Retro Review: 1983-1984 Hurst Olds and 1985–1988 442

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Oldsmobile had a long and distinguished history—and suffered a slow, painful death.Hurst Olds lead

The process of mortification began in the early 1980s, when General Motors gutted the formerly independent engineering departments of each of its seven car divisions. They eliminated the Buick, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile-built engines that had made each of these divisions’ cars unique, not just “badge-engineered” clones of one basic model fitted with a different grille and set of wheel covers.

By the end of the decade, all GM divisions would share identical “corporate” engines built by a new entity, GM Powertrain.

Pontiac was the first to go; after 1981, it was no longer allowed to build its own V-8s and had to install Chevy-sourced engines in its cars, including the Firebird—which was thus rendered nothing more than a slightly stylized Camaro. Pontiac ceased to be anything more than a hollowed-out marketing division for generic “GM” vehicles, functionally identical to other GM cars.Hurst Olds ad

Oldsmobile’s trip to the glue factory began with the 1983 and 1984 Hurst Olds (and the similar 442 that ran from 1985 to 1988). Reaching back to the company’s salad days in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Olds product planners tried as best they could for one last hurrah before the ax fell—returning two well-respected muscle car designations to the lineup as an option group on the still-rear-drive (but not for long) Cutlass coupe.

The 1983 and 1984 Hurst Olds had an attractive black with silver and red accents paint scheme and was specially-equipped with an aftermarket-style Hurst “Lightning Rod” three-handled shifter: one stick for each forward gear. This was a bit much for a car with just 170 horsepower, though. But it was a good try, in very trying times. The little 307 V-8 wasn’t much compared to the 455 Rocket and W31 high-performance engines of Oldsmobile’s better days gone by, but it was at least an Oldsmobile-built engine and as it turned out, the last of its kind. Tied to 3.73 rear gears, it was still possible to do a decent burnout in a Hurst Olds or 442—if you power-braked the car or found a puddle to wet the tires a little.

Pedal to the floorboards, the car took about 8 seconds to get to 60 MPH and cleared the quarter-mile in just over 16 seconds.Hurst olds inside

About the same performance as a 2015 Honda Fit – while using about twice as much fuel.

From 1985 through 1987, the basic Hurst Olds package continued but was now called the “442,” in reference to the 1960s-era Oldsmobile muscle car of the same name. Back then, the acronym was short for four-barrel carburetor, four on the floor (a manual transmission), and dual exhausts. The 1985 to 1987 442 did have a four-barrel carburetor, among the very last of GM’s Rochester Quadrajets to be installed by the factory. But there was no manual transmission, the dual exhausts were as fake as Pamela Anderson (as a result of the single pellet-style GM catalytic converter), and the car’s performance was as sickly as the Oldsmobile brand itself.

It should have come with its own IV stand.Hurst Olds burnout

On the other hand, these cars began to look much better after Oldsmobile switched over the front-wheel drive after 1987 and no longer offered the enthusiast buyer anything more meaty than a transversely-mounted V-6 in a re-badged GM-generic Buick/Chevy/Pontiac/Olds clone-mobile—the “gutless” Cutlass.

The market passed judgment harshly and quickly. Olds itself ceased to be just after the turn of the century and now it, too, is just a memory.

Five Fast FactsHO lightning

* 3,001 1983 Hurst Olds coupes were built—several hundred more than had been planned. Another 3,500 were made in 1984.

* No other production car after the Hurst Olds was ever offered with the Hurst “Lightning Rod” triple-tree shifter as a factory-installed option.

* In 1984, the two-tone paint scheme was reversed; silver on top of black instead of black on silver.

* The original 1968 Hurst Olds had a 390-horsepower 455 “rocket” V-8.

* Four custom-built Hurst-Olds were made in 1988—even though Olds had switched over to a new, front-drive platform for the Cutlass. These cars all had unique “Aero” rear window glass and “ground effects” body kit and were the last Hurst-Olds models made.

They were also the last rear-drive, V-8 coupes Oldsmobile would build.

Excerpted from Automotive Atrocities, The Cars We Love to Hate.


  1. The name Winston was probably chosen as product placement in the novel. I’m sure Any Rand was paid to include smoking in her novels, and also to advocate the product in public appearances.

    This cherry picking also applies to the “proof” that smoking is bad for you.

    There are health benefits and detriments to smoking. The real problem with smokers is they’re a lower class than the public at large. Tobacco is also sold by an international oligopoly that might be pursuing all kinds of agendas. Possibly even as far as to purposely make unhealthy products.

    There are also health benefits and detriments to Big Pharma allopathic medicine. The scientists cherry pick their studies to show positive results or negative results for all kinds of reasons.

    The hard truth is most Americans aren’t wealthy enough to avail themselves of the best that science has to offer.

    Instead they must fumble in the dark and roll the dice, trying to make the least worst choices.

    Perhaps we can be the ones to do the real science. How much benefit if any do seat belts and crumple zones and all that really provide. Its likely not speed that kills, but rather distraction and misjudgment. We’ll have to prove this scientifically.

    How much risk has been put on our loved ones who are forced to drive light vehicles that are far less crashworthy because of the government imposed rules.

    Rather than attack the PTB on any kind of moral basis alone. I would argue we have a far more effective scientific case to make. But it won’t be easy to do this. It will take lots of research and data gathering. And willingness to present the results honestly whether they help or hinder our case.

