Tag Archives: Hurst

350 Rocket V8 – Oldsmobile Cutlass

The third generation Oldsmobile Cutlass was introduced in 1968 with new styling overseen by Stan Wilen.

Oldsmobile Cutlass, Classics At The Castle, Sheborne

Every year there were upgrades to the third generation Cutlass which by 1970, when today’s featured car was built, was available with seven different body options.

Oldsmobile Cutlass, Classics At The Castle, Sheborne

In 1970 a third 455 cui / 7.4 litre V8 engine was made available for the Cutlass, this one is fitted with the smaller 350 cui 5.7 litre Rocket V8 which could be ordered with two barrel or with two four barrel carburetor options producing over 325 hp in top W31 form.

Oldsmobile Cutlass, Classics At The Castle, Sheborne

Those Cutlasses fitted with floor mounted gear changers were fitted with Hurst shifters.

Oldsmobile Cutlass, Classics At The Castle, Sheborne

This particular ‘matching numbers’ Cutlass was imported from Florida in 2013.

Oldsmobile Cutlass, Classics At The Castle, Sheborne

There are probably less than half a dozen Cutlass models of any age in the UK.


Drive With Care – Dodge Coronet Super Bee

The Dodge Coronet Super Bee owe’s its existence to the intra corporate rivalry between Plymouth and Dodge to become parent company Chrysler’s performance brand. Plymouth took the lead in that rivalry when it introduced the Road Runner in 1968 and under the of Dodge General Manager Robert McCurry Dodge responded with the first Super Bee later the same year.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

Senior Designer Harvey J Winn is credited with coming up with the name and Super Bee logo which was also turned into a diecast medallion which identified Dodge’s performance model.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

The face lifted 1969 model, seen here at Shakespeare County Raceway, is powered by the standard 335 hp 6276 cc / 383 cui Magnum V8, which was advertised with the “Cool It” strap line, as being fitted with 440 Magnum heads, valve gear, hot cam and manifolds.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

Introduced for the 1969 model was this option, coded N-96, twin “Ramcharger” air induction hood that forces air into the carburetors, unlike the scoops on the “Coyote Duster” option hood for the Road Runner which ‘merely’ acted as vents.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

Back in the day the N-96 hood commanded respect at the light’s today it command a premium over Super Bees not carrying this performance enhancing option.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

Sitting on a 117 inch wheel base, one inch longer than the Road Runner, the Super Bee was 65 lbs heavier than it’s rival from Plymouth.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

Inside the 1969 Coronet Super Bee featured a Dodge Charger Rallye instrument panel, and manual versions had a Hurst Shifter to operate the four speed transmission.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

So far as I know the side vents unlike the bonnet vents are purely decorative, as they were on many contemporary vehicles like the Mustang.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

Like the Road Runner the tail featured a wrap around strip, unlike the Plymouth, Dodge did not have to pay Warner Brothers a royalty for their logo.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

Heavy duty features that came standard with the Super Bee included the clutch, suspension, shock absorbers and brakes which ensured that safety was no accident and that owners could drive with care as encouraged in contemporary sales literature.

Dodge Coronet Super Bee, Shakespeare County Raceway

1969 was the zenith of Dodge Coronet Super Bee production with 25,727 ‘383’ units produced, an additional 1,907 1969 models were manufactured with the Magnum 440 Six Pack and 162 with the 426 Hemi motor.

Thanks for joining me on this “Drive With Care” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Two Timing – Shakespeare County Raceway

Camaro, Shakespeare County Raceway

The day before Memorial day I attended the Yanks and Gary’s 34th Picnic at Shakespeare County Raceway for an afternoons two timing entertainment.

Shakespeare County Raceway

Situated just outside the Shakespeare central known in the tourists guides as Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare County Raceway is built on the site of Long Marston Airfield which served as a Wellington Bomber base during the 1939/45 war.

