Rare Turbo Olds: 1963 Oldsmobile F85 Jetfire

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After what was clearly too long of a time in storage this Oldsmobile F85 Jetfire has come out of hiding and is in rough shape. Some of you may be intrigued that this is a factory turbo V8 F85. The Jetfire option was only offered for 1962 and 1963 and there aren’t many that have survived as the years have passed. This Jetfire is complete but rough. With bidding reaching $200.00 with the reserve unmet, we imagine this is likely a price efficient Oldsmobile. Find it here on ebay out of Coventry, Rhode Island.

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The magic and the rarity of the Jetfire is all thanks to this power plant. It is the ever famous all aluminum Buick 215. The Turbocharger is set up in a draw through configuration, meaning that air and fuel are sucked through the turbo and pressure fed to the engine. The idea for the Jetfire was a great one, but the execution lead to issues that often ended with engine troubles. The Compression ratio is 10.25:1 and fuel is offered from a single barrel carb. It was difficult to prevent detonation and engine damage, so Oldsmobile equipped the Jetfires with a water/methanol injection system to prevent detonation, more commonly known as the “Turbo Rocket fluid.” Fail safes were put into place in the event that the methanol mixture ran dry, but still many engines suffered damage and didn’t survive. The Jetfire engine produces 5 psi, and generates 215 horsepower and 300 foot pounds of torque. Having said all of that, this turbo 215 has not seen boost in many years. There is no clue as to the condition of the engine, but it is refreshing that the engine and bay look to be complete for someone with an F85 looking for a Jetfire conversion.

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As rough as the exterior looks, we were surprised to see the interior survived as much as it did. There is moss, mold, and likely a few critters, but everything looks to be there. A power washer comes to mind, but we think a solid cleaning would reveal that more of the interior survived than what we can see from the pictures as of now. The body is a basket case. It would appear that hopes and dreams keep the fenders attached, though the rockers and quarters don’t look too bad off. Overall the car looks crispy and there is no surviving paint of any kind. The metal work may be a bit thinner than it was in 1963.

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Unfortunately, this Jetfire is likely destined to be a parts car. Performing a little research into the Jetfire world reveals that are only about 20 fully functioning Jetfires left in existence. We suspect this to be an estimate, but Jetfire numbers are low. For those of you intrigued by the Jetfire, look here for further information and pictures of surviving variants. For those of you with Buick 215 powered cars, this would be a neat opportunity to score a Jetfire setup, or perhaps the complete Jetfire engine swap would be neat in a project of your choice. What would you do with this sad Oldsmobile?

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Comments

  1. Bingolovescubs

    I bet car was once as quick as Addison Russell is today.

  2. MH

    This car deserves are frame off restoration. I wish I had the means to do so.

  3. DENIS

    I had a bit of experience with these and love that little 215/215.
    I would just freshen the engine, get it running nice, then get rid of the rusted hulk and put the engine on a stand in my office waiting for a riding-mower project….yessss

  4. Howard A Member

    What a neat car. ( at one time) It’s such a shame this car got to be like this. You would have thought someone would have recognized it’s value long before it became a rusty hulk. I’m sure there’s someone restoring a car like this, that would probably kill for that console, or some engine part that’s long gone. It’s true, it was mostly the motor that was valuable here, and someone will buy it just for that, I’m sure. ( brother had a ’62 wagon with a 215, no one wanted the car, and someone did buy it just for the motor) BTW, here’s what that nice interior used to look like. http://13252-presscdn-0-94.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/s-l720-377-620×465.jpg

  5. Mike

    What a shame that this old car is in such deplorable shape, other than the motor there isn’t much left to work with, Somebody commented about doing a frame off resto, but I bet you money there isn’t enough of the frame left to work with.
    One of the first car I wanted to restore was a 63 Impala I found setting in the middle of a field next to a river. My Dad told me to walk away but no I was a bulled headed 17 year old that thought I knew everything. The guy saw me coming and made a deal I could not pass up!
    What I was not thinking was the fact that I knew this car had been under water from the flooding of the river in the past x number of times over x number of years.
    My Dad just laughed at me as I worked hard to get it off of the frame only to discovered that 75% of the frame was beyond repair shocking that only about 30% of the body was gone, which included the floor pans of course, so it set for a while until I was finally able to find a frame and rebuilt the car. After it was over with I sold it for far less than I had invested into it, lesson learned, the hard way.

