Stored 40 Years: 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire Turbo

Rocketing onto the market in 1962, Oldsmobile’s Jetfire was part of their F-85 lineup and they were a kick, using Oldsmobile’s “Turbo Rocket Fluid” to give 215 horsepower – one horsepower per cubic inch – to this somewhat small, somewhat lightweight car. The seller has this 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire listed here on eBay in Midland, Virginia and they have a very ambitious buy it now price of $19,500 listed. Let’s check it out.

The Oldsmobile Jetfire came at an interesting time when two seemingly opposing forces were becoming popular in the auto industry. Compact cars were coming onto the scene and imports started filtering in, causing car companies to jump on board with smaller models. At the same time, muscle cars were starting to show up, throwing down massive horsepower in smaller vehicle sizes than ever before.

You can see that this one is on a trailer so it’s not drivable as it is now. The seller says that it’s 100% correct and that it has been in storage for forty years. It appears to have a fair amount of rust on it so maybe it wasn’t in the best of storage conditions. The Jetfire was made for two years, 1962 and 1963, and they’re fairly rare to find today in any condition.

The photos are a bit unusual here, going from long landscape-type horizontals to skyscraper-like long skinny verticals. I have no idea what kind of a camera these were taken with but I hope that they’re banned from use in online car ads in the future. In any case, you can sort of see what’s going on in the photos and you already know that this car needs a full restoration. The seats both front and rear look good, just dirty.

The famous and/or infamous engine is Oldsmobile’s 215 cubic-inch aluminum V8 which with the industry’s first factory production “fluid turbo” gave this car 215 horsepower and this car doesn’t run, of course. The “fluid” was distilled water, methanol, and a corrosion inhibitor which worked fine if owners made sure to check it often and if they also used it to keep everything lubricated. Turbos weren’t new, of course, but this was a magic number of 1 hp per cubic-inch, formerly met in 1956 by Chrysler’s 300-B. Chevy’s Corvair Monza turbo came out a few months after the Jetfire. Some recent auction sales have shown nicely-restored cars selling in the $35,000 to $50,000 range so this one will be a labor of love. Have any of you owned or driven an Olds Jetfire Turbo?

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Comments

  1. LandYacht

    Kinda neat car but overpriced by about 15K. Cool to see it though

    Like 24
  2. Jeffo

    Everybody knows that hi performance blinker fluid is where the real hp comes from.

    Like 12
    • Jcs

      Indeed. These were equipped with methonal water injection from the factory. Olds called it “Turbo-Rocket fluid.” It allowed them to keep their ultra-high compression ratio for drivabilty. Many owners neglected to keep this magic juice topped off, resulting in a whole slew of these having the turbochargers removed at the dealers service departments, making it even more rare to find a complete car today.

      Super cool cars.

      The only problem with the buy it now price on this one is the fact that what is arguably the nicest one in existance sold last week for just over $31.2K all in on BaT. Granted right place right time, but thats what she pulled.

      Like 7
      • Eric

        JSC, Where was it that the one sold for $31K? That is roughly what really nice ones go for now but I didn’t know of one selling lately. The 4 speed cars go for more than that though

  3. Gary

    It wasn’t the fluid that booted it, it was the turbo. The fluid was for detonation. The all aluminum 215 was sold and went on in triumphs, etc., for years. Don’t know where “infamous” came from.

    Like 2
  4. Howard A Member

    Man, I just don’t know. 20 years ago, this would have been an outstanding find for $500 bucks. I’d be mildly surprised if someone actually bought this for $20g’s. Very desirable car, again, I never saw any growing up, it wasn’t something most people were interested in, like fuel injection. People in the midwest( like my old man) just had no call for something like this. They were just accepting automatics and power steering. There’s a huge following for that motor, my brother had a ’64 Olds wagon , in decent shape, that nobody wanted, and finally, some guy bought it just for the motor. Probably what will happen here, they have to be nicer than this to restore, I’d think.

    Like 8
  5. Brian S

    A really nice original ’63 Jetfire in great mechanical condition just sold on BAT for $31,750 last week. This one would take more than that to restore it.

    Like 6
  6. art

    It is worth about $3000 tops

    Like 11
  7. alphasud Member

    I think it’s cool that Oldsmobile used its own version of the 215. They new it would encounter higher cylinder pressures with the turbocharger so they added an additional head bolt per cylinder. Also pretty gutsy to keep a 10.5:1 compression ratio using a turbo. I think they just retarded the ignition timing under boost or when the rocket fluