Affordable Project: 1962 Oldsmobile F85 Cutlass

It isn’t clear how long it has been sitting in this garage, but the owner feels that the time has come for this 1962 Oldsmobile F85 Cutlass to come out of hiding, and to head off to a new home. I really have to thank Barn Finder FordGuy1972 for referring this beauty to us. The Olds is located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner is asking $2,500 OBO for the car, but there is also the option available to secure a parts car for a few dollars more.

The Cutlass is finished in Chariot Red with a Provincial White top. There is some evidence of rust present in the body, but given the fact that the owner only supplies one “and a bit” photos of the vehicle’s exterior, it is hard to tell exactly how extensive this is. The rust in the lower fender may not be a problem, as there are some extra fenders included in the sale. The snow tires fitted to the rear of the car suggest that it may have seen some harsh weather, and it does look like there might be some rust appearing around the bottom of the rear quarter panel. The external trim and chrome generally appears to be in decent restorable condition, although there are a couple of minor pieces that have been damaged. With any sort of luck, there will be replacement pieces amongst the collection of new and used parts that the owner mentions that will be included in the sale.

The interior of the Cutlass looks to be quite good, and I tend to agree with the owner’s assessment that the carpet will need to be replaced. He also mentions a tear in the driver’s seat, but this isn’t visible in the photos. The rest of the upholstery, trim, and the headliner, all look really good. It would appear that the interior is going to require little to return it to its best. The news isn’t as good when we delve into the drive-train of the Cutlass. I believe that the 215ci aluminum V8 and 3-speed automatic transmission are both present, but the owner indicates that it will all require a rebuild. That small capacity V8 was quite a motor when new, producing 185hp in the Cutlass. It might not sound like a lot of power, but in a car that only tipped the scales at 2,800lbs, it was still quite good. There might be something of a lifeline available for the buyer because the owner can supply a running donor car for an additional cost. It is well worth considering this option, depending on what is wrong with the existing engine.

This Oldsmobile raises an interesting conundrum for potential buyers. It isn’t clear whether it has any major rust issues, so that is something that will require consideration. However, at the asking price, it does appear to be a fairly affordable entry into the world of project car ownership. The option to obtain a parts car makes it even more tempting. Good examples can be found for around the $14,000 mark, but pristine examples will command twice that figure. Having said that, values on these have been creeping up slowly in the past few years. If you are the sort of person who wants to tackle a restoration project where you undertake the majority of the restoration work yourself, it might be a car that is worth considering.


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  1. Mark

    Ah memories. My dad had a red and white 61 F-85. Good on gas, plenty of pep from that V-8.

    He had it from 1970-73, in an attempt to teach my mother how to drive, and eventually be her car.

    His had a bumper trailer hitch and was sold new at David McDavid oldsmobile in Texas. Great big Texas state emblem on the trunk

    Like 4
    • Paul

      My dad had one as well, a ’62 , medium green colour. He only kept it one year, found it blew around a bit being so light.
      His previous car was a ’58 Olds ’88, so quite a big change. He traded in the F85 for a ’63 Impala.
      My memory says the F85s were popular as ‘get away’ cars, that V8 and light weight made for a pretty fast and nimble ride.

  2. Bob C.

    PNDSLR, must be the Roto Hydramatic. That will very likely need a rebuild. Still looks like a really good deal.

    Like 1
    • local_sheriff

      That’s a Roto transmission unique for the f85. Unless it’s working as it should it seems like a good opportunity to convert to a newer slush box…adapter plate will be needed.
      Still I agree it could be a deal. Though I personally think it’s too small, they have a very nice ‘convertible’ roofline similar to GM’s fullsize offerings 62-64

      Like 1
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    62 is my favorite year for Olds. The f-85, jet fire, and Starfire being my favorites. I once owned a 62 Starfire a very nice car. Still I’d really rather have my 64 Riviera.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  4. Mikey

    Ya Know this would be the perfect project for me to get my mind off losing my son in Janurary,he was 23 years old and had his whole life a head of him I’ve been hunting the facebook marketplace The Barn Find’s site, every Craigslist with in 500 miles of where I am in Buffalo NY and the vehicals were either to far,to much or to far gone to rehab with the limited resources I have.I’d have to sell damn near everything I own cause I was in a life changing motorcycle accident in ’95, my lawyer dropped the ball and all I got was a bill from the NY Sate court or appeals for $200 bucks so now all I have to look forward to is a cost of living raise every year, but I didn’t post this to whine, just when I saw it I knew ths is the one,so I’ve been trying to find someone to contact finally I sent an email to contact address at the bottom of the page maybe it get to the right channels…wish me luck I’ll need it HA!

    Like 11
    • Bob C.

      Sorry for your loss, Mikey. Hope all works out for you.

      Like 3
    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

      Mikey I hope you get your wish. You’ve a a rough go, makes me realize how easy I’ve had it taking care of my invalid wife.
      God bless you Mikey. Keep on believing.
      God bless America

      Like 3
    • Gaspumpchas

      So sorry for your loss, Mikey. Hope you find something cool to restore.

      Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      Been there. it’ll get easier to deal with. Just takes a long time.

      As for the car, when I was a kid a neighbor had the very same in wagon form. Same color with a roof rack.That back seat reminds me of the one I spent a lot of time in being taken back and forth to my house. :)

      Like 2
  5. Tom

    Had one in the Midwest. Was a hard starter in cold weather but otherwise a great little car.

    Like 1
  6. Del

    Nice unit.

    Non runner could take a lot of wrenching.

    Like 1
  7. Peter Phillips

    Wonderful little cars–I had a 1961 F-85, all original. This one doesn’t have enough information or photos to make a decision. What’s wrong with the drivetrain? Why doesn’t the engine run? How are the floors and the rust situation. Until those questions are answered, this is a $500 car.

    Like 2
  8. TimM

    This is the deal of the week here!! Get it running and driving and drive the heck out of it!!!

  9. Steve

    Being from MASS and the beach, there will be rust. Lots.

  10. Vermonter66

    My father bought a ’62 convertible, white, white top and the same color interior as this one. Great little car. He had a pickup so this was, basically, my mother’s and she didn’t drive too much. The car was always garage kept. When he was about to trade it in ’66, with less than 20,000 miles showing, some of the neighbors were interested and he had multiple offers higher than the dealer was giving him for trade in. i was kinda disappointed that the convertible was going, until he pulled in the yard with a teal blue 2 door 88 with a 425 and bucket seats. I got my learner’s permit soon after and learned to drive on that one.

    Like 1

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