Hurst So Good: 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass W-30 Hurst/Olds

Here’s a sharp looker: a super clean two-owner, 106,000-mile 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass W-30 Hurst/Olds. Available only on the top Cutlass Calais coupe, just 2,499 W-30 package cars were built in 1979 only, boasting the only 350-cubic inch engine available in GM’s A-body midsizers that year, plus the famous Hurst Dual/Gate shifter. This car’s got serious appeal and, as of this writing, bidding’s only up to $8,000. There are a few days left, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one climb quite a bit higher; you can check it out here on eBay, or just start packing your bags for Naperville, Illinois if you’re really hurting for this Hurst!

One of the things that strikes me about this car is how honestly it’s been presented. The seller acknowledges that the black portions of the car have been repainted, and isn’t shy about showing where it has minor blemishes. The ’79 H/O was also available in Hurst’s slightly more iconic gold-over-white color scheme, but I think this black looks appropriately mean and really highlights the crisply angular style of the Olds coupe.

I also like that it’s evident that this is a very well cared-for car, but not one that’s been restored. The V8, an upgrade over the 305 that was otherwise the top engine choice for the Cutlass but not as impressively massive as the 455 that had been offered in previous Hurst/Olds models, is tidy but clearly used. The seller notes that it has new belts and hoses and that the Quadrajet carburetor has recently been rebuilt.

The black vinyl interior shows very nicely and offers an uncharacteristically serious driving environment for a ’70s American car, with fairly complete instrumentation and high-back bucket seats. It’s also in here that we see the main mechanical feature that differentiates the ’79 W-30 from the otherwise identical 1980 4-4-2: the Hurst Dual/Gate shifter. This offered the option of either fully automatic shifting or manual control—a fairly common feature now, but a novel selling point at the time that Oldsmobile felt gave the car a dual nature. It should be noted that, unlike earlier Hurst-branded cars, these were built completely by Oldsmobile in Lansing with no additional modifications performed elsewhere.

The W-30 package added nearly $2,000 to the sticker price of a Cutlass Calais in 1979, putting its price about on the same level as that of a more powerful Trans Am, so these appealed to fans of the Olds’ stealthier appearance or Hurst diehards, and I think this car still has a bit of that sneaky, under-the-radar appeal plus a healthy dose of Hurst cachet. I think the price could go a bit higher still and still be right. I’ll admit that I’m pretty smitten—any of you have a thirst for this Hurst?

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Comments

  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    I had a 79 Cutlas S bought new. Nice driving car but ran into one issue right after 50K, blew a head gasket and some other damage to it requiring an engine replacement plus the heater box leaked from the start. Able to get warranty coverage on the latter and partially on the former.

    I did like the car enough I bought a 84 Custlas Brougham.

    That one looks pretty good overall from what I’m seeing.

  2. Dt 1

    I’ll give you three grand for that car that’s it

    • Alan (Michigan)

      I miss the “Thumb Down” button.

      • Junkyard Jimmy

        I like what you just did, just write “Thumb Down”.

    • Superdessucke

      It’s not a Volvo dude. Chill.

  3. Jim Clark

    I’m digging the aftermarket EQ on the stock radio. Very 80’s!

  4. jw454

    I had an ’80 Cutlass with a small V8 and the same interior as this one. Silver with a half vinyl top. Very nice driving car. It got very good gas mileage and rode very good. It’s on my list of cars I wish I had back.

  5. Nrg8

    So the factory shot gold over spray on the pillar weather stripping? This car does look like it has led a charmed life. No usual wear on the seats with butts sliding in and rolling out making the seats droop. Or the upper door pull that usually is missing pieces. It does say the headliner was replaced, so maybe it was done at an interior shop and those things were addressed. I love that period 5 band eq tied into the factory system. The bumper is still in place, which indicates the rails haven’t turned to dust. I’m not familiar if this car was in a salt belt state, so for the money, an rear under shot would be needed. The front under side does look clean but I have seen it where the front doesn’t mirror back.

    • Nathan Avots-Smith Member

      The overspray is very possibly factory, yes! The cars came off the line in the base color, and the gold was added—often very poorly, from what I read.

      • Nrg8

        Thank you. I learned something new

  6. Gunner

    Wow. Note the vin on this H/O. Since it ends in 001, it could be the first one? Maybe someone could comment on this? Cold Air intake? Love this car, and if I had the money, I would definitely bid on it. Well taken care of. Good to see that it is getting used. I will watch it in any case.

  7. edh

    I am only 34 miles away! This car gives me more reason to dislike Naperville and the uptight yuppies that call it home.

  8. Superdessucke

    Always found these fascinating, particularly the following year’s 442, which was a clone of this with an emblem change. I presumed the ’80 442 existed because they sold fewer of the 79 H/Os than planned and had extra stuff but never knew for sure.

