Sunday, April 24, 2011

1979 Hurst Olds W-30 Cutlass, it's a supreme G-Body junkyard find of the rarest kind

Striking junkyard gold with a 1979 W-30 Hurst/Olds. What's an unmistakable Oldsmobile beauty doing in a place like this? It's like seeing a tramp stamp (lower back tattoo) peeking out above the skirt on the preacher's daughter. On Easter Sunday, no less. Somebody needs to respect this car's rare lineage, made possible by 'Doc' Watson, "father" of the Hurst/Oldsmobile. I know it's hard to look away when you see things you shouldn't see, especially in certain places. I'm not talking about the tattoo.

The crown jewel in this 1979 H/O Hurst is the Dual/Gate, his and hers shifter mounted in the Oldsmobile sport console. 1979 was the last year for the Hurst Dual/Gate shifter.

Linda Vaughn, where are you?
Linda Vaughn
  This rare rocket, one of 1,165 in Cameo white, is a W-30 Cutlass that landed in a Woodstock, Alabama junkyard sans two gold 14x6 wheels and missing most of its dignity. If you squint your eyes, can you imagine Linda Vaughn, the legendary Miss Hurst Shifter, of tight, gold jumpsuit fame, strolling around this junkyard W-30? The golden-haired, former Hurst spokesmodel would be stomping mad. "How dare someone deface a Hurst shifter knob!" an indignant Vaughn might say, after seeing the stripped Dual/Gate shifter handle protruding through the crusty center console
  Thirty-two years and an untold number of abusive owners rode roughshod in this '79 Hurst/Olds. Looking at the aftermath of such neglect is shameful to H/O owners everywhere.

1979 Hurst/Olds rocket has landed in an Alabama junkyard.

Hurst gold is expensive 
  In 1979, the Hurst/Olds edition Cutlass, tattooed with W-30 decals and H/O emblems, was anything but cheap. A $2,054 option, or a 34% markup, was added to the Oldsmobile Cutlass coupe’s base $5,800 sticker price. The W-30, Hurst/Olds option price was a lot to chew on at the end of the disco decade. Well-heeled, H/O title holders stacked the option list even higher, exceeding the '79 Corvette's hefty $10,220 sticker price. Some Cutlass H/Os left dealerships with astounding $11,000-plus sticker prices.

W-30 Olds contour reclining front bucket seats have spilled their guts.

Why limited production of Hurst/Olds?
  Due to stringent EPA regulations, which required certifying engine/transmissions combos with specific models, Oldsmobile couldn't mass produce H/Os with Oldsmobile's largest engine – the 403-cubic inch V8, since it wasn't certified for the Cutlass. This marked the end for 455-cubic inch H/Os (I know, the 455 was already gone) but Oldsmobile found a loophole in the EPA’s plan, which also kept the GM bean counters happy.  
  As long as fewer than 2,500 vehicles were built, any engine/transmissions combo currently built by Olds could be used in the Cutlass. Oldsmobile decided to equip all Hurst/Olds with their 170hp 350 V-8 engines and Turbo 350 automatic transmissions. Not stout by today’s standards but no slouch for late-’70s V-8s. 
  The Olds 403-cubic inch engine, used in Olds Eighty-Eights, Olds Ninety-Eights and  ‘79 Pontiac Trans Ams would have been a better choice for upholding the Hurst/Olds biggest factory cubic inch tradition. The down-sized Cutlass on the G-body platform seemed destined for a small block from the beginning.  

537 H/O Cutlasses were equipped with Hurst Hatch roof panels in 1979. This one was not.

How rare are Hurst/Olds?
   Production of the ‘79 Hurst/Olds was limited to 2,499 buyers. The special edition H/Os were offered in Ebony black with gold trim (1,334 produced) and Cameo white with gold trim (1,165 produced). The rarest '79 H/Os were three built by Hurst Performance with gold-anodized Hurst Hatch roof panels. A total of 537 H/Os had the non-anodized Hurst Hatches. Our junkyard H/O is a solid roof survivor with solid floor pans to match.
  Less than 16,000 Hurst/Olds were built between 1968 and 1988. The H/O option was available on '68, '69, '72-'75, '79, '83 and '84 model Olds Cutlasses. In 1988, four H/Os were special ordered and built by 'Doc' Watson to salute the last production year of the rear wheel drive Cutlass. This is the first Hurst/Olds I've seen at a junkyard. It's a rare find that likely won't last long before it meets the crusher.

