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Original turbocharged 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire hardtop in low-mileage condition

Original turbocharged 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire hardtop in low-mileage condition

The Pick of the Day is a rare example that retains its turbo-V8 engine

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.

oldsmobile

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.

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.

oldsmobile

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.

oldsmobile

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.

 

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5 Comments

  • Al Iannuzzi
    November 8, 2019, 9:20 AM

    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

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  • Tristram Buckley
    November 8, 2019, 10:15 AM

    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.

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  • Mike Paull
    November 8, 2019, 10:33 AM

    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 !

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    • Al Iannuzzi@Mike Paull
      November 11, 2019, 2:00 PM

      Hey Mike, Knew a Mike Paull that worked for I>B>M years ago.Was wondering if this was you

      REPLY
  • Jerry Hayes
    November 8, 2019, 12:36 PM

    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.😷😤

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