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Hurst / Olds 1972 to 1974

Shift king, George Hurst, offered to provide a pace car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1972, and the next generation of the Hurst/Olds muscle car was on the road again. After a serious accident in ’71 with a Dodge Challenger, there was no automobile manufacturer willing to offer a pace car for the event so Hurst High Performance offered its services.

Oldsmobile Division of GM came up with two Cutlass Supreme units for Hurst; one convertible and one coupe style. This marked the first time in history that any company other than an automobile manufacturer supplied an Indy pace car and the prestigious event used a major supplier’s name. Hurst/Olds went on to produce a total of 629 units for ’72 as convertibles, hardtop coupes, and hardtops c/w sunroof with all of them sporting a cameo white paint job with gold stripes courtesy of the 3M Corporation.

All the models produced came with the W-25 ram air hood, gold SSII Rally wheels with chrome center cap with a beauty ring and Goodyear Polysteel radial tires. The base engine was the 455-cubic-inch Rocket V8 rated at 270 net horsepower, or if you’d liked, it could upgrade to the L77 455 balanced and blueprinted version providing 300 net horsepower. Either engine choice bolted to the Turbo Hydra-matic transmission featuring the Hurst dual-gate shifter.

The interiors all had black Strato bucket seats, console-mounted transmission shifter, plus special Hurst/Olds Pace Car badging on the glove box door. All units produced in ’72 carried the W-45 code on the cowl tag.

1972 Hurst Oldsmobile Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Front View

The 1973 Hurst/Olds was in a Colonnade body style based on the Cutlass S coupe and would stay with the same body until ’77. There were two color choices,  either gold on black or gold on white with only the 455 engine, but there were two variations available. The basic L75 U code engine had a four-barrel and dual exhaust, which delivered 250 actual hp (190 kW). The L77 V code engine put out 270 hp (200 kW), but this version was only available with a four-speed standard transmission, This was the last year for this high-performance option.

1972 Hurst Oldsmobile Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

Hurst/Olds for 1974 was the Indy 500 pace car for the second time, and if you liked the pace car graphics pack, it was available as a trim option. The pace car could be a Colonnade coupe, but the cars for dignitaries had to be convertibles, so this is one year when the Oldsmobile Division supplied Delta 88 convertibles and split the duties with Hurst. There were 1800 of the Hurst/Olds built in ’74, but only 380 units were the W-30 version of the Rocket 455-cubic-inch V8 producing 230 net hp as the power option. Most of the units produced have the 350 V8 1420 code, which gave up 180 actual hp (130 kW) and was the most available choice for most of the U.S. If you lived in California, the only choice was the 350 if you wanted to drive a new Hurst/Olds in ’74.


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