Baby Blues: 1962 Oldsmobile Cutlass F85

David FrankBy David Frank

Once upon a time in the land of smoke and rust, the leaders gazed upon their kingdom of cars and proclaimed, “We should make smaller ones”. At Ford, there arose the Falcon. Chrysler made a Valiant effort. And from the General there sprang first the Corvair and then in a Tempest sprang the Y-body triplets, the Olds F-85, the Buick Special and the Pontiac Tempest. The F85 was a couple of feet shorter than its big brothers. These little unibody cars showed great promise with an aluminum V8 and modern suspension. There were coils on every corner, double wishbones up front and even a 4 link setup in the rear. Sadly, it was not the case. The handling was baby buggy soft. Y-body cars like this Olds were never special or collectible so the few that have somehow survived are rather rare now. It appears this little Olds listed on craigslist in San Diego is in good company. There are several cars in the background that will appeal to a lot of you more than this baby blue F85, especially the 1957 Chevy. That being said, this actually looks like a great find and could be fun!

The Y-body cars never sold well, so after a couple of years, they were redesigned as a larger and more conventional body-on-frame chassis. In 1964 the Pontiac Tempest was available as a GTO model with a 325 horsepower 389. This F85 is said to be all original, but that must be a repaint. The odometer is showing only about 30,000 miles. As always, the question whether the mileage is really only 30,000 miles or is it more likely 130,000 miles? It runs and drives beautifully. The $15,000 asking seems rather high. This is a bench seat car with an automatic transmission so it’s nothing special. Hagerty values the F85 at about $8,000 for an excellent example and even Concours cars are valued at only about $11,000. Perhaps they are going by NADA pricing which lists hight retail at $20,000. There’s a 1963 example listed on eBay with bidding at about $5,000 with a day left at this time. This nice F85 convertible sold recently on eBay for $7,100. Or, if you like gold and don’t mind a few dents, there’s one or sale right here on Barn Finds for $6,000. And it even has bucket seats and a console. The interior of this one really looks nice from here though, but there’s no picture provided of the front seats or dash. These seats may have been redone, but it is the same pattern as the original and the same as other F85s you see.

Here’s the 215 CID V8. From what is shown it looks original and unmolested. It actually looks pretty nice for not having been detailed.

This end looks a bit less pristine than the other, but perhaps it’s mostly reflection. I think the asking price for this little Olds is a long way from being realistic. If this F85 could be purchased for a reasonable price, it would be a nice driver. It also has the capability to become a quick and fun driving little car. One could upgrade the engine and suspension as time and money permitted. This engine was used in Rovers and was popular for MG and other conversions and was the choice for British hot rodders so there are lots of performance parts out there. If this could be bought for a reasonable price and you don’t mind baby blue, what would you have in mind for this little Olds? Thank you, Michael for this interesting find!

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Comments

  1. Grumpy old man

    Damn, just got mine. Work ahead, told wife I would quit car websites. Hey, while welding, old school Rock if I post, send $. Nice 72 not baked or used Torino. Do well my friends.




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    • grant

      I’m so confused…




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    • glen

      Eh?




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    • On and On

      Take a break dude, it’ll be OK.




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    • Michael

      I’m not as think as you drunk I am.




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  2. KEN TILLY

    Whose socks are you smoking?




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  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    Nice F-85. I always liked GM’s ‘Senior Compacts’ and this one looks pretty sweet, if rather pricey.




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  4. ccrvtt

    That’s not a bench seat. The bucket seats were fairly generous and set close together. The engine compartment could pass for the claimed mileage. The price seems high even for a convertible in this condition – $8,000 would be closer.

    And I would take this car over the ’57 Chevy any day of the week.




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    • 86 Vette Convertible

      What he said. I’m not sure I’d take this over the 57 though, I’d need to see both in person first.




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  5. Rube Goldberg Member

    This a sweetheart too. Right size, probably get decent mileage. Such nice cars back then, how could you ever make a choice?




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  6. Craig M. Bryda

    Same motor as the Buick 215 “.?????




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    • BOP Guy Member

      Very similar. Only differences are that the combustion chamber was wedge shaped instead of the hemispherical ones in the Buick, six bolts per cylinder instead of five, and larger valves.
      The cars are lightweight (2400-2700lbs) and really a blast to drive. The rarest was the 61-62 Pontiac Tempest/LeMans version with the v8, as only 3% of all sold had them. Most came with the 195ci slant 4 cylinder. This F85 looks to be a nice clean one, but that price is ambitious.




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  7. Luke Fitzgerald

    Solid car with odd appointments – but that’s my unfamiliarity with these things – from the shots, a respray does not seem to be the case – price is up there, but probably negotiable. Again, if as advertised, where will you find another? Top find boys




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  8. angliagt

    What price? – I couldn’t find one in the ad.

    Does anybody ever keep these kind of finds?
    Seems like they’re always flipped.




