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1968 Oldsmobile Hurst - Mopar Mania - Straight Scoop

Gearhead News

Photography by Courtesy Of The NHRA, Carlisle Productions

"The H/O's original design was conceived by Jack 'Doc' Watson as a personal car for George Hurst. Oldsmobile liked the car so well that they commissioned Jack Watson to head up the limited production project at Demmer's Plant. Both Watson and Olds hi-perf man Dale Smith were on hand for the tests.

"The power plant for the H/O is basically a Toronado 455 incher. Special cylinder heads, camshaft, distributor curve and carburetor jetting, as well as standard forced air induction, contribute to the engine's 390-horsepower output. A Turbo Hydramatic transmission is modified for complete manual control through a standard Hurst Dual-Gate shifter. The car incorporates a heavy-duty rearend assembly with a 3.91:1 gear ratio, as well as heavy-duty 4-4-2 suspension and rear stabilizer. Also standard are front wheel disc brakes and Goodyear G70x14 Polyglas tires. Jack pointed out to us that the H/O that he had brought down was 'as delivered' with the exception of the addition of a set of Hooker headers and a pair of Goodyear seven-inch slicks

"Eagerly I jumped into the H/O for my first run and, after a couple of burnouts to heat up the tires, pulled into the staging beams ... Even after annihilating the tires off the line, we came up with a respectable 13.39 and 107.39 mph. Several more 13.30 runs were produced in quick succession

"We allowed the brakes to cool for an hour, then Watson climbed into the H/O to see what he could do. After easing it out of the gate and keeping tire spin at a minimum, Watson ran a 13.08 and 107.88 mph. When he returned to the line and learned of his times, he immediately staged up for one final "banzai" attempt on the quarter-mile. The 3,680-pound Cutlass lunged out of the gate like gangbusters and 12.97 seconds later tripped the finish line beam, while recording a top speed of 108.17. Not bad, not bad at all considering that the track was still damp."

Specs'68 Olds Hurst

Engine size: 455ci

Horsepower: 390

Transmission: Three-speed automatic with Hurst shifter

Vehicle weight: 3,685 pounds

Quarter-mile time: Stock tires-13.85 seconds, 102 mph (as tested in 1968 for Motor Trend); slicks-12.97 seconds, 108.17 mph (as tested in 1968 for Car Craft)

In & Out List

In: World of Outlaws racing at night
Out: Drifting

In: Two-piece spinner chrome wheels
Out: Two-piece spinner chrome wheels

In: High-lift, mechanical roller camshafts
Out: Stamped steel rocker arms
In: Shaved door handles
Out: Big rear spoilers

In: Silver paint jobs
Out: Iridescent paint jobs

In: New big musclecars like the Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300
Out: Rounded, water balloon-shaped car designs

In: Supercharging
Out: Blowers that protrude over the top of the car

Roland Leong Why Roland Leong Continues to Set Records for Drag Racing PerformanceRoland Leong is truly a pioneer of the sport of drag racing. The Hawaii native has been involved in quarter-mile racing since the early days of the sport as an owner/tuner. In 1965, Leong partnered with Don Prudhomme (before he had earned his "Snake" nickname) to win both the Winternationals and the historic U.S. Nationals. Leong repeated the feat a year later, with the late Mike Snively at the wheel. Leong has worked with many great NHRA drivers from Prudhomme and Snively to Danny Ongais, Mike Dunn, Rick Johnson, Johnny West, Jim White, Jim Epler, and Ron Capps. Leong, a spry 62, admits he has always had a passion for drag racing and started toying with racecars at 12 years old. The veteran tuner began his second go-around at calling the shots for 14-time NHRA winner Ron Capps after the Joliet, Illinois, race in May of 2004. In their first stint together (May 1997-1999), Capps and Leong won seven races and finished second in the '98 Funny Car points race. In this Q&A, Leong talks about growing up and racing in Hawaii, working for Prudhomme, and his goals for the 2004 NHRA season.

CC: How did you get your start in racing?

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