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1 of 1? 1977 Oldsmobile Starfire Mirage

I was reading an automotive forum the other day and some of the commenters were discussing that one of the reasons why Pontiac lost its way and then went away was due to the incredible amount of body-cladding that they used in later years. I wouldn’t normally lump Oldsmobile into the mix, but this 1977 Oldsmobile Starfire Mirage has several Pontiacs worth of cladding on it. The seller has it listed here on eBay in Garrettsville, Ohio. The current bid price is $7,200 and the reserve isn’t met!

That’s a lot of cladding! It’s like a Hollywood starlet’s overly-puffy collagen-infused lips that just don’t look quite natural. Maybe it’s because we don’t expect to see a puffy Oldsmobile. After all, this doesn’t look like a pragmatic car for someone who’s in middle-management as we’ve come to expect from sensible Oldsmobile. Although, the company also gave us the crazy and hot 442 and several generations and sizes of the front-drive Toronado.

The Oldsmobile Starfire started out as a trim level for the Olds 98, or more specifically to designate the 98 convertible models. The small, second-generation Starfire was a sister car to the H-body Chevrolet Monza, which also included the Buick Skyhawk and Pontiac Sunbird. This car is almost like new with just 24,200 miles on it and the seller thinks that it may be 1 of 1, as in Oldsmobile – or their dealer network – didn’t offer a dealer-modified Mirage model such as some Chevy dealers did with the Monza Mirage. The seller doesn’t show us a photo of the driver’s side front-3/4 view, but I found one online here. Yeah, it’s… interesting. Is it more than $7,200 interesting? It must be.

The interior is beautiful and looks basically like it’s brand new. The story goes that an Oldsmobile dealer in Ohio built this Olds Mirage and it sat in the showroom for a period of time before being sold and staying with that owner until 2007. Yes, that’s a 4-speed manual transmission that you see there. The back seat looks new and the rear cargo area looks like it hasn’t been used and it may not have been used.

This car has a 305 cubic-inch V8 and it’s fun to hear stories about changing the spark plugs in these cars with a V8. The previous owner spray-painted parts of the engine which is super unfortunate. I don’t know if all of those parts would normally be blue, would they? It needs some tinkering with the fuel gauge or sending unit and there’s a slight exhaust leak which given the tight engine compartment maybe won’t be a walk in the park to figure out. But, the bidders aren’t worried about any of those things, apparently. Have any of you owned a Chevy Mirage or have you seen this “1 of 1” Olds Starfire Mirage?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Skorzeny

    Scotty, I don’t know that I would ever call fender flares, as these look to me, ‘cladding’. I would say this does not have the right wheel/tire combo on it, too small. The price, given the condition and rarity, seems in line. I have always liked this body style, Buick the most… could be a lot of fun for the right Olds fan.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo jay ouellette

      I owned one of these Oldsmobiles, and the tires were way undersized from the factory.

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Fahrvergnugen Member

    PMD was a casualty in The War of the Gluons. But that was only after they broke the mold for the Can Am spoiler. Thus they vowed Never Again and powered off into the galaxy.

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo jwzg

    I’m not sure why somebody went crazy with a spray can and the engine bay but yeesh…

    Like 15
  4. Avatar photo Derek

    That’s phenomenally ugly.

    Seek out an Opel Monza (manual, natch..) instead.

    Like 12
  5. Avatar photo Jerry

    When they were talking about “cladding” I’m pretty sure they were talking about Ponchos like the late 80s Grand Ams with the large wide side body cladding all around them.
    Wasn’t just a Pontiac design though…..I didnt like the early model Chevy Avalanche for the same reason, all that side body cladding.

    Like 6
  6. Avatar photo David Brassfield

    My brother had the Buick Skyhawk version with a V6 and 5spd. manual. Ran pretty damn good.

    Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Todd Fitch Staff

    Interesting find, Scotty! I put over 100k on a ’76 Skyhawk (Buick’s version of this car) back in the day, 231 V6 and 5-speed. It was a great car for me at the time. I always wished I’d had the V8 even though they only made about an extra 30 HP. This one’s story about the dealer-installed Mirage stuff makes it more interesting, but you’d really have to want one to go seven large. The spray paint attack including the alternator is definitely a step backward. Great find and write-up!

