AJ's Car of the Day: 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass W-31 "Ram-Rod 350 Package"
Car: Oldsmobile Cutlass W-31 "Ram-Rod 350 Package"
What makes it special: The restyled for 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass offered a package for buyers who wanted a less flashy car with 442-like performance. Only 674 W-31 Ram-Rod 350 Cutlasses were produced that year.
What made it famous: The Cutlass featured a 350 cubic inch "350 Ram Rod" engine with an aggressive cam and the Forced Air system employing large fresh air scoops under the front bumper, conservatively rated at 325 horsepower. It could be ordered "bare bones," with an AM radio and 4-speed manual transmission, without power steering or power brakes. In this case, it was also ordered with painted steel wheels, dog dish caps and “Ram Rod 350” fender markings.
Why I would want one: It's nice to have the "out-of-the-ordinary", even in a case like this. While the Olds Cutlass 442 is an iconic muscle car, it's cool to make it your own, and get the 442 features in a less conspicuous vehicle that will surprise the competition. To look at it, unless you caught a glimpse of the lower front bumper mounted Ram-Air scoops, this looks like just any other Plain-Jane Oldsmobile 2-door sedan.
Fun fact: The W-31 was not a popular choice in the days before serious concerns over fuel economy, emissions output and insurance premiums, so the option was quietly snuffed after 1970, which ironically, was right about the time it might have begun to make more sense.
( 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass W-31 "Ram-Rod 350 Package" photo from mecum.com )