Hurst/Olds Is The Surprising Savior Of The Pace Car Program

Jan 12, 2021 2 min read
Hurst/Olds Is The Surprising Savior Of The Pace Car Program

This is one of the examples of the Hurst/Olds Pace Car program.

In 1971, the Indy Pace Car Program was almost ended due to a nearly fatal accident. On May 29,1971 Eldon Palmer drove a Dodge Challenger Pace Car into a photographer stand injuring multiple people. The aftermath of the incident gave pause to the big three about continuing the Pace Car Program in 1972. Lucky for Indy500 fans, innovator and creator of the Hurst shifter, George Hurst unapologetically stepped up.

After having the idea of a Hurst Trans Am shot down by Pontiac, Hurst teamed up with Oldsmobile in 1968. He made the cars until GM lifted its ban on engines larger than 400-cid. Having already established everything he needed to be able to make the cars, Hurst decided to enter his own pace car into the Indy Pace Car Program using a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

In 1972 Hurst/Olds Pace Cars came in Cameo White with gold stripes, a W-25 Ram Air hood, Gold SS III Rally Wheels, and a 455 cubic inch V8 engine. They were produced in house by Hurst and were made in extremely low numbers and Cadillac took over the pace car program in 1973. In 1974 the Hurst Oldsmobile returned to the program with an all new body style and a new engine option.

While it kept the Cameo White with gold stripes color scheme, this time the Hurst Oldsmobile was available with two engine options. The 455-cid engine or a less desirable 350-cid engine which was mandatory for California cars. This example that recently came up for sale on Craigslist in San Diego actually came from the factory with the 350-cid engine but was later swapped to the 455-cid option. It only shows just over 19,000 miles on the clock and comes with the original window sticker, a maintenance schedule booklet, and other factory paperwork.

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