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15th Anniversary: 1983 Hurst/Olds

1983 was the 15th anniversary of the Hurst/Olds that was first introduced in 1968. It was produced sporadically, over nine model years and 16,537 total copies. These are highly sought-after cars, especially the 1983-83 editions with the Hurst Lightning Rod floor shifters. It’s rare to see one offered for $6,950, but that’s because it needs a complete restoration. The sporty car is in Wayne, Nebraska and available here on craigslist. Thanks, Ikey Heyman, find another great find!

Oldsmobile decided to offer the Hurst/Olds once again in 1983 as a tribute to its 15th anniversary. Sharing its body with the Cutlass Supreme, the car only came in black with silver rocket panels, chrome 15” wheels, power hood bulge and rear spoiler. Mechanically, it was fitted with a modified version of Olds’ 307 cubic inch V-8 good for 180 hp. Besides the iconic shifter, the Hurst/Olds came with 3.73 gears and throaty dual exhaust. High demand caused Oldsmobile to increase production to 3,001 units for 1983 and 3,500 for 1984 when the black/silver paint scheme would be reversed. Thanks, Wikipedia, for capturing key information for us.

The seller refers to this car as a barn find, but as we know not all these cars emerge from a real barn. It’s said to be completely original and intact but must be trailered because the tires are ancient. Several of the photos were taken outdoors with shadows, so it’s hard to tell if rust is an issue with this car. But the driver’s side quarter panel looks to have an infection. The body looks solid with no obvious dents and the paint is faded. While a good cleaning and wax job would help a lot, the paint is thin in several places and the car is deserving of a respray. The T-Tops are a plus on the car and look good, but there are no references as to whether they are leak-proof.

The interior is dirty and tired-looking, but a good steam-cleaning may reveal an acceptable passenger compartment. We don’t know how much use the car has seen as there is no reference to the mileage. To my tired eyes, the odometer looks to read 45,000, but another number could be there instead of the “4”.

We’re told the car possesses its original drivetrain and it’s said to start, run and drive. But there is no mention of how well and whether the funky lightning rod shifters work as they should. All the smog equipment mandated by Uncle Sam for 1983 is still in place. All-in-all, this looks to be a sold restoration project, hopefully one that doesn’t involve every nut and bolt. But whatever needs doing, the buyer could end up with a car worth $30,000 or more. The survival rate on these machines is said to be high because they were saved more than they were beat up. This was a gentleman’s performance car.


  1. Avatar photo Cncbny

    I had one of these. No go at all. My current Kia Soul has 180 hp, and it’s not a rare muscle classic. Lightning rods were just a gimmick, headliner dropped like all ‘80’s gm cars. T-tops leaked. Olds V-8 ran well and couldn’t be stopped. Great car with some trinkets, yes. Muscle car? No

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Jerry

      A Kia Soul with 180hp? How?

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Steve

        Who cares

        Like 4
  2. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    Having never before seen “Lightning Rod Shifters” I almost broke out laughing when I saw the Claymation-like console and thought of a movie title “When Mutant Shifters Go Bad”.

    Like 1

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