Hurst Nationals Headlined by Linda Vaughn Herself!
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.