    Most likely freedom to choose saves lives and has all other manner of benefits. It is incumbent on us as the plaintiff. To make our factual case against the defendant. The power of the state.

  2. When GM was sued for putting “Chevy” engines in Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles et al I, along with my high school shop teacher and a local service station owner determined the Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile “engines” were all made with the same engine BLOCK. The only things that changes was the ancillary engine components so the drivers would THINK they had a Pontiac or Olds engine.

    • Hi Paul,

      That’s nonsense.

      Simply untrue. Good luck trying to bolt Chevy small or big block heads to a Pontiac short block (and vice versa). I don’t believe you actually viewed a Chevy short block next to a Pontiac block – because if you did, there’s no way you’d make the statement you made. They are obviously different. I mean, it’s not even close.

        • Hi Phillip,

          Maybe – but he seemed pretty clear that he believed GM made a “common” shortblock onto which division-specific top end parts were bolted.

          For those not hip: The Pontiac V8 is a physically larger (and heavier) casting than the small block Chevy V8. Unlike the Chevy, which was available in both “big” and “small” blocks – two entirely different engine families – the Pontiac V8s were all essentially the same in terms of outward physical appearance/dimensions, with displacement differences being a function of bore and stroke. Other than things like casting numbers and a few subtle details, it is virtually impossible to tell by glancing at it whether a given Pontiac V8 is a 326 – or a 455.

          And I assure all reading this: The Pontiac V8 shares no major castings with Chevy’s V8 or the Buick or the Oldsmobile V8.

          As a case in point: Some 1978-79 Firebirds came equipped with the Oldsmobile 403 V8 rather than the Pontiac 400 V8. Though similar in displacement, the Pontiac uses different engine mounts and you cannot just swap a 400 in without altering the mounts to Pontiac-specific motor mounts. The boss for the oil filter is different, the oil pan is different… und so weiter. You’d have a time trying to make a “Pontiac” out of a 403 Olds by bolting on the Olds timing cover, water pump and heads… good luck with that!

          • For a good number of years as they condensed engines GM did things that would confuse people trying to figure out corporate policy by looking at a few cars. The Olds 307 appeared in so many cars just by itself it would cause all sorts of odd theories to develop. GM also did change decorative items and accessories between models so that too would confuse stuff.

            Of course it’s untrue that it was basic engine but people who kept seeing say an olds 307 in different cars with different dressing might develop a wacky idea of what was going on.

    • Try swapping a Chevy engine into a car that previously had a Pontiac, Olds, or Buick engine. Unless you swap out the BOP bellhousing on the transmission for a Chevy bellhousing (among many other things), it isn’t going to work. The boltholes won’t line up, and the Chevy needs one more bolt.

      That there’s one bellhousing bolt pattern shared betwen Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac engines doesn’t mean that they’re any more similar internally to each other than to a Chevy engine, either.

  3. My first car was a ’63 Olds Super 88 Holiday 4-dr with the 394 ci engine and 4bbl carb. It got 8.5 mpg until I rebuilt the carburetor; then it got 12 mpg. It was about 10 years old when I got it from my Dad, who had gotten it from my grandmother. What ever possessed her to buy it (used) in the first place is beyond me, as it was much too powerful for a little old lady. I drove it to work and back, and pretty much used all the money I made putting gas in it (Sunoco 260, when I could afford it). The manual said to put 104 octane in it. This was all in western NY where they dump salt on the roads every winter, so the car eventually rusted away and the frame broke in half (fortunately, after I had sold it for $50). I’ve been looking for a good rust-free ’63 Super 88 ever since… or maybe a ’63 Starfire (the 2-dr version), which is even cooler. Today’s cars all look like jellybeans to me… and I did shed a tear or two when Olds was put to rest in 2004. RIP.

  4. This is a good article about dinosaurs.
    My Father had a cutlass and it was his favorite car of all time.
    Yet after that car he went to the foreign jobs like Toyota and Honda Accord. Why? Because GM was becoming just too stupid to exist.
    You have to engineer a certain amount of reliability into a vehicle or it gets a bad name with the customers and those customers never return.
    The only vehicle I have ever owned that FAILED an EPA test was a GM product.
    Still we look back and see the good things not the bad things. Most of us filter out the bad things.
    The “plan” has always been to do away with the American Middle Class by shipping all the jobs to countries that have much lower wages than what we do.
    The “plan” has always been to allow foreign manufacturers to produce better and more efficient cars than we do. It worked.
    Why are other countries not subject to the same rules as the big 3?
    Why did GM put out engineering monstrosities like cars in which it was impossible for anyone privately owned to work on?
    Such as spark plugs that you have to pull the engine to change?
    I suggest it is deliberate. They wanted to go out of business so the liability of all those pensions would go away.
    IF GM really wanted to get the market back they would do so.
    All they have to do is produce a reliable car that is economical to buy and to drive and is engineered to last at least 6 years without any major repairs. Also put a body on it that resists automobile accidents. Make it simple enough that anyone in their driveway can repair things like alternators, starters, water pumps, and spark plugs without difficulty.
    The American love affair with American cars stopped the day that they made it so that a $90 technician has to work on the car at the dealership.
    The chief claim to disfame that all the foreign jobs have is the timing belt swindle.
    It takes anywhere from 400-700 dollars to change this flimsy belt that should have been made of steel instead of other materials. It has to be done every 80-100,000 miles.
    I like power in a car. So does everyone. But not at a cost of $20 extra dollars a week to fuel the thing. I suggest the car be engineered to get 40 miles per gallon in town driving.
    But that might take an engineer that knows his job well and is capable of producing what GM won’t. The other two are just as bad.
    Quit swindling the American Public with garbage cars and put together something that is actually beneficial to the customer and the customer will come back.

