The Hurst
Hairy Olds

The most famous '67 Oldsmobile of all time!

RELATED LINKS

Reprinted here with permission from the author, the following story was originally published in the January 1999 issue of "Journey With Olds", the official newsletter of the Oldsmobile Club of America.
To learn more about subscribing to JWO, please click here.
The Hairy Hurst Olds Story
By Dennis Mothershed and Joe Schubeck
I Des Moines, Iowa
Copyright - Oldsmobile Club of America (1999)
1967 Hurst Hairy Olds

Webmaster's note: The original photo published with this article was that of the '66 Hurst Hairy Olds smokin' off the line at Riverside Int'l Raceway in 1966, and is registered to Jeri Aladeff, who sells them  at show and events. Consequently,  I was not allowed to post it here, so I've replaced it with the photo you see above of the '67 version, provided by the author of this article, Dennis Mothershed. (Click image to enlarge.)

IN THE SECOND HALF OF 1965 George Hurst wanted another exhibition car to complement the overbooked Hemi Under Glass 'Cuda. This wheel stander was a great asset to Hurst and did multiple shows per week. This time George wanted to do something outrageous. Folks were altering wheel bases, cutting off tops, going to tubular frames and creating fiberglass bodies and other body components. He wanted to do something that no one else had done yet. He did not wanted compete with his customers, but to put on real good exhibition show for the fans and racers nationwide. This car had to be the undisputed king of exhibition, drag racing at its finest ever.

Enter our old friend Doe Watson, Shifty the Doctor. While brainstorming with George, the idea of "Hairy" was born. They would take the "Hot" New Olds 442 body and install not one but two Toronado blown 425 cubic inch motors into a totally new tubular frame with Toro final drives. They would have the first 4x4 all-wheel drive Super Smoking-Super fast funny car type exhibition car in the world. They did it in very short order. By March 5th of 1966 the car was ready for the annual Bakersfield Fuel and Gas Meet.

The principal builder helping Doc with the project was Dave Landrith. Major contributions were also made by Paul Pheips, Bob Riggle, Ray Sissner and Dick Chrysler. A young research engineer, John DeJohns came up with the idea of circulating 33 quarts of coolant needed for the engines through the tubular frames. This is a lot more capacity than two radiators would be capable of. I'll bet that more than one person leaned against the frame after a run and got stung by the heat generated by two blown 425's.

The engines pulled together the best talent of the day. Ed Iskenderian made special cam shafts for the car. Don Alderson of Milodon made the oiling system and custom rod and main bearings. Mickey Thompson made special forged pistons and roller rockers. Al Sharp made special front covers, intake manifolds and valve covers. Teleflex made special cable controls for the driver. Scheifer manufactured special magnetos for the monster motors. They modified the stock Toro axle shafts to withstand the additional torque. The Head Wrench keeping this monster going was Bob "Animal" Lathrum of Cleveland, Ohio.

"Gentleman Joe" Schubeck
and Miss Hurst Linda Vaughn

The car was an instant success. When it pulled into any pit area in the specially built "Hurst Hairy Hauler", people gathered around the car so it was hard to unload and get ready for the next exhibition run. Piloting the new ride took some real talent. A handsome young man of Top Fuel fame was chosen for the job. Gentleman Joe Schubeck in his tuxedo-styled fire suit gave the fans a very exciting show. When Doe Watson and George Hurst approach Schubeck about driving "Hairy", they told him about the dual throttles, dual gear shifts and dual parachutes. Joe argued that the car wouldn't be very safe to drive and said he thought he would stick with the Top Fuel car; they told him that Linda Vaughn would be part of the pit crew. Without blinking he immediately said, "When do we get started?"

I personally only saw Hairy once. In July of 1966 Hairy came to my hometown track of Minnesota Drag-ways. Hairy impressed this 16 year old and I've bought a lot of Oldsmobile's in my life so far. Hairy left huge black marks all the way down the track while billowing smoke that seemed to take forever to clear. Then he turned it around at the far end of the track and stopped at the finish line to start another 1,000 foot burn out to the starting line. Whew, what a show!

Hairy was unpredictable at first. Under full acceleration the massive torque would drive the front slicks around the ball joint pivot point of the steering and bend the drag link and tie rod ends, causing a toe-in situation in the alignment. This made it uncontrollable. After experimenting with a few braces on the steering components, the crew set up the front end with a predetermined toe-out" alignment to compensate when under full acceleration.

