Suckers to the side. On their near-to-brilliant Def Jam debut Yo, Bum Rush the Show, Public Enemy dropped an ear beating called “You’re Gonna Get Yours.” Equal parts tribute to the Oldsmobile 98 and comment on racial profiling, YGGY was a four-minute sonic head kick rivaling Guns and Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” for most intensely vivid album (and career) opener in the history of popular music. Two decades later, it’s a little ragged around the edges, but has still aged a bit better than this decade-older Oldsmobile 98, which could use a shot of whatever Chuck D put in his iced tea back in 1987. Not running, but plush enough to be quite the project car.
A seven-liter V8 with under 200 horsepower? You are correct, sir. Cadillac’s 425ci, V8 was well into its swan song by 1979, soon to be replaced with the next decade’s more economical Caddy 368. Still, both carburated (L33) and injected (L35) versions of the ‘79 engine rendered 320 lbs-ft of torque, more than enough to launch this well-preserved Fleetwood limousine headlong into a Palm Springs micro-burst, unbeknownst to the aging Los Angeles cabaret singer tucking into a fully loaded hero sandwich inside the rear compartment. Numbers match, not that they wouldn’t.
[via Auto Trader Classics]
In a shotgun-spray ad campaign that ran during the late ’70s gas crunch, GM insisted its Chevrolet Chevette would, “drive you happy.” I last drove a Chevette sometime in the late ’90s. It was an angry little sky-blue job that, for a reason unknown to me, carried a sombrero and a beachball in the hatchback. I had to white-knuckle it along a winding, rolling secondary road in the New York suburbs during a snowstorm. Pulling into the driveway, I signaled for a vodka the size of a Janitor in a Drum canister just so I might peel myself down off the ceiling.
Still, having a survivor like this one would probably augment a nice, sunny day spent singing along with Jonathan Richman on the AM band, crackling from that community college radio station three towns over, and taking long pulls on a bottle of diet Dr. Pepper.
Every man, woman and child in the US in 1979 had an uncle who drove one of these sparsely optioned Impalas or Caprices. My own uncle of this sort was named Morris. He lived in Shrewsbury, Mass and kept a garden in which he grew pumpkins the size of John Candy.
After three years in the weeds, the Hurst logo returned to Oldsmobile dealers’ lots with a version of the Cutlass Calais W-30. (The re-introduction of the 442 badge was still a year away, so this Hurst/Olds is kind of a malaise-era orphan.) And although it was the first of GM’s H/O-designated engines that didn’t displace 455ci, it was the only one of GM’s ubiquitous A-body models in 1979 with a 350 V8 — though it only produced 170 hp. So says Wikipedia:
This H/O was built by Oldsmobile at the Lansing plant and didn’t get sent off for additional work at Hurst Performance Products or Cars and Concepts. For this reason, there would be no possible loophole around the then current EPA regulations.
Plus, you could get any color you wanted as long as it was white or black. And don’t forget the Hurst dual-gate automatic shifters, which may have actually had a purpose.