which makes them even more rare overall.  These two models were part of the best muscle car ever built and were actually a station wagon variation of the high powered muscle machine.

Muscle cars of the time had so many different followings, but the top dog when viewed objectively, was the Oldsmobile 4-4-2 with the W-30 option.  This was the most powerful car of the era to be considered a muscle car and only 3100 were built in 1970, two of which were the wagons I speak of.  This certainly makes these two wagons a pair of power players, but the fact that both have been lost in some fashion certainly also makes for a bit of a tragedy.

The 4-4-2 W-30 package offered a massive 455 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 370 horsepower and a monstrous 500 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 3,600 rpm.  This made it much easier to blow others off the line with this power so quickly available while others might reach their power max but much later than this lauded Oldsmobile.  In order to produces this power the GM engineers fitted an aluminum intake manifold with a specially calibrated 750cfm Rochester carburetor to the engine.  The W-30 had a more aggressive camshaft and head with larger exhaust ports and valves all made to create the massive power and low end torque that would make this car the best muscle car to ever  come out of Detroit.

As for the two wagons that are MIA, which were nicknamed the Wonder Wagons, the chain of custody is what needs to be followed in order to figure out where they could be.  Both were handed over to Popular Hot Rodding magazine for testing in 1970 to allow them to do a full write up of the pair.  After this the chain is a bit foggy.  One of the two was purchased by Joe Mondello who was an Oldsmobile expert and tuner.  He owned the car until he died in 2011 and the car has now been reported as having gone to a private collection, but who’s has not be revealed and most likely won’t.

The second of the wagons was shipped to Car Life magazine in Japan and was sold to someone there.  This creates a bit of an automotive dilemma as the rarest of the rare muscle cars that were actually wagons are not somehow on display in Detroit or in a museum for us to admire.

Even though you can’t see or touch these two classics you certainly can admire the intrigue that must have gone into building them.  Why did Oldsmobile produce only two in wagon form, or any in wagon form for that matter?  The answers may go unknown but these two were obviously very powerful and capable family machines that give us a wonderful look back.

Oldsmobile 442

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