Blizzard of 1978

Blizzard of 1978

Hey, Duane here! I’ve talked about my first car, the stripped-down 1971 Barracuda nicknamed “The Pickle”, and introduced my second car as a teenager, the very cool 1969 Hurst/Olds.

The Hurst/Olds was everything “The Pickle” was not. It was fast, distinctive, and stimulating to drive. With the beginning of college, I moved into the dorm and wanted car access. The H/O was too nice to park in the outer freshman lot so I rented a garage several blocks from campus. It was a hike, but I didn’t need the car often. And I discovered having a car elevated my status. Some people engage more when you can haul them around.

1969 Hurst/Olds (scan of old photo)

20" of Drifting Snow

That first winter on campus was challenging when the January 1978 blizzard dumped 20-inches of drifting snow in northern central Indiana. Schools shut for days, and I endured the misfortune of moving out of the rental garage during the blizzard. The home had been sold, and the seller insisted that I stick to the move schedule. I rented another garage closer to campus, but that meant shoveling 20-inch deep snow from TWO driveways.

After shoveling both driveways, I slowly maneuvered the car through deep snowy streets, and parked inside the new garage. The next time I returned, I found a car blocking my garage. I left a note but no one called. I walked back later and found someone home, a student renting the house. I explained that she needed to park elsewhere as I’m renting the garage. Guess who shoveled 20-inch snow from an adjacent area so she could park? Me!

It Won’t Stop

The ram air scoops on the H/O rose a couple of inches above the hood making viewing the road awkward with snow piled on top. I was taught to be careful of brushing away snow as the paint can be easily scratched, so I’d drive down the road with a snowy hood and snow mounded over the hood scoops. I was 18.

The most challenging part of driving the H/O in snow was bringing it to a stop. On slick roads, the front disc brakes would lock the front wheels while the drivetrain kept the rear wheels in motion, thus continuing to propel the car. Scary! I quickly learned that shifting into neutral in such situations was necessary before coming to a complete stop.

Owning the 1969 Hurst/Olds was an experience I loved so much that after two years I purchased a duplicate. Next week meet the identical twin car. Thanks, and always drive with allure!

1969 Hurst/Olds (scan of old photo)

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