Restore As You Go: 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible

In the early days of what we now call “muscle cars”, Oldsmobile found a way to shake off the oldfashioned “Merry Oldsmobile” image, and they did so with cars like the Cutlass. This ’65 convertible is for sale here on craigslist near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Let’s check it out and give props to reader Mitchell G. for telling us about it!

Ransom Olds started doing his thing in 1897, and the Olds Motor Vehicle Company made a name for themselves early on, becoming the top-selling car company in America around 1902 or 1903. Fast forward to the late ’50s and early ’60s, when Oldsmobile division of General Motors realized that they could sell performance-oriented cars alongside comfortable cruisers, particularly marketing them in the themes of jet aircraft and rockets. The Cutlass / F-85 was born of this idea, specifically the 442 package, and we present a nice example to you today.

The car we see here is apparently in really nice condition, having been restored many years ago, but remains in at least driver-condition, if not better. The seller tells us that it has the 330-ci Jetfire Rocket V8 engine and automatic transmission, but doesn’t give us mileage nor much else option-wise. Taking that and looking at the pictures, we see a nice example that, while not perfect, appears to present well and without too many immediate concerns for potential buyers.

This car looks pretty good, and might make a nice starter car for someone new to the hobby just as well as it would make a good starting point for a new restoration or resto-mod project. Granted, there are a few parts that are not that easy to locate. but if you’re really only looking for a fun driver, on a budget,  that you wouldn’t be too sad if it got a bit of dust or rain on it, this is worth a look.

That’s what I think, what do you think? Let us know!


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  1. Cadmanls Member

    I suppose that is a 65 Cutlass, but that front clip is a 1964. I know this as I own one so….front end damage many moons ago?

    Like 7
    • Ramone Member

      Good catch!

      Like 1
    • Scott Williams

      I came to comment that it’s a 64, then saw the taillights and thought “huh?”

      You are correct of course. My first car was a 65.

      Like 2
  2. GP Member

    Back in time(1975 or so), My brother had a 1965 Cutlass Convert., I am not 100% sure , But I think it had the 455, auto with the console. He got a speeding ticket for 25.00 and had to pay it or lose his lic. We drove it to Kadinger’s auto salvage and got 35.00 dollars for it. Then we walked 8 miles home. The next time he said- Hey ya wanna go for a ride, I said NO.

    Like 3
  3. Weasel


    I bet those red heater hoses and that flexible upper radiator hose helped to clinch the deal.

    Like 1
  4. Stangalang

    Naaahh it was the cool wiring around the brake booster and the clear fuel filter lol..I have used those filters and realized that I was rebuilding carburetors a lot more often

    Like 2
  5. Joe Padavano

    “This posting has been deleted by its author. “

  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. But are you sure about the year of the car? It says it’s a 1965 Olds Cutlass convertible. But looking at the front end, it looks like a 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

    • Joe Padavano

      You can easily bolt a 1964 front end onto a 1965 body. You cannot easily bolt 1965 rear quarters and tail lights to a 1964 body. Do the math.

      Like 2
  7. BOP_GUY Member

    Sold! Anybody know how much they were asking?

  8. TimM

    Nice car nevertheless!!!

  9. Paolo

    Tomato, tomatoe… I knew a car thief that had a 64 Cutlass with a 65 front clip. That combination doesn’t seem to work as well as the 65 with the 64 clip.
    1964s seem to be real rusters and 65s seem to have a much better survival rate.

  10. jokacz

    My mother had a 64 Cutlass that must have been a screw up at the assembly line. It was Pacific Mist with a bright red interior. The dealer practically begged her to buy it, they couldn’t give it away, it was so ugly. But it was a great driver, apart from the horrible powerglide transmission. It was pretty fast in spite of the trans.

    Like 1
  11. john zajac

    the 442 package came from the jetstar 1 as the first 442 came with 330 two speed auto or 4 speed and the 394 with a three speed auto

  12. MTLieb

    My 65 had the 2 speed Jet-A-Way with the switch pitch converter. Column shift bucket seat Cutlass white (painted) over gold. First car that I bought after getting out of Uncle Sam’s canoe club in January 1969.

    Like 1
  13. CaCarDude

    These were a nice looking A body GM ride from the mid sixties,.. but I am partial to the Buick and Pontiac cars over the Olds. The Buick had better lines and nicer taillights IMO. Only real Olds I drove was in my HS senior year, it was a ’54 Baby Blue 2dr ht rocket 88, such a fun car back then.
    On the front end swap that was probably due to a front end mishap, and was cheaper to by a new used group from the wrecking yard then.
    I recall a good friend back in ’73 drove up my driveway one evening in his just purchased new (old) ’64 El Camino and I immediately saw it had a ’64 Pontiac LeMans front group on it, he did not know when he bought it, funny now when I think about that one. It did not look to bad or that much out of place.

  14. jokacz

    The first mention I have found of a 4 4 2 was a late 1941 ad in Life magazine. Oldsmobile was promoting what was new for 1942, hence the new 4 4 2 usage. But then Pearl Harbor happened and I think there were few if any 1942 Oldsmobiles. But 20+ years later they dragged it out again, logo and all.

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