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Compact Cruiser: 1963 Oldsmobile Cutlass

It may be hard to believe, but this was actually Oldsmobile’s smallest offering back in the early sixties. It was even considered a compact car back then. Boy, times have changed. It may appear bland at first glance, but there is actually some interesting engineering here. This clean 1963 Olds Cutlass is claimed to only have 29k miles on the odometer and is believed to be all original. It is located in Davenport, Iowa and is listed here on eBay with bidding at $1,000.

GM came up with the F-85 platform for their compact lines of Olds, Pontiac, and Buick cars. It featured unibody construction with coil springs on all four corners. Sounds almost sporty doesn’t it? Well, it should because the first prototype Cutlass was actually a sports car with a fastback roof and V8 power.

The car that actually made it into production is a lot less flashy than its inspiration, but that’s not all bad. The lines are clean and those subtle fins add a little flair. The outside may not have much in common with the concept, but underneath the skin, they are very much alike.

A high-compression 215 cubic inch V8 was used to power the new car. This engine was different than most offerings at the time because of its small size and the fact that it was cast out of aluminum. It eventually went on to become the now famous Rover V8. The standard setup was good for about 155 hp and in Jetfire guise could put out 215 hp and 301 ft lbs of torque. Jetfire engines featured a turbo and could have made the Cutlass into a real racer if it wasn’t for its soft suspension and vague steering.

The driver’s seat looks like a nice place to be. The vinyl covered buckets look comfortable and in great shape. It was hard to believe they were original until we looked at the mileage. They haven’t had much seat time so there is no reason they should have more wear. This car was obviously protected from the elements.

We like the sweeping speedometer and chrome ball shift knob for the automatic transmission. The Motorola AM radio and ventilation controls are close at hand. Who would have thought tan and chrome could look so good together?

This particular car should make a great driver for someone. It has been resprayed at some time, but everything looks very clean and original. The seller claims that everything works except for the windshield washer. They are even including a set of American Racing rims along with the stock ones. They look nice, but we would be tempted to sell off and start watching eBay for a turbo…

Source: eBay


  1. memikeyounot

    1963: I’m in 9th grade and my love of new cars and general car geekiness is at a peak. I wanted one of these Olds F85’s so bad. My dad bought a 65 Olds Starfire 4-dr hardtop. Almost as good! What a great find.

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  2. scot c

    ~ guess i’m right about the same age, Mike. i’ve owned 3 or 4 of the Buick Skylark version of the car through the years. the 215 V8 is one of my favorite engines.

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  3. Ray in PA

    GM cars used Delco radios, at least when they went solid state, somewhere in the early Sixties. My ’63 Pontiacs came with Delcos. Ford had Philco, and Mopar used Motorola.

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  4. Ray in PA

    Just looked at ebay pictures…Radio appears to be aftermarket, although Olds is not my strong suit. Nice car, though!

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  5. 2VT

    …..a little less camber, a little more caster and a touch of toe-out and magic, the steering vagueness is gone. Would look cool with some bigger wheels and tires stuffed in there. There was/is a video of Nurburgring where some ’64 Fairlane is running over allot of cars. And there are TransAm style Falcon’s running around. It just comes down to – what do you want to do.

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    • TV Calibration Is Essential

      Always thought it was toe-IN for front wheels on a rear-wheel
      drive car, and toe out for fronts on a front-wheel drive car.

      Aside, the bucket seats in those early ’60s GM midsized were
      a great place to spend hours at a time cross country, or,
      catching a snooze if you were the passenger, or driver parked
      at a rest stop.

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  6. Lemble

    The best looking of all the GM brands and they left it to go ! What a waste.

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  7. Ron Southan

    Chrome goes with everything.

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  8. scot c

    ~ the radio unquestionably says ‘Motorola’ on the clear station selector face. it looks original to me.

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    • chuck

      The 63 Cutlass most assuredly came with a Delco AM radio. I have a 63 Cutlass Convertible
      that I bought new in 63 so I know what I m talking about. BTW, the radio still works.

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  9. Your Name

    thank god for 64 n up, 63 just looked like something with little to no imagination to the design, I mean just look at it for a while, it wants to be a baby starfire but I’m not seeing any stars..

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  10. Melvin Burwell

    Id sure like to see what this ends up selling for. The car is one year older than me. But I was conceived that year.

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