  5. I ordered a new 442 in 1985. I still have it. No she’s not the fastest, but she is pretty and I never saw myself coming around every corner…I had the only one in town. I had her converted over to real dual exhaust. That low Olds V-8 sound is still there and that along with the 3.73 makes it fun off a stop light.

    Dad was an Olds man and he helped me get my first 1970 Cutlass when I was 16. That car was so much fun! I’ve also have a 1970 Cutlass convertible now that’s a restoration project. They are not the fastest or the best, but there is just something about an Oldsmobile.

  6. I really enjoyed this article. It really brought me back to my first years of driving….However, the hurst/olds was just as depressing back then, as the numb feeling muscle cars are today…except worse….while my parents grew up in the sixties, my brother and I heard street racing stories and rode in cars from an era that were not only fast but had passion ….This Hurst/olds was able to replicate it with its cosmetics and who could forget the excitement of looking inside and seeing those lightning rod shifters. The fact is this car was boring to drive as today’s 4cylinder camry, maybe even more so!….luckily when the last hurst/olds were out. The great muscle cars from a bygone era were very affordable on the used car market to a young driver. For those who wanted something new, there was two saving graces that made you forget about the old muscles cars of the past and offered some hope for the future. They were the Buick Grand National and the fox body Ford Mustang 5.0 (especially the lighter notchback lx)…not only did they offer the thrilling excitement, but the aftermarket support gave you the ability to make the car as fast as you wanted….with the mustang costing only $12k it was truly the last affordable muscle car the youth could obtain before the import scene took over (due to crazy insurance rates and rising costs of pony cars)…..while I enjoy seeing the wicked fast Hondas at the track…something tells me that the owners passion was fueled by stories from his parents or another fast car…because a civic does not create that passion for cars off the showroom floor like the old muscle cars did…….long live the resto and kit car community!…and I hope another country with more economic freedoms starts producing bare boned affordable performance cars for today’s youth. They don’t even have to import it, I will move there!

  7. Eric. As a casual reader of your site and a self proclaimed 70’s car guy, I agree with the premise of this article, so forgive me if I quote something you have already covered elsewhere.

    The demise started much earlier with the implementation (overreach) of federal standards; castrated big blocks, AIR pumps, convertors, the death of cheap, high octane, leaded fuel and the subsequent poor, cheap (to produce) car designs (ugly).

    I have owned many muscle cars over the years and one of my favorites was a 70 Chevelle that I purchased from the original owner whose brother bought a 454 variant the same day. Basically anything, with few exceptions, that was produced by GM post 71 was neutered at best.

    To supplement your point, one car you may have wanted to include in this is the 82-87 turbo Buicks, specifically the GN and GNX. They deviated from the GM powerplant with a Buick specific engine and are still some of the quickest cars on the street today. I believe they also tossed left over V6s at a Trans Am in 89…

    Thanks for a great site.

  8. The decay & demise (of some) of American automakers and the accompanying job losses, starting in the 1970’s & continuing through today, deeply saddens me. Even though the blame rests equally with the greedy & ill-advised actions of management, labor & government, it doesn’t change the fact that their imprudence harmed us all, materially contributing to our lowered standard of living. SMH.

    • Agreed, Bob.

      To be fair to the U.S. auto industry, it was government that set the collapse in motion. Nixon, in particular. The EPA and NHTSA imposed – literally, overnight in regulatory terms – mandates on the industry that put Detroit at a huge disadvantage relative to the Japanese, who of course had the advantage of massive assistance from their government.

      CAFE regs, for example. They “obsoleted” most of Detroit’s products before their time, costing GM, Ford and Chrysler massive losses and forcing them to hurry-up-build smaller cars that were not yet ready for prime time.

      Meanwhile, the Japanese specialized in small cars – and had no money sunk in big cars.

      • Eric,
        I think you need to back further in time to fully understand the American automobile industry. Truth is, two of the most industrious countries (Japan and Germany) were decimated in WWII. US automakers were the big winners. All this along with cheap gas spelled easy pickings for the big three to build oversize (or should I say overhung), inefficient cars. They could do no wrong and profits soared. When union leaders demanded higher wages, pensions, 35 hour work weeks, ect., there was no reason for management to fight say no. They were fat and happy.
        Fast forward twenty some odd years, and then came the gas crisis. Its true that US government intervention/regulations accelerated their downfall, Detroit couldn’t keep up, primarily against the Japanese who by that time were making more reliable and efficient vehicles.
        We would have probably seen bankruptcy/downsizing earlier had it not been for America’s love affair with SUV’s and 4X4 trucks. It would only be a matter of time for those markets to be targeted overseas automakers.

        • Don’t forget to consider this also. When Japan started to export cars to the US, in the 60’s, they were almost exclusively small, plain cars – think Toyota Corona, Honda ‘tennis shoe,’ Datsun (remember that name?). When the oil embargo hit, suddenly this type of car was in much higher demand than it had been. The big 3 (+ AMC which still existed at the time) went running to Uncle for protection and he provided quotas, allowing only a certain number of cars to be imported from Japan. Japan never complained or flinched, or even batted an eye. They just started changing over from exporting econoboxes to slightly larger, more ‘high end’ (higher profit margin) cars, but still much more economical, both in terms of initial cost and mpg, as well as much more reliable than the Detroit iron. And the rest, as they say, is history.