The final show for Joe and Hairy was in Buffalo, New York. While making a Hot Pass the magneto on the front engine quit. This of course cut all power to the front end allowing the alignment to revert back to the toe-out setting, which was not conducive to good handling. The car went off the track onto wet grass and headed towards the spectators who gathered against the fence. As they cheered Joe's performance the crowd had no idea of the real danger they were in. Only a cable stretched down the length of the track kept the situation from getting ugly.

Shortly afterwards the crew took the car back to Doc in Detroit and turned it in. Possibly it was a full-time obligation to produce his newly-designed Lakewood Bellhousing or it was to escape another Hairy ride from Hell that influenced Joe Schubeck to resign the post piloting "Hairy". Nevertheless, the next week he began devoting full-time to his own company, Lakewood Industries of Cleveland, Ohio.

Where is Hairy today? This question is still asked by many. The story has been told by Doe Watson that they cut Hairy up and buried him in a secret grave. Does anyone nowhere this grave is? Or perhaps the greatest Oldsmobile exhibition car is still hidden away in some dark building. We just don't know. Can Hairy be duplicated? You betcha! Is anyone interested in recreating Harry? This would sure look nice next to the Hurst Hemi Under Class Cuda that is still running today entertaining our kids and crowds around American drag strips.

Today Joe owns Schubeck Racing Engine Components in Las Vegas. He builds the finest valve frame components known to man. Would he gamble and drive a re-created Hairy? I would sure like to find out. When asked this question recently Joe said, "Where’s it at? Sure I would like to do it again!" (Pictured on the left photo are "Gentleman Joe" Schubeck, the driver of the Hairy Hurst Olds on the left with "Animal" Bob Lathrum, Chief Mechanic of Hairy Hurst Olds.   The photo was taken at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Columbus, Ohio in September 1998.)

A special thanks to Joe Alhadeff for the super photo shot of the 1966 version at Riverside International Raceways. The model kit was reissued last year. Hairy was on the cover of the May 1966 edition of Hot Rod Magazine. This issue featured a "phantom" see-through shot of Hairy. This showed Joe behind the wheel, while showing the outside body and the engine and frame in partial view. This magazine is truly a collector’s item to have.

Hairy was also featured in ads by most of the contributing manufactures and chosen for the cover of the 1968 Hot Rod Pictorial book, now also a collector’s item. In 1994 artist Tim Frederick did a color print of the 1966 model coming off the starting line. This is a nice gift to give to any Oldsmobile fan or to spoil yourself by having one on your den or office wall. Also a high quality metal die-cast 1966 model will be introduced by a leading toy manufacturer this year and will be available in Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Toys ‘R’ Us and other stores. This will become an immediate collector’s item.

Will I ever see Hairy again? I sure hope so – or are maybe a newer blown twin engined Aurora painted black and gold would draw more attention. For more information and photos log onto http://www.schubeck.com.


Back Home

Car Craft Magazine featured the Hurst Hairy Olds in the February 1967 edition in a two-page centerspread, as part of a story entitled "Sneak Preview: 1967 Funny Cars".

 


Click to enlarge (223K - 1175 X 768)

"Hurst Hairy Olds - (Warminster, Pennsylvania) - Without a doubt the first dual engined '66 model smoker from shifter magnate George Hurst was a hit, but the late season accident and fire completely gutted the big beauty. This month's centerspread depicts the new one from Hurst, a deeply channeled '67 4-4-2 Olds which is really a dual purpose car. The rig is set up to either blaze all four hides and engulf the track in a thick fog of tire smoke, or forget the smoke and play the eight-second racing game. With two avenues of approach and driver "Gentleman" Joe Shubeck at the wheel, you can bet the Hurst "Hairy Olds" will be a big crowd favorite in '67."

Be sure to check out the Hurst Hairy Olds model kits
and diecast collectibles on the Collectibles page!

 

A shot of the '66 version of the Hurst Hairy Olds.

Back Home

Back to the top
| Home |
| My Personal Project - Photo Galleries | Updates/Journal | Sign My Guestbook | View My Guestbook |
| 1967 Specifications - Model ID | Product Specs | General Specs | Engine | Tune-up | Torque |
| Vintage Ads | Vintage Road Tests | Technical How-To's | Owner's Registry | Messageboard | Links |

line.gif (839 bytes)

Want to link to this site? Please use this banner.
OLDSmobility.com - The 1967 Olds Cutlass and 442 Resource

The correct URL for this website is http://www.OLDSmobility.com/)
For questions, comments or suggestions, please e-mail me.
All content on this site is 1999-2008 by OLDSmobility.com/Project 442 Clone, unless otherwise noted. 
All rights reserved.
This page last modified on February 15, 2003.