    Like 6
  8. Avatar photo Dr Dan

    These cars with 13 inch factory wheels with the 305 and a 4 speed would just light the tires anytime you wanted. We put a 4 barrel and duals on the blue Monza Spyder I had with the same type hatchback, it was an extremely fun car to drive. Plans were to put a fully built 350 in it, but sold it to my nephew who ended up crashing it a few months later. Just a V8 Vega that made production during the poor build quality from GM. Ran a GM Dealer body shop for 12 years, they really put out some badly built autos in the late 70’s and 80’s.

    Like 8
  9. Avatar photo Troy s

    Third picture down, it looks kinda cool with those wheels, even if they are smallish.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Mr Wood

    The option is “Mirage Interrupter Package”, no Olds code for that option so it’s just a bolt (screw) on at this point. I bought mine new from Henna Chevrolet in Austin, February of 1978 (77 model). Eventually I put a 4bbl 400 SBC. Paired with the 250 metric tranny, still would do 130. That’s a lot in those days from that chassis. One of those cars you’d like to get back for funs sake. Oh, and the spark plugs? Ain’t no step, for a stepper.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo DSteele

    My very first car was a 1976 Oldsmobile StarFire with that 231 V6.

    You could literally sit in it and hear it rusting. The rear shock mounts are made out of tinfoil and will literally break off

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    I’m assuming Buick & Pontiac did not offer Mirage versions either in their cousin cars.
    Now just like darker/not bright green(like in ’69 camaros), this not too bright red interior is great to look at.
    Room for 4, unlike a modern camaro & stang.
    If you switch to an aftmkt narrower power brake booster, or none at all, will that aid replacing the hard to reach spark plug(s)?

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo local_sheriff

    OK; I don’t want to bash this car as it’s a very niceley preserved unique vehicle. However calling it a Starfire is nothing but a DISGRASE to the proud Starfires of the early 60s!

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Dave

      Ok, boomer!

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo local_sheriff

        FYI I was born same year as this ‘Starfire’

        Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Tim

    We had a 77 Monza Towne Coupe with the 305. If I recall correctly, it was rated at 115 net HP. Couldn’t get out of its own way. I remember helping my Dad change the plugs on it and the ones on the back left (under the AC compressor) were a major pain in butt. He got rid of it in 82 and traded it for a Ford EXP of all things. Man that thing was ugly! Oh well, I was in the Navy by then and drove a 77 GMC Short Bed Indy Pace Truck with a 454.

    Like 4
  15. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    As much as I dislike catchy sayings, if there ever was a example of “lipstick on a pig”, here you go. You can dress this car up all you want, it’s still a poor car, especially, with the V8. The only salvation to these, was the lighter V6, and the V8 power wasn’t that much better and the V6 got better mileage. This fancy “cladding” got these out the door, but they quickly lost their fizz when the doors fell off. Again, the new norm, apparently, rare DOES make it valuable,,to some.
    In a side note, it was the early 262’s that had the spark plug snafu, the 305 had a redesigned head, I think, and plug changes were easier.

    Like 5
  16. Avatar photo AnalogMan

    One of these cars with a V8 and manual transmission is indeed a ‘unicorn’ as the seller boasts. But I don’t know if the eye-searing JC Whitney quality ‘body work’ adds or detracts from the value. If the 24k miles are actual, this would be an interesting and uncommon Malaise-era car with it’s engine and transmission combination – if the body was stock.

    Weren’t the engines in these the 262 and not 305?

    Thanks Scotty!

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo Ralph

    Hi Howard. A girlfriend of mine bought one of the Chevys with the 305 new in 77. Rest assured the 305 was also pita to do plugs on. I still recall the 1/2 day spent doing the job at the dealership, and that’s with a lift and power tools to remove and loosen up various parts to be able to access the plugs from underneath.
    Thankfully a garbage truck ran it over soon after, and she got a Toyota soon after.
    Tree fiddy and not a dime more. No value to these penalty boxes at all.

    Like 2
  18. Avatar photo JEFF S.

    No A/C, no way, I will pass. I have always thought these cars were ugly, and I still think so. I would be much happier in a 1977 full size. Olds 88 / 98, for the same or maybe, less money.

    Like 2
  19. Avatar photo Ike Onick

    I wish it was a mirage

    Like 0
  20. Avatar photo Ike Onick

    I wish it was a mirage

    Like 1
  21. Avatar photo Sallie Storms

    I had a 1980 Olds Starfire GT…Black with gold stripes…it was beautiful & got stolen from in front of a Home Depot

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo gary rhodes

    The only good thing about these cars ( pontiac, buick, olds, chevy} is they made good drag cars. A guy down the road from me has a Chevy Mirage he bought new, has less than 10k on it.

