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      Muscle Cars: Muscle Cars: American Motors - Hurst Performance-Hurst's Image Machines
    Posted on Tuesday, October 12 @ 20:58:34 UTC by Cars
      Muscle Cars Hurst's Image Machines American Motors got little respect during the early muscle car years, primarily because it offered nothing in the way of a high-performance automobile until the release of the AMX and Javelin.

    A handful of 343 V8-powered Rogues were built in 1968, but they had no impact on either street or strip. This created quite a dilemma for the struggling company from Kenosha, Wisconsin. The entire car-buying public had gone performance-mad, and American Motors had precious little to offer consumers. That changed in 1969. By teaming up with Hurst Performance (of shifter fame), AMC was able to unleash a surprisingly fast pocket rocket. Dubbed the Hurst SC/Rambler, it was a compact car powered by AMC's largest engine: the 315-horse 390 from the AMX. While it may have given up some horsepower, it weighed in at barely 3,000 pounds. This gave it commendable performance; Road Test magazine clocked one at 14.14 at 100.44 mph in the quarter-mile. Like each of its muscle car brothers, there was more to the SC/Rambler than sheer acceleration. Its Borg-Warner 4-speed transmission had a Hurst shifter, and a 3.54:1 Twin Grip rear and functional ram-air hood came standard. While if was fairly sedate on the inside (gray vinyl seats with red, white, and blue headrests and a Sun tach on the steering column), its paint schemes were another story. Initially, a run of five hundred cars was planned. All were white with red sides and blue stripes running the length of the vehicle. The upward-tilting hood scoop had the word "AIR" written on top, and the engine's displacement was spelled out in big, bold numbers right in front of the scoop. The wheels were AMC's five-spoke design painted the same blue as the stripes. This was known as the "A" paint scheme. Because the first five hundred copies of the SC/Rambler were snapped up so fast, a second run was ordered. These had substantially toned-down paint (the "B" scheme), although they were hardly what you would call subtle. Only 1,512 were built. That same year, Hurst was called upon to help out on a number of AMX Super/Stock drag cars. In keeping with AMC's patriotic image, some left the factory in red, white, and blue paint jobs, although others were plain white. Fifty-four of them were built and all had dash plaques with their serial numbers on them (they were built sequentially from 12,567 to 12,620). All came with special 390s with 340 horse-power. Helping boost their output were dual Holley 650s on an aluminum Edelbrock cross-ram intake. The cylinder heads were specially propped by Crane Cams and compression was a very un-AMC-like 12.3:1. Carrying away the fumes was a set of Doug Thorley headers. A 4.44:1 Twin Grip was standard, as was a set of traction bars. Being race cars, they were delivered without many of the usual conveniences, such as heaters and radios. The base price was $5,979, a staggering amount for a Nash. For 1970 the SC/Rambler gave way to the Rebel Machine, an intermediate supercor that had its own version of AMC's wild red, white, and blue coors (although you could order one in the coor of your choice). With a wheelbase of 114 inches, the Rebel Machine made 340 horsepower, the highest horsepower rating ever for an AMC street car. Of course, only American Motors would brag in its advertising about how slow this car was: Incidentally, if you have delusions of entering the Daytona 500 with the Machine, or challenging people at random, the Machine is not that fast. You should know that. For instance, it is not as fast on the get-away as a 427 Corvette or a Hemi, but it is faster on the getaway than a Volkswagen, a slow freight train, or your old man's Cadillac. Odd stuff, but if you liked AMCs, you needed a good sense of humor. The reality was that the Machine was quite capable of keeping up with some pretty impressive pieces. With the 4-speed transmission and 3.54 gears (3.91s were an option), if was capable of mid 14-second ETs. Production seems to have been 2,326 units, with the first thousand getting the shocking patriotic paint. As mentioned earlier, the body of the car could be any coor you liked, but you had to take a flat-black hood and silver stripes. American Motors wasn't the only company to call on Hurst back then. Grand Spaulding Dodge had it build just under fifty 440-powered Darts in 1968, a full year before Chrysler did it at the factory. (After the muscle car era ended, Grand Spaulding offered its customers the GSS, which was a supercharged 340 Demon.) But it was Oldsmobile that really hit pay dirt with the aftermarket supplier. In Hurst, it found the perfect solution to General Motors' displacement limit—Oldsmobie could not build a 455-powered intermediate, but that didn't mean that someone else couldn't do it for them. The plan was to build an executive hot rod; to clear up any misconceptions from the start, the Hurst/Olds (H/0) was built from the Cutlass, not the 4-4-2. If was the brainchild of four individuals: George Hurst and Jack "Doc" Watson from the aftermarket side, and Olds engineers John Beltz and Ted Louckes. Power came from a modified Toronado 455 that was rated at 390 horses at 5000 rpm and 500 Ibs.-ft. of torque at 3600, thanks to a high-lift, long-duration camshaft, free-flowing cylinder heads, a recurved distributor, and a rejetted carb. Naturally, each car was fitted with the under-the-bumper Force-Air Induction system. Being Oldsmobile hot rods, they were built with automatic transmissions and fitted with Hurst Dual Gate shifters. Rounding out the mechanical package were a heavy-duty suspension, rear end assembly with standard 3.91 gears and brakes, a higher-capacity cooling system, and G70x14-inch Goodyear Polyglas tires. To separate the H/Os from the more plebeian Cutlasses, the new cars sported a Peruvian silver-and-black paint scheme, distinctive Hurst/Olds emblems, and a specially trimmed instrument panel. Only 515 were ever built, although close to 2,000 were ordered. While a paper shuffle helped fool the brass, the 455s were actually installed on a factory assembly line. This fact flies in the face of legend, which has it that they were assembled at John Demmer's converted foundry on the corner of Bollard and Oakland in Lansing, Michigan. The work done at Demmer Special Machinery included paint and installation of trim, such as the wooden dash. (According to Doc Watson, in addition to the 515 H/Os made available to the general public, there were also four built with manual transmissions—one for him, another for John Demmer's son, and two others.)
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