Jon Stein’s ’72 Hurst Olds Pace Car
Jon Stein grew up in a small central Minnesota town where, at least according to the local teenagers, there was nothing to do on Friday and Saturday nights except to go cruising. And like a lot of the other young men his age, he fell in love with the early muscle cars that were a constant part of the scenery on those late summer evenings. He decided that when he got older, he was going to have the perfect muscle car.
Right after high school Jon joined the military and once he had a few dollars in his pocket, he jumped at his first chance to purchase something “fast”. His first muscle car was a ’72 442 that was an eye catching pumpkin orange and it was fairly quick with a 1970 455 under the hood. Although it wasn’t his perfect car, it did give Jon something to have fun with (read abuse) and it did help him to burn off a lot of extra testosterone. He also grew to appreciate Oldsmobiles, but the 442 had some rust and other issues and after a while Jon decided that it was time to move on and start looking for the car he really wanted.
Thankfully, Jon survived those early years long enough to settle down some and eventually he sold the 442 in favor of a very nice 1972 Hurst Olds Pace Car convertible. Since the car came from New Orleans, it was almost rust free and in fact didn’t look like it needed to be restored at all – though some of the Pace Car stickers were missing.
But Jon is a bit of a perfectionist and he wanted his Olds to be the car of his dreams so went about looking for a restorer to make his Pace Car new again. He eventually found one in Western Minnesota but instead of beginning to realize his dream, it quickly turned into a nightmare. For whatever reason, the shop owner took Jon’s money and took his Olds apart and then left it in pieces. Jon and several other car owners had to take court action and jump through a bunch of legal hoops to get their cars back. Jon did eventually did get all of his ’72 back but it was literally a basket case. Now what? With his dream literally in pieces, Jon set out to find another restoration shop and start again. This time, though, he was going to be a lot more careful about who he trusted his dream with.
Wanting to find an established shop with some proven history behind it, Jon did an internet search and came up with Muscle Car Restorations. After spending some time on the phone with the MCR staff relating his situation, Jon drove over to check out the shop, the staff, and the quality of the work. Owner John Balow set him at ease and assured him that MCR could indeed bring his dream back to life again.
While this car in and of itself was a straight forward restoration, it did have a couple of issues that needed to be addressed. First some parts that were specific to this car were missing but Jon had already made some connections in that area and so was able to help out in locating some of the needed pieces. Then, obviously, the car was in pieces – literally thousands. MCR did not have the usual privilege of doing the disassembly and documenting the original condition of the car. That issue was overcome by lots of research and learning as much as possible about the car as well as drawing heavily on the team’s decades of experience. The result, after about two years of work, is, according to Jon, perhaps the most perfect and most correct ’72 Pace Car anywhere.
“I wanted the car to be perfect”, Jon said after he took delivery, “And the car is perfect. MCR did an awesome job. Just unbelievable”.
This is certainly not a car that you see everyday mostly because it is one of only 130 convertibles (499 hardtops) built. All the Olds built Pace Car replicas were painted Cameo White, had a black interior with bucket seats and a Hurst “his and hers” Dual Gate shifter. Each one started as a standard Cutlass equipped with a 455, a Turbo 400 and 3.23 gears. A/C, power steering and brakes were standard. One unique piece on these cars was the code W25 fiberglass Ram Air hood with a pair of hood pins at the corners. They are positively identified by the W45 code on the vin tag.
At one point Jon remarked that he wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the guys in the shop thought of him as being overly picky about his car but he learned that that was never the case. That’s just part of what we do – fulfilling dreams just the way you see them.