Firenza Package: 1979 Oldsmobile Starfire

On the whole of it, the “Firenza” edition of the Oldsmobile Starfire is not a special car. But what is it about these oddball GM specials, with their aero kits and special stickers? So few of them exist today in any condition that they’re practically endearing, if only because we know now how low the survival rate is. This Firenza retains all of its tacked-on goodness but has been parked since the mid-80s. Amazingly, it still runs! Find it here on eBay with a few bids just up to $700 and reserve unmet. 

The spoilers were just part of the fun the Firenza package promised, along with a Rallye suspension, unique wheels, flared wheel openings, and obviously the special paint and trim. Likely helping its survival is this car’s location in Tuscon, where oddballs like this don’t rust to death if they sit for 20+ years. The paint is chalky but might come back with a buff; overall, however, the cosmetics are far better than I’d expect for a car that’s been idle as long as this one has.

It’s a pretty color combination too, with white vinyl seats paired with red carpeting and plastics. The seats themselves are in decent condition, and not as dirty as I’d expect. The automatic transmission is a bummer, as are the missing door panels. This H-body is said to suffer from brittle plastics inside, the obvious downside to the relentless Arizona sun.

This Starfire was fitted with the optional small-block V8 mill, an excellent upgrade over the standard-issue and highly wheezy Iron Duke four-cylinder. The seller, to his credit, took the time to get the Oldsmobile fired up and running again and claims it goes around the block just fine (but will obviously need a full mechanical restoration). While I don’t think values on these will spike anytime soon, they are hard to find and this one is likely one of the few remaining survivors.

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Comments

  1. Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice one, Jeff! Never saw a V8 Olds H-Body! I put 100k or more on my trusty ’76 Buick Skyhawk. Mine had the 231 V6 and five-speed. Other than the vague steering and fade-prone brakes it was fun to drive, looked great, and compared well to other cars of the time. For instance the same 115HP V6 powered barges like the Buick LeSabre. Yikes!

    Like 6
  2. Superdessucke

    Wow, didn’t know any of these were still around! My buddy had a white ’78 Firenza with the 305 in high school back in the day that had, IMO, the older and more attractive front end and taillight treatment. His was an automatic too. I can’t imagine very many had the 4-speed.

    This one would take a lot of work and money to set right. But it’ll probably be almost impossible to find another.

    Like 1
  3. Superdessucke

    In case anyone’s interested…

    1978 Production – 2,529
    1979 Production – 3,877
    1980 Production – 1,112
    Total – 7,518

    http://monza.homestead.com/firenza.html

    Like 4
    • Top Jimmy

      That’s for all Starfire’s, not just the Firenza package. Mine was silver with red interior. 305 and slushbox. My local dealer got tired of my trying to “steal” a fastback ’78 442, so I got a deal on a Starfire’s instead.

      Like 1
      • Superdessucke

        According to the Wikipedia entry for the Starfire, 125,188 were made between 1975 and 1980, so I think these numbers are for the Firenza package. And in the link I cited, it says it’s for the Firenza package, not a Starfire production total.

        And anecdotally, there were a lot of Starfires around in the 70s. If there were only 7,500 total Starfires during the last half of their production cycle, then I doubt we would have seen very many.

        Regardless, I’m not an expert on these. I’m just going on what I found on the internet.

        Like 2
  4. pwtiger

    This would be fun to swap in a bigger smogless 350 engine, to bad that I live in Ca. and we have to smog check anything newer than 1975 vehicle.

    Like 1
  5. CanuckCarGuy

    Nice find, a solid refresh and a bit more tire/rim (tastefully) to fill up those big wheel wells, and she’d be a real beauty.

    Like 2
  6. Chief

    Hard to source missing parts. Ready for crusher.

    • Duaney

      What missing parts? Looks pretty complete. Many of the parts show up on E-Bay. Why so negative on such a cool car?? Don’t forget, the 1975 Monza V-8 was the Motor Trend Car Of The Year. Beat out several other worthy candidates, including Mercedes.

      Like 4
  7. Chief

    The missing or rotted interior components come to mind. Unlike collector cars, there probably are not to many suppliers carrying the missing trim, door panels, etc. Even so, you would probably have 20K in a car worth 6K when you are done.
    As far as Motor Trend COY, the following dogs have been awarded the honor: PT Cruiser, Dodge Caravan, Renault Alliance, K Car, Chevy Citation, and last but not least: the Dodge Omni. Don’t think these cars are collectable or particularly desirable. Just saying…..

    Like 1
  8. Miguel

    Somebody beat the hell out of this one.

  9. M Bryant

    Hello guys/gals. I purchased one of the 1979 Starfire GT models (Silver with black accent stripes & red interior), 305, auto, posi rear, heavy duty susp & heavy duty cooling and battery. Took 6 weeks to take delivery due to shortage of heavy duty battery. Car was a blast to drive and really quite quick. Regretted selling it the moment I did. Tried to find it several years later with no luck. Wish I had it back.

    • Dee

      In 1983 I was in hs and my Dad bought a 1979 firenza for me silver with the stripes. It had a V8 which got me pulled over a lot. But I always talked my way out of a ticket. I loved that car in 1988 I bought a new car so my Dad took back the car. He used it to go to and from work for years. In 1993 I moved to Florida and I knew I should have taken the car back. But it sat in the driveway for years. Multiple people stopped by the house and asked if they could buy it my Dad always said no. Then one day he called some junkyard they came and picked it up. I wish I had it towed down here it was a great car.

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