Shining Star: 1965 Oldsmobile Starfire

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Thanks to reader Mark v. for sending us a link to this one family owned 1965 Oldsmobile Starfire, for sale in Bellingham, Washington here on craigslist with a reasonable asking price of $5,000.

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The Starfire name first appeared on a concept car in 1953 and then was applied to an upscale 98 convertible in 1954. Starfire became a separate model in 1961 when it was offered only as a convertible outfitted with a four-barrel-carbureted, 394 cid engine that made 330 hp. In 1962 Olds division added a two-door hardtop and its 394 got a compression boost that added another 15 horses to the output.

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In the early through mid-sixties, the Starfire competed for customers with full size cars like Chrysler’s 300, Ford’s Galaxie 500 XL and Mercury’s S-55. Successful and attractive as these cars were, the performance market was moving toward younger buyers. Full-size performance cars remained on the market through the end of the sixties, but even by 1965 when Olds offered the new 425 big-block engine and completely restyled Starfires, sales were beginning a steady decline.

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By 1966, with the advent of the newly offered and highly attractive Toronado, the Starfire no longer made sense as a luxury performance offering, and the model was quietly dropped from the Olds line. The Starfire name finally reappeared as a fairly pedestrian sub-compact variant of the Chevy Monza in 1975. In fact for many Olds fans this later Starfire was a sign that the brand was losing its way.

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In 1965 Oldsmobile manufactured 13,024 Starfires in the Holiday hardtop configuration and only 2,236 convertibles. As a full size luxury performance car, the Starfire filled a niche in the Olds model lineup slotted just below the top of the line luxo-barge 98 and above the various 88s that along with the then relatively new medium size F-85 line were the bread and butter for this longstanding GM division.

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These cars were fast, smooth running and despite their size, with upgraded suspension, they could handle a bit as well. They came well equipped, with power steering brakes, and windows. The smooth Olds hydramatic transmission was standard.

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The seller of the car for sale here does not provide very much description, but does offer lots of photos. This Starfire is said to be “ALL ORIGINAL.” It has been stored since 1983, and has newly added points, plug, cap, rotor. The car runs, and apparently the brakes work, but nothing else is said about the car’s mechanical condition.

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As you can see in the photos, it has red leather upholstery that looks really good, carpets also appear to be in surprisingly condition, and that floor shift and tach are really great to see. The seller says the car has 93,000 miles, and it seems likely it was well cared for when it was driven.

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I can’t understand why sellers don’t spend just a little time cleaning up their cars after pulling them from storage. The rust on the front of the hood does not look great, and while there does not seem to be rust showing in the quarters or doglegs, I’d want to spend some time underneath this car and checking for previous bodywork and bondo.

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The snow tires will need to go right away. I do think the wire wheel hupcaps were a factory option. The trunk appears to be remarkably rust free, which is a good indication that the rest of the floors and the frame may be in decent shape too.

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I really like these big Starfires, especially the 1961-4 versions. The two door design works well, and even though this is a really long, wide car, its proportions are good. The car looks like it is going fast even when standing still. While white is by far not my favorite color, this body color is set off nicely by the red interior.

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Mechanical parts are readily available for these cars; body parts, especially interior and trim pieces, not so much, and they can be pricey. This particular example is extremely well priced. If there is not too much hidden rust, it would not take much to make this a reliable cruiser, and the continuing strong values of all Starfires will protect your investment. As with any car, I think you should buy it because you love it, not because it’s an investment, but it is nice when you can buy a car you really like and not end up losing your shirt to do it. If you like these cars, the Oldsmobile Club of America website is worth a visit, and there is a good piece about these cars on Oldsmobiles Forever here.

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Comments

  1. nessy

    Oh how I love Oldsmobiles from the 60s and 70s…. Look at that interior…. Price seems fair. Another fool who thinks the car looks better dirty, moldy and dusty on film. Oh and the photos are three years old from looking at the date, why? Wash the car already!

  2. AMCSTEVE

    You know i just cant understand the mentality of not making the car look the best as possible.And that goes for anything you’re selling. You lose money period.
    Imagine going to a car lot and all the cars were dirty. Id walk away as im sure you all would. Laziness costs money.

    • AMCSTEVE

      Oh and the pics are from 2013

  3. boxdin

    Mom got a new 65 98 coupe, it was even longer than this car, but I do like this 65 Starfire. Our 65 had a speed warning that you turned the knob in the middle of the speedo to set the speed alarm. Trouble was it shocked you whenever you touched it. I wonder if other Olds of that era did the same thing?

  4. Cody

    When I was in high school I worked at a gas station by the lake. They had a storage lot for boats and campers behind the store. Behind that lot, back in some tall grass, one of these “boats” sat neglected. It was green, and had the exact interior of this car. My favorite design element was how the exhaust exited through rear quarters on both sides of the car. Probably not the greatest for preventing rust, but still very unique. It was this car that started my love of big 60s hard tops. I finally left a note for the owner of the gas station, who lived in another town and seldom stopped in, asking the story on the car and if I could purchase it. They never got back to me and a week later the car was gone. I was crushed. To this day I have never seen another in person.

    Very cool car. I would consider buying it if it were closer, and not for an investment.

  5. crazydave

    Very glad to see someone who presents a car as it usually IS, not all polished & detailed – Does anyone ever keep a car always clean, buffed, detailed & polished? If I am considering buying it, I want to see how it is normally treated, not some fake attempt to make it look like it is always babied. I consider a freshly cleaned & detailed car to be a sure sign that the seller is misrepresenting it This looks like a fairly honest ad although I have trouble beleiving that interior is normally that clean!

  6. jackthemailman(ret)

    Man I love these old GM boats! Look at the trunk space; you could get eight, maybe nine, bodies in there (six grown men, two or three adolescents/women)! I know, shame on me, but … wow!

  7. G 1

    My room mate in college (1971-72) had one of these. We drove the hell out of that car. 120mph was pretty common.

  8. Richard Rivera

    Nicely Equipped!

  9. Rando

    Nice. Pressure wash it and let’s see how she drives.

  10. GoodoleMike

    I can remember when my Dad bought a brand new 54 Starfire. He kept it for five years. Was half rusted out by 59, it spent at it’s life in Upper Michigan.

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