      • How does your comment explain that in Europe, where government-mandated safety and emission standards have been even more strict than in the U.S., companies like Mercedes, Porsche and BMW, continue to build successful high performance vehicles?

        • Europe lagged the USA in regulation considerably through the 1970s and most of the 1980s. By the time Europe got to the different but no less dirty/safe condition many technologies were already mature. This happened around 1989 as I recall.

          Furthermore when imported to the USA European performance cars of the late 70s through mid 1980s were pretty well weakened compared to their domestic versions.

  9. Hi! Eric,

    My family had quite a history with Old’s and Pontiacs. When a youngster, my parents bought a new 48′ Pontiac ‘Silver Streak’ 4-dr Streamliner with the new Hydramatic slushbox. Dad hated automatics, but since it was primarily going to be Mom’s car, he relented. We had the Pontiac quite a while, though, several other new cars, all foreign, would keep it parked quite a bit. Dad finally pulled the engine in it to go with another Pontiac ‘straight eight’ powering an dual engine LSR/Bonneville streamliner. So, I guess you could say, he had two Pontiac powered Streamliners.

    Pardon a side note/digression. The LSR streamliner’s front engine had the automatic behind it to quell harmonic imbalances between the two engines, the rear engine had a Cad/Lasalle manual transmission out putting to the differential. While it made several trips to Bonneville, it was never successfully run.

    As we came of age, my brother and I shared a 1953 Oldsmobile 88′ hardtop. I later gave up my interest in it when I bought a new 1964 Oldsmobile 442 convertible. He later bought a very nice 64′ Pontiac Grand Prix, and later still a new 68′ 442 convertible.

    I bought another new 442 in 66′, a post coupe, and much later a Pontiac Grand Prix SJ with a special 455, and still later, a 79′ Firebird Trans Am.

    It would be a long time before another Pontiac or Olds would enter my life, but I finally, several years ago, picked up a 61′ Olds 4-dr hdtp that I have cut down(took the roof off and shortened the body/chassis 22″) into a speedster A phantom*… no back seat or top. While I have a 62′ Olds engine with Tri-Power for it, I chose to install a 455″ with a big block Chevy TBI and a 700r4 trans for long cruises. She isn’t finished yet, but, maybe, by next year she will be ready to cruise, but I have a lot of long distance sailing to do this year and next, so maybe, I’m being overly optimistic.

    Good article, Eric.

    Keep that old iron oiled and the paint shiny.

    *Phantom_ A vehicle never produced by an OEM
    My last phantom was a 54′ Chevy ‘1st series’ El Camino pickup. You can see something like it in the most recent Classic Trucks magazine, or at least, that is where I think I saw it.

    • Thanks, Tre!

      I’m going to try to do more of these, as time permits. I enjoy “looking back” – and trying to keep the memories alive…

      • Ahh, memories…
        My first real car, a 1974 Cutlass “S” coupe. Rocket 350, floor shift automatic, and white leather swivel bucket seats. No air. God I miss that car…

  10. A melancholy review to mark the end of a Golden Age that went out with a whimper.

    Let us recognize that we are at the High Water mark of another Golden Age of affordable performance.

    Complain about “safety” regs all you want. That didn’t stop the current V-8 Mustang, Camaro and Challenger from being absolutely awesome cars, compared to anything “affordable” that ever came before. And probably compared to anything that will ever come again.

    • This is true, Mike.

      But – and this is purely personal, I concede up front – the “safety” regs have sucked the fun out of the new stuff, quick and fast as they are. It’s more than just the mandates; it’s the emphasis on saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety rather than fun.

      Turn off the TCS. If they let you. Can’t turn off the ABS. Ugly steering wheels (got-damned air bags). Anonymous engines with no soul. With a few exceptions, can’t tell one from another.

      Plus, they’re DIY-unfriendly. Not necessarily for older guys like us who have experience (and tools). But there is a reason why you mostly only see graybeards at car shows (and behind the wheel of new Camaros, etc.). Kids (high school/early 20s) can’t afford ’em, can’t understand ’em – and thus, don’t care about ’em. The car culture is dying.

      Because there are no longer cars like the Hurst Olds.

      • It’s true that the car culture is dying. But that is mostly because of society’s “politically correct” hostility to independent individual transportation.

        It’s also true that “affordability” is a relative term. But Mustangs et al are no more expensive than the larger CUVs, or even loaded minivans. So from that perspective, they are affordable.

        And I agree that automotive “fun” is subjective. To me, there is nothing more fun on wheels than the G-force of mega acceleration. And for that, the modern pony cars Rule.

      • Reg; ‘Safety Regs sucking the fun out’ … True to a degree, but it is mostly the added weight attributable to the added safety equipment. And, if the driving aids were not there, and the new safety equipment, the new modern performance cars would not be available, as the number of incidents/accidents would be so high with the high power available today, that it would quickly end this new performance era.

        Reg; ” Kids, early 20s) can’t understand ‘em – and thus”, don’t care about ‘em.” Not true, Eric, it is the so called kids who come into the shop and set the electronics right for us ‘old gray beards/geezers’. We recently put a 5.0 into a Miata, and had trouble getting it to idle and tip-in smoothly, after several frustrating attempts to right things, I called in my go to guy, a ‘kid’ all of 23, who with his computer, had it running smoothly in under and hour.

