BY CODY FACTEAU
Nothing screams "muscle car" like a black on black interior with crisp pleated bucket seats, a narley three-spoke steering wheel and wicked deep tunneled gauges. You add to that the incomparable Dual/Gate shifter that just oozed cool appeal and what you have is the Olds 4-4-2.
No '68 muscle car loomed more debonair or packed a larger V-8 than the 1968 Hurst/Olds. Just what does Hurst/Olds mean, anyway? The Hurst part of the name referred to George Hurst, the former Philadelphia repair shop owner whose name was on some of drag racing's wildest exhibition cars of the day. The '68 Hurst/Olds was the first production car to carry his name. Essentially, Hurst kicked the muscle car formula up a notch by employing the Old's Toronado's beefy 455-cid V-8 and the 4-4-2's Force Air System, which was an induction system that sucked air through scoops under bumper inlets. The engine was rated at 390 bhp and was painted a not so modest bronze and red right at the factory. Another thing I really like about this car is the Dual/Gate shifter, otherwise known as the "His/Hers" shifter, both manual and auto shifting in one car. Too sweet!
Oftentimes, while doing research for a story, I find out some incredible, simply amazing facts. Want to know what else Hurst invented that is considered his greatest accomplishment yet? The Hurst Jaws of Life, responsible for saving countless lives by opening up wrecked cars like a can opener.
What do I like about the Olds 4-4-2? The 4-4-2 was one of the best muscle cars of the 1960's. It had incredible performance and, unlike many of its rivals, it also had the agility and braking power to match the speed. And, just what was the speed anyway? Top speed was 154 mph with a 0-60 in 6.8 seconds. Another question you might have is just what does the 4-4-2 stand for? It meant four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission and two exhausts. The 4-4-2 started out as an option package for the Olds F-85 and Cutlass models sold in the United States beginning with the 1964 model year. It became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, and then it once again reverted to an option package through the mid 1970's.
The late sixties and early seventies Olds 4-4-2's and the Buick GS (another one of my favorites), to me, are what I look for in a muscle car. And, what is that? They need to have quad lights, a hood scoop on a big, long beefy hood that comes to a point, a large gaping grill and a humongous rear bumper, thin brake lights, and of course, stripes. Gotta have a stripe, you know!
There are lots of sweet muscle cars out there. Some sporty, some quick and light, some loud and fast. Some are hugely popular and some not so well known. But to me, few stand out like the incomparable Olds 4-4-2. Everything a muscle car could and should be.
Cody Facteau is a 16-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV show is Top Gear (BBC), hobbies are Legos and PlayStation. Career goals? What else, cars!