Keith Engling’s Hurst-themed 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass was a fan-favorite during its many years of competition in and around the Midwest with the NMCA and various Outlaw Pro Mod events. Built using an actual Olds 442 steel production body, the car had certifiable curb appeal among its chopped, channeled, and stretched carbon fiber-bodied counterparts, but its weight and aerodynamics also proved a challenge for Engling to make competitive. That, however, didn’t stop he and driver Brian Robbins from eventually pushing the car into the three-second (eighth-mile) and five-second (quarter-mile zones) with its screw-blown powerplant near the end of out 12-year run.
Last pass for the day, Brian Robbins Rich Simon Richards Auto Parts - New Baltimore / RichardsAutoParts.com Billy Briggs Racing Engines Skinny Kid Race Cars
Earlier in the present decade, Engling retired the original car and constructed an all-new Oldsmobile, this time using a lightweight body and components to produce a purpose-built machine that retained most of the character of its predecessor but in a more all-around competitive package.
Richards Auto Parts, which has been a longtime sponsor of Engling’s drag racing efforts, purchased the original car and gave it a new lease on life in the drag racing world — just not the one you’d expect of a car that spent its years competing on asphalt.
With Brian Robbins back at the controls, the original Skinny Kid Hurst Olds can now be found competing on the sand, as owner Richard Simon commissioned Engling to make the necessary changes to convert the car over to “offroad” use. The car now sports power from a Big Chief-headed big-block Chevrolet on methanol, topped with a 14-71 roots supercharger. Robbins made his first licks with the car this weekend at Phi’s Dragway, a 300-foot sand drag strip in Howell, Michigan, where it went a 3.67 on a planned shutoff run.
“This was the first time out, just making some shakedown passes,” Engling confirmed. “This track is way to short to really get after it, not enough shutdown. It ran a 3.67 but will go WAY faster than that. We only ran it to about 250-feet because the shutdown is short.”