From 442.com FAQ:
- All were built in Lansing.
- The only Cutlass-bodied cars built with the Olds 350 in 1979.
Actually built at an Oldsmobile plant instead of Hurst Performance. These are the only year of Hurst/Olds production which were produced completely in an Oldsmobile plant and not trimmed out in a Hurst or Cars and Concepts facility. Last year for Hurst Dual/Gate Shifter.
A total of 2499 were built. 1165 in Cameo White, 1334 in Ebony Black, and 537 came w/Hurst Hatch T-Tops. Hurst/Olds in '79 were the only Cutlass with W-30 stickers in '79. The Hurst wheels were actually an Oldsmobile factory aluminum wheel that was available on the 1978 Cutlass'. The Hursts wheels were painted gold, and were not on any other Cutlass in '79 but the H/O.
To order a '79 H/O, you had to start by ordering a Cutlass Calais. Therefore all of the standard Calais features for that year, such as reclining bucket seats and Rallye Pack instrumentation, were standard on the H/O. In addition to the 350/350 engine and transmission combination, the Hurst/Olds package included aluminum wheels and the two-tone sport paint which were Cutlass options. Only on the Hurst/Olds however, were the wheels painted gold and was the second paint color gold. No other Oldsmobile in 1979 used that gold paint, but I believe that it was available on some Pontiacs.
Also, only on the H/O were the hood ornament and rocket emblem on the header panel in black. H/O emblems were put only on H/O cars. On a "normal" Calais, these were both red. Finally, the H/O package included the Dual Gate shifter, which was installed in the standard Calais console. I believe that all of these cars had a 2.73 to 1 final drive ratio, regardless of if the axle was limited slip or not.
Sport steering wheel, bucket seats, 442 suspension, and guage package was standard on H/O because it is a Cutlass Calais which had these standard.
Rocket 350. All had the Olds 350 V-8 and TH-350 transmission which were standard in the Delta 88 that year. These were the only Cutlass-bodied cars built with the Olds 350 in 1979. H/O did not come with true dual exhaust.
TH-350 with Hurst Shifter. The Hurst shifter and console is exclusive only to the '79 Hurst/Olds and no other Cutlass in '79.
I strongly doubt that a 4 speed manual transmission option was ever considered for the 1979 Hurst/Olds. As most of you know, 1979 was the only year in which H/Os came off the end of the Lansing assembly line as completed cars, and didn't get sent off for additional work at Hurst Performance Products or Cars and Concepts. For this reason, there would be no possible loophole around the then current EPA regulations.
In part and summary, those regulations stated that as long as an engine/transmission combination had been certified in any production model for that year, the same combination could be used in any other model that the factory desired, so long as less than 2,500 were produced. If 2,500 or more were built, the engine/transmission combination had to be certified specifically in that particular model. Certification was (and I assume, still is) an expensive and time consuming process. The "R" code Olds 350 engine in combination with the TH-350 transmission had already been certified in the 88 models for 1979, so legally that same combination could also be used in the Cutlass body without specific certification as long as less than 2,500 were built. That's why 2,499 1979 Hurst/Oldsmobiles were produced.
Now, there were no 350/4 speed combinations already certified by Oldsmobile in 1979, so certification would have been necessary. Even if management could have been convinced that sales volume would have justified the cost of certification (extremely doubtful that it could have, in anyone's wildest dreams), the necessary time probably wasn't available for this mid-year model to get through the process. After all, by mid model year I'm sure that they're already feverisly at work to get the next year's models through the process.
It is interesting to note however that another combination WAS available to them but went unused. Legally, they could have also produced another 2,499 "super" H/Os with the 403 engine and TH-350, since that combination had also been certified in both the 88 and 98 models. Although I've heard that at least a couple such engineering prototypes were built, apparently the "bean counters" didn't feel that there was enough market share left to justify production. Perhaps they were right, since the 1980 442 option which was identical to the 1979 H/O except for the shifter, sold less than 1000 units.
From HOCA website:
After a 3 year hiatus, the H/O returned in '79 on GM's newly downsized Cutlass body. The first H/O to be built entirely by Oldsmobile Division, it was also the first H/O that did not offer a 455 engine. But it was the only GM A-body to offer a 350 V8 in '79. White and black again were the color choices, but with a wider choice of interior trims than ever before. Gold paint covered the hood, most of the top, and the very rear of the trunk. The aluminum wheels were also painted gold, along with the grille. At $2054 for the conversion, it was the most expensive H/O ever, but even so, sales held steady at 2499 units.