Chevrolet Bel Air, Shakespeare County Raceway

Looking like it had just come off the set of “Two Lane Blacktop” was this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. The crew running it told me the 7.4 litre / 451 cui V8 was “misfiring all over the place”, a possible victim of cavitation in the fuel system thanks to the phenomenal weather we were experiencing.

Ford Popular Coupé, Shakespeare County Raceway

A strong contingent of European based vehicles were present at the “Yanks and Gary’s 34th Picnic event including this first generation 103E Ford Popular Coupé rig powered by a 5.7 litre / 347 cui V8. The Popular was a post ’39/’45 war austerity vehicle that was only ever offered as a saloon / sedan.

Austin A40 Countryman, Shakespeare County Raceway

There were not many cars present at Shakespeare County Raceway that could boast Farina styling, but this 1098 cc / 67 cui Austin A40 Countryman van was one of them.

Trabant 601, Shakespeare County Raceway

Another novelty vehicle was the NC Engineering Ford V8 powered Trabant that was being given it’s first run after it’s former Cadillac motor had been replaced. interestingly everybody who was involved in the preparation of this vehicle has been invited to to drive it in competition.

Ford Roadster, Shakespeare County Raceway

Among the fabulous US vehicles running at the event was this 1932 High Boy “Roadster” which like the Popular Coupé is powered by a 5.7 litre / 347 cui V8. This car reminded me of Leonard Williams High Boy Roadster before it became the worlds first privately owned Gas Turbine Car.

Plymouth Special De Luxe Coupé, Shakespeare County Raceway

From the plethora of vehicles bearing original patina was this 1948 Plymouth Special De Luxe Coupé complete with a 5.2 litre / 317 cui V8.

Buick Special Convertible, Shakespear County Raceway

My undoubted “Star of the Car Park” was this 1958 Buick Special Convertible which looked, as did several other cars present, like it had just come off the golf course at a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Pontiac Le Mans, Shakespeare County Raceway

Sporting a top of the Le Mans range 5.7 litre / 350 cui motor was this Pontiac, like many competitors present the driver was wielding his own spanners to keep this fine looking car in a top state of tune.

Hurst Oldsmobile, Shakespeare County Raceway

I did not know it when I took this photo but going on the engine size of 7457 cc / 455 cui this is a rare, though I am not at all sure exactly how rare Hurst Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. In 1972 following a fatal accident with the Indy 500 no manufacturer was keen on providing a pace car so transmission specialists Hurst stepped in with a couple of hot 455 cui Cutlass Supremes in both Coupé and Convertible forms. The 1972 pace car became well remembered after Linda Vaughan was hired to appear on the back of one of the convertibles with an outsize Hurst Shifter on the boot / trunk.

Shakespeare County Raceway

One reason I was keen to attend this meeting was to get a photo of fellow Bristol Pegasus Motor Club member Crazy Chris Hartnell pulling a wheely in his slingshot Backdraft, his weather helmet was present, dry, casting a shadow, and not shaking but just like the last time he tried this the cameraman was too slow and will have to try again next time. Chris managed two 145+ mph practice runs on the day.

Soul Town Shaker, Caterham, Shakespeare County Raceway

Since this was a practice day many interesting combinations of vehicles were being run, like the Caterham above which got well and truly dusted by the 425 cui Buick Nailhead powered slingshot ‘Soul Town Shaker’ driven by Keith Crampton.

Chevrolet Camaro, Fiero Euro 427, Shakespeare County Raceway

After doing a lovely burn out while being watched by the driver of the, probably Rover V8 powered, Fiero Euro 427, the seen was set for a slightly more competitive run off than the previous Caterham Slingshot combination.

Chevrolet Camaro, Fiero Euro 427, Shakespeare County Raceway

However all present were to be reminded of Shakespeare’s quote from King Lear “As Flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, they kill us for their sport” as soon after leaving the Fiero Euro 427 standing on the line the Camaro made a dramatic exit stage left,

Shakespeare County Raceway

punched straight in to the guard railing …

Chevrolet Camaro, Shakespeare County Raceway

and eventually came to rest at the quarter mile mark. Fortunately “th’ gods’ who would kill us for their sport’ were in benevolent mood and after he had been released from the Camaro the driver was seen walking unaided to the ambulance for a precautionary medical.

