By on March 19, 2012

Darcy Snider inherited a fair amount of money from his grandmother, but he doubts very much that she would appreciate how he spent her hard-earned cash.

Darcy is a hardcore car guy. His natural instinct kicked in and he invested in this rare 1984 W-40 Hurst Olds.

He said he could hear his Grandmother saying, “What the heck are you doing spending money on something like this?”

Grandma was clearly not a car person, but she might have backed off a bit had she known how rare Darcy’s automotive investment was when he purchased it 4 years ago. He reports “it’s one of only 226 in total and one of only 15 with a factory sunroof”. That’s pretty close to the same financial integrity of a gold bar investment – Grandma might have changed her mind about the Hurst Olds.

Darcy is the 3rd owner of the car. The original buyer was involved in Alberta’s oil industry, and he moved east to Ottawa Ontario, the capital of Canada. There it was sold to the 2nd owner where it stayed until Darcy repatriated the rare Olds with its home in Alberta back in 2006.

He was highly motivated to own the Olds, so he flew out to Ottawa, handed the owner a money order, picked up the 35,000 mile car and marathoned back to Alberta. The 44-hour trip was punctuated only by one 3-hour rest stop. Darcy adds, “It was an awesome highway cruiser”. That comfort certainly justified the purchase and probably explains why Darcy didn’t buy a stock Model A Ford.

Darcy has tried to maintain the original status of the Hurst Olds, but it has been treated to new paint and decals in various areas of the car. There are certain realities with a 28-year-old car, but Darcy adds, “The car still has many of its original markings”. That is a huge triumph in car guy world.

The car almost left the Snyder family a few years ago as financial realities crept into the scenario, but Darcy’s wife insisted that the car remain in the plans. That is a wife with a true automotive soul.

In the end, Darcy has two “keepers” in his life – his wife and his car. Grandma would approve.

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32 Comments on “Car Collector’s Corner: 1984 W-40 Hurst Olds, Not Exactly Grandmother Approved...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Love it. What were the “preformance enhancements” with the W40 package?

    • 0 avatar

      I want to say they have a 305 with 200hp instead of the base 180, but I could be way off, or thinking of that 1982 model I looked at the other day with the wacky set of stick shifts in it.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        NON OLDSMOBILE ENGINES IN YOUR HURST! Heritic! Burn the witch! ;)

      • 0 avatar

        Not to worry. Both 83 and 84s has the Olds 307 engine.

      • 0 avatar
        beach cruiser

        Re lectrobytes post,I think those shifters were called “Lightning Rods”. Supposed to emulate the shifters on a Lenco transmission. Not quite the same experience I would guess.

      • 0 avatar

        Even though the engine is not really visible in the photo, the oil filler pipe sticking up next to the a/c compresser identifies it as a slowsmobile engine. The chevy engine had the oil filler cap in the driver’s side valve cover.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey beach cruiser, that’s it, lightning rods. I think they are incredibly cheesy even by 1980’s standards… look goofier in person, somehow…

        Anyway, there’s one for sale at an area classic car dealer, for about double what I think it’s worth. But as the old saying goes, for people who like that kind of thing, that is the kind of thing they like.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a 1983 Cutlass Supreme with the 307 4 bbl, followed by a 1983 Hurst/Olds with the hi-po 307. IIRC, the Hurst version had a slightly hotter cam and better exhaust. It also came standard with a 3.73 limited slip rear. The regular 307 made 140 hp and the Hurst version made 180. There wasnt much real world performance difference between them.

      My friends Monte Carlo SS was always faster, it had a Chevy 305 with 180 hp. I eventually traded the Olds for an ’87 Grand National and the Monte Carlo wasn’t a problem anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        A properly running 83-85 Hurst/442 180 HP 307 can run to 60 in about 8.1-8.2 seconds which is not very quick now but back in 1983 was pretty good. The 442 my uncle owned of 1985 vintage had lots of low and mid range muscle and it was always a blast to drive around town. Where the low compression 307 lost out was top end breathing. I owned a 1983 140 HP 307 with the stock 2.41 gears and it was way slower on the low end but similar in highway passing power after I was done with it. Lets keep in mind the 81/82 Cutlass coupe which only offered a 110 HP 231 V6 and the athsmatic 105 Hp 260 Olds V8. The 83 on up Hurst and then 442 models felt like race cars in comparison to those dogs. Agree about the Monte SS. Those were usually 7.8 second 0-60 cars from tests I have seen and seat of the pants felt better. The 305 HO L69 used a higher 9.5:1 compression ratio compared to the all 307’s which had an 8.0:1. Even the early 1984/85 200 HP Grand Nationals were quicker than either of these.

    • 0 avatar

      Here’s a link to the original brochure:

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I worked at a car dealership back in 1992 that took one of these as a trade-in, in spectacular condition. The dealership owner’s son was about to go off to college, and his dad offered him the choice of this car or a 1984 Accord DX coupe that they had also taken in trade. The kid chose the Accord. I was beside myself…

    Sign of future trends to come, I guess.

    • 0 avatar

      There was no Accord coupe in 1984. The 2nd gen accord was only available in sedan and hatchback body styles. The coupe debuted in 1986, and was produced in Ohio, so they made a big deal of it.

  • avatar

    A guy around here has a clapped out Hurst/Olds of this vintage, except his is not stock. Outside it looks like a total POS, but under the hood he has done some serious engine work, I have seen his Olds take down a late 90s Z28 at a stoplight, and it sounds amazing. I never knew they were so rare, IIRC these were just a sticker and trim job on a base 305-equipped Cutlass.

    That being said, I love this body style. I have been thinking of picking up a Grand National or Monte SS and doing a slight resto-mod on it.

  • avatar

    The W-30 4-4-2 option was not available in California. A sample of included options: Interior color: Camel Tan with both fabric and/or vinyl,as well as White Vinyl,(Black could be ordered for Black/Gold cars), Custom Steering Wheel (NK3), Tilt Column (N33), Gauge cluster, AM/FM 8-Track Radio (UM2), Cruise Control (K30), Delay Winshield Wipers (CD4), Tempmatic Air Conditioning (C65), Dual Remote Mirrors, 442 Door Panel Emblems, Rear Window Defogger, 6-Way Power Left Bucket Seat (AC3). The 350,(Vin “R”, engine code tag “AR”), 3A heads, 4-bbl M4MC Rochester Carb, 8.5:1 compression, 170 hp@3800 and 275 torque@2000. Turbo-Hydromatic 350 Transmission (Code “LJ”, special W-30 application). Code “AB” non-locking 2.73 rear axle. A cross-flow muffler gives a “factory” dual exhaust appearance.
    The 442 option was not available 1981-1984, but the Hurst/Olds returned for 1983 and 1984.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting! So the Monte SS that was as common as cockroaches got stuck with the wheezy 305, and the Olds that almost no one bought got the 350. And a 4-bbl carb! I bet a small amount of work could wake it up nicely.

      • 0 avatar

        Two different cars. The wiki article references the earlier W-30 cars, from the late 1970s

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Actually, 1 in 4 midsize cars sold was a Cutlass in that era, about as many as all the other GM midsize cars combined. Cutlass actually was like a camcord in the sense that it held market share similar to those two combined in today’s market.

        There was an Olds 350CI application in the previous, ’78-’80 generation. I think it was ’79, maybe ’80, know it was a black car!

        Only Olds Lansing built 307’s were available for this car, the ’81-’88 Cutlass Supreme G body. It was a clear step up from the prior gen’s 260V8! Not really much different from the 305 Chevies in the prior gen though not quite as thirsty. I wanted to like the 305 Chevies, but performance was just dead in those days. It was a heartbreaker after W-30s and cool 4 valve experimental programs of the late 60’s.

