Dan Ethen of Ironton owns a very rare car, a 1966 Oldsmobile W-30 442, of which only 54 were manufactured. Ethen, who owns No. 34, said only 16 of these cars remain. It was purchased in Duluth about seven years ago.
Ethen knows his car, covered in several coats of highly gloss black clear coat paint, was the 34th made because it is stamped on his car's air cleaner.
He said it took him two years just to find out the car's history. He finished restoring it about two and a half years ago.
"It took about five years to do it," his wife Barb said as she sat in a chair behind it at the Little Falls Car Show Sunday.
The list of rarities on this car with a 400 cubic inch engine which produces 365 horsepower reads like the exhibits at the NHRA museum in California.
The battery is in the trunk (no room under the hood because the ram air hoses took up so much space), a large chrome air cleaner covers the three carburetors with two ram air ducts coming from scoops in the bumper, the transmission is a four-speed manual on the floor and it has dual exhaust.
Dan Ethen's rare 1966 Oldsmobile W-30 442 was among the cars displayed at the Little Falls Auto Show and Swap Meet at Little Falls Airport Sunday. There were only 54 of these cars manufactured of which Ethen of Ironwood owns the 34th. The opening in the bottom of the bumper was among the two air scoops on each side of the bumper. (Dispatch Photos by Clint Wood)
This car also only has a heater as the only option (no radio or no carpeting), cloth interior and a bench seat. Ethen said the reason for all these above options was weight concerns.
"It was made to go straight nothing else," he said. He said there were only two reasons for the battery in the trunk, either it was made to drag race or this was requested by a dealer.
Ethen said his purpose in buying his car was either to make it a drag racer or a "run around" car. It became a racer, He has clicked off passes in 13.8 seconds at 100 mph at Brainerd International Raceway.
Ethen saw the advertisement for the car in the Duluth paper while shopping for his son's hockey equipment. He said he was building a convertible at the time.
"It was a Minnesota car when I got it," he said.
Ethen's car also had a Chevrolet engine in it when he bought it. The car had to be modified for this engine to fit, he noted.
Ethen said he was told that the car's original owner operated a pawn shop. Ethen estimated the car was sold six to seven times because it kept coming back to the pawn shop.
Once Ethen bought this car, he and his two sons did a complete off-frame restoration to build it to factory specifications. Ron's Collision of Ironton painted it.
He got some of these parts from another 1966 442 he bought. Now this car is also completely restored and belongs to his wife Barb. Her car also has three carburetors but they're not covered by the special air cleaner.
As far as that convertible, he said he has attempted to buy it back to no avail.
He isn't done buying classic cars though. He recently purchased a yellow and black 1970 Oldsmobile W-30 442.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.