The Hurst Performance Research...
The Hurst Performance Research Corporation gave buyers a chance to transform an otherwise typical Grand Prix into a unique treasure with its SSJ. Available on a white or black body, the SSJ package included Fire Frost Gold hood and roof accents, a hand-applied gold accent stripe, gold-painted Rally wheels, and an electric sunroof. Available from 1970 to 1972, it appears that less than 500 units were produced during that time. This '71 SSJ belongs to Larry Cosek of Silver Lakes, Kansas.
With the introduction of the...
With the introduction of the boat-tail rear in 1971, Fire Frost Gold was also added to the decklid to accentuate the new styling. This treatment would carry over into 1972.
For the first installment of our three-part series, we explored Grand Prix history from 1969 through 1972. But sharp readers may have noticed we have yet to discuss what is today one of the most recognized Grand Prix models from that era-the Hurst SSJ. For the second part of our series, we will do just that. Follow along as we elaborate on Hurst's optional SSJ package and garner a little inside information from an individual within the company.
The Hurst Performance Research Corporation gained notoriety in the mid-'60s producing factory-installed and aftermarket manual and automatic transmission shifter components. But in the late-'60s, Hurst's popularity soared due in part to its partnership with Oldsmobile and the modifications made to models like the 4-4-2 that resulted in the Hurst Olds and other musclecars.
It wasn't until Pontiac advertising executive Jim Wangers visited Hurst one day in his own '69 Grand Prix that the SSJ would come to be. Wangers' white Grand Prix had its raised hood area and roof accented in gold, mimicking the Bobcat paint scheme offered by Royal Pontiac. It was from this that the SSJ appearance package was developed for the '70 model year.
The '70 SSJ Package
The base SSJ package added $1,147.25 to the selling price of a '70 Grand Prix. It included Fire Frost Gold body accents and Rally wheels, an electric sunroof, a body-colored padded vinyl half-top, and specific SSJ identification. The package was available on both the Grand Prix J and the SJ, but vinyl accent stripes or a Cordova top could not be ordered. Virtually any other regular-production options were available at extra cost, but Rally wheels were required.
Exterior colors were Polar White or Starlight Black. Interior colors were limited to black, brown, gold, saddle, or sandalwood-ultimately depending upon seating type and surface. Finished Grand Prixs were then shipped to Hurst, where they received the SSJ conversion before being shipped to the selling dealer for delivery.
The '71-'72 SSJ Package
The same basic components were included in the SSJ package for 1971-1972. As we learned in Part I of our series, however, the optional SJ package began including vinyl accent striping in 1971. Because the SSJ package provided its own hand-applied gold pinstripe, availability of the SSJ package was limited to the Grand Prix J for the next two years.
Exterior color choices were Cameo White (which replaced Polar White) or Starlight Black. Both were again trimmed in Fire Frost Gold-which now extended onto the decklid to accentuate the boat-tail styling. Interior color recom-mendations were black, white, or sandalwood in bench- or bucket-type seating. Mandatory options included Rally wheels, white-lined tires, and body-colored sport mirrors.
Hurst sales literature for 1971 boasts of several extra-cost options for the SSJ. Although Rally wheels were required, gold-painted 14-inch Honeycomb wheels and aluminum five-spoke American Racing wheels with gold centers in either 14- or 15-inch sizes were also available. BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires up to size GR60-15 were yet another option.
Other available equipment included a Hurst Auto/Stick shifter (available with bench-seat only), Hurst's exclusive front-brake lock called Roll/Control, and a digital computer for calculating vehicle speed, economy, and performance. Unpublished options consisted of complete engine blueprinting, high-performance tuning similar to that offered by Royal Pontiac, a theft-deterrent system, a black-and-white television, and even a mobile telephone.