  6. Tom Member

    Terrible that people left cars to the elements like this. I just don’t get it. I probably never will. what a waste to let any vehicle like this just rot, leaving the windows open, moss growing inside, rot everywhere. ???????

  7. Larry Brantingham

    Not a Buick! They’re very similar, but the Olds version has six bolts per cylinder and different heads. The Olds type was the basis for the Repco V8 that Jack Brabham used to clinch his ’66 F1 World Championship for both drivers and constructors.

  8. Alan (Michigan)

    Pulled from a barn? One with no walls or roof?
    More likely pulled from the woods, based on the condition.

    I see that the hood was open for many of those years, and the hinges rusted solid. But someone just had to go and close it anyway, folding what was likely the best section of sheet metal on the car! Oh, and without the grille, I would not go calling the car “complete” either.

  9. Alan (Michigan)

    Indeed, it is a shame to see what has become of a very special car. I’d think that there are more than the supposed 20 left alive, though. Out of curiosity I have been casually observing Jetfires offered for a couple of decades.
    Missed my real chance at owning an unrestored survivor 15+years ago, very near my home, for $4500. Missed a real Tiger survivor in the same time frame, for the same ask. Dang.
    My brother had a Starfire with the carbureted 215, fun little car with a bit of a transmission issue. I wish I’d kept the motor and put it in my Corvair. Hmmm, this one….
    Anyone wanting to read puffery and sales hyperbole can go here:
    http://vi.raptor.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemDescV4&item=162267267822&category=6391&pm=1&ds=0&t=1478188640391
    While I admit that it appears to be a very nice example, that one’s ask is about twice the actual worth, IMO. Gotta watch out for that nasty “detention” in the engine.
    ;-)

  10. Rabdy W

    This car looks like a victim of a bad flood, and then set outside to rot. Push the button on the crusher.

  11. Greg Member

    Very cool find! The 215 engine was also available in my 62 Pontiac Tempest convertible, currently sporting its original 195ci 3.2 liter slant 4 cylinder engine, although the 215 option was the Buick version. I wonder if that Jetfire turbo engine could be fitted to my car, given that it has the “rope drive” and 2 speed Powerglide in the rear. Any thoughts?

  12. The One

    Nightmare under an Elm tree..

  13. JP

    I owned a 1963 Jetfire back in 67′. It was a nice little car but, not very fast. If I remember correctly, it was 215 cu.in with 250 hp. Once you got into it, the turbo would whistle and people knew it was me coming because it sounded like a bird. I had to purchase a white lubricant to put in the reservoir tank to lubricate the turbo. Once the cam went…..I pedaled the car. Bought a 65′ 442.

  14. speedo

    I would have loved to put that engine in my ’63 Cutlass Convertible, baby blue with two tone blue interior and blue top. I was followed home one day by an airline pilot that insisted he had to buy it. My mistake.

    • ccrvtt

      My family had a ’63 convertible, baby blue with white top & interior. What a pretty car! Always worth preserving (& keeping!).

  15. The One
    • L.M.K. Member

      The One,

      The Youtube link, great find !

  16. Jet

    That’s an olds 215 engine, same one land Rover used for years. There really not that rare.

  17. Prowler

    I think I hear the fat lady singing again
    It’s over……

  18. z1rider

    These were recalled for removal of the turbo and all related parts of that system. Like this one, not all of them made it back to the dealer for the change. This one is only valuable as a donor of the forced induction system to a good Jetfire that DID get recalled and retrofitted.

    I am always amazed at the people who state they are “amazed” a car could be left to rot outside. Cars start going down in value the minute you drive them off the lot and at their low point in value they are not work the effort and expense to keep up. So people roll them outside and forget about them.

    How many cars made back in the 80’s and 90’s are you collecting and storing away?

    Yeah, I thought so.

  19. Alan (Michigan)

    The car has been relisted.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-Oldsmobile-Other-/282249373799?vxp=mtr

    I really wonder what the seller thinks the value is???
    There has to be something left to be more than scrap.

    Here is a guide to what the turbo system “might” be worth:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/272445372890?ul_noapp=true

    In the engine bay shot in the listing for this car, I see no air cleaner. Might be more than a little difficult to find one.

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