  If you see a rare car at the junkyard send photos and info to junkyardlife, email

Squared-off Cutlass header panel remained until a redesign in 1981 introduced the shovel-nosed grille.

Junkyard scavengers, Ron Kidd and Anthony Powell, bench race the specs of the battered '79 W-30 Hurst/Olds.

97,081 miles on the odometer of this junkyard 1979 Hurst/Olds. Dig the push button cruise control switch (lower left) on the dash?

1979 Hurst/Olds were factory equipped with Goodyear 205/70R14 tires.

Rallye cluster gauge option found on all 1979 Hurst/Olds.

Would-be drag racers hammered away on the right lane of the Hurst/Olds Dual Gate automatic shifter without fear of slamming the tranny into reverse at 50 MPH. Been there, done that.

W-30 is the engine option code for Hurst equipped Oldsmobiles.

Hurst/Olds "H/O" sail panel emblems have been peeled away.

1979 Hurst/Olds featured 14 X 6 inch (N78 option) gold painted cast aluminum sport wheels. These wheels were offered in 1978 but weren't gold.

Rocket emblems were black on all 1979 Hurst/Olds, red on all other Cutlasses. This detail may confirm your Olds is in fact a W-30 Hurst/Olds.
  If you see a rare car at the junkyard send photos and info to junkyardlife, email

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Six Muscle car era Chevelles find new owner, now these collectibles for sale again

Call it Chevelle-topia for guys looking to score a cheapish '68-'72-style GM A-body. A Birmingham, Alabama wrecker company hauled six Chevelles out of one little old lady's back yard recently. You see, she didn't need them, and Dean Chitty, of Fosters Wrecker Service, was happy to tow them away. I'm not sure what Chitty paid for them, or if she paid Chitty, to haul the six Chevelles off her property. I just know a six-Chevelle deal like this doesn't come around very often.     

A true 1969 Chevelle SS yard find.

  Among the moldy and rusty muscle cars is a red 1969 big-block 396, 4-speed Chevelle that appears to be the pick of the litter. Despite a missing windshield and drive train, the '69 Chevy is a solid project car for someone wiling to replace the floorpans. Chitty was asking $3,500 for it on Craigslist.
  Take a look at the six Chevelles from the yard find we missed. I know, it hurts, but if ever there was incentive to hunt for old cars, this is it.

Fosters Wrecker was dropping off Chevelles like it was the 1970s again. 

Save a Chevelle
  Chitty's assortment of Chevelles have their fair share of rust-through, holey quarter panels, rotted floorpans and leaky rear window channels but the basis for several restorations is possible. If you search Craigslist in Birmingham, Alabama, Chitty may still have some Chevelles or another project, like this Dodge Challenger,  inside his fenced lot. 
  Keep your eyes peeled and you may score the next deal before someone else scoops it up.

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Four round tail lights are found on all 1971-1972 Chevelles yet GM redesigned the front end to have only two headlights. What gives?

Classic '71-'72 Chevelles are finding favor among hobbyist not willing to pay the 1970 Chevelle entry price. 

Yard find sixty-nine Chevy SS without its legendary 396 engine. 

1969 Chevelle SS vin# 136379K478082. 7th digit (K) indicates Kansas, City, Mo. assembly plant.

Chevelle SS steering wheel with basic gauges means you could be looking at an 'SS' clone.

Chevelle parts are piled high amid the '69-'72 model GM A-bodies.

Note the Chevelle's (left) rusty roof courtesy of the stylish vinyl top option. 

Looks like a Chevelle prison yard.
SS stripes can make the crustiest 1972 Chevelle look tough.

A Heavy Chevy? No, just wrecker bait 1972 Chevelle headed for a temporary home at Fosters.

This 1972 Chevelle looked as mean as a junkyard dog.

