When you think back to the classic musclecar era, there’s one name that is synonymous with performance, and any Hurst vehicle that shows up at an event always gets a bit more attention than their garden variety counterparts. At events all over the country in the 1960s and 1970s, it wasn’t a surprise to find Linda Vaughn – the First Lady of Motorsports – riding down the front stretch with a giant Hurst Shifter.
While it’s rare to find a Hurst car these days from the musclecar era, that hasn’t stopped Hurst from putting its golden touch on modern musclecars to relive the thrill and performance of years gone by. We took a ride along in the video above with four Hurst-equipped vehicles from today, and got to be there while some of these parts were installed.
We visited Hemet CDJR in Hemet, California, to observe the installation of a full line of Hurst components on both a brand new Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger. These performance kits consisted of a new Billet Plus shifter, Stage 1 spring kit, cat-back exhaust, and Hurst wheels, and a set of Hurst floormats along with an exterior graphics package.
Once both cars rolled into the dealership for the installation, we were given plenty of room to lay out all the parts – and immediately a crowd gathered to check out the Hurst goodies. Both cars went up on a lift, but it was noted that all of these components can be installed in the garage or the driveway, providing a good set of jack stands are available.
The exhaust cam off first for easier access to the rear springs, and it did take a little bit of brawn and heavy dead-blow to persuade the restrictive factory exhaust to leave the vehicle. This is where that pizza and a friend or two can come in handy.
Before the new Hurst cat-back exhaust system was installed, we went to work on the rear springs. Having a lift and several trans stands allowed the tech to drop the rear member for access to the rear springs without disconnecting the rear arms or knuckle, but it can be done without a lift. The springs were easily removed and the stiffer, Hurst performance springs were set in place with the factory upper jounce bumper and the rear member was raised back up and bolted in.
The new exhaust was installed and before we could even get the rest of the parts installed, the urging from the other techs to start it up so they could hear the new tunes was overwhelming. Time was on our side, so we fired up the car and hit the loud pedal a couple of times, and it was sweet music to a very approving audience. Then it was on to the front suspension.
Replacing the front springs did require some special tools to compress the factory spring for removal from the front strut. Once the spring was out, the noticeably shorter Hurst spring was a much easier fit, and once the strut was reassembled it was re-installed and the front end was tightened back up.
This process was the same for both the Charger and the Challenger, and inside each car we had a slightly different process for each when it came to replacing the factory shifter with a Hurst shifter. You can follow along on a Hurst billet plus shifter install we did on a 2014 Challenger, but for the Charger – automatic only – the Hurst Pistol Grip handle was a bit of an easier task, but still required close attention to detail.
To replace the factory shifter, removal of the upper console trim and a little bit of disassembly was required. Since the factory shifter requires a connection to the computer in order to function, the factory shifter was simply stored inside the console and tucked away out of sight.
Once the Hurst Pistol Grip shifter was in place and the console all buttoned up, it was a hard choice to decide whether a manual or bump-shifting the automatic was the preferred method of running through the gears.
We finished off the cars with a set of Hurst wheels, the Dazzler for the Challenger and the Stunner for the Charger. Final touches included floor mats and exterior graphics, both with the Hurst logo, and the two cars headed back to our offices to meet up with a couple of other Hurst-equipped vehicles: a 2016 Camaro and a 2016 Mustang GT.
The Hurst attitude definitely improves both the looks and the stance of these modern musclecars, and all parts are available through Hurst or any authorized Hurst retail center.
All in all, anyone with moderate automotive skills should be able to perform this install in a day – call a friend or two and grab a pizza and you’ll be cruising that night in your Hurst-equipped modern musclecar, and you’ll get more looks from other enthusiasts than you already do.
The Camaro and Mustang were both treated to a set the same performance modifications as the two Mopars, and with that, they all headed out to have some fun in the sun, cruising the back roads of Murrieta, California, to show off their new shoes – and new Hurst attitudes.
Check out the Hurst website for a list of components for your modern musclecar, and for those with classic cars – Hurst has still got you covered with plenty of choices to move through your gears with both manual and automatic shifters.