Hurst Na­tion­als Head­lined by Linda Vaughn Her­self!

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Ge­off Stunkard

Hurst Na­tion­als head­lined by Linda Vaughn her­self!

n As part of the cel­e­bra­tion of Hurst’s her­itage this year, the fea­tured cars were the Darts and Bar­racu­das that were built un­der con­tract 50 years ago, in 1968, for NHRA Su­per Stock rac­ing. There were 10 of the orig­i­nal cars on dis­play in the Carlisle Expo Cen­ter, plus oth­ers at the associated

Carlisle Chrysler Na­tion­als. n Of course, the Hemi Mopars were not the only thing Hurst did. The 1969 SC/Ram­bler pack­age came in this col­or­ful scheme as well as a more vanilla ver­sion (seen be­hind) and helped es­tab­lish the rep­u­ta­tion of the AMC prod­uct line thanks to col­or­ful pe­riod ad­ver­tis­ing and a good street rep­u­ta­tion.

n Howard Marsales served as the Hurst “shifty doc­tor” at many events dur­ing the 1970s, but he was also em­ployed by Hurst as a fab­ri­ca­tor when the Hurst Hemi cars were con­structed in 1968. He is seen here with Clay­ton Wright’s “Slo-Mo­tion” Bar­racuda, whose last na­tional event pass down the track was in 1987.

n This 1968 Hurst/Olds Cut­lass was from the first of the

H/O pro­grams. En­gi­neers had orig­i­nally de­signed an op­er­a­ble spoiler that would have gone on the rear edge and lifted from the sur­face un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion. The images of that pro­to­type were among the photo al­bums on dis­play. This ex­am­ple, owned by Glen Kat­ter­son, is num­ber 45 of the 515-unit run pro­duced that first year.

Car and Driver magazine once re­ferred to her as Rac­ing’s Earth Mother, back when the Aquar­ian phi­los­o­phy im­pacted pop cul­ture. For many male race fans, she was the ul­ti­mate tro­phy girl. To the spon­sors and sanc­tion­ing bod­ies, she re­mains a valu­able spokesper­son. For the at­ten­dees at the Se­cond An­nual Hurst Na­tion­als, Linda Vaughn’s pop­u­lar­ity stood the test of time as she again took to the rear plat­form of a Hurst-themed car fea­tur­ing a huge Hurst shifter dis­play.

The 2018 event, held on the same week­end as the Carlisle Chrysler Na­tion­als, goes into the books as one of the most in­ter­est­ing in Carlisle Pro­duc­tions’ his­tory. The an­nual Chrysler show is one of the largest in the world; more than 2,700 ve­hi­cles were in at­ten­dance this sum­mer, with tens of thou­sands of at­ten­dees dur­ing the three beau­ti­ful days of Mopar cel­e­bra­tions. How­ever, the event man­agers all ad­mit­ted that no­body be­fore at any Carlisle event had gar­nered the at­ten­tion Linda did on her pa­rade lap.

Last year, the Carlisle crew and Per­for­mance West Group man­ager Larry Weiner took the plunge to co­host a spe­cial event for en­thu­si­asts of the leg­endary shifter

n Bob Rig­gle of Hemi Un­der Glass fame was re­united with the “in­famy” car, the 1968 Bar­racuda that put him and Jay Leno on their heads dur­ing a TV show tap­ing at Ir­win­dale. Now re­paired, the car was sold by owner Bill Sefton to pro­lific col­lec­tor Joe Spag­noli be­fore the week­end con­cluded. We’re not sure if Rig­gle will be giv­ing him fly­ing lessons. n How cool is this? It’s a 22,000mile un­re­stored Rebel Ma­chine from 1970 done in Bayshore

Blue with the 340ci en­gine, four­speed, E60-15 tires, dual-speaker AM/FM ra­dio, and more. List was $4,136.15 dis­counted to $2,700 in De­cem­ber 1970. It is owned by Dar­rin and Nash Boeckel.

Bruce Smith owns this 1973 model Hurst/Olds. Built in the first year of the Colon­nade de­sign, it has some in­ter­est­ing op­tions, fore­most the ro­tat­ing front bucket seats. In­deed, if the Fire­bird was car­ry­ing on the pony­car legacy, the Hurst/Olds was do­ing like­wise for the lux­ury per­for­mance mar­ket.

The op­tional bucket seats in the 1973 model ro­tated a full 90 de­grees. n In 1974, the model was se­lected again to pace the Indy 500. This ex­am­ple re­ceived the W-30 455ci en­gine, pace car let­ter­ing, and Indy Fire­hawk raised-white-let­ter tires. Jack Hooks owns it to­day. man­u­fac­turer. Weiner is re­spon­si­ble for late-model ve­hi­cle con­ver­sions to Hurst-themed pack­ages and a long­time man­ager for the Mr. Norm Krause fran­chise un­der the Grand Spauld­ing Sport logo; he knows the Hurst mys­tique well. Ms. Vaughn is best known as the brand’s time­less spokes­woman. She and her orig­i­nal Hurstettes were a fix­ture at many events in their hey­day. How­ever, health is­sues kept her from mak­ing an ap­pear­ance at the in­au­gu­ral event. This year she head­lined a list of celebri­ties that in­cluded Bob Rig­gle of Hemi Un­der Glass fame, Hurst em­ploy­ees like Howard Marsales and Don Glover, and oth­ers.

