Hurst. The name that is synonymous with precise shifters needs no introduction to Mopar enthusiasts. Even the legendary “Mr. 4-Speed,” Ronnie Sox, relied upon Hurst as he power shifted his way to winning both the 1970 and 1971 NHRA Pro Stock championships in his Hemi Cuda. Not one to rest on his laurels, George Hurst was constantly bringing new products to market. In addition to manufacturing the world’s finest shifters, the list of products bearing the Hurst name expanded to include custom wheels and disc brakes, along with clutches and even shock absorbers, just to name a few.
In 1968, Hurst shifted gears, no pun intended, as the company began building special edition vehicles for both street and strip. For the strip that year, Hurst worked with Chrysler to build the Super Stock Hemi Darts and Hemi Cudas, while for the street they partnered with Mr. Norm on the 440 GSS Dart program and Oldsmobile to create the first of a long line of Hurst Olds 442’s. The powerful, yet often elegant muscle cars that Hurst created quickly became known as “Gentlemen’s Hot Rods.”
Over the years, Hurst has built a diverse array of specialty vehicles including the 1970 Chrysler 300H, the 1969 S/C Rambler Scrambler and the 1971 Grand Prix SSJ to name a just a few. Hurst continued to offer distinctive vehicle packages over several decades, and in 2008 entered the modern muscle car era with a special edition of the reborn Dodge Challenger.
Above: The Hurst Heritage GSS Ram devours pavement at a furious pace without breaking a sweat. Far more than just a pretty face, this is one Ram that can haul the goods and does it in style.
Above left: Tradition! The Hurst Heritage GSS Ram has been infused with tradition, including the Stunner wheels. The style of the Stunner harkens back to the original Hurst wheels that were so popular at the dawn of the muscle car era and are a perfect fit on the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram. Above right: Katzkin outdid themselves creating the custom leather interior for the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram. Pearl leather, perforated inserts, Hurst Gold top stitching and logos are accented with Carbon Wings, just like the interior in the Hurst Hellcat GSS Challenger. This may be the ultimate Ram interior and lends new meaning to the phrase “lap of luxury.”
Today, the legend continues, with a comprehensive lineup of Hurst GSS Challengers. The one change, in a 180 degree twist of fate, is that unlike in 1968 when Hurst built the 440 GSS Darts for Norm, today the Hurst vehicles are built by Mr. Norm. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the philosophy of what makes a Hurst vehicle so special. In short, they’re exciting to drive limited edition muscle cars that are a definite cut above their production line counterparts thanks to a major infusion of Hurst DNA.
With the new Hurst GSS Challengers making their mark on the modern muscle car scene, the inevitable question was “what’s next?” After receiving numerous calls and emails from Mopar enthusiasts who loved the new Hurst GSS Challengers, but wanted a truck that evoked the flavor of a true “Gentlemen’s Hot Rod,” Mr. Norm wasted no time in getting his team together. All dyed in the wool Mopar, Hurst and Mr. Norm’s fanatics, they put on their thinking caps and got busy creating a hot new Ram worthy of being called a Hurst GSS.
The Hurst Heritage GSS Ram is the result of numerous brain storming sessions that evolved into the artist’s rendering prepared by noted designer Ben Hermance which helped chart the direction for the build of the sport truck seen here. The primary goal from the beginning was to insure that the design was faithful to the Hurst legacy. One look, and you can see that it’s all that and more. Unlike many of the vehicles on the road today that all look alike, the Hurst GSS Heritage Ram reminds us of the mighty Mopars from the 1960’s that had so much character that you could recognize them from a block away.
Far left: Mr. Norm’s Aero Roof Spoiler adds a sporting flair to the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram cab while distinguishing it from ordinary sport trucks. Center left: Like so many features on the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram, the chrome hood pins and lanyards echo the appearance of those on the Hurst Hellcat GSS Challenger. Center right: The chrome fuel door is a nicely detailed casting. The emblem in the center leaves no doubt that this is a genuine Hurst Heritage GSS Ram by Mr. Norm. Far right: Iconic Hurst Equipped badge on the grille and tailgate lets everyone know that this Ram has been infused with the stuff of legends.
Above: Imposing yet handsome. The Heritage GSS Ram is infused with pure Hurst DNA. From the traditional white and gold paint scheme that were George Hurst’s favorite colors, to the Hurst Stunner Wheels, emblems and much more, it’s the epitome of a “Gentlemen’s Hot Rod” with the added benefit of a pickup bed.
