HomePick of the DayOriginal turbocharged 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire hardtop in low-mileage condition

Original turbocharged 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire hardtop in low-mileage condition


For 1962, General Motors launched a pair of models with turbocharged engines – the Corvair Monza and the Oldsmobile Jetfire – the first in the U.S. with the forced-induction technology to boost power.

The Pick of the Day is a 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire, based on the 2-door F-85 and introducing what was then considered to be an exotic performance addition.   The Jetfire is powered by its original 215cid V8 fitted with a Garrett turbocharger that raised horsepower to 215 and torque to 300 pound-feet.  The engine was one of the few at the time to produce one horsepower per cubic inch.


To prevent detonation from the 10.25-compression turbocharged engine, the GM engineers installed a Turbo Rocket Fluid injector (actually a mix of distilled water, methanol and rust inhibitor) to keep things under control and prevent engine damage.

But that created a problem. It was up to the owner to maintain the Turbo Rocket Fluid level, and if an inattentive driver failed to keep the reservoir full and the fluid ran out, the car would automatically shut off the turbocharger, causing driver complaints that their sporty cars had lost power.

Also, if the driver never pushed the Jetfire hard enough to actuate the turbocharger, the mechanism tended to corrode and lock up over time.

oldsmobile, Original turbocharged 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire hardtop in low-mileage condition, ClassicCars.com Journal

The turbo became an issue for Oldsmobile dealers and caused the experiment to end after just two model years. Only 3,765 Jetfires were sold in 1962 and 5,842 in 1963.

Oldsmobile wound up cutting a deal with dissatisfied Jetfire owners that they could come in to have their engines converted from turbocharging to the standard 4-barrel carburetor setup, which many of them did, and which resulted in original turbocharged Jetfires being quite rare today.


The Canton, Ohio, dealer advertising the Olds Jetfire on ClassicCars.com (although the ad incorrectly calls it a Jetstar in the headline) says that this is a low-mileage original driven just 47,705 miles with its correct turbo V8, very presentable and in great running condition.

Everything works as it should, the ad says, while the original paint shows just some areas of touchup. The seller notes that the Jetfire had a unique body style, created by the factory taking  F-85 convertibles and welding on steel roofs to create Olds’ only hardtops during those years.


In the photos with the ad, the Olds looks to be in exceptionally nice condition, with a clean body and very nice interior

“The Jetfire is very rare and hardly ever seen!” the ad says. “It gets LOTS of attention at shows. This is a previously forgotten … car model and always draws a crowd.”

The rare and attractive Jetfire is priced at $44,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.


Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. love this Car. Would take it over any other classic car in existence . 55 Years ago in 1964 I had a chance to buy a 1963 jetfire at a small used car store in Medford ,Mass. Drove it.

    Was amazing. Tremendous power. Instead I passed on it and bought but I 1964 1/2 mustang convertible. The Mustang was great .but I regretted it and still do. Go to many car shows and have never seen one. Like the 62 also but love the 63. If I ever hit the lottery that is my first purchase. But I don’t think I would find one as good as this one. There is one advertised in Las Vegas that I go in and look over every now and then. Now I have another one. Just turned 74 and enjoy the dream

  2. Yet another example of GM pushing boundaries and then dropping the ball. Here was an all aluminum V8, physically smaller than a small block Chevy or Ford, that weighed around 300 pounds in total, i.e., incredibly lightweight, and also with a turbo charger in the V, something BMW would do decades later, and GM sold off its aluminum V8 to Rover. A lightweight, small displacement, aluminum V8 with a turbo in the V was 50 years ahead of its time.

  3. I had a 64′-65′ F-85 Cutlass back in the mid 70’s. I believe it was the transition year between called the F-85 and the "Cutlass" because it was badged as both. Anyway, it was a great car, it had the 4bbl 330 C.I. engine with a 2 speed automatic. I know it was at least 315 Horsepower and I remember looking it up in the "Motor Repair Manual" and it listed some High compression models with 330 H.P. for 1 H.P. per C.I. Very impressive. It was considered a "mid size" car at the time. It was a sleeper for sure as it hauled ass !

  4. I had contact with two ’63 F85’s in the 70’s. My brother had a metallic blue Cutlass convertible with a white top; a friend had a red Jetfire hardtop, and his had the triangular bottle of GM Opticlear as well as the interloper juice. Unlike many, he was anal about keeping all his levels up. He enjoyed his. My brother didn’t keep cars long, but the ones he did get were desirable. But the Cutlass was a 215 4-barrel, no turbo. But sufficient to move THAT little car. Wish I had half of the cars we had.😷😤

  5. Nice ride I have a 1961 buick skylark that had the 215 aluiminum v8 it was a screamer I had actually modified it it to a 350 1968 block turbo 350 automatic brake kit a els sll machined I think the 215 had alot of potential

  6. Bought a 1963 F-85 maroon convertible with 4spd trans.(t-10 if memory serves) when I got out of the service in 1969. Loved it and drove for many years in NYC. At this age what I would’nt give to have it back, can’t afford it though. Great days, thanks for the memories!!

  7. If anyone out there has any knowledge of a white 63 jet fire robbin egg blue interior with roughly 72tjousand miles with a whites motor emblem on it was stolen many years ago from Belgrade Montana and was purchased at whites motor in Livingston montana was parked in three forks in 1973

  8. My question is, how long did the “Jetfire” mixture last ? Weekly ? Daily ? Every oil change ? And how was it made available? Need to go to dealer to get refilled ? Can purchase by the gallon ? Or had to mix yourself with distilled water and alcohol? Was there a gauge in the car ? Or did you have to pop the hood and check the container (much like washer fluid today) ?

    • Depending on the driver’s pattern, according to historian Vance, the full reservoir could last anywhere from 200 to 2000 miles. Should the fluid run low, an indicator light inside the car would flash a warning. If it ran out, a throttle-body valve closed to prevent full-power acceleration.


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