OLDS 83/84 Hurst/Olds Front Plates

69hurstolds

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As everyone familiar with 83-84 Hurst/Olds and 85-87 442 G-bodies knows, there was a requirement for both to have a front license plate holder and with that, the H/Os came with a specialized plate. For some reason, Olds never thought to do that for the 442s. Anyway, rolling back the clock 41 years....

The 83 H/O didn't have its own plate when they released the press photo. See below. It was some version of the late 70s plate. The bullnose emblem also looked more like a place holder than an emblem.
1701564495218.png


They didn't even put one on in the advertisement found in car rags at the time.
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It finally became the red/silver version everyone has come to know and love.
1701565390382.png



The 84 press photo release didn't even have a plate. It may have, but it appears they rubbed out any plates on the car.

1701564751501.png


Ads continued without a front plate for 84 as well.

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But an interesting thing about the H/O "prototype" front plate...the only place I've ever seen it is on an old Motor Trend show that featured what's new for 84...it looks like they painted in the red lettering to black and erased the "15th Anniversary" on the plate and places the Oldsmobile logo on there. My supposition is, at the time of the filming the piece, they didn't have the final plate design done, or didn't have one with the car or whatever, and just modified an 83 plate. Just a guess.

84 Hurst Olds Early prototype license plate.jpg


I'm glad they didn't use it. But I thought it was kinda neat in a way. I wish I had that very plate.

The final plate design came out pretty nice, IMO.

1701565750773.png
 
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69hurstolds

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Forgot to add. The reason those cars required a front plate holder was sort of cheesy in my opinion. On the front bumper cover above the bumper bar, there is a tab that comes down in the center and either the plate holder (plastic) or the shiny metal tab cover (which matched the chrome bumper) was used to hold that tab down in the center top of the bumper bar. The cover hid the plastic tab, and the plate holder did too. So either or.

The issue was, the 83-84 H/O and 85-87 442 bumpers were painted but GM did NOT make a painted cover to match. Can you believe that? Anyway, there is only one part number for the little tab cover for the chrome bumpers. There are owners of cars that swear up and down their car is factory because it has a little painted tab cover. Until someone shows me in the engineering drawings or a part number somewhere to prove it, I'm not buying it. Trust me, it looks good painted when used on an H/O or 442, but it wasn't factory. VK3 was the front plate holder, however it's not always listed on the SPID sticker for some reason. Love to see the build sheets on those cars without the listing on the SPID. But every 83-84 H/O and 85-87 442 should have come with a plate holder up front.
 
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69hurstolds

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Errgh. The build sheets are pretty lame. The same information on the build sheet RPO listing is the same as on the SPID. Unfortunately, H/Os were built in Lansing, and a build sheet is a super-rare find since they cleaned out the cars real well. Fat chance of finding a build sheet on those Lansing cars. Not impossible, but hard to come by.

The SPID should contain everything the car came with as far as RPO equipment. It's there for the dealership to verify what content was on the car when built. Obviously VK3 wasn't always a sure thing. Not a big deal, because it was available on every Cutlass style, but wasn't always standard equipment. So far, I've only known of a few VK3's missing from 442 SPIDs, but not H/Os. Not that I'm aware of, anyway.

Here's an 84 H/O SPID showing VK3.
84 hurstolds spid.jpg



But one thing I can tell you is that I had a gray 85 442 that had no VK3 on the build sheet listing of RPOs or the SPID (although they seemingly all came with "305 CID H-O" LG8 engines in '85. :) However, it had a front plate holder that I had to replace after I bought it from the short-time 2nd owner because one of the holder's bolt hole top standoffs was broken through (common problem) when I got it. It stayed on with three screws, but just barely.


Gray 85 442 build sheet 340286.jpg


And its SPID. Note there's no mention of a VK3 here either as it mimics the build sheet. But yet, it had one. Go figure.

Gray 85 442 SPID.JPG
 
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88hurstolds

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My '85 442 didn't come with a front plate, no VK3 on SPID but my other '85 442 does.
I have a non-chromed front plate bracket that's painted silver and a little rusty I pulled off an '86 442 and put it on my '85 442, it feels a little thinner than the NOS chrome one I have, probably a little thicker due to the plating.
I have a second one I bought off of eBay too, somewhere, non-chromed but it's in rough shape, little rusty and bent.
 

69hurstolds

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Interesting.

Now comes the $64,000 question. If some of these cars came with this painted metal plate, how did it end up on the cars? There's no order form. Dealer couldn't do it, customer couldn't specify. Didn't matter how little or how many other options were added to the car. Who made that choice?

It cannot simply be that cars shipped to states with a front plate requirement got the VK3 and those that didn't have a front plate didn't get one. That would make sense, but they didn't follow that logic so I’m not sure if that logic would even apply. I know this as South Carolina didn't have a front plate since 1974, and certainly not in 1985-87. But my car was ordered and delivered in SC with VK3. Was that a mistake? The first one they had was late October 84 and I got to see one for the first time. My salesman called me to tell me they got one in from a trade with another dealer in Columbia, SC, for another customer. I remember it also had a front plate holder as the dealership plate was already on the front. Another mistake? Had it been an option, I'd have ordered it, anyway. But the ordering guide doesn't even have a choice for adding that or an option to delete it. I haven't seen any mention of VK3 in any optional equipment lists, etc. Also, my olds gray 85 that appears to have come with a plate holder anyway (after day 1 you can’t be sure of anything 100% but I’m still leaning to evidence it was original), was sent to Florida which has no front plate requirement either.

Another mystery.

It must be in the 85-87 versions of what they used to call PIMs, or product information manuals. AKA, assembly manuals. These were engineering drawings which showed how the parts were to be assembled and torque values, and other notes and junk on which option packages got which parts, etc. Some of those drawings are modified and shown in Chassis Service Manuals (CSM's), aka factory service manuals, to show how and where a part fits and functions. But not all.

I wonder the criteria used? Not like it’s a huge deal, but I like to know and understand it all whenever possible.
 
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69hurstolds

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Also, to add to this, the question only comes about with the 85-87 442 cars. The H/Os all specified in the GM documentation that they came with a front plate, so regardless, they all were supposed to get VK3.
 
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69hurstolds

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I found a car that was sold on BaT earlier this year, a 29K mile 86 442 with VIN 1G3GK4793GP393191. It lists it has VK3 and you can see remnants of what's left of the plate holder up front. Sold in TN and apparently has stayed in TN. WTF. TN is a one plate state as well. Again, what constituted the plate holder or not?

 

88hurstolds

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Jun 24, 2008
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I found a car that was sold on BaT earlier this year, a 29K mile 86 442 with VIN 1G3GK4793GP393191. It lists it has VK3 and you can see remnants of what's left of the plate holder up front. Sold in TN and apparently has stayed in TN. WTF. TN is a one plate state as well. Again, what constituted the plate holder or not?

That one looks like it has remanence of plastic that used to belong to the VK3 plate holder, may have broken off like most... no metal plate though.
 

88hurstolds

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Jun 24, 2008
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I should also correct myself, no VK3 on my '85 442 but you can see the picture it having a front plate bracket though in my SIG.
I assumed it was added and just swapped it with the painted plate I had.
One day I'll find the other one in my stash, my garage is packed solid...
 

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