1980’s History Lesson

 

Although 1983 is not thought of as a time of fast cars, it was a new beginning of sorts.  Just a few short years prior, in the mid 1970’s a 455ci V8 struggled to achieve 200hp. However, by 1983 there were several engines that produced nearly as much power with far fewer cubic inches. One example is the Oldsmobile 307 which in H/O tune could churn out 180hp and 245ft/lbs of torque, one of the strongest engines of the period. As evident from the list below the Hurst/Olds was quite competitive compared to the other performance cars produced in 1983, and in fact for a few months in the beginning of the 1983 model year it was among the fasted cars produced by GM.* Granted, none of these times are impressive by today’s standards or the standards of the late ’60s and early 70’s. But keep in mind this was the era of low compression, generally “lazy” camshaft grinds, low octane, and computer controlled carburetion, yet most of these cars on the list could achieve 20mpg or better with a fraction of the emissions and could achieve quarter-mile and 0-60 times that were approaching the performance of that hallowed period in American automobile history. So as you look at the 1983 and 1984 Hurst/Olds, consider this time as a beginning of what progressed throughout the 1980’s with the Turbo Buicks, Mustang GTs, and Corvettes all leading directly to the efficient and relatively clean horsepower we enjoy today in the new Shelby Mustang, Corvette, Camaro and Challenger—— and to an even greater degree in your average “grocery-getter” Honda Accord or Toyota Camry……

….Besides, driving an H/O is MUCH cooler than driving an Accord or Camry anyday.

*Although there was technically an ’83 Corvette, it was never a production vehicle. Production was delayed until the ’84 model year.

 

  1983 American Performance Production Cars      
Year and Model 0-60 Quarter Mile    
1984 Hurst/Olds 7.9 16.03   The '84 H/O listed for Information and taken from the July '84 Popular Hot Rodding Article
1983 Hurst/Olds 180hp 8.8 16.7   The '83 H/O info taken from the Apr '83 Car and Driver
1983 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 H.O. * L69 190hp 7.4 15.55   *H.O. was an L69 and was a mid -Year intro Mar '83
1983 Mercury Capri 175hp 7.0 15.71    
1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS ** (L69) 180hp 8.1 15.9   ** 165hp in '83, 180hp(L69) in '84-this was likely a 1984 vehicle
1983 Ford Mustang GT 175hp 7.4 16.06    
1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 165hp 8.3 16.3    
1983 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 175hp 8.5 16.44    
1983 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z 142hp 8.22 16.48    
1983 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe 9.7 16.9    
1983 Dodge Omni GLH   9.3 17    
1983 Chevrolet Citation XII  9.8 17.1    
1983 Dodge Charger Shelby   9.9 17.3    
1983 Buick Riviera T Type 10.8 17.9    
1983 Buick Century T Type 14.1 19.5    

 Note: All E.T. and 0-60 times were gleaned from road test information from various automotive magazines of the time.