This Hurst GP has 126,700...
This Hurst GP has 126,700 miles, but you would never know it to look at it. The finished result is stunning. Owner Mike Pemberton jokingly says, "It handles like a tuna boat, but it's my tuna boat! Seriously, it accelerates great and is a blast to drive."
Sometimes opportunities present themselves in the most improbable places. Back in 2007, when retired police officer Mike Pemberton and his wife, Debbie, of Gardnerville, Nevada, began to frequent a restaurant for breakfast at Sharkey's Casino, little did he know that it would lead to this '67 Hurst Grand Prix convertible.
Mike and his wife got to know the casino's general manager, Jerry Lane, who also managed the restaurant and consulted in the casino industry. Jerry had met Cliff Swartz, the son of Rosalie Brewstein, years before via his casino ties. Rosalie was George Hurst's secretary and she had purchased the '67 Grand Prix after the '67 event season. Despite the 428 H.O. breaking and being replaced with a 400, she drove the Pontiac for the next several years and then relegated it to the easy life of a second car, storing it at her New Jersey home. In the late '80s, her son, Cliff, was in need of a vehicle out in Reno, so Mom offered up the Grand Prix. Cliff and Jerry flew to New Jersey and drove the GP back to Nevada.
After enjoying top-down cruising for a few years, Cliff had the dream but not the means to restore the rare Pontiac, so Jerry decided to pick up the gauntlet and buy it. He located a 428 engine and sent it out for rebuilding and had a restoration shop begin on the body. His best intentions were met with lots of bad luck, however. The engine shop was raided and shut down by the DEA-despite an extended court battle, the engine was gone. The body shop stopped working on the Pontiac and stored it outside for over a year with only primer to protect the sheetmetal. Liberation of bolt-on components from midnight auto-parts shoppers only made things worse. Finally, Jerry got it to his daughter's house, where it sat outside for a couple more years, and then into a storage container, where it hibernated for 18 years.
Mike recalls, "When Jerry started describing the car to me I told myself, sure, sure, sure. I'd never heard of a '67 Hurst Grand Prix convertible. I listened intently, however, and the next day he brought in pictures and documentation. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted."
Jerry wanted to restore it but didn't have the cash, so the two briefly discussed forming a partnership. The numbers didn't crunch favorably, so Mike decided to pass on the offer. By May of 2008, however, Jerry was ready to sell the GP outright, so Mike bought it and got to work.
Norris Autobody in Gardnerville was chosen to do the bodywork. Once at the shop, the front clip was unbolted, the drivetrain removed, and the body was separated from the frame. Chemical stripping and sanding of the shell revealed the rear quarters would have to be replaced, and the floorpans on the driver rear and passenger front would require repair, but the trunk floor was saveable. Since it's a '67 Grand Prix convertible, body parts were not easy to come by, so Mike purchased a parts car for donor metal.
Here is how Mike found the...
Here is how Mike found the rare '67 Hurst Grand Prix convertible, in a storage unit in Fallon, Nevada.
DuPont 615 etching primer was used to protect the bare metal, and intense cutting, welding, and bodywork ensued. Applications of DuPont 2K urethane primer and block-sanding followed until the body was straight. Next came a coat of urethane sealer; then three coats of DuPont G9900 ChromaBase Super Jet Black basecoat were applied and wet-sanded after drying. Three coats of Hurst Gold in ChromaPremier base were sprayed on the sides of the GP; then House of Kolor UMF01Ultra Goldflake was applied over that. Finally, DuPont 72500 Premium Appearance urethane clear was sprayed four times over the whole body. Wet-sanding was performed with a progression of grits from 800 to 2,000, and 3M products were used for polishing.
Since the original 376-horse 428 H.O. engine was lost decades before, Mike searched for a suitable replacement. "I still wanted to use as many correctly coded parts for the engine as possible," he says. He bought a virgin assembled '67 S/R 428 four-bolt-main short-block, date-coded November 1967, from a collector.