1967 Hurst Hairy Olds
Photo: Oldsmobile Club of Iowa archives.
Re-bodied for the 1967 season, Hairy continued to impress the crowds with speeds now exceeding 185 mph! Remember, Hairy was achieving these speeds while spinning all four tires! An understatement would be to say that this thing must have been quite the handful to drive! Can you say torque steer? Brass ones? Obviously it would take an experienced and talented driver to handle this machine. Enter "Gentleman" Joe Schubeck. Joe had been successfully campaigning Top Fuel dragsters and was chosen for the job. When first approached by George Hurst and "Doc" Watson about piloting Hairy, Joe was a bit reluctant. Citing concerns about the inherent handling problems of such a four wheel drive machine combined with the dual throttles, dual shifters and general safety, his mind was quickly changed when he was told that Linda Vaughn would be part of the program!
Photo from the Joe Schubeck collection.
Joe Schubeck and Linda Vaughn. Note Joe's custom "tuxedo" firesuit.
Most of the initial handling problems were worked out on the 1966 Hurst Hairy Olds. Since the Toronado drive shafts were connected to stock Toronado hubs and control arms, it was discovered that with the horsepower of the blown 425 and the traction provided by the slicks, the steering was bending under full acceleration. This was causing a severe tow-in condition. With a few well placed braces in the steering, combined with an alignment with a tow-out setting to compensate when accelerating, handling was more predictable and thereby more controllable. However as the picture below will attest, that even with all the refinements for the 1967 version, Hairy was still hairy!
After an encounter with a guard rail.
The final pass for both Joe and the Hurst Hairy Olds came in Buffalo, NY. When the front engine died during a full throttle pass, the steering went back to its unloaded toe-out setting, causing the car to go out of control. Hairy went off the track and was stopped by only a cable that acted as a fence between the track and spectators. After that, Hairy was returned to the Hurst Corp. Joe went on to devote his attention to his company; Lakewood Industries. His hydro-formed bellhousings have become the standard in clutch containment for driver safety. Today Joe operates Schubeck Racing Engine Components in Las Vegas, NV
Thanks to Dennis Mothershed for his help with this article.
HAIRY LIVES!Click HERE
For tech specifications, see the 1966 Hurst Hairy Olds page by clickingHERE