The Hurst Baja Boot was first envisioned by Vic Hickey, one of General Motors top engineers of the time. And although GM had no official program oriented toward off road racing at the time, Hickey and Drino Miller worked tirelessly to complete the Baja Boot in just 26 days.

Built at the Hurst facility in Michigan, the Baja Boot’s chasis was constructed of SAE- 1010 13/4-inch steel tubing and weighed just 3,450 pounds. It’s suspension system included parts from Chevrolet’s Corvette and utilized a Dana transfer case to shift power from one end of the 112 inch chassis to the other... [read more]

Powered by a 350 c.i. V8, the Baja Boot featured 11-inch Hurst-Airheart disc brakes, a 20-inch-diameter six blade fan with reversed pitch and could be operated in front wheel drive when the driver opted to disengage the transfer case.

Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins first raced the Baja Boot in the ‘Stardust 7-11’ off-road race in June of 1968. Covering more than 320 miles, the race started at the Stardust raceway in Las Vegas, Nevada, and ran across the Amargosa desert.

Shortly before the race began, McQueen told the media: “I’ve lined me up a sweet machine for this one called the ‘Baja Boot.’ Chevy powered. Four hundred and fifty horses under the bonnet. Space frame construction. Four-wheel drive. Independant suspension. And ’smooth’! I can notch close to a hundred over a sand wash and you better believe that’s moving.”

McQueen and Edkins were doing quite well in the race until, as McQueen describes to to writer William F. Nolan: “We were really battin’ along, feeling good about the car and our chances with it, when we see this big fat wheel rolling along beside us. It’s our wheel!  The axle had popped.  Well, that did it. We just sat on our tails in the desert ’till help came.”

Images and Info: The Selvedge Yard
Editorial: Justin W. Coffey

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