        This kid also has an encyclopedic knowledge of historic exotic European cars and their components. And he is not the only youngster with an avid interest in cars, we close the doors to the kids who want to visit during working shop hours, or we would have a few underfoot all the time. After hours and weekends, I enjoy having them around.

        “The car culture is dying.” Premature. Not for another 15-20 years. Then the environment will have a damping effect on it in terms of dynamic involvement with collector cars, but not the interest in interesting vehicles.

        Dynamic involvement with collector cars, for most, will be museum driving days, which is already happening. And we will always have the guy/gal with a prized vehicle in their possession, and the bigger private car collections.

        General car ownership will certainly decline for most people, because of vehicle cost, carbon and fuel taxes, etc. IC cars will be with us for some time, but the writing is on the wall, time to get those solar panels on the roof and embrace the new era of vehicle motivation, the ‘motor’ powered cars. I can hardly wait to own a new EV. But, as usual, i will probably have to build my own, till the used prices of early adopters EV’s goes down to an affordable level, of the price for production EV’s reaches my budget limitations…col!

        In LA… The Automobile Driving Museum awaits your visit>

        • Hi Tre,

          I agree that there would likely be an outcry (of “moms”) about the lack of “safety” if such were not part of the package. But the original point stands, does it not? About the way the wildness of powerful cars has been tempered by all the “safety” stuff? Modern performance cars are like roller coaster rides. You’re more a passenger than a participant.

          On kids: I don’t doubt some work on them. But it’s very clear that fewer do today than ever before. When I was a teenager in the ’80s, most guys were at least interested in cars and a lot of them actually had/worked on cars. That is not as nearly true today – and hard data backs this up. Did you know that about one-third of high school/college age kids don’t even have a driver’s license? This is unprecedented. Cars have become a drag. They cost too much to buy and keep; the hassles associated with owning them are formidable. And they’re daunting – and un-fun – to work on, unless you’re really committed (and, typically, have someone to mentor you).

          • Hi! Eric,

            No argument that the “wildness” has been tampered with and necessarily so. As I stated, we wouldn’t have a new performance era without that tampering. And you can’t blame it just on nanny aids and safety equipment, typical vehicle content today adds significant weight, which deadens handling, though, limits remain high, the fun is certainly diminished. I use for example… my 91′ 318is is a lot more fun to drive then my E36 328is even though the 328 has higher performance capabilities. The reason is weight, the 328 weighs a lot more then the 318, and is not as direct or toss able as the 318. You find the same thing with Miatas, the NA’s are just more fun to drive, especially if not optioned up.

            Yes! Generally speaking, kids are less involved with cars, but the demographic segment that disproportionately weights that number, are urban kids. My own son at 27 has never bothered to get a license. He loves cars, but is committed to the environment. He recently stated to me, that he would probably never own a car until he could afford an EV powered by solar panels. He got that environmental commitment from me, while working in the shop and attending car shows and vehicle performance events like the land speed events at Bonneville. I always made him aware of the environmental costs of IC vehicles and other human activities.

            While a lot of people put their heads in the sand regarding our environmental future, the kids are certainly aware of the issue and the environment is a great concern for them and their future, as it should be for all of us.

            Ok! Time to get that rotary out of the RX7 and get it ready for the LS376…. and so it goes…….. By the way, the owner of the RX7 is 25 years old and this is not his first extreme performance build. Among his hi-performance toys, he has a sand buggy with a rear engine LS pumping 550 Hp through a $15,000 Mendeola transmission that we just put a $5,000 rebuild kit into.

            Though, purely anecdotal, most of the work that comes through the door, is from 18 to 35 year old’s, then there is a big gap to abut 55 plus years of age. The gap I attribute to the commitment years, of career building and family commitments.

            From my perspective, interest in cars is still growing and while it gets me out of bed in the morning, it is also a concern.

            Don’t lament the new cars burden with government mandated and customer demanded equipment, there are still plenty of old cars ready for fun or a build to your desired specifications.

              • AGW in doubt?

                Tell that to the city planners who have to protect seaside cities form ocean rise. Tell that to the wine producers who are buying land in BC to plant vineyards. Tell that to the us military who planning now for rising global temps. And tell that to the few so called scientists who were paid to so it isn’t so. They are out numbered by responsible scientists who have no doubt that human contribution to the CO2 content in atmosphere is the reason temps are rising.

                There are many things that contribute to AGW, the most significant ones are extraction and burning of carbon fuels, and deforestation.

                ‘_When we extract and burn fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum, we cause the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere.

                Though natural amounts of CO2 have varied from 180 to 300 parts per million (ppm), today’s CO2 levels are around 400 ppm. That’s 40% more than the highest natural levels over the past 800,000 years.

                We also can tell that the additional CO2 in the atmosphere comes mainly from coal and oil because the chemical composition of the CO2 contains a unique fingerprint._’

                If you don’t even understand that intuitively, there is not much chance that you have the common sense to understand it, let alone recognize the value of the scientific research at your finger tips that support the case for AGW.

                • CO2 climate change is a fraud. The entire “warming” goes away once the adjustments and estimates are removed from the data. Almost all warming caused by CO2 happens in the first 100ppm. It’s a fraud. 100% fraud.

                  I’ve taken the data from NASA myself and plotted their data from some years ago vs. 2014 and demonstrated for myself that they have been cooling the past to make warming look valid. They aren’t doing science they are employing Winston Smith to make the past match their pronouncements today.