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    • BRAKTRCR

      Was thinking the same thing. I don’t see a price in the ad either. It does say it was posted 17 days ago… I like it a lot at “no price” but if it was 15k before, it’s probably 14.5k now




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  9. EHide Behind

    Asking price is about 7 times its cost new.
    At 8K this would of made a high school kid a damn fine fun and economical of upkeep ride.
    Perfect for cruise nights, especially as most young ones never seen one before, and two couples can ride comfy.
    Taken good care of would hold at 8K for years.
    13K MAYBE IN ANOTHER 50 YEARS.
    AT 13K buy them a used rice burner.




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  10. Joe Howell

    My brother had one like this in high school (70-72) but his was tan. Seems like way too much money for what it is. Speaking of Tempests, the 63 was the coolest looking. Arnie (The Farmer) Beswick had one that looked as mean as it ran. A 421 Super Duty and fat slicks helped 🙂




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  11. Steve65

    Always struck me as a waste of time dealing with people who illustrate their lack of ethics in the ad. It’s enough hassle as it is without having to go in assuming bad faith on the part of the seller.

    Great car, but there are plenty of great cars for sale by honest people.




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  12. Drew

    57s are a dime a dozen, drive something different, live a little.




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  13. BOP Guy Member

    I have a 62 Pontiac Tempest/LeMans convertible, with the 4 cylinder (half a Pontiac 389) high compression four barrel, and a 62 Buick Skylark convertible with the high compression 215 aluminum v8. I paid around 2 grand for each because they had sat so long. The Pontiac runs perfect, doesn’t leak a drop. Still working on the Buick. Like any other project, you can get under water 💰 easily and quickly. They’re a labor of love. But you won’t readily see one around when you hit the meet ups or Saturday morning coffee gatherings. I agree it seems a lot to ask at $13k (not sure where that number came from), but it looks solid, complete and done. Like EHide said, it’d make a younger someone, new to classic car collecting, a great entry level unique car for $8-10k.




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  14. Poppy

    Is that a vinyl top I’m seeing? I’m not sure these were offered with a vinyl top originally.




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    • dweezilaz

      Vinyl “Sport Top” roof covering about a $75 option and rare.




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  15. dweezilaz

    Not mentioned in the ad: looks like a factory vinyl top from the photos.




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  16. Van Cardwell

    I’ve always been curious about these with a turbo. Anybody ever driven one with a turbo. Do these cars have a corvair transaxle.




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    • BOP Guy Member

      I’ve always wanted to drive a F85 Jetfire too! I hear there’s pretty severe turbo-lag.
      As for the transaxle question, no. The Olds and Buick versions of these Y-body cars have a standard setup. The Pontiac on the other hand, has a front engine and rear transmission transaxle setup. They’re connected with a rigid metal bar locked inside a permanently closed & greased tube/box (Rope Drive). That gave the Pontiac an almost even 50/50 weight distribution. The Corvair is rear engine, rear transmission with a transaxle connecting the two over the rear axle. It has a weight distribution of 32/68, which is what gave it a reputation (unjustly in my humble opinion). The Pontiac does have four wheel independent suspension like the Corvair and the Corvette of those years. The Olds & Buick has standard suspension for the time.




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  17. BRAKTRCR

    Wondering… just what exactly is “Ultra High Compression” ?




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    • Joe Howell

      Needs Hi-Test gas 🙂




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    • Michael S

      185 HP vs 155 HP, 4 bbl carb.




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  18. BOP Guy Member

    I believe that would be the highest horsepower engine, with compression at 10.75:1 instead of 10.25:1.




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  19. Alan

    Beautiful Oldsmobile!! I have 79 Hurst /Olds white gold color combo eith beige cloth interior has 6,900 original miles with All documentation and manuals 350 4B, tilt steering, power driver seat, power windows, rear defrost, Factory AC, Factory AMFM radio




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  20. Michael S

    BOP [Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac] 1961-63 Senior Compacts were so unique, sharing a platform which originated with the Corvair; and yet each was different from the other two. Buick offered beefier brakes and a 4 speed manual transmission which was shared with the Corvette of the era. Tempest came with an independent rear transaxle and 15″ wheels/tires; the other two came with 13″ wheels/tires. However, I learned there was an option for larger diameter wheels. This example might have this rare option because the wheel covers look larger, but not generic to Oldsmobile.




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  21. Craig M. Bryda

    Those wheel covers look like they could be ’55 or ’56 Olds.




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  22. Gordon

    When I was in college, I traded my 55 Ford for a 62 Jetfire. This was in 1967. It was a sleeper, but like BOP Guy said, the turbo took awhile to kick in. The gallon of methyl alcohol under the hood that was injected to keep it from pinging didn’t last long when you really put your foot into it. Corvair used the same turbo on the Spyder Monza but just delayed the timing so they wouldn’t knock.




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  23. Norman Wrensch

    Olds made a rather dumb move and run 10.25 compression with the turbo engine. If they would of used a more realistic compression like 8 or 9 to 1 they may have done much better. Then they could of used a bit better turbo and reduced the lag




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  24. Craig M. Bryda

    I wonder if the engineers knew that in 1962 ?




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