The popular ‘60’s marketing slogan “it’s what’s up front that counts” is the perfect way to visualize the impact of the new Hurst GSS Ram. From the lowered stance and wide boots, to the bold gold stripes that intersect the Challenger R/T Scat Pack style hood, the moment you see it coming, you know exactly what it is.
One look at the exterior of the Hurst GSS Ram and you can see that it has definitely been infused with a major injection of personality that puts this vehicle head and shoulders above the average generic pickup trucks that clutter the landscape. In addition to the Hurst gold stripes that run over the top of the vehicle from front to back, a pair that echo the appearance of those on a 1968 GTX accent the sides. Other tasty treats include a Mr. Norm’s Ram Aero Roof Spoiler, hood pins, a SnugTop tonneau cover and a chrome fuel door. And in a salute to the Hurst wheels of days gone by, the chrome Stunners on the Ram are accented in gold to match the striping.
But that’s just the beginning of the story. Any performance vehicle worth its salt today has to handle and run as good as it looks, and the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram is no slouch in either department. When it comes to corner carving, the Ram has been outfitted with special springs, shocks and snubbers that provide a ground hugging stance, complemented by a serious set of rollers that amplify its handling prowess.
Above left: Yeah, it’s got a Hemi. Enhanced with a K&N cold air intake for free breathing, it’s also dressed for success thanks to a Hurst Gold custom painted engine shroud that is accented with contrasting raised lettering. Above center: Each Hurst Heritage GSS Ram is equipped with a unique serial number plaque on the dash and a matching plaque on the core support. Above right: A Flowmaster American Thunder cat back dual exhaust system gives the Hemi a vibrant baritone voice. It sounds great all the time, but you really need to hear it at wide open throttle. It’s what all muscle truck exhaust systems want to sound like when they grow up!
Above right: The Hurst Heritage GSS Ram is a real Hemi Hauler. More than just a pretty face, it’s got real cargo and towing capability, making it a true dual purpose sport truck.
A set of sticky Nitto NT 420S 305/45R22 directional radials are wrapped around Hurst Stunner 22 x 9.5 inch wheels and give new meaning to the saying “where the rubber meets the road.” Due to the wider than stock wheels and tires, a set of Bushwacker fender flares have been added to provide an additional half inch of coverage, which is just what the Hurst Shifty Doctor would have ordered.
Under the hood, the 5.7 Hemi breathes easy thorough a K&N cool air intake, while a Flowmaster American Thunder cat back dual exhaust system reduces back pressure and enables the Hemi to sing its siren song in a commanding baritone voice. Amplifying the presence of the exhaust system are a pair 5” polished stainless tips that fit the fluted rear bumper perfectly, while sending a message to anyone following the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram that this is not a truck to be trifled with.
But wait, there’s more! Opening the door of the Hurst GSS Ram shows that just as much thought went into the interior as the exterior. Anything but ordinary, the talented staff at Katzkin created custom leather for the Ram that is a near mirror image of the interior in the Hurst Hellcat GSS. White pearl leather has been lavished on the seating surfaces and console lid, with carbon wings providing a bold contrast to the bolsters and bold full color embroidered Hurst logos on the seat backs.
Above: The original artist’s rendering by Ben Hermance set the tone for the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram. The actual vehicle is a near mirror image of the rendering, a complement to Ben and the Mr. Norm’s team who made it a reality.
Above left: Coming or going, the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram leaves no doubt that it’s something special. The bold Hurst Gold stripes instantly identify this sport truck as a direct descendant of those incredible muscle cars that were first conceived by George Hurst. Above right: The Hurst Heritage GSS Ram 1500 was big hit at the SEMA Show where it debuted in the Katzkin Leather Exhibit. It’s big, bold and a modern day salute to the incredible Hurst vehicles that have come before it.
Additional details include perforated inserts for better breathing and top stitching that discretely infuses the interior with just the right amount of gold to match the exterior. Hurst logo plush carpet mats, a GSS chrome dash emblem and a Hurst GSS serial number dash plaque lets everyone know that this truck is one of just 50 that will be available for 2016.
The Hurst Heritage GSS Ram is one really cool truck that definitely stands out in a crowd. If you want a truck that blends in with the scenery, then this Ram is definitely not for you. But, if you’re a Mopar enthusiast who wants a high profile ride that’ll turn the Chebby and Blue Oval guys and gals green with envy, then the Hurst Heritage GSS Ram may be just the truck for you.
“Hurst Heritage GSS Ram: The Ram With Muscle Car Attitude” was originally written by Larry Weiner with pictures by Richard Truesdell and Larry Weiner and published in Pentastar Power Magazine’s Spring 2016 issue.