Reasonable Project: 1964 Oldsmobile Jetstar 88

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What’s so special about this 1964 Oldsmobile Jetstar 88? Ostensibly, nothing. Once, a time ago, you wouldn’t have even noticed it because they were everywhere. Oldsmobile sold about a half million cars (seventh place) in ’64 and 60K were two-door hardtops of varying different trim levels. Today, Oldsmobile is no more, and full-size, V8-powered two-door hardtops are a thing of the past. Yup – you don’t know what ya got ’til it’s gone! This jet-age-sounding Oldsmobile is located in Bastrop, Texas and is available, here on craigslist for $5,500, OBO.

Oldsmobile’s rundown in ’64 placed the Ninety-Eight at the top and then moved downstairs with the Starfire, Super 88, Dynamic 88, Jetstar I, and finally the Jetstar 88. Being at the bottom of the line-up didn’t condense choices as the Jetstar 88 was available in two-door hardtop and convertible, as well as four-door sedan and hardtop body styles.

Condition-wise, this Olds looks pretty stout. the finish is faded but the body is straight and I detect no evidence of rot. Images of the underside reveal typical scale but nothing more severe. This “Club Coupe” body design, with its creased convertible top look, was in its third and final model year, having been introduced in ’62 and adorning models from Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Buick. Finally, we have the wheels – they look like Baby Moons attached to standard steel wheels – not what I would expect to find on a Jetstar 88.

Powering this coupe is a 330 CI V8 engine that the seller rates at 225 gross HP though Oldsmobile’s historical rating is 245. It’s attached to a “Jetaway” two-speed automatic transmission, and yes, it does run. Claimed to have been rebuilt in 2006, this Olds-specific engine needs a water pump and thermostat.

The interior is a bit ratty. The driver’s seat bottom, which appears to be red vinyl, is torn and hiding under a Mexican blanket, the door panels are dilapidated, nothing is covering the floor, and the radio is missing. This is an A/C equipped car but there’s no sign of the compressor and the seller is silent on the matter.

So, what’s the significance here? It’s the same thing that I grind on about, probably too often, and that is we won’t see cars like this produced again. We’ve all shook our heads over what certain models from Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, Plymouth, and Dodge are doing in the collector car market these days – the values are nuckin’ futz. But here’s a reasonable opportunity for someone, with or without mechanical skills, to get a nice slice of yesterday, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. HoA HoAMember

    Jim, you da’ man! Honestly, when you see a car like this again, through the miracle of this site, as a kid, who on your block drove a car like this? You have 10 seconds( cue, catchy tune), times up, for me, it was the factory foreman that smoked a pipe, or the single pharmacist that was always a nice guy. 4 doors, or wagons were the norm for a family. A different group drove an Olds 2 door. Not a fancy person, traded the old Pontiac for this, and knew, perhaps from their old man, what a great car an Olds was. It was BIG, and big meant safety, I don’t think there was EVER a disappointed Oldsmobile owner. My old man had Oldsmobiles. Here’s someones chance to experience that. I’ll never forgive GM for pulling the plug on 2 of the most important cars in most peoples lives. Saab, Saturn, Hummer, not so much.

    Like 36
    • Bob

      Not GM Obama!

      Like 0
      • Jim ODonnellAuthor

        Not true in the case of Oldsmobile – that was all GM’s doing. The metamorphosis from Oldsmobile to “Aurora” didn’t pan out so GM axed the brand at the end of the 2004 model year – long before the Obama administration and GM’s “quick rinse” bankruptcy occurred.

        JO

        Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    Why not baby moons on this car? Certainly don’t see these cars running around all over the place. Clean design. good drive train, nice drivers. 2 speed automatic not the greatest but it could always be changed out without hurting value. My dad had, in order, 2 Buicks and 3 Oldsmobiles. What he liked about the Olds was good looking and fast.

    Like 12
  3. Bob Veenstra

    Anyone notice that this has Starfire taillights? And the rare “tri-star” (I think that’s what it was called) headlight trim that was recalled (outlawed) after 1 year because it was blinding to oncoming drivers? I owned a 64 Starfire (“394 V-8 beauty”) here on Barnfinds a few years ago, sold it to a wonderful collector in Germany…

    Like 11
  4. CCFisher

    Taillights are from a Starfire.

    Like 8
  5. bigbird

    Nice complete car. Not for the city as most parking lots have downsized and it just won’t fit. A really nice cruiser….just put it back on the road, and hope someone gets back in so you can fill the tank!

