Carport Find: 1979 Hurst/Olds W-30

After an absence of three years, the iconic Hurst/Olds returned to Oldsmobile’s product lineup in 1979. Unlike its predecessors, the company produced this new model entirely in-house, although they utilized Hurst components to justify the model name. The seller has remained the custodian of this Hurst/Olds since 2006, but lack of recent use means they feel it needs to go to a new home and someone who will appreciate all it offers. It isn’t perfect, but it could represent a satisfying restoration project. The Olds is listed here on eBay in Zachary, Louisiana. Bidding sits at $8975 in a No Reserve auction. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for spotting this classic.

Buyers could order their 1979 Hurst/Olds finished in White or Ebony Black with contrasting Gold on the hood, roof, and the back of the trunk lid. The original owner selected Ebony Black, which would have looked striking when it was new. Time has caught up with it, and a cosmetic restoration is its most pressing need. However, the buyer faces rust repairs on the trunk lid, with the problems clearly visible in this shot. The seller indicates it is the only rust issue and encourages an in-person inspection for interested parties harboring doubts about the state of the floors. The panels look pretty straight, and the original owner’s decision to specify a T-Top adds to the car’s appeal. Unlike many T-Tops from this era, the seals remain intact, with no evidence of water leaks or other problems. The glass looks good, and the trim is acceptable for a survivor-grade vehicle. The distinctive factory alloy wheels round out this classic’s exterior.

This Oldsmobile’s interior has no glaring faults, and its condition is acceptable for a driver-grade classic. However, it possesses that indefinable something that makes it look slightly tired. The situation may improve with a deep clean, but I’m unsure. I think it could be that while there are no major problems, the tiny issues, like the marks on the console and wheel, combine to make it look slightly rough around the edges. The only aftermarket addition is a CD player, with the car retaining its factory comfort and convenience features. They include air conditioning, power windows, a remote driver’s mirror, a tilt wheel, and the distinctive dual-gate Hurst shifter that gives this classic its model designation.

It takes a single glance at the figures to understand how performance classics like the 1979 Hurst/Olds hurt during The Malaise Era. This car’s engine bay houses the L34 version of the 350ci V8, producing 170hp and 275 ft/lbs of torque. With 3,443lbs to shift, the journey down the ¼-mile should take 17 seconds before the 350 runs out of breath at 119mph. Considering a 350-equipped 1970 Cutlass used 310hp to propel the car over the same distance in 15.5 seconds, it’s easy to see why performance enthusiasts became despondent as the decade progressed. The seller says the car runs and drives but has a few needs. They suggest rebuilds for the brake booster and carburetor but say the engine and transmission feel strong. The fluids and oils are clear, suggesting there are no problems likely to cause a new owner heartache or sleepless nights.

Considering its overall condition and apparent needs, the modest bidding on this 1979 Hurst/Olds W-30 doesn’t surprise me. It requires a cosmetic refresh, and the visible rust would motivate me to accept the seller’s invitation for an in-person inspection. These aren’t mega-bucks classics, although buyers eagerly snapped up the low production total of 2,499 built by Oldsmobile in 1979. This car demonstrates why it pays to consider more than one source when determining the value of any classic. NADA and Hagerty offer a yawning chasm between their figures, with the former rating a #3 at $3,000, while the latter quotes $13,000 for the same car. The condition of this car doesn’t justify the higher figure, although the bidding could potentially top $10,000. Would you consider this car at that figure, or don’t you see the figure as justified?


  1. Stan

    These are great looking cars. A mildly massaged 350 would be required for maximum enjoyment.

    Like 5
  2. Tom

    I remember when these cars were new. I liked them then and still do. They were doing the best they could with what they has to work with and this was the result. Great looking and driving cars and it wouldn’t take much to wake up the 350

    Like 4
  3. Jesse Lambert

    I have a white/ gold 79 hurst. The hurst option was pricey in 1979, over 2 grand on top of the Calais. Nice cars that don’t get the love yet considering very few cars actually had v8s in them then.

    Like 2
  4. Terry

    I worked at a dealer in Geneva Ohio (birthplace of R.E. Olds) back in the 80’s. We did all the mechanical work on R.E. Olds’ great,great grandsons W30, just like this one. He was in his mid 70’s I believe and was a very pleasant man. RIP

    Like 3
  5. Richard Salmon

    Staged photos for barn finds…? Wish my daily driver looks this good after sitting in the carport for this long…

  6. Travis Powell

    Back in their day, these were very, VERY nice cars to drive. Especially among the big, bloated tanks roaming the streets. I wouldn’t necessarily have to have a Hurst/Olds to enjoy one. This era Cutlass just do not take well to the everyday “boy racer” mods. I.e. fat and skinny tires on Welds, cowl hoods etc. They really are sharp from the showroom floor. A nice clean adult owned weekend sleeper car with 235/60’s all around on Olds rally wheels with sweet shiny paint and clean interior. Warmed over 403/200-4r trans with shift kit and 3.23 gears is about as perfect as one could ask for. Just my opinion. I’d love to have one! I’d love it ta death.

    • Bick Banter

      I don’t know if I agree with the idea they don’t take to mods. Back in high school, we put a small block Chevy in place of the 260 in one of these owned by my friend. We also put wide 60 series tires and Cragars on it. We beat the living snot out of it. It was a fun car and looked good.

  7. Stephen C.

    Hi Terry,
    That is an awesome recollection of “bridge” to the past…imagine that a descendent of a brilliant inventor/pioneer drove a car that bore his family’s name! As far as I’m concerned, R.E Olds was a genius! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Richard Guyer

    A friend of mine had one of these with a diesel in it

    Like 1
  9. John

    Nice to see the 79 Hurst. I have owned my 68 442 since 1978

  10. Taylor

    I’d restore the body to OEM original then swap in a nice LS drivetrain under the hood

  11. Kelvin McCrary

    I’m in middle tn an when I was about 8 yrs old my mom had a white 78 olds..console with ttops…white with black half vinyl yes it had the 260 in it an they had the big tires on cragers..I am 47 an now I’m 47 I have the car with a 403..two 4s an all under the hood..needs body work but wasn’t wanting a show car just the car my mom loved..modified a bit..

  12. Pnuts

    No takers. It’s relisted at a whopping $100 less for an opening bid. I’d think it would be smarter to set a buy it now price and list it with a $1.00 opening bid. That way one could get a feel for what the public is willing to shell out.

  13. Pnuts

    The real performance issues with this era vehicle gets back to gearing as much as “smog motors”. The 70 you referenced probably had 3:36 ish rear gears. This one probably has 2:45-2:73. Pretty much like taking off in second on that 70. A set of 3:73s would knock off a full second. Open up the exhaust and intake and a little better cam and this car would run low 14s high 13s with the original engine and never pulling a head. An overdrive trans. would bring back road worthiness. It would still need 10 grand worth of body work tho.

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