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Lightning Rods! 1983 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds

The differences between 1968 and 1983, as far as muscle cars go, are like flying a kite and going to the moon. That isn’t to say that a car like this 15th Anniversary Edition 1983 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds isn’t a great car for its era but monster power-wise, a lot of things happened in those 15 years. The seller has it listed here on craigslist in beautiful Buckeye, Arizona and they’re asking $8,900 or offer.

Space travel went in a somewhat similar direction as cars did in the era between 1968 and 1983. The moon landing in July of 1969 was done by what is considered now a pretty crude vehicle, Apollo 11 – think 1968 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds. On the other hand, by 1983 NASA was using space shuttles which were light years ahead of Apollo 11, technology-wise, like this 1983 Hurst/Olds could be considered compared to the 1968 version. Did any of that make any sense whatsoever? It’s hard to type with this straight jacket on.

Ok, back to earth and the 1983 Hurst/Olds. The Oldsmobile 442 wasn’t available in the early-1980s – instead, the company offered the Hurst/Olds for two years, in 1983 and 1984. It’s hard to beat a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass/442/Hurst/Olds body style for me but Oldsmobile sold a ___ton of this era Cutlass and they were nice cars. The 15th Anniversary Edition had several badges and decals and they’re an eye-catching vehicle. This car, although a bit faded from the Arizona sun, has no rust and only 56,512 miles on it.

Here’s where the magic or the confusion happens: the famous Lightning Rod shifters. This is an automatic transmission and they were reportedly somewhat inspired by drag racing transmissions. The shift patterns and multiple combinations of choices that a driver could make would cause most carjackers to keep on moving once they see these three separate shift levers sticking out of the console. The company had to put a warning label on the secondary shift levers so make sure owners read the instructions before using them.

The interior looks good for the most part with some cosmetic issues such as tears and wear spots on the seats, some stains and/or burns in the otherwise perfect back seat and front seats, and normal fading and wear and tear. The seller has provided the maximum number of photos so kudos to them for doing that!

This isn’t a 390hp 455 V8 of yore, which would have been in the 1968 version, it’s a 307 cubic-inch V8 with 180 net horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque. The seller says that it runs and drives well and the seller has it priced below the fair condition value so this could be a good buy. Have any of you owned a Hurst/Olds?


  1. nlpnt

    That shift pattern explainer makes my brain hurst. Maybe they shoulda just put a manual transmission in these.

    Like 8
    • Jrdturbo

      “…some cosmetic issues such as tears and wear spots on the seats, some stains and/or burns in the otherwise perfect back seat and front seats…”

      So, other than the seats having “tears, wear spots, some stains and/or burns…” they’re “otherwise perfect…”

      Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

      Also, for a 56k mile car this is in horrible condition. In addition to the sun-baked paint and those ratty seats, the dash is cracked, the console has a different lid and the plate around the shifters M.I.A. That’s just at a glance…

      Like 5
  2. Way2nutz

    56,512 miles. Riiiight. Even if those were the right miles (5 digit odometer, its rolled) It has been totally thrashed, interior is horribly filthy, parts missing, ripped, cracked dash.

    Right rear bumper has been munched, the paint is completely gone, mismatched tires.

    A 150k mile example that had been properly maintained would make a better purchase.

    Like 3
  3. bone

    I never understood the popularity of these , but to each his own ….

    Like 0
  4. rex m


    Like 0
  5. Chris G

    Yep i own one now its a 60000
    Mile car with the gray interior
    Mint condition .only 79 of the 3001made in 83
    Had the gray interior .
    Its got the look.

    Like 1
  6. PRA4SNW

    Running a CarFax will reveal the true mileage.

    Like 0
  7. Patrick Holdiness

    Will offer 5500 for it

    Like 1

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