                  They cherry pick data, they carefully choose start and end points, they fear monger. Everything they do when looked at in broader sense when their alternations are removed, the warming signal disappears. It’s not there.

                  Here’s how their adjustments to the data look:

                  That’s not error they are fixing, that’s making the data fit theory.

                • “Tell that to the city planners who have to protect seaside cities form ocean rise.” – Tre Deuce.

                  Tell that to the Obama’s that bought a home on the coast and all the billionaires that live beside the sea telling us we shouldn’t because the oceans are rising. Yeah,,, don’t do what we do because we want it all!

                  Tell that to the “over 400” billionaire owned jets flying in to the COP conference to decide what we (the low life scum) will have to do without while they were eating Kobe steak.

                  The percent of carbon has went up from 400ppm in the early 1900s to 420ppm today. Result: A greener earth.

                  What,,, pray tell,,, do the “greens” have against plants and trees because once they’re gone, everything else goes with them.

            • Hi Tre,

              But why is it “necessarily so”?

              Must we accept the Cloveritic premise that because some people might not be able to handle whatever it is (in this case, powerful cars) all of us must be forced to accept – and pay for – “safety” systems?

              I don’t accept it. At one time, most people in this country – or a great deal more than now – did not accept it, either.

              In any case, by accepting the “safety” premise, you ultimately make the case for getting rid of such cars entirely. After all, why should anyone be allowed to operate a car capable of 160 (or even 100) MPH when the maximum lawful speed in 99 percent of the country is no higher than 70 – and no higher than 80 anywhere?

              • ‘Choice’ is what you have, because if the nanny stuff and safety equipment wasn’t there, you wouldn’t have the ‘choice’ to buy a modern performance vehicle because the insurance companies wouldn’t write the policy for it. With no market, the OEM’s would drop those models. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with ‘Cloverism’, just profit and loss and common sense.

                • Hi Tre,

                  I agree (again) but (again) the issue is forcible interventions by collectivist authoritarians (in this case, the insurance mafia).

                  Which has everything to do with Cloverism.

                  Why should a man be forced to buy insurance? To be – in very real terms – pre-punished for something he might do?

                  If insurance could be said no to, then insurance rates would be held to reasonable levels. And if insurance were affordable (because not mandatory) then powerful cars would be much more so, too.

                  • Hi Eric, I would add to your comment that the whole idea of mandatory vehicle insurance is a scam for a less publicized reason: It is not possible for anyone to drive more than one vehicle at a time; therefore multi vehicle owners do not pose a greater risk to insurance companies than does an owner of only one vehicle. Insurance companies should be offering free market coverage for the person, not for forced coverage of each vehicle owned.

                    • Also, if mandatory coverage will prevent risk, why does the insurance company insist on me adding “Uninsured Motorist” coverage to my policy? Why are there any uninsured motorists out there if it is mandatory?

                    • An excellent (because absolutely true) point, Brian.

                      I have five motorcycles; four of which mostly just sit … yet I am required to maintain a separate policy on each one… plus my antique car.. plus my truck… (well, soon, it’ll be my ex’s truck).

                    • Logically people should be insured for liability not vehicles. But we don’t live in a logical world. People like blaming the vehicle for crashes and then there are profit, social engineering, and other cloverian aspects to consider.

                      I’ve realized something over time that systems are set up to prevent the accumulation of wealth, especially physical capital like real estate, homes, businesses, and machinery. Usually these are things the majority only has one of and can’t conceive of having more than one (per person).

                      The powers that be profit from taxing stuff, requiring insurance and inspections and what not for stuff and they can do it through jealousy of the population. It’s another reason for cheap credit too. The masses can bid things up so accumulators who usually function on a cash basis can’t buy as much. The majority is happy making their payments and being debt serfs. By making property have on-going costs it becomes difficult to impossible to accumulate it unless one is already wealthy. Even then the wealthy escape the taxation by controlling rather than owning the property.

                    • Hi Brent,

                      I think your analysis is spot on. All these things – mandatory insurance, property taxes especially – are deliberately intended to make it harder to acquire capital assets/hold them.

                      I am convinced that the next thing they’re going to force-feed us will be mandatory home insurance. Right now, one can (if one’s home is paid off) still “opt out” – decide that the risk of a total loss is fairly small and that it’s a reasonable gamble to skip the guaranteed annual loss of $2k or more and, instead, put that aside for a rainy day that may never come and which, in that event, will leave the money available for other things.

                      I did exactly that.

                      Bastards tried to increase the premium by several hundred dollars – for no reason (that had to do with me; I’d never filed a claim, have excellent credit, etc.). It was delicious to tell them: Ok, cancel the got-damned policy. Bye.

                      I’ve already saved several thousand dollars. Money that would otherwise have been out the window.

                      Consider it: Let’s say your policy is “affordable” – a mere $1,500 annually (this is pretty cheap, if averages are any indication).

                      How much is that over 30 years (the duration of the typical home loan)?

                      $45,000. Out the effing window.

                      And that’s merely the principal and does not factor in the lost investment/opportunity cost.

                      Much as I despise government, I harbor a deeper hatred for the insurance mafia. Anyone associated with this “business” as it exists today is a maggot of the first order.

