Hairy Hurst: 1969 Hurst Olds

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At the height of the muscle car era, Oldsmobile made a deal with the Hurst Performance company that worked out really well for both companies. In order to create a “halo” car, the two companies collaborated to produce special, limited edition, high performance Cutlasses.

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The program started in 1968 with a run of 515 cars, and continued off and on for a number of years, with the final run in 1984, but for many fans, the 1968, 1969 and 1972 versions were the best out of the nine years these cars were offered.

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The inspiration for the production cars were the Hurst Hairy Olds of 1966-67, drag cars that made a huge impact – a twin engine, four wheel drive monster that was really fun to watch.

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In both 1968 and 1969, Oldsmobile was able to get around the corporate ban on engines with displacement over 400 cubic inches going into their intermediate cars. Oldsmobile and Hurst pretended that the 455 Toronado block engine was installed by Hurst, when in fact, they came from Lansing so equipped.

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In 1969, 912 Cutlass Holiday 2-Door Hardtops and 2 Cutlass Convertibles were built by Hurst. This was the first year for a paint scheme that ended up being used for all subsequent Hurst Olds cars, Firefrost gold on white paint.  The 1969 H/O had functional “mailbox” fiberglass hood scoops with H/O 455 logos on each side to tell the world what was under the hood. A fiberglas spoiler was mounted on the trunk, and all H/Os came with special 15×7 chrome SSII rims and Goodyear F60x15 Polyglas tires.

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The interior included a Hurst (of course) dual/gate shifter, painted gold stripes on the headrests, and a Hurst/Olds emblem on the glove-box door. All non-drive train modifications were done at nearby Demmer Engineering.

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The 455 cubic-inch V8 (designated W46) produced 380 horsepower (280 kW) for both A/C and non-A/C cars. The engine featured a number of unique pieces, including intake manifold, chrome steel valve covers, and a special vacuum operated air cleaner lid to allow cold air from the hood scoop into the carburetor.

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All that power drove through a specially calibrated (code OH) Turbo 400 transmission and 3.42 rears for non-A/C cars or 3.08 gears for cars with A/C. 3.91 gears were available as an option, but only for non-A/C cars.

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If you are interested in these very cool looking and great performing cars, there are a number of sites devoted to them, and a Hurst Oldsmobile Club. You can check out the many features of these cars that make them special and help to identify real versus clone cars here.

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Reader Doug M. sent us a tip on this very interesting 1969 Hurst Olds for sale in Cape Cod, Massachusetts on Craigslist. The seller definitely knows this is an unusual and valuable car. No asking price is provided, but you can assume it will come with a hefty asking price. Restored examples can be found somewhere in the $50-75,000 range, based on a bit of online research.

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This car is definitely an interesting and unusual example, as it shows just over 13,000 miles on the odometer, and the overall condition of the car seems to support the low mileage claimed. It is said to have been stored for a number of years. Still, it appears to not have been well cared for during at least some of that time, and is showing signs of rust in some of the typical places for this year Cutlass body. The seller also uses the dreaded “p” word, which in this instance means “r” for rust; if it needs body work, it may then require a paint job and will no longer be so special as an all original car.

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According to the seller, the numbers do match, and even has the original tires from 1969 on the original rims (which are not pictured but are in storage, but “still hold air” and presumably come with the car). The Olds is said to run and drive, but we have no idea how well it does so or what kind of maintenance work the car will need. It comes with documentation and a Massachusetts title. These cars were sold with a dash plaque that had the original owner’s name engraved, and apparently the name on this car’s plaque matches the paper work with the car. Pictures indicate that the seller is aware of the casting numbers that will verify the car’s originality, and from all I can tell, this car looks to be the real deal.

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What is it worth? It’s tricky to figure out. The car’s low mileage is really special, but the overall condition is not as good as one would hope for such a car. Still, if you like Oldsmobile muscle cars, the Hurst Olds is something truly special, and these early versions are rare and incredibly fun to drive. Would you arrest and repair the rust and keep the rest of the car as original as possible, or should this car be used as the basis for a full-on restoration?

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Comments

  1. Jeff V.

    CL post already deleted!

    • Joe in New Hampshire

      I saw this car and I immediately showed it to a friend I work with. He owned one 15 years ago and regretted selling it. This was on Friday June 3rd. I found the contact info for him. He called the owner in Rhode island and made a deal. It’s a beauty and now resides in New Hampshire. He bought It !!

      Like 1
      • Mark 'cuda man

        I wish I was your friend!

  2. Elliott Member

    Years ago, a guy in my neighborhood picked up cars. He showed up one day with one of these in black. A friend of mine bought it from hm for a pittance, got it running and flogged it unmercifully! We knew that it was something out of the ordinary, but back then, (early ’70’s) it was just an old musclecar…the follies of youth! I can’t remember what eventually ahppened to it, other than that it was eventually replaced by another “old musclecar”! :-)

    Like 1
  3. Van

    Great cars. The hood scoop looks like something George Barris would build out of scraps. Looked bad ass anyway.

    Like 1
  4. David Stigall

    anybody know anything about the Olds Turnpike Cruiser in 66 or 67?

    • David Wilk Member

      David – I had two turnpike cruisers but they were 68 and 69 cars. I am pretty sure the package was similar for the earlier years too. 1967 option package L66, as follows:

      L66 $142.18 Turnpike Cruising Package. Included the following:

      400-cubic-inch 300-hp Rocket V-8 with 2-barrel carburetor
      Climatic Cumbustion Control Engine Air-Induction System
      7.75 x 14″ White-Line Nylon Cord tires
      Heavy-duty wheels
      Heavy-duty Front and Rear Shock Absorbers and Front Stabilizer Shaft
      Heavy-duty Front and Rear Springs
      Heavy-Duty Rear Suspension and Stabilizer Shaft
      Special Propeller Shaft, Front Motor Mounts and Battery
      Dual Exhausts
      Special Turnpike Axle Ratio (2.41:1)
      High Capacity Radiator

      When Turnpike Cruising Package (L66) was ordered, Turbo Hydra-Matic Transmission (M40) also had to be ordered. This additional cost item was not included in the price of Option L66. Available on the Cutlass Supreme Sports Coupe, Holiday Coupe and Convertible.

  5. Mark 'cuda man

    Best looking Hurst car ever made. By far the pinna
    cle year for looks……

  6. ccrvtt

    My third car was a ’69 Cutlass, one of the best-looking cars ever made, in my post-adolescent opinion. I grew up in the Lansing area, so we believed Oldsmobiles were great cars. It was a good labor market and the Olds workers cared (for the most part) about the product. I love the ’69 Hursts the best. I hope this car gets the attention it deserves.

    Like 1
  7. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    What Mark said…..nice car….

  8. nessy

    I had a first year original 68 Hurst Olds in good shape. I bought it in 1986 for 3500 which seemed like a lot of money but I knew it was rare. I traded it in 1998 for a nice 37 Packard Super 8 which I still have today. The Packard is a wonderful car but I sometimes wonder if I did the right thing by trading….

    Like 1
  9. andrew

    Google 1968 Holden HK Monaro GTS to see its antipodean cousin.

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