    Like 1
  23. Avatar photo Desert Rat

    The body-cladding was meant to mimic the IMSA racers of the day which were really wild, which I always dug. As for this little Olds, I would lose the stripes, paint it a solid red and slap on a set of 18″ wheels for a pro touring look. (oh no, I can hear you guys rolling your eyes as I type)

    Like 4
  24. Avatar photo Tort Member

    I am fairly certain these cars were fun to drive and with good performance with a 305 and a 4speed but it is way beyond ugly.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Erv

      My wife and I owned a early in our marriage. Worst car we ever owned by a long shot.

      Like 2
  25. Avatar photo Super Glide

    I had a 64 98 Sport Coupe with the 394 “Starfire” engine and Slim Jim auto matic. It was the epitome of going way beyond how a sport coupe would be defined. Huge bucket seats, console and the whole 9 yards. It was the next step up from a Starfire. Still the 64 98 was an elegant looking car and I loved it.

    Now we come to this “Lay Up Lizard”, named for all of the plastic laid up on the sides. The base Starfire of this year, with a 305 V8, was a nice car. It had clean body lines and almost adequate power.

    Like the name implies, it’s a mirage. It’s not real.

    Like 1
  26. Avatar photo JCA Member

    Looks like it was driven through the ugly forest and hit by every branch.

    Like 4
  27. Avatar photo Francis Pedneau

    The spark plug access issues was with the 1975 model year only. I owned a 1976 and access to the plugs was not to bad on that one. When I first bought it, I replaced the heads, added aftermarket intake, carb and exhaust. It was a fun car…sorta miss it.

    Like 1
  28. Avatar photo Gerard Frederick

    Hey JACA, that´s mean!

    Like 0
  29. Avatar photo JCA Member

    Hey guys, just letting you know I built an ultra rare sandwich. It’s one of one guaranteed. Sardines, Peanut butter, bacon, Nutella and fluffa nutter on banana bread. Ultra rare limited edition. putting it on eBay in a few minutes $1,500 reserve

    Like 3
  30. Avatar photo Fredrogers

    My buddies dad back in the day had the Pontiac version with a 305 4bbL 4 speed 3.73 rear end…. he took me for a test ride in it and did a drag race two blocks long burn out, on the city side street with the car going sideways in a straight line no less (guy was a former drag racer). I should have bought that car back then for the 3 grand he wanted!

    Like 0
  31. Avatar photo stillrunners

    If you were a young driver during this time in history it was the look on a budget. Still you could make these run just like a V8 Vega or V8 Pinto.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo JCA Member

      I’d buy used or save a little more for a 280Z. Similar style but 10x the quality. What’s a ’77 280Z in this condition worth today? Regular production but still worth more than this

      Like 0
  32. Avatar photo Chris R. Member

    My dad owned one of these pigs as a company office car….it was left to him from a partner in the business that had retired. Biggest piece if garbage on 4 wheels! His was only a 4 cylinder, 4 speed but couldn’t get out of it’s own way going downhill!!

    Like 0
  33. Avatar photo Arthur

    I wonder what this car would look like if Ben Hermance came up with a new design for this particular H-Body? Under such circumstances, I could easily see this car transformed into something that can go head-to-head with the current Chevy Corvette once it was fitted with an Art Morrison or Roadster Shop chassis and a supercharged LS3 engine backed by the new Tremec TKX 5-speed.

    Like 0
  34. Avatar photo Jeff Spicoli

    Relax , alright …..My old mans a television repairman , he’s got this ultimate set of tools I can fix it !

    Like 0
  35. Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one reached $9,600 and was listed as ending rather than being sold so I’m assuming that it didn’t meet the seller’s reserve.

    Like 0
  36. Avatar photo Popawfox

    I had a 75 Monza with the 262 in it. Automatic with AC. (AC didn’t work.) It was my baby Corvette. I out ran an 81 Caprice cop car late one night in it. Only problem was getting to the #8 spark plug. Nice little car for what it was. Was seriously lacking in the brake department though. I traded it and $2000 for a 75 Hurst Olds. A MUCH better car! Have had it since 1984. Looks rough but still runs great.

    Like 0

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