Today’s Rare Ride started out as a beautiful Chevrolet Camaro convertible and was transformed into a Pontiac Hurst Trans Am by an enthusiastic owner. We’ll let you be the judge on how successful the operation was.
First some history. Hurst Performance was a company headquartered in Pennsylvania that produced various performance-enhancing products of the automotive variety. Founded in 1958, the company sold parts to all the big Detroit automakers which often made their way into performance muscle cars like the AMC Rebel The Machine, but also oddities like Jeepster Commando. Among their offerings were lots of logos, H-gate shifters, and t-top modifications.
Along the line, Hurst t-tops made their way onto Seventies Firebird Formula and created the Pontiac SSJ in the creepy ad above. But by then the initial Hurst company was gone. It was acquired by appliance manufacturer Sunbeam in 1970 and quickly folded into its operations. In 1987 Sunbeam sold Hurst to a gasket manufacturer, and in 2007 it changed hands again and went to B&M Racing and Performance Products.
Here and there there’s been various licensing use of the Hurst name, and enthusiasts of a certain age still desire the recognition and styling of Hurst. In 2012 GM signed up with Trans Am Depot to turn modern Camaros into Trans Am GTOs and Hurst Trans Ams. But these very limited edition custom builds were expensive and spawned cheaper modification alternatives. Those alternatives begat today’s Rare Ride.
The fifth-generation Camaro debuted for the 2010 model year, and muscle car enthusiasts and fans of the Transformers movie franchise had a heyday. Available in coupe or convertible formats, the Camaro shared the Zeta platform with cars like the Pontiac G8. It was available with V6 and V8 engines, from 3.6 to 7.0 liters in displacement. The new modern-retro Camaro saw sales success and remained in its original guise through 2015. At that point, it was replaced by the Alpha platform Camaro which continues to this day.
But what do you do when you want a Trans Am but the Pontiac brand no longer exists? You make one! Originally a 2011 Camaro LT convertible, today’s Rare Ride has had some nose surgery and a lot of trim work.
The standard Camaro visage was enhanced with a pointed split-grille Trans Am design, with square lamp and fog light housings and curvaceous mid-Seventies plastic shapes. This required a reshaping of the hood, which gained a Ram Air look and a Screaming Chicken in black and gold. Part of the white Camaro’s rear was wrapped in a metallic gold to match the Trans Am text on the bumper. Hurst/Trans Am logos sprout here and there, and there are some snowflake-adjacent Trans Am wheels as well. Those logos carry on to the interior door panels, and the center of the steering wheel says Z/TA (Classic TA manufactured this Pontiac kit). Unchanged is the performance of the stock Camaro, which is the standard 3.6-liter V6 you’d find in an Impala paired to an automatic transmission.
With just under 70,000 miles, the Trans Am is for sale in Ohio at the moment and asks $60,000. The real question is, what’s an authentic-looking Hurst Trans Am like this worth to you?[Images: Hurst]