It was 50 years ago, in 1968, that the Hurst brand se­ri­ously branched out to do ve­hi­cle con­ver­sions. While some of this was re­lated to taxi­cabs and vans, best known to mus­cle car fans are the first 455-inch Hurst/Olds pack­ages and the no­to­ri­ous A-Body Hemi Darts and Bar­racu­das. With the Chrysler event close by, those cars were a fo­cus, and a num­ber of them were in­side on dis­play in the

“More than 2,700 ve­hi­cles were in at­ten­dance this


n Col­lec­tor Glen Kat­ter­ing had this pro­to­type of the still­born 1977 Hurst/Olds pro­gram on dis­play. Beau­ti­ful with many one-off com­po­nents, it would have used the 403ci en­gine. Olds built only six ex­am­ples of that.

This car was raced back in the 1970s by the Carpinet broth­ers, who still own it. It was one of many that were resold through the Sox & Martin rac­ing team af­ter the 1968 sea­son. Buddy Martin took these cars in on trade or sim­ply to re­sell. Though not stock me­chan­i­cally, it is a beau­ti­ful sur­vivor from the se­cond gen­er­a­tion of changes to the Su­per Stock rules.

n The 1969 model year saw the de­but of the H/O’s white/gold paint scheme as well as the hood­scoop de­sign that would lead to the for­ward-edge pro­duc­tion fiber­glass ver­sions for 1970. This matched-num­bers car with A/C and cruise con­trol is owned by Carl Sher­wood and is one of 912 built that year.

n The 48 Dodge Darts built by Mr. Norm for 1968 are rare to­day, pos­si­bly due to the at­tri­tion from fool­ish own­er­ship. Hurst cre­ated these Mr. Norm–ex­clu­sive cars un­der con­tract, and later Grand Spauld­ing sales man­ager Al Smith sub­mit­ted a list of owner’s Carlisle Expo Cen­ter, which is lo­cated only a block from the for­mal fair­grounds show lo­ca­tion.

Thurs­day kicked off the event with a huge cruise-in and bar­beque in the outdoor park­ing lot. On Fri­day a non-stop gath­er­ing of peo­ple trekked through the cav­ernous hall to see the cars, meet note­wor­thy for­mer Hurst en­gi­neers and em­ploy­ees, and pore through al­bums of rare pho­tos, old blue­prints, and glass cab­i­nets full of pro­to­type parts and rare pro­mo­tional items. Mean­while, sev­eral sem­i­nars were given by ex­perts on both Fri­day and Satur­day, the two days the event is for­mally held.

But the big mo­ment was on Satur­day just be­fore lunch, when a vi­brant Linda, again dressed as Miss Hurst Golden Shifter, climbed upon the plat­form on the orig­i­nal Hurst/Olds convertible pace car from the 1972 Indy 500. Owner Joe Spag­noli then drove her slowly through the fair­grounds to a planned lun­cheon. This had not been an­nounced un­til mo­ments be­fore­hand. Thou­sands of fans poured out from the show fields to see The First Lady of Mo­tor­sports recre­ate his­tory. Al­ways gra­cious, Linda was thronged by peo­ple for the en­tire route, and had mas­sive lines for her au­to­graph as well. names to NHRA for le­gal­ity. Larry Weiner be­lieves Norm or­dered all of them, with a se­lec­tion of colors and op­tions, in one fell swoop, al­low­ing cus­tomers to take im­me­di­ate de­liv­ery. This ex­am­ple is owned by Rick Simp­son of Canada.

Among the items on dis­play was this shadow box show­ing the E-Body pro­to­type han­dles for the Hurst Pis­tol Grip shifter.

“It was 50 years ago that the

Hurst brand se­ri­ously branched out”

n It is very rare to see one 1968 doc­u­mented au­then­tic Mr. Norm 440ci Dart; two were here this week­end. Bill Sefton owns the one in front. There are only 14 of these cars presently known to ex­ist.

This was the 1988 20th An­niver­sary pack­age. Only four ac­tual H/O cars were built, but sev­eral dozen kits were sold to up­grade the Cut­lass model. Those in­stalled on a pre-1988 model were con­sid­ered Aero Coupe con­ver­sions, not 20th An­niver­sary cars. This 1986 ex­am­ple, owned by Rick and Sharon Tice, was num­ber 57 of the fewer than 100 kits be­lieved sold.

n One more look at the 1972 convertible of Joe Spag­noli, whose gi­ant shifter needed to be dis­as­sem­bled to move in and out of the build­ing.

n The re­turn of Miss HurstGolden Shifter, Linda Vaughn, was high­lighted by this pa­rade lap within the Carlisle Fair­grounds, where she was fol­lowed by a huge crowd. The car is the orig­i­nal pace car for the 1972 Indy 500, and the orig­i­nal plat­form was given as a gift to car owner Joe Spag­noli by thelate Jack Wat­son.


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