An Award winning 1968 Hurst Olds

What’s Happening, Features, Oldsmobile

Proudly shown at the 2018 Detroit Autorama show, James Kryta’ fully restored 1968 Hurst Olds was a crowd and judges pleaser. The back-to-original condition H/O won 1st in its class and Best Restored Original.

An Award-winning 1968 Hurst Olds

James Kryta’s fantastic H/O

In 1968, the horsepower race was in full bloom. The “big three” were building “supercars” for the youth market. While Ford and Chrysler had no qualms about putting their biggest engines in their intermediate (and at Ford Mustang) bodies, GM had a corporate policy at that time which prohibited the divisions from putting engines larger than 400 in cars smaller than full-sized models other than the Chevrolet Corvette. After George Hurst (of Hurst Shifter fame) swapped a Toronado 455 engine in his 1968 Cutlass 442 with very satisfactory results, Jack “Doc” Watson sold Oldsmobile on the concept of building a 455 powered 442 under the name “Hurst Olds”.
The1968 Hurst/Olds shared its body with the regular Oldsmobile Cutlass and 442, but had a unique Peruvian Silver (a Toronado color) to which Hurst added a black trunk deck, black accents on the hood and around the sides and white pin stripes. The Hurst/Olds was powered by a 390 horsepower W-45 (without A/C) or W-46 (with A/C) 455 cubic-inch Rocket V8. These engines were made by combining the W-34 455 engine (short block) offered in the Toronado with the heads from the W-30 Olds 442 400 engine. The W-45 and the milder W-46 engines differed in camshaft and cylinder head selection. The 455 was mated to a code OW three-speed Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission with console-mounted Hurst Dual-Gate shifter that permitted automatic or manually ratched shifting.
Initial production was scheduled for 500 cars (due to the late model year introduction) but when the prototype car was shown to Olds dealers, more than 3,000 orders came in. Final production was 515 built in 2 body styles. There were 51 club coupes and 464 sport coupes manufactured.
The H/O program was to have Oldsmobile build “standard” W-30 Olds Cutlass 442 with the factory 400 engine. These cars would be shipped to Demmer Engineering – a supplier to Olds and a sponsor of a 442 drag car – where (supposedly) the 400 engines would be taken out, sent back to Olds and the 455 engines installed. Years later, this was discovered to be a ruse, the 455’s were actually installed on the Olds factory assembly line (defying the corporate edit)
James Kryta who is the co-owner of In-Line Tube located in Shelby Township, Michigan owns and has restored this beautiful example of the 1968 Hurst Olds, one of 515 ever built. The car was purchased new by the first owner from Arrow Oldsmobile in Wisconsin but has a verifiable race history in both California and Nevada so it seems the car did not spend a lot of its life in the hostile winter climate of Wisconsin.
Jim acquired this example at a swap meet in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and had the car validated by the original Demmer manifest as # 293. While the car was in reasonable condition, Jim commissioned a full on restoration to Hurst factory specs. The restoration, detail, and final assembly was expertly done by Scott Tiemann of Supercar Specialties in Portland Michigan. Scott is renowned for his restoration of classic “muscle cars”. Paint & Body were done by Nyle Wing – Wings Auto Art in Ionia Michigan. Chrome – A&W Chrome in Eastpoint Michigan.
The car was completed last year and was taken to the prestigious Detroit Autorama Car show in Michigan. There it wowed spectators and judges alike and was awarded 1st in its class, and won Best Restored Original Car. No Limits appreciates this car and James’ effort to return it to its original glory. It was first in a line of many Hurst Olds and other Hurst cars of that era.

Eric White Digital Library

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