“First of its kind… and full of surprises,” is how Oldsmobile introduced its new F-85 Cutlass Jetfire equipped with never-before-seen automotive power under the hood.
In 1962, General Motors released the first two models in the US equipped with forced-induction technology to boost power – the Corvair Monza and the Oldsmobile Jetfire.
Built from Oldsmobile’s F-85 2-door compact car, the Jetfire’s engine was coined the Turbo-Rocket – a fuel-injected 215cid V8 with an exhaust-driven turbocharger that produced one horsepower per cubic inch.
The Pick of the Day is a 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire, one of only 3,765 sold that model year, and this one has undergone a frame-up restoration and has appeared in numerous automotive-inspired periodicals.
“Having been lovingly cared for by its current owner for the past ten years, this Cutlass for sale is reported to be one of twelve remaining in this color and options,” says the O’Fallon, Illinois dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.
The body is finished in red with a white hardtop, brushed-aluminum side panels, two chrome head spears on the hood and ‘Jetfire’ badging found on the trunk lid and front fenders.
Matching the exterior, the interior is upholstered in red with matching door panels and dash. It’s fitted with bucket seats up front, a floor console that houses a built-in turbo-function gauge, a deluxe two-spoke steering wheel and a horizontal speedometer.
The Turbo-Rocket engine, although monumental to automotive advancement, did cause a few problems for Jetfire owners:
“To prevent detonation from the 10.25-compression turbocharged engine, the GM engineers installed a Turbo Rocket Fluid injector (acutally a mix of distilled water, methanol and rust inhibitor) to keep things under control and prevent engine damage,” Journal editor Bob Golfen says regarding the engine.
“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.”
Aware of the issue and disappointment from buyers, GM offered buyers the chance to replace the turbocharging and fuel-injection system with a 4-barrel carburetor and more traditional intake and exhaust manifolds.
This Jetfire example is noted by the dealer to have appeared in Motor Trend’s September 1962 issue, Cars and Part’s June 2006 publication and Muscle Car Review’s 2008 magazine.
The Jetfire is being offered for $43,000.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.