  11. Just to put in context how much automotive technology has progressed since then — from Wikipedia:

    Motor Trend tested a 4-4-2 W-30 (i.e. 455 cubes or about 7.5L) with a 4-speed manual transmission and 3.91:1 rear gears, clocking a quarter mile time of 14.2 seconds @ 102 mph.

    From a Car and Driver review of the 2012 Toyota Camry V6 (3.5 L):

    The Camry’s optional V-6 may be basically unchanged, but it delivers respectable hustle—0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, the quarter-mile in 14.3 at 101 mph

    So, a family car with “respectable hustle” now basically ties the fastest stock 4-4-2 ever made — with less than half the engine displacement.

    • True – but which would you rather drive?

      And: In their defense, the muscle cars were severely traction limited. They run much quicker ETs when this is rectified. As an example/case in point: Motor Trend tested an otherwise stock 1973 SD-455 Trans-Am and got mid-12s out of it on drag slicks. The Camry and other modern cars are pretty much as quick as they’re gonna be – without modifying their engines to make more power.

        • richb,

          Never say no one will ever write a song about a Camry. I might do it just to T ya off! LOL!

          One thing you have to know, the Camry will be a dinosaur soon too. CAFE will make sure of that. Anyone want a shoebox with wheels? Anyone?

          David Ward
          Memphis, Tennessee

          • Oh hell…

            and you said no one would write a song about Camry… You just had to go and do it dinna ya?

            You take a mortal man,
            then put him in control,
            give him a Camry,
            Clover mind will roll.

            Cell phone in ear,
            Automatics they troll,
            hating family,
            Clover mind is cold.

            Just like jap car makers,
            Poured cars to the streets,
            You drive like a marionette,
            Swaying to the Camry,
            Of destruction!

            Driving a Camry,
            Your mental brain corrodes,
            No matter who’s your victims,
            Their taken lives you chose.

            The suspension starts to crumble,
            Power plant starts to fall,
            Repairs frustrate you humble,
            A selling man stands tall,
            tall, tall…

            Just like jap car makers,
            Poured cars to the streets,
            You drive like a marionette,
            Swaying to the Camry,
            Of destruction!

            Just like jap car makers,
            Poured cars to the streets,
            You drive like a marionette,
            Swaying to the Camry,
            Of destruction!

            BTW, while I can understand that some here do not dig heavy metal, I’m a pure metal man. no tats, no skinhead, no long hair…

            But the lyrics above are to be read when listening to Megadeth’s Symphony of Destruction. Which in my Honest Opinion is as LIBER F’N TARIAN AS YOU CAN GET! ROCK ON! YEAH!

            Note to keep from being sued for copyright violations I have purposely written the lyrics so they don’t coincide with the musical timing. I.e., bridges, chorus and verses. Else enjoy.

            David Ward
            Memphis, Tennessee

          • Prediction: The Camry will soon lose its optional V6 (as will Accord) … because (a) CAFE will render offering such increasingly untenable – notice other cars in this class only offer fours – and (b) the plain fact is the four is plenty for a car such as this and the people who drive them. The typical driver doesn’t even need (or use, the critical thing) the power/performance potential of the four. The six is absurd. See my latest Clover video as a case in point.

      • I have the V6 engine that is in the Camry in my Avalon, so it’s a bit slower due to another 300 pounds of weight and more frontal area. Love the Avalon (and a Genesis I rented while in Vegas) — big, powerful, luxurious.

        The short answer, though, is that I will never buy another car built by the UAW. They all kept breaking down, and then I bought a Japanese branded car, a Camry, and it just kept going, reliable as hell. Finally sold it at 130K miles, dented all to hell from my kids smacking into stuff, starting to rust out — and it still started ever’ damn time.

        If I wanted muscle car performance and luxury, I’d go with something like the Hyundai Genesis V8 before CAFE kills it. Though, frankly, I subscribe to this theory on performance — if you almost never floor it, you have all the power you actually want. Revealed preference, in economics jargon.

        • Hi Jim,

          For me, the old Detroit iron is like old Japanese two-stroke bikes. Yes, they’re crude. Iffy reliability. Arguably dangerous in the wrong hands. But – hot damn – they radiate charisma like a nuclear fireball. You are in for it. Good and bad.

          The new stuff is sexless and anodyne. It has no heart. Like Top 40 music, there’s a great deal of it, forgettable and interchangeable.

          • It’s purely anecdotal, but the junkers my dad and we kids used to drive were very reliable, minus their always-rusting bodies. They were cheap to fix, too, even if you hired a mechanic. But even a totally mechanically-challenged clod like me could and did do routine maintenance, including tune-ups.

            Our dear old 327 Chevy after countless miles and abuse finally gave up the ghost when we stupidly ran it out of oil (“I thought you put oil in.” “No, I thought you did”). Dad bought a straight-eight circa 1953 Buick for $25 and drove it for years. It was clapped out when he bought it and a death trap to drive. But it ran until the block cracked from insufficient antifreeze. Etc. etc.

            • This is true.

              The old stuff certainly required more in the way of occasional adjustments, was more likely to develop some minor/annoying issue (e.g., hard starting; stalling) but all these things – or most of these things – were usually fixable with basic hand tools and the cars could be made to run almost forever… until rust at the body/frame away.

              Today, the body and frame last much longer… but the drivetrains are far less amenable to fixing and become uneconomic to fix long before the engine itself (or the body/frame) is ready for the salvage yard.

    • Thanks, Ric – me, too. I enjoy writing those kinds of articles tremendously. I’ve neglected doing more of them because of the “political situation.” I miss the days when cars were fun and the country still was, too.

