|The following article was written by Steve LaCoe for the June 1988 H/OCA Newsletter:|
When the time arrived for the design and introduction of the 1969 H/O, the people at Hurst came to Chuck Miller. He is the owner of Styline Customs in River Rouge, Michigan, and has created many National Award winners and special show vehicles. He designed and built the "Little Red Wagon" which was seen in many magazines, and made the tour with Autorama. He also made a number of "Zingers." These were 1/2 scale cars with full scale engines. Chuck made the first Corvette station wagon for a drummer at Mo-Town in Detriot.Along with his custom building, Chuch also paints the cars that GM and Chrysler for presentations at auto shows.A very likeable and personable gentleman, he exactly fits the image for a man to build a "Gentleman's Hot Rod." Recently Chuck spent a couple of hours with me and recalled the making of the 1969 Hurst/Olds.
In the beginning, Hurst brought a 442 to Styline along with their drawings and ideas. The said "Here it is, make one." Along with this came the formula for the Firefrost paint and decals to be used in the transformation. The drawings called for a recessed (frenched) blacked-out grille. To accomplish this, Chuck used the diffusers from one of the flourescent light fixtures. This design was later revised to the stock grille painted flat black.
The hood scoops were originally made of metal, but later for the production cars, fiberglass was used. The lettering on the scoops were to be in black, god and red. As we know, the final production cars were gold striped with black. The prototype Hurst also had two small spoilers at the rear of the hood, just in front of the windshield, to further deflect the wind. These were rejected by Hurst, and ended up on Chuck Millers personal 442. His 442 was eventually painted in the Hurst scheme, except the color was charcoal with silver stripes.
The rear spoiler was the most striking feature of the car. Known as "Elephant Tusks", they extended across the trunk and then down the sides of the rear fenders. They were designed by a man named Gene Baker. Gene also designed the "Ramber Scrambler".
The gold stripe on the center of the car was also quite unusual. It extended over the hood, over the top, again down through the rear window and down onto the trunk. The glass was tinted on the inside in gold to match the stripe. As attractive as it was, it was later discarded because of fears that the Department of Transportation might not approve. Now-days, ot probably would have been okay, at least on the rear window.
With everything complete, the car was shipped back to be approved by both Hurst and Oldsmobile. They said the front was fine, but the rear was a little too radical. The car was brought back to Styline, the spoiler removed, the holes welded shut and repainted. This time Hurst sent along their own spoiler, and this was was finally accepted. Again the car was sent back to Oldsmobile and this time they all agreed, This is it!
|Notice the 1968 logo license on the 1st two photo's below.|
That photo was probably taken in the winter of 1968/1969, early in the 1969 H/O prototype stages due to the fact of the 1968 H/O plate logo and the Cragar type rims whereas the regular rims were not in production yet.
In the 1st & 2nd pictures, you can see the gold striping/tinting on the rear window.
It does have the 'Elephant Tusk' rear spoiler named for the fact of how it protrudes doen the side of the rear quaters. It also has a 'light up' Hurst/Olds logo in the center of the rear spoiler above the trunk lid. This was to light up upon breaking, an early version of a 3rd brake light!!!
|The following 2 photo's are from the magazine 'Collectible Automobile'. This prototype was photographed at GM's Tech Center on December 6, 1968. The rear fin and front scoop are different from the prototype photo's above, also notice the gold stripe in the rear window!!! I'm not exactly sure if this version of the prototype came before or after the above version.|
|I believe the following photo's can be considered a late prototype of the car, these are photo's used for publicity and promo pics of the car. None of the production
vehicles were available with hood locks which made buyers wonder where they were when they went to buy the car since the publicity
shots of the car were show with them. I have no idea what happened to this car but I have heard that some owners had the hood locks
installed on the car after they were purchased.|
Also notice the 3rd picture below, The "H/O 455" Hood Scoop decal is not quite exact as the production vehicles and also notice the pinstripe at the bottom of the front upper stripe as it ends at the bumper, production cars did not have that. Also, notice the grille is outlined in silver paint, some early cars have this but it is again not known if individuals did this on thier own accord.