It really is hard to believe that Mark Beyer’s one-of-a-kind ’72 Hurst SSJ Grand Prix spen
Back in the ’40s and ’50s, publishing companies would often take out ads in magazines such as Boy’s Life and others for flashy go-karts, custom bicycles, and other items that would appeal to youngsters and capture their imaginations. The item advertised would usually be priced well out of reach for most parents to give their kids, though they all would sell you an informational brochure for a small fee.
The truth be told, these brochures were really what the company was selling. In the rare instance that someone would actually buy the item advertised, they would simply have one or two built and deliver them, though that was not the intent of the exercise—it was to sell the idea of one.
Mark Beyer’s ’72 Hurst SSJ Grand Prix captured his imagination in much the same way—except he made it a reality in every sense of the word. Nearly every high-tech gadget that was offered for this car from Hurst was added on, the Hurst ads for the optional equipment mesmerized him much like those early post-war ads did—a radio telephone, a “dual bi-polar” radar detector, onboard television, and many of the other whiz-bang features that George Hurst could dream up became Mark’s quest to locate.
The Hurst and SSJ fender badges are mounted above this unusual lock mechanism that arms th
The story begins in 1999. Mark had already been a fan of SSJ Grand Prixs and had done an immense amount of research on them. In addition to owning a Grand Prix from every year up to ’72, he also owned two other SSJs, both white with gold.
Rumors started popping up in the Pontiac community about a large cache of 700-plus cars, about 400 of which were Pontiacs that were hidden on a piece of property near Columbus, Ohio. The cars were covered with tarps and were not visible from the road. This story sounds way too far-fetched to be true, but your author was a first-hand witness to the spectacle, and to say it was surreal doesn’t even cover it. There were rows and rows of ’57 and ’58 Bonnevilles, ’55-’57 Safaris, heavily-optioned ’60s-era Bonneville convertibles, 2+2s, ambulances, GTOs, Judges, Firebirds—all too mind-boggling to believe, but they were there, including one special Grand Prix.
The long-hood, short-deck propertions of the G-Body Grand Prix are clearly evident. Note t
“I heard of the so-called ‘junkyard’ in Ohio, and also I knew Joe Evans and Dan Gregory, who bought the lot and I asked if I could look at what was there,” Mark explained. “I saw an unusual ’72 GP painted a ’71 color, Bluestone Gray. Then I noticed the SSJ emblems, and knowing Grand Prixs checked it out further.” He added, “After literally curling up the hood to get to the Fisher Tag, I looked for a paint code. All I saw was - - (dash-dash). Then I knew this was not a normal GP. I called PHS and verified that it was indeed a legitimate SSJ and immediately bought it from Joe and Dan.”
Other strange things popped up, including a full vinyl top that was not like the regular SSJ landau half-top design and was also not like a factory Grand Prix top, either. The moonroof was consistent with the Hurst-installed unit, and it also had a blue leather interior that may have been added by Hurst but there was no documentation to support the theory. It also had painted pinstriping and a vehicle alarm system, both installed by Hurst—very unusual stuff, indeed. Mark paid $1,850 for it, and after spending another $150 to get it dragged out of the mud, he brought it home.
The original YC-code 250-horse 455 four-barrel engine was rebuilt by Humphrey’s Engine Reb
He then went through the package from PHS and noticed the Special Paint option on the Pontiac invoice, which coincided with the double dash on the cowl tag. The invoice for the Grand Prix showed that it was delivered to Jim Herrim Pontiac in Findlay, Ohio. Subsequent research showed that it was later sold by Marte Pontiac in Columbus, so it appears that it spent its whole life in Ohio. It ended up in the Columbus auto graveyard in 1977 with a mere 69,700 original miles.
This super-rare dealer accessory ski rack, which Mark displays at car shows with a vintage
The custom moonroof was an SSJ exclusive, having been engineered and installed by Hurst.
A cassette tape player is mounted at the rear of the console, facing the front of the car.