Oldsmobile might be best remembered for comfortable American luxury, but the GM brand had a hidden performance side. Hidden at least for those who didn’t live through muscle cars’ original era. But even after the Oldsmobile 442’s heyday, the brand kept a spark of speed around. Though as one 1975 Cutlass Supreme Hurst/Olds W25 shows, that spark isn’t always enough to keep cars from the junkyard.
The 442 wasn’t the only Oldsmobile to get the Hurst treatment
While the 442 may be a collector favorite, it’s merely one of several luxury hot rods Oldsmobile offered back in the day. And the 442 isn’t even the hottest version of the Cutlass or the range-topping Cutlass Supreme. That honor belongs to the Oldsmobile Cutlass Hurst/Olds, aka the Hurst/Olds.
Hurst shifters became an increasingly common factory option as the muscle car era evolved, including on the 442. But Oldsmobile and Hurst thought that the 442 could handle even more performance. So, in 1968 the two companies gave the coupe a 7.5-liter V8 rated at 390 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, Autoweek reports. That was enough ‘go’ to let the Hurst/Olds H/O 455, as it was called, run the ¼-mile in roughly 13 seconds. And it’s still impressive today.
The following year, the Hurst/Olds 455’s horsepower dropped slightly to 380 hp. However, it gained some functional hood scoops, a rear spoiler, and a new paint job. Plus, a Hurst dual-gate automatic shifter. In 1970, though, the nameplate was dropped after GM rule changes allowed the ‘regular’ Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 442 to get the Hurst/Olds’ V8.
But in 1972, the Hurst/Olds returned, though it wasn’t quite the same. For one, the changeover to SAE ‘net’ from ‘gross’ horsepower ratings meant the 7.5-liter V8 only made 270 hp. Even with the W30 package, the V8 topped out at 300 net hp. And secondly, this was the start of the Malaise Era, a veritable Dark Age for muscle cars.
A 1975 Cutlass Supreme Hurst/Olds “was about as good as it got” in the Malaise Era, Hagerty says
However, while it was hamstrung by emissions controls, the Hurst/Olds kept going. That’s partially because, in 1975, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was one of the best-selling cars in the US, Autoweek says. And while the luxury hot rod was somewhat lukewarm by now, people still wanted V8-powered luxury coupes.
So, while the 1973-1977 Cutlass Supreme Hurst/Olds can’t quite match its predecessors’ speed, it was one of the better muscle coupes of the period, Hagerty notes. Cars with the W25 Package got a 5.7-liter V8 rated at 170 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. And you could still get the 7.5-liter V8 with the W30 Package, though it ‘only’ made 190 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. But the Hurst/Olds still rocked a Hurst shifter.
And by this point, the Cutlass Supreme had gotten even more luxurious. Naturally, so did the Hurst/Olds, Motorious says. The coupe had a T-top roof with acoustical glass, reinforced chassis, and swiveling leather bucket seats. Like the standard Cutlass, the Supreme trim had power-assist front disc brakes. But the Hurst/Olds version also offered air shocks, a digital tachometer, and an alarm system. Plus, as before, these cars offered a white-and-gold paint job.
Many were junked, but a few 1970s Hurst/Olds Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes are still burning rubber
A best-selling status and snazzy paint job, though, often wasn’t enough to keep the ‘70s Cutlass Supreme Hurst/Olds from the junkyard, Autoweek notes. As with many other muscle cars, the Malaise Era models are less collectible than their ‘60s counterparts. For example, a pristine 1975 W30 example estimated to sell for $25,000-$30,000 at a 2018 RM Sotheby’s auction failed to sell.
However, that also means the remaining ‘70s Cutlass Supreme Hurst/Olds models are significantly more affordable. A good-to-excellent example typically runs from $17K-$25K, Hagerty says. Considering the Hurst/Olds’ rarity, that’s fairly reasonable. Even at its peak in 1985, Oldsmobile only sold 3500 Hurst/Olds Cutlass Supremes. In 1975, it only sold about 2500.
Hopefully, all this helps keep the ones that remain out of the junkyard.
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