A brown fender and a red fender give this yellow 1972 Chevelle some junkyard swagger.

1970-'72 Chevelles have an unmistakeable roofline.

Fosters Wrecker is often a hot bed of junktique classic cars. 

This brown 1970 Chevelle is ready for an engine and a roll bar.

Check out the production numbers of the popular '68-'72 Chevelles. Try finding an original V6 1970 Malibu convertible.

1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle production numbers
Your guide to 2-door Chevelles.

1968 Chevelles
  9,733 (V6), 2,919 (V8) -
300 Sedan
  5,661 (V6), 3,769 (V8) - 300 Deluxe Sedan
  4,534 (V6), 6,803 (V8) - 300 Deluxe Coupe
  20,561 (V6), 180,401 (V8) - Malibu
  835 (V6), 6,959 (V8) - Malibu convertible 
  55,309 (V8) - SS
  2,286 (V8) - SS convertible
1969 Chevelles
  8,235 (V6), 5,620 (V8) -
300 Deluxe Sedan
  3,321 (V6), 7,181 (V8) - 300 Deluxe Coupe
  14,724 (V6), 286,162 (V8) - Malibu
  484 (V6), 8,443 (V8) - Malibu convertible 
  86,307 (V8) - SS, coupes & convertibles
 1970 Chevelles
  6,119 (V6), 8,003 (V8) -
300 Deluxe Coupe
  12,256 (V6), 289,622 (V8) - Malibu
  381 (V6), 7,141 (V8) - Malibu convertible 
  53,599 (396-V8) - SS, coupes & convertibles
  8,733 (454-V8) - SS, coupes & convertibles
 1971 Chevelles
  6,660 (V6), 17,117 (V8) -
  6,220 (V6), 189,970 (V8) - Malibu
  0 (V6), 5,089 (V8) - Malibu convertible 
  19,293 (V8*) - Z15 SS option, coupes & convertibles
  9,502 (454-V8) - Z15 SS option, coupes & convertibles

 1972 Chevelles
  6,993 (V6), 22,714 (V8) -
  4,790 (V6),207,598 (V8) - Malibu
  0 (V6), 4,853 (V8) - Malibu convertible 
  24,946 (V8*) - Z15 SS option, coupes & convertibles
  5,333 (454-V8) - Z15 SS option, coupes & convertibles

*In '71 and '72 a Chevelle SS (Z15 option) could be ordered with these engines:
  L65 - 350-2 BBL
  L48 - 350-4 BBL
  LS3 - 402-4 BBL
  LS5 - 454-4 BBL  
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1935 Auburn 653 sedan stolen from veteran Birmingham, Alabama auto parts dealer


Help find this 1935 Auburn 653 sedan. Joe Montabana, long-time owner of Joe's Auto Parts in Birmingham, Alabama, had his rare 1935 Auburn 653 sedan stolen from a residence at Georgia Road and Messer Airport Highway in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday, September 4, 2010. Montabana and local authorities request any information that will assist in locating this classic Auburn sedan.

  Montabana owned the cream-colored '35 Auburn, chassis number 5359A, since the early-1960s. One of 6,316 vehicles built by the Auburn Automobile Company in Auburn, Indiana for the 1935 model year. Montabana and his wife, Pat, purchased the car from the proprietor of Abernathy Furniture in Birmingham, Alabama. "Mr. Abernathy drove the car to work every day, before we bought it," said Pat. The Montabanas also cruised in the six cylinder, three-speed car for many years before retiring it to occasional car show use. 
  The Montabanas, who will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this year, have struggled with some health issues, which took precedence over the Auburn's recent upkeep. The Auburn has been stored under a meager shed which provided scant protection for the 75-year-old classic.
  The couple fear the worst but hope someone has seen their beloved Auburn. "I hope it turns up," says Joe. "That was a fine car and I don't want anything bad to happen to it."

If you have any information
  Contact Detective Cobb (205) 254-1782 at the Birmingham Police Department  and refer to case number: 100917765. 
1935 Auburn serial number
The serial number of the car is 5359A, engine number WF7648. 

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