Aluminum V8: 1962 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass

While the early compacts launched by American Motors and Studebaker were rather ordinary, some of General Motors’ versions were not. For example, the Chevy Corvair used an air-cooled, rear-mounted engine, while the Oldsmobile F-85 had an aluminum, high compression V8 engine. One of these is the F-85 Cutlass Club Coupe, which was the upscale edition of the new Olds compact car. This generally nice survivor is located in Aurora, Oregon and available here on craigslist for a reasonable $4,850 OBO. Thanks for the tip, MattR!

The F-85 shared its Y-body platform with the Buick Special and Pontiac Tempest using still-new unibody construction. The car got its model description “F-85” as a nod to the 1928-38 Oldsmobile F-Series. The car had double wishbone front suspension and a four-link live rear axle, suspended with coil springs. Unlike its Pontiac and Buick cousins, the first-generation F-85 was only offered with a “Rockette” 215 cubic inch all-aluminum V8, Oldsmobile’s version of a similar Buick engine. Using a 2-barrel carburetor, it was rated at 155 hp; with a 4-barrel, closer to 175. One of the sharpest cars in the line-up was the F-85 Cutlass Club Coupe, which used a notch-back style roof. It accounted for a little more than 7,900 assembles in 1962.

The seller’s ’62 F-85 looks good until you get close up, where what is likely an older repaint is showing its age on upward facing panels, like the hood and trunk. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of rust, but it may have been attended to previously as visible metal in the trunk looks to be new. The chrome and glass look to be good and the wheel covers are – well – interesting. The interior components may be original and not bad, with the exception of the metal portions of the dashboard which appears to have some surface rust. And the seat bottoms may be starting to crack. The car is equipped with some seldom found options, like power windows, the low-back bucket seat package, and a Hydra-Matic Drive transmission shifted from the cool center console.

We’re told the Olds starts and runs well, yet we see that there is no battery installed. A newly rebuilt 4-barrel carb has been installed that is said to be period correct. The mileage is reported as 46,000 which suggests a gently used car over the past 59 years. Barring unforeseen issues, this is a car that may not need a lot to become a regular at weekend car shows. Hagerty pegs one of these in Fair condition at $4,300 and $6,200 for Good so the seller isn’t asking crazy money to pass this interesting car along to its next home.


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I’m familiar with poverty caps, reverse half moons, and dog dish hubcaps. These look to be Chicago Pizza pans.

    Like 12
    • Brett Becker

      They’re most often called salt flat discs, and yes, the Buick 215 V8 was later sold to Rover.

      Like 9
  2. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Wasn’t this aluminum V8 the 215 c.i. that was later sold to Rover?

    Like 8
    • alphasud Member

      Not this one as Oldsmobile used different heads and additional head bolts. The Buick design is what the Rover group purchased along with the tooling.

      Like 6
  3. lbpa18

    Was there a significant weight savings with this motor? Was it good enough that it was scavenged and used in other builds?

    Like 3

    I had the 63 Buick version with 215 4 barrel V8 and 4 speed. Bucket seats but no power windows.
    That Buick could really smoke the tires.

    Like 1
  5. BigBlocksRock

    This looks to be a car.
    Clean it up, replace the wheel covers & drive it as is.
    Is that a clock or a tach on the steering column? If a clock it looks like an afterthought.

    Like 2
    • MattR Member

      Zooming in, it appears to be an after-market tach to me. Is that tape on the steering column? Oh my.

      Like 3
      • Angrymike

        Looks like an old ziptie to me, good eye !

        Like 3
    • BOP_GUY Member

      The factory clocks that came with these y-body cars was shaped exactly like that so that’d be my guess, although with the ad gone I’m going by the pics above. But the factory ones came mounted on top of the dash in the middle by the speaker. Pretty jury-rigged the way it is now! I don’t know why they wouldn’t take a Saturday, remove all the dash chrome, sand down the lower messed-up portion of the dash and paint it. Install the clock properly at the same time. It has the optional center console which is cool, don’t see many of those. I have the 62 Buick Skylark version and the 62 Pontiac Lemans version, and I’m surprised at the price. If it runs well, doesn’t overheat and isn’t rusting away, that’s a hell of a bargain! With a good support group on FB, and parts readily available, these are lightweight fun cars that are easy to work on.

      Like 1
      • MattR Member

        Thanks for the details BOP. You’ve put this car on my permanent radar.

        Like 1
  6. S

    I find it odd how there are none of these cars around usually, then in the last week there have been 3 posted on Barn Finds. There seem to be plenty of Buick Skylarks around, but only a handful of Pontiac Tempests/LeManses. The Olds F-85/Cutlass seems to be the rarest of these – yet suddenly 3 pop up in just a week’s time.

    Like 8
  7. MattR Member

    I’ve been thinking about this one a lot for a few days as it’s within a days drive for me.. but what gives me pause is rust. I see a lot on the dash and the pillars which suggests to me it was outside with bad window seals for a while. At that ante, dealing with that may be worth it if not extensive.

    Like 3
  8. Richard

    My dad had the performance version of this it was the F85 jet fire 215 HP via of a turbo. Very cool car. Years later I had the 1963 version and I think it was better looking.

    Like 4
  9. John

    Never knew you could get power windows on those…very cool!

    Like 3
  10. alphasud Member

    Looks to be sold!

    Like 3
  11. Roy powell

    I have a 62 Buick special. It looks a lot like this one. Mine is a two door post model.

    Like 1
  12. Brian Weyeneth

    I’m still laughing over Rex’s pizza pan comment!

    Like 2
  13. Rocky

    It was my first car! I bought it from my aunt in 1970 with 18,000 miles on it. Had a blast in that car ran great, pretty quick with the 4 bbl. Same color too! I wish I could find a nice one! This one is gone,I believe.

    Like 1
  14. Chip Hindes

    Those hub caps hurt my head. Would have been better showing just the painted steel wheels. Unless they’re rusty.

    Like 1
  15. Ed P

    This car needs period correct wheel covers and white walls like it had from the factory.

    Like 5
  16. Dave

    My sister had one of these as a college car. I was younger and used to take it out joyriding.Quick car and nimble but not so good on black ice. Spun out and landed in a field of snow. Welded the heads solid to the block. could not separate with a sledgehammer.!

    Like 1
  17. David Donahue

    Interesting to learn the history around the origins of the F series. I had an 86 Toronado Trofeo with the FE3 package. Loved that car!

    Like 1
  18. Daniel Gavin

    Love it…..had a ’62 coupe. Great cars. Put some regular caps on this baby and your good to go!!

    Like 1
  19. Daniel Gavin

    Dave……….I’m not aware of any car that’s good on black ice!!!

    Like 2
  20. MitchRoss Member

    Someone li Gurney should have shipped a couple of these over to Europe to race in the British and European touring car series, Would have kicked some Jag and Merc ass, well maybe not Jag.

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