Oldsmobile had the honor of pacing the Indy 500 for 1970 in a 442. So it came as no surprise that two years later they were once again asked to pace the prestigious 500 miler. But it was not repeated with a 442; this time it was a, “Hurst/Olds” Cutlass. Specifically, it was a team effort between Oldsmobile and Hurst Performance Products. They specially modified a 1972 Cutlass convertible. The car was powered by a 455 cubic inch displacement V-8 pumping out 300 horse power. Driven by Jim Rathmann, Indy 500 winner in 1960, the Cutlass marked the first time for a performance products maker to have their name in the pace car titling. Only 130 convertible Hurst/Olds Cutlasses were produced for 1972. There were 499 coupes also made for a mere 629 total that year.
Franklin Mint built a stand-out 1970 Olds 442 hardtop in 2005 with new tech features and followed it up a year later with a 1972 model-year rendition in drop top configuration. Based from that model we are treated to this little beauty in white with gorgeous gold graphics. The diecast carries forward terrific detail in many areas. I appreciate the reconfiguration into the Pace Car, incorporating the design elements of the graphics and paint blend from light gold to darker gold. The door hinges mimic the real machine’s pinnings. These are more than an alternative to internal hinges, they are a twin-fork assembly with spring-loaded holding mechanisms; the first such I have personally seen. The seat belts with photo-etch buckles are realistic and while the sunvisors are in static positioning, they are fashioned with great detail.
Interior, engine and trunk detailing shapes up like this: beautifully scaled dash, steering wheel and center console, flip-up seats and diminutive window cranks and door latches give full license to the authentication of the driver’s and passenger’s compartment. The up-top and down-boot fit precisely. The engine detailing is wonderful. The big V-8 possesses accurately scaled plumbing and wiring and exhibits great detail to engine bay stickers, heater hoses and continues to reveal fuel lines and starter wiring and brake lines downward and rearward as you examine the chassis detail. The suspension is operable and the trunk has excellent detailing as well. You’ll find jacking instructional stickers affixed and a full spare with jack on the floor.
All panels are fit precisely and the doors, hood and trunk lid exhibit no gapping whatsoever. The stance looks good and the model’s appearance is welcome in any collection. FM has done well to bring us another pace car and this is a relatively rare rendition. Issue price is $120.