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Rocket 455! 1973 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds

Scattered across nine model years between the 1960s-1980s, Oldsmobile partnered with Hurst Performance to produce special editions of their Cutlass automobiles. These became known as the Hurst/Olds. The 1973 models were the fourth such pass at these limited-production cars, using the Cutlass S coupe as the basis for a car that would be offered in only two colors (white and black), with gold accents. This ’73 Hurst/Olds is a one-owner automobile that had a mechanical restoration started 10 years ago that was never completed. It’s available in Petaluma, California and here on Facebook Marketplace for $16,000.

1973 marked the first year of the all-new Colonnade styling for General Motors’ A-Body intermediates, including the Cutlass. The Hurst/Olds used smaller opera windows than appeared on the Cutlass S, but the rest of the bodies were the same. The interior was fitted with swiveling “Strato” bucket seats and a console containing the famed Hurst Dual-Gate shifter for the TH-400 automatic transmission. The Hurst/Olds had only one engine choice, but with two outputs available. The 455 cubic-inch Rocket V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts was good for 250 net hp. You could get 20 more hp but you had to sacrifice factory air conditioning (the seller’s car has A/C controls).

Oldsmobile built 1,097 Hurst/Olds cars for 1973; 60 percent of them were finished in white/gold while the remainder were painted black/gold. That would make the seller’s car one of about 658 assembled. The seller made his/her way into the local Olds dealer in July 1973 and drove this car home. 37 years and 92,500 miles later, the plan was to pull the original engine from the running car and give it a refresh. That initiative got stalled and another 10 years have now passed, and the seller has decided it’s time for someone else to finish the job. We assume that all the parts needed to reassemble everything is all there.

The body looks good although some of the shots provided look as though at least part of the car was repainted before or after it left the road. The right front fender has the headlight unit completely removed, which suggests that the corner of the car was treated to fresh white paint. The only visible rust might be under the removed trim piece around the back glass and vinyl top. The black interior looks in order and perhaps only needs a thorough cleaning. The photos also suggest the car has spent its decade of down-time inside a closed garage.

Original paperwork dating back to the purchase of the car has been retained and will come along when the Olds changes hands. Apparently, there was a prior sale agreed upon recently that fell through. That perhaps motivated the seller to reduce the asking price from $19,500 to $16,000. Cars like this are hard to judge from a value standpoint when they’re in the middle of some kind of repair or restoration. The asking price is just a starting point. You’ve got the cost of finishing the mechanical work that was started, not to mention anything else that has decided to no longer function after 10 idle years.


  1. Avatar photo Moparman Member

    This could be a project for someone with an affinity for jig saw puzzles. Although the owner states that “trim was removed to remove the engine(?), all trim pieces have been stored” it’s been my experience that reassembly is never as easy, especially when time has passed. Remembering which way a bracket came off, what nuts went where, etc. especially when YOU didn’t take it apart is even more so (IMO). Apparently, nothing was done to the engine, and there appear to be some possible rust issues around the vinyl top. In the words of BTO from the 8-track “You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet” on this one! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 17
    • Avatar photo Mike

      The past owner wasn’t “Taking Care of Business” with this car so he’s passing it on, but “Don’t Get Yourself in Trouble” with this purchase. Just “Give it Time”, don’t use a “Sledgehammer” to put it together and just “Let it Ride” till you’re finished. Before you know it, when you’re “Lookin’ Out For #1” on costs, you know it will be a short time before it will be able to “Roll on Down the Highway” and “Free Wheelin'” your way to the next car show. (Want me to stop now?)

      Like 19
      • Avatar photo Jimbo

        Thanks Mr. C.F. Turner

        Like 3
      • Avatar photo JerryDeeWrench


        Like 3
    • Avatar photo Poppy

      Totally makes sense to me. The first thing I ALWAYS do when removing an engine is to take off the rear window reveal moldings and the headlight bezels. Those buggers are always snagging the oil pan on the way out!

      Like 17
  2. Avatar photo Grease

    Hope 2021 will be the year that more details are provided by Barn Finds and others regarding “engine has been rebuilt”.. It’s a powerful yet meaningless term without more info.

    Heads machined? new valves? Seats machined? Guides replaced? Valve springs replaced? new pushrods? new lifters?

    could go on and on regarding cylinder walls, pistons, rings, rod brgs, main brgs, crank machined? timing chain and gears etc etc etc

    Like 12
  3. Avatar photo Jcs

    The dreaded “I took it all apart, can you put it back together?” Ugh.

    Like 9
  4. Avatar photo James

    If it spins over, I’d timing chain and gears and stab that bulletproof 455 right back in there. 8 hours work.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Keith

    These were nice looking cars and looks like it would be worth the time to put it back together.GM cars are easy to put back together and would want to get the price down a little maybe in the 10k range would make it a good find and worth the time and money to move on this one.

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo Gus Fring

    If it was the higher-horsepower 455 (V code) with no air conditioning, it would be worth waaaaaaay more. The lo-po (U code) 455 is kinda lame…and, what most of these had.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo ACZ

    The even bigger problem in putting together someone else’s jigsaw puzzle is when it’s a colonnade car. Aftermarket supply is so poor on these, you almost need to buy three cars to make one. I think that just the sheet metal companies could make a fortune if they started supporting these.

    Like 3
  8. Avatar photo David kirschnick Member

    Well done Mike !!
    Let it roll

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Goatsnvairs

    I like these cars, especially this year. The $16k seems VERY optimistic. Unless it’s a car you personally always wanted you’d need to get a 50% discount or you’ll be under water big time by the time its presentable.

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo george mattar

    Yes, probably in over his head, but still a great car. The 73 model is grossly underrated. A 73 handles much better than the 68 to 72 models and rides better as well. I have been lucky to drive two 455 powered 73 Cutlass Supremes, both with 4 speeds. One had 7,000 actual miles. I would trade my C3 Corvette for a minute to get one of them. And the aftermarket has ignored 73 to 77 Colonnades and at this point, probably always will.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Poppy

      Were the ’73-’77s really that different in the chassis department from the ’68-’72s? I’ve owned both and I don’t recall my ’73 being a better handling car. Just a 500# heavier car with a smogged engine when compared to my ’70 Supreme.

      Like 1

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