    Like 9
  6. Scotty B

    Not a bad start or price for a drivable project. The 330 was a great engine. I had a 64 cutlass with the 330 4 barrel and a 2 speed .. the boogied for what it was. Maybe a quick paint job some duals and Centerlines. Do something with the interior. I think for a total of 10k between the car and some parts you can have a real cool ride. Decide to sell might even be able to come out with a few $ profit lol

    Like 8
    • TRUTH

      My thoughts exactly. It’s pretty reasonably priced for running. Needs a few grand to make it pretty and a head turner.

      Like 7
    • Terry J

      Back in High School ( mid 1960’s) , George’s folks had one of these. At the “Saturday Night Drags” on the county road out of town, that 330 was a force to be reckoned with when up against a Ford 352 or a Pontiac 326. No contest. Bobby’s Grandma’s 327 ’63 Impala was its equal, but few others. :-) Terry J

      Like 4
  7. CarbobMember

    Good find. If this was closer I would be checking it out. If one can live with a driver level car then this would make a great investment. On the face of it I can’t see where some elbow grease and a relatively small investment in a few parts wouldn’t make this a nice cruiser. Decent CL advertisement and a reasonable price. Kudos to the seller. GLWTS.

    Like 7
  8. mack

    Leave this one alone. It’s got the 330 engine, and the jetaway, but worst of all, it’s got the F-85/Cutlass tiny brakes. Jetstar 88 was a BAD idea in 1964, and it’s a bad idea today. If you absolutley have to have the unpopular, poopy 1964 Oldsmobile, stick with the Ninety-Eight. The gawd-awful slim-jim tranny is the worst screw-up GM ever made. They’re not worth a damn.

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      The gearbox is a two speed which means it’s a first year Super-Turbine 300, not a three-speed Slim Jim. Olds used the “Jetaway” moniker on more than one transmission.

      JO

      Like 9
    • Bill Christofferson

      I agree with the tranny statement as my Dad had a 4 door and had to repair the tranny trice as all it would do is go backwards when it went out. I hated this car and told Mom and Dad that this car was obsolete in 1968 as Mom scolded me for this. I remember the door lock covers came off and all you had to grab was a screw to unlock the door. On a positive note my Dad said it was the fastest car he ever had getting it up to 112 mph to Mom’s aggravation.

      Like 2
  9. jetfire88

    The Jetstar 1 was a de-contented Starfire, the Jetstar 88 is essentially a full-size body on a F85 chassis.
    Finding chassis parts (suspension/rear end/brakes/bearings/etc.) is a nightmare because everyone will send you Super 88 parts, not the F85 parts it actually has.

    It has the GM A-body wheel bolt pattern (4.75 on 5, Chevrolet) instead of the full size 5×5 size. The rims on this one look like the “Chrome Smoothies” that were readily available in the 70’s.
    The surface rust under the car looks more like rusty flat steel sheet metal panels under the floors.
    Why has the body tag been removed from the body and shown separately?

    The chrome inner headlight and the taillight trim is Starfire and was not standard with this body style. The headlight trim is just a chrome ring that attaches where the normal trim was, the bulb under it is a standard sealed beam. Never heard of these being banned, but the use of aircraft landing bulbs (which look similar) sure was.
    The car has a A/C dash and firewall assembly, but there is no sign on the engine of ever having a compressor or brackets on it. The double ended headbolts are not there (engine swap?).

    Like 5
    • Brian

      That is a good point and an engine swap sounds most plausible. The body tag being separated is also a red flag as is the low price for a drivable and relatively solid ’64

      Like 4
  10. Chill-Driver

    If a true rust-free, moving Texas car it’s a fair price. Daily cruiser and incremental project all in one.

    Like 3
  11. Homer

    Reply to HoA. Yes, I knew an unhappy Olds owner, a Nazarine preacher and it made him want to cuss! He bought it new in the mid 70s and the Davis Moore Olds in Wichita could never solve the problem that I can’t remember. He then bought a Pontiac and loved it.

    Like 2
  12. Joseph Rothenbuhler

    Is this a stock 4bbl?
    What the rear differential gear?

    Like 1
  13. Harold

    I owned a 64 Jetstar 1 . When ordering ticked off every option in the book. It was a sweet ride. In addition to all the options I had a body shop install a padded roof . Also added a side rub strip . My mom owned a 62 Starfire Coupe..We were an Olds family till the early 70’s., Great days

    Like 5
  14. Paul Alexander

    I bought my twin boys a 64 Delta 88 2-dr hardtop for their first car in 1993. They were 14 and restless. They spent countless hours working on it and fixing it up and learning all that car stuff that goes with such a project. It taught them auto mechanics, sound systems, and a myriad of other related and tangent skills, plus patience and resolve. They moved on to other cars and trucks, and left the Olds with me. I recently sold it to a college professor who is in the process of restoring it to it’s original glory. One of my favorite car experiences EVER!

    Like 7

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