Nikon 8800, Shakespeare County Raceway

The camera gods were also smiling, after the accident I foolishly took my camera strap off to stretch out on my perch in the grandstands, waiting for confirmation that there would be no further activity on track before the curfew. When the announcement finally came I forgot that I’d taken my camera strap off got up and heard the sickening thud of my camera bouncing off the grandstand decking and into the 20 foot void beneath the grandstand and eventually hit the surface below.

Ford V8 Pickup Truck, Shakespeare County Raceway

I went to survey the damage and amazingly although the battery had dropped out the camera was fine as demonstrated by the fine shot of the 1938 Ford V8 Pickup above.

Ford High Boy Roadster, Shakespeare County Raceway

After all the excitement it was time to head home, but there was one final surprise as I left the gate …

Dodge Challenger STR8, Shakespeare County Raceway

… a Dodge Challenger STR8 bedecked in wedding bands, a perfect car for a wedding.

Thanks for joining me on this “Two Timing” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Powered Under Licence – Rover P5B 3.5 litre Coupe

In September 1960 the author of a technical review on the then new all aluminium 185 hp Buick 215 V8 engine could have had little idea of how prophetic for the British automotive industry his following words would be, “We will wager that the most widely copied engine of the next 10 years will be the superb new aluminium V8 by Buick.”

Rover P5B 3.5 Coupé, Mini Factory

Despite it’s glowing press the Buick V8 and various Oldsmobile and Pontiac variants these motors were only in production from 1961 to 1963, after 750,000 units had been produced the Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac switched back to cheaper to manufacture iron blocks which were cast with thinner walls than had hitherto been possible.

Rover P5B 3.5 Coupé, Mini Factory

Rover managing director Bill Martin-Hurst was on a sales mission trying to get Mercury Marine in Wisconsin interested in Rover gas turbine engines for marine applications when he stumbled across a Buick V8 being prepared for power boat racing on the Mercury Marine shop floor.

Rover P5B 3.5 Coupé, Mini Factory

Bill realised immediately that such a motor might have a future in several Rover car projects and had the motor on the shop floor shipped to England and made enquires at GM about making their recently discontinued aluminium motor under licence.

Rover P5B 3.5 Coupé, Mini Factory

Somewhat disbelieving GM agreed a deal which eventually included the soon to retire designer of the aluminium Buick 215 Joe Turley who would help prepare the V8 for production in a market that put engines under more stress, no speed limit at the UK at the time, than encountered in its original US application.

Rover P5B 3.5 Coupé, Mini Factory

The Buick V8 was first tested in a P6 prototype, but the final iteration of older P5 design seen here, with a B for Buick designation, was the first Rover to be offered to the public with an aluminium Buick 215 V8 derived motor in 1967.

Rover P5B 3.5 Coupé, Mini Factory

Four successive British Prime Ministers and the Queen of England used P5B’s, so impressed was the British government with these vehicles that they bought the last batch of them for future government ministers to use in 1973. Indeed Prime Minister Margret Thatcher was often seen in one as late as 1979, before switching to a Jaguar.

Rover P5B 3.5 Coupé, Mini Factory

A Rover P5B featured alongside a Lamborghini Islero in ‘The Man Who Haunted Himself‘ starring Roger Moore, Olga Geoges-Picot and Hildegard Neil.

Vehicles featured on GALPOT that are powered by variations of the aluminium Rover V8 include :-


Reliant Scimitar GTE V8

Triumph TR7 Rally Sprint Replica

Triumph TR8 Convertible Replica

Triumph TR8 Twin Turbo

Further examples of Rover V8 powered vehicles can be found in these less specific blogs :-

GMC Suburban

Darian Wildcat T89 GTR

MGB Kayne Special

Rover SD1

Thanks for joining me on this Powered Under License edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again for a Scandinavian Edition tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !