Rare Rides: A 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible That's Pontiac, Hurst, and Trans Am

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 2011 chevrolet camaro convertible thats pontiac hurst and trans am

Today’s Rare Ride started out as a beautiful Chevrolet Camaro convertible and was transformed into a Pontiac Hurst Trans Am by an enthusiastic owner. We’ll let you be the judge on how successful the operation was.

First some history. Hurst Performance was a company headquartered in Pennsylvania that produced various performance-enhancing products of the automotive variety. Founded in 1958, the company sold parts to all the big Detroit automakers which often made their way into performance muscle cars like the AMC Rebel The Machine, but also oddities like Jeepster Commando. Among their offerings were lots of logos, H-gate shifters, and t-top modifications.

Along the line, Hurst t-tops made their way onto Seventies Firebird Formula and created the Pontiac SSJ in the creepy ad above. But by then the initial Hurst company was gone. It was acquired by appliance manufacturer Sunbeam in 1970 and quickly folded into its operations. In 1987 Sunbeam sold Hurst to a gasket manufacturer, and in 2007 it changed hands again and went to B&M Racing and Performance Products.

Here and there there’s been various licensing use of the Hurst name, and enthusiasts of a certain age still desire the recognition and styling of Hurst. In 2012 GM signed up with Trans Am Depot to turn modern Camaros into Trans Am GTOs and Hurst Trans Ams. But these very limited edition custom builds were expensive and spawned cheaper modification alternatives. Those alternatives begat today’s Rare Ride.

The fifth-generation Camaro debuted for the 2010 model year, and muscle car enthusiasts and fans of the Transformers movie franchise had a heyday. Available in coupe or convertible formats, the Camaro shared the Zeta platform with cars like the Pontiac G8. It was available with V6 and V8 engines, from 3.6 to 7.0 liters in displacement. The new modern-retro Camaro saw sales success and remained in its original guise through 2015. At that point, it was replaced by the Alpha platform Camaro which continues to this day.

But what do you do when you want a Trans Am but the Pontiac brand no longer exists? You make one! Originally a 2011 Camaro LT convertible, today’s Rare Ride has had some nose surgery and a lot of trim work.

The standard Camaro visage was enhanced with a pointed split-grille Trans Am design, with square lamp and fog light housings and curvaceous mid-Seventies plastic shapes. This required a reshaping of the hood, which gained a Ram Air look and a Screaming Chicken in black and gold. Part of the white Camaro’s rear was wrapped in a metallic gold to match the Trans Am text on the bumper. Hurst/Trans Am logos sprout here and there, and there are some snowflake-adjacent Trans Am wheels as well. Those logos carry on to the interior door panels, and the center of the steering wheel says Z/TA (Classic TA manufactured this Pontiac kit). Unchanged is the performance of the stock Camaro, which is the standard 3.6-liter V6 you’d find in an Impala paired to an automatic transmission.

With just under 70,000 miles, the Trans Am is for sale in Ohio at the moment and asks $60,000. The real question is, what’s an authentic-looking Hurst Trans Am like this worth to you?

[Images: Hurst]

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  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on May 04, 2021

    1) It should be black with gold lettering and screaming chicken. 2) It should be a T-top. 3) It needs some chrome trim. 4) It needs Radial T/A tires. 5) Without a v-8 it is nothing more than an oddity.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on May 04, 2021

    I think if I were this Camaro, and knew my fate was to look like this someday, I'd yeet myself off the transport truck.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?