      • Most people don’t understand how much fun owning an old car can be. I am hardwired to fix my own stuff. I know that modern cars are more efficient, safer, last longer, blah blah blah…. but there is nothing that I like more than taking my Olds out on a sunny day with my wife and just driving. Working on the Olds is fun too!

        Fun is the opposite of what I ran into with my daughter’s 95,000 mile 2004 Ford Taurus. I changed the oil in it (one of the few maintenance items that I can still do in my garage on modern cars), backed it out after completion, and the car wouldn’t move after I shifted it into D. At first I thought that I somehow disconnected a sensor from the transmission, but that wasn’t it. Of coarse my name was “MUD” with my wife and daughter because the car was fine before I changed the oil. I told them that if I put the old oil and filter back in/on perhaps that would fix it.

        Anyhow, I did some research, and Ford built a series of faulty torque convertors in the early to mid 2000’s. The splines in the TC strip out around the input shaft, and apparently it happens to 100% of the cars that Ford built with this transmission. Ford also knew about the problem, but rolled the dice betting that most of the cars would be out of warranty before the problem hit.

        Fortunately my brother has a full shop with lift and every tool imaginable so that I could drop the entire sub-frame, engine, and transmission to access and replace the $175 TC.

          • You’ll get a different answer from just about everyone.

            I personally am partial to products made by the independents – Rambler, Studebaker, etc. Others prefer one or more of the Big Three brands, or the foreigners.

          • Cars- 60’s-70’s Cadillac or Olds.
            Pickup’s-Toyota pickup(especially if you can find one without much rust) w/22r or Chevy S-10 w/4.3, both w/ manual transmissions.

            • Agneaux – agreed. that being said, my all time favorite is the 1957 Ford Skyliner. For some reason I am also partial to the early (66-67) Toronado. And there will never be another car like the Studebaker Avanti.

              • My favorite car was the 1968 Mercury Cyclone GT. I had one. Base paint white with two huge stripes from the grill to the tail. One red one blue. This car sported a front air dam, rear deck spoiler. I did not mod this car to run quties but top ends. I put a 292 pontiac rear end under the frame (that took some doing). I had a friend at Borg Warner slip in a fifth gear to a Ford 4 speed tranny. 308 duration cam with steel crank, 12 to 1 pop up pistons with 2 3 barrel racing carbs from Holley’s Water Valley, Ms. plant. I polished it off with sandblasted rambler 13 inch rims chrome plated to match the 15s on back. L 50 15 bf goodrich tires on the rear with l 70 13s on the front. Man that car would S*** and get on the top end.

                Sigh, I miss that car terribly. I sold it to a guy I knew right before i shipped out to Nam with the stipulation he’d sell it back to me for the same amount if i made it back. Well long story short, I made it back he refused to sell it back. Lesson learned get agreements in writing!

                I will say this. about 6 years later me and the wife were driving through the city where I was inducted into the US Army hall of shame aka my car’s home town and we saw it tooling down the freeway just like it was brand damn new..


                • BTW before you ask where all that cash came from to do these mods. NO I WARN”T A DRUG DEALER! LOL! When you play professionally in a full time band 320 days a year well a 17 year old kid looks to investments. Yeah right! I blew my available cash on my dream car. HAHAHAHA!


  12. I have a good friend who owns three ’83 H/O’s. I always thought that the ’83-’84 H/O’s (but especially the ’83 Anniversary Edition) were the best looking GM “G” bodies built. The Grand National is a VERY close second, and blows the H/O outta the water in terms of performance.

    The “other” H/O’s (’73, ’74, ’75, ’79, ’83-’84) are still pretty affordable collector cars even if they lack the performance credentials and GM A-body appeal of their ’68, ’69, and ’72 predecessors. If I ever acquire another Oldsmobile to accompany my ’68 Cutlass S, it will either be a first generation Toronado, or a “Colonnade” H/O. The ’73-’75 H/O’s scream “Seventies!” (swivel seats, digital tach, T-tops, graphics galore) as loudly as a Trans Am from the same era, but are much more affordable.

    The ’79 H/O is appealing because it was the last Cutlass to be powered by the fantastic Olds 350. Unfortunately it is also ugly, but almost (almost!) ugly enough to be considered cool.

    The other GM “G” body “musclecars” from the 80’s, the Monte Carlo SS and Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2, just don’t do it for me.

      • I know what happened…. saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!

        They got outlawed. Or rather, the regs. made them effectively impossible to offer.

        • I should have known.
          Has anyone inside the Belchway even read Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution? Let alone justified the Constitution (the coup d’etat of 1786) itself?

  13. Olds’ corporate stable-mates, the Monte Carlo SS and Buick Grand National, did well at the time. What Olds coulda/shoulda done:

    Add at least TBI or better yet, MFI. (Corvette’s cross fire injection would have worked nicely!)
    Maybe add a turbo (worked for Buick!)
    Offer a manual or auto with OD
    Add at least a true dual exhaust with a dual-port cat, or better yet, dual cats.

    Those would have added cost, but quite a few people would’ve thought it was worth it…as far as getting all of any of the above emissions certified, good luck.

    The basic design of the Olds Rocket 307 small block was so efficient, if I recall, that it was able to pass emissions standards with the Q-Jet all the way up to 1990. If I recall, the valve angle and head design allowed for the best combustion in any of the OHV V8s.


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