  • avatar
    Engine Specs:
    307 with 180 bhp at 4400 RPM, 245 ft/lbs torque at 3200 RPM, 4-bbl Rochester Quadrajet. 8.0:1 compression.
    Rear Axles:
    All ’83 and ’84 H/Os came with 3:73 gear rear ends code GT4. Limited slip was an option.
    Performance Data:
    No data.
    Engine: Quad4 H.O. 2.3Liter, 4cyl, 180 bhp (Vin A – LGO)
    Transmission: Getrag 5-speed
    Body Style: 2 Door FWD coupe (Calais)
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Go
    Link provided has additional information.

  • avatar

    His grandmother would have been right.

  • avatar

    To each, his own, I guess.

    No, fark that. A rare hot rod malaise era crapcan is still a malaise era crapcan. That POS has no hot rod in it.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    The key point was, “inherited a fair amount of money from his grandmother”. So, if out of a half mill this guy drops 25g’s on his dream car then what the heck. Livin’ the dream, right?

  • avatar

    ’78-’87 A/G Bodies should really be a thing. Great looking coupes with proper muscle car proportions. Comfortable cruisers and ripe for a better breathing small block or LS swap in place of wheezing 305s and V6s.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      The thing is they have a habit of frame rust which tends to kill them, plus the transmissions were very fragile. To me this accounts for a fairly low survival rate for a car that was pretty popular in its day.

  • avatar

    I like the car but its a 442 in (mostly) aesthetics only…when compared to the 442’s of the late 60s and early 70s. Car reminds me of a 1977 1/2 Camaro Z28. Final drive ratio was the only ‘mechanical’ difference between a 77 1/2 Z28 and a Ralley Sport or base Camaro. Otherwise, it was the fancy decals that separated a Z28 from the its siblings.

  • avatar

    I gotta dispute the guy’s claim of this being one of 226 in total. According to there were 3,500 Hurst/Olds models produced for 1984. And I quote from the site:

    “After the Cutlass line was split between the front-wheel drive A-body Cutlass Ciera and the rear-wheel drive G-body Cutlass Supreme in 1982, GM again offered a limited-edition Hurst/Olds – it was the 15th anniversary of the first Hurst/Olds introduced in 1968. The Hurst Lightning Rod floor shifter was introduced in the ’83 H/O. For its 15th Anniversary Edition, the ’83 H/O came only in black with silver rocker panels. Chrome 15” wheels fitted Goodyear GT tires, and a power bulge hood and rear spoiler gave the car a purposeful look. A modified version of Oldsmobile’s 307 CID V8 was installed, along with 3.73 gears. Dual exhausts with rumbling mufflers meant there was no mistaking the H/O for a garden variety Cutlass. A new style “Hurst/Olds” emblem was introduced, and red and silver stripes separated the black and silver paint.

    Demand for the car was very strong. Originally, 2500 units were scheduled to be produced, but Olds had to up that number to 3001 because of high demand. That may have been a factor in bringing the H/O back for ’84. The paint scheme was reversed, with silver being the main body color, and black on the rocker panels. In most respects, the ’84 was mechanically identical to the ’83. The ’84 did get a stronger 8.5″ rear end. 3500 units were produced in 1984.”

  • avatar

    Haters gonna hate. Hope the guy enjoys this car for a long time. I think I would. The trip he took to get it home says it’s in decent shape for an old car. Doesn’t really matter what any of us think about it.

  • avatar

    What is the deal with that transmission exactly? Does it have two ranges or something?

  • avatar

    I think this is one of the best looking cars from the 80’s (minus the graphics). I had an ’81 Cutlass (non-Hurst) that had a 455 swap in it. LOVED that car.

    The G body’s were great cars, I know GM couldn’t build them fast enough when they were made.

  • avatar

    I can’t speak much on the Hurst models, but I had a 1987 Brougham (refer to my screen name), and that was by far the best long distance car I ever had. Two trips from Florida to Michigan and zero problems, combined with extreme comfort, it was hard to beat. I still miss that car…

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