    Anyway, does anyone know anything about the 350 they put in these? Was it a performance motor with special cam or whatnot? Or was it the standard Olds 350? Never could find much on this. Thanks!

    • Nathan Avots-Smith Member

      My understanding is that production was capped at 2,500 to prevent Olds from having to recertify the 350 for the A-body—as long as the same engine/transmission combo was approved by the EPA for another model, they could sneak it into a different body without additional work as long as production didn’t exceed 2,500. This is also why the H/O was automatic-only, and as far as I can tell, the engine was no different from as installed in the 88.

      • Superdessucke

        Ah, ok. They made the 2,499 for ’79 and then another 886 for ’80. Same car and colors but with the 442 nameplate.

        Info on this is sparse but it could have been a leftover thing, where they needed to get rid of engines, trim pieces, or something. Or alternatively, demand was higher than 2,500, so they wanted to continue it to satisfy the remaining demand.

    • GP Member

      1980 had 2 headlights on each side( only year), I owed one for 11 years. It was white on the outside and maroon on the inside with T-tops that never leaked. It looked great with cragar ss rims and a touch of pin stripping.

  9. Gunner

    Some interesting reading, but disappointing from Wiki: The early Oldsmobile 350s made from 1968-1976 are more desirable engines with heavy castings, beefier crankshafts, and better flowing heads. The later 1977-1980 350 had the “lightweight” castings, including a thinner block with large “windows” in the main bearing bulkheads, crack-prone head castings which were actually manufactured by Pontiac Motor Division (castings are marked “PMD”; these heads were also used on the 260), and a lightened crankshaft. The latter statement in reference to Pontiac is something I never knew about.

  10. Alan

    2 years ago I purchased All original 79 Hurst/Olds W30 wit 7K original miles in white/gold color combo with cloth beige interior. 350 4B power windows power locks tilt steering factory AM/FM radio factory AC rear defgger. Beautiful machine with all books and owners manual. The asking price was 23K I got it for 21K

  11. Mark Nicholson

    I had a 1974 W-30 Hurst Olds with the 455. I wasn’t aware that the factory started calling the 350 models W-30.

  12. z28th1s

    I always liked these cars! A family that rented a summer vacation home in the same area that we did had one of these.

  13. W9BAG

    I’ve always felt thought that these was putrid little cars that put a black eye on Oldsmobile. And to call them a W30, well, close to blasphemous. Terrible build quality, prone to squeaks & rattles. I’m not out of school. My girlfriend’s Mom bought one brand new, and I put several miles on the car. It was a transitional time for ALL manufacturers. Sad.

  14. sluggo

    Before shipping out overseas, I spent 1.5 years at Mt Home AFB Idaho (366th TFS) and that was muscle car heaven. Lots of cool cars and they dont rust, Had a lot of gear head friends and we had a storage locker business off base the owner allowed us to use for 24hr workshops and spent many night instead of drinking building motorcycles, cars, hot rods and a few guys raced locally
    (Drags at Firebird raceway in Boise-Circle track at Meridian and twin falls on the dirt track, plus Ontario Oregon)
    So, one of the guys I hung with, (Either EMS or CRS squadron) showed up one day with a new toy. He planned to do some upgrades to handling, motor and trans but I shipped to middle east & Europe and lost touch. This was circa 1985 and memory is very fuzzy but i got a bunch of pictures of his car, This was outside my rental garage where I rebuilt my 63 Nova SS. Its Black and gold and thats all I can tell you. Wish I could reach a lot of those guys. Would be fun to drink beer and tell our war stories………..
    “There I was with the majors wife buck naked and drunk as a skunk and the SPs stopped us at the gate and asked for her ID…I hit the gas and laid rubber and then………” Oops, TMI..
    (Sorry for the crappy quality, Most of these are old color prints in photo albums,,,I still have pix of that Majors wife too.. Hot cha cha cha…

  15. sluggo

    One more from the front,,(Sorry about quality)

    Like 1
  16. Conivan

    I had a 83 Rafael T-type. It was kind of like this but a 6 cylinder turbo. Very nice and very strong car. Wish I had seen this add I would of made an offer. I was 18 when I had this car. Did not know what I had back then. Still kick my self for selling it.

  17. Perry Brownstein

    My 1980 442 with a 455 motor. One of 886 produced .

    Like 1
  18. James Alvin Bennett

    Yes Guys I bought a black and gold hard top last Sept. 2019 and this Feb.2020
    I bought a T Top bought are nice solid cars some T L C $8000 T Top $8700
    because these cars are on there way up and got 86 442 from Ariz. 2014
    beautiful black and silver T Top $9500 because they are worth it.
    We all no not like Mustangs Chevelle And those other things Mopar Crap

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