It’s been a great season for first-rate Oldsmobiles at RK Motors Charlotte. Not only did we sell our reference-grade 1970 Rallye 350, we also introduced an impressive 1972 442 W30 convertible and a 986/1000 point 1969 442 convertible. If you’re in the market for an A-body Olds but none of those options moved you, take a look at this numbers-matching 1970 Cutlass S W-31. Over 10 years and $75,000 were invested into revitalizing this Cutlass and it shows throughout. The 78,064-actual-mile car has had only three registered owners over the course of its lifetime and remains fully documented by its Protect-O-Plate as well as a notarized letter from its original owner, 20 years worth of registrations, and a binder full of restoration pictures. The car took home Best Classic GM at this year’s Carolina Collector Auto Fest and, by the looks of it, has plenty more trophy runs in its future.
According to the window sticker, the car shipped with the following options:
M20:Wide-ratio 4-speed manual transmission
G88:3.91 performance axle
G80:Anti-spin rear axle
A02:Soft-Ray tinted windshield
JL7:Manual front disc brakes
PX8:G70x14 wide oval white stripe tires
N34: Custom sport steering wheel
AK1:Deluxe seat belts
T44:Interior hood lock
U63:Deluxe push-button radio
P05:Super Stock 1 wheels
D35: Sports styled external rear-view mirror
A51:Strato bucket seats
B90:Chrome side window frame moldings
FE2:Rallye suspension package
U21:Rocket Rally Pac
N10:Dual exhaust system
Y60:Visor mirror / courtesy lamps
The Big Three seemed to understand that the muscle-car era was a bubble that would eventually pop thanks to rising insurance costs and government regulations, so most of them set out to create cars with slightly less motor but an equal helping of visual sizzle. Oldsmobile offered two solutions: the attention-hungry Rallye 350 and the W31 package. The W-31 option essentially added 442 styling cues to your choice of a Cutlass S or F-85 Coupe but replaced the 455 with something a little more economical. This particular Cutlass rolled off the line in the final week of April 1970, dressed in code 28 Twilight Blue Metallic with black body-length stripes. It’s a subtle combination but it caters well to the slightly-more-upscale image Olds carried at the time. Thanks a no-expense-spared restoration, this W-31 presents even better than it did in 1970. The paintwork looks great from every angle and panel fitment is exactly what it should have been from day one.
Step in for a closer look to find an impressive range of details rounding out the exterior. The front view offers some class in the form of dual T-3 headlights that frame a split egg-crate grille divided by the center of the hood. An Olds badge adorns the center section while a right-justified Cutlass badge completed the grille. A re-chromed factory bumper hangs below while twin hood scoops draw clean air directly into the carburetor. The aggressive tone started by the fiberglass hood is supported by full-length black stripe, chrome W-31 badges, and painted sport mirrors. Only corner markers, chrome door handles, and the stainless trim surrounding the crystal clear glass serve to distract from the Twilight Blue Metallic side profile. Follow the downward-sloping C-pillar to a rear capped off by distinctive taillights and a large chrome bumper which tucks neatly against the body. To glance at the car and assume it’s a 442 would certainly be an understandable mistake.
For customers interested in the W-31, engine options were limited to the 350ci V8. The foundation is one of Oldsmobile’s ultra-strong nickel-infused blocks which wears gold paint, a 395558 casting number, and a matching VIN derivative stamp just under the driver side head. The cast-iron cylinder heads sport the correct “6” casting as well as flashy chrome valve covers. Up top, the original single Rochester Quadrajet provides fuel for the small block from its place atop an aluminum Winters intake. GM brass rated the package at 325hp and 360lb/ft of torque – impressive for a car focused on flash and economy. The front of the engine spins all the standard hardware while a correct Harrison radiator and fan keep the 350 cool. Gases escape through factory manifolds that connect to an absolutely pristine Gardner reproduction dual exhaust system. From the correct decals to pieces like the distributor, carburetor, and open-face alternator, everything is here and shows with authority.
Take a look underneath the car to find more of the same attention to detail present at all corners. From the satin black floor pans to the suspension components, every piece shows well. In the middle of everything, a wide-ratio Muncie M20 4-speed offers full control of the small block V8 up front. Power spins down the driveshaft and out to a factory rear end that sports optional 3.91 gears and a slick aluminum W-27 inspection cover. When it came to the front suspension, Olds didn’t offer many options. This one wears the standard direct-action coil springs with ball joints and a stabilizer link under the front half. The rear consisted of a factory four-bar setup with boxed lower control arms, semi-floating axles, and coil springs.. NOS spiral shocks at all corners complete the package. When the road ahead gets curvy, manual steering combines with manual front disc and rear drum brakes for a period-correct driving experience. Those brakes tuck neatly behind chrome Super Sport wheels wrapped in F70-15 Firestone Wide Oval tires.
For what was meant be a somewhat stripped-down variant of the Cutlass, the interior offers plenty of visual cues that give it a much more upscale feel. Open the doors to find rich black door panels accented with bright stainless and rich wood grain. Step past the Fisher Body door sill covers and clean black carpet, protected by rubber floor mats, covers the solid original panels below. Nicely finished bucket seats with headrests feature a stylish pattern while offering plenty of support. Between the seats, the factory center console starts with an elevated armrest/storage area that flows into the lower panel where the gear selector lives among plenty more wood grain. From the driver seat, the Rocket Rally Pac keeps an eye on fuel, temperature, oil pressure, speed, revs, and time across three gauges. Controls for the lights and heater/defroster remain within easy reach while the AM radio takes the center spot. In front of the passenger, a Cutlass badge remind visitors they’re in the presence of greatness. Behind the seats, the trunk is equally well finished thanks to a correct decals, a factory trunk mat, and a color-keyed spare tire in case of emergency.
As mentioned earlier, this Cutlass comes with plenty of documentation. Original pieces include an owner’s manual, a 1970 Olds brochure, and the Protect-O-Plate. More documentation comes in the form of registrations, a notarized letter from the original owner, and a full history with contact information. Finally, restoration efforts are covered through a series of photos and receipts that provide valuable insight into how the car was brought back to life.
Given all the appropriate buzz words like “numbers-matching”, “documented”, and “concours restoration”, this ’70 Olds represents an enormous amount of bang for the buck. With its healthy small block and 442 good looks, this car is sure to draw a crowd wherever it’s parked. We’ll even throw in its first trophy for free! Make room and give us a call. You don’t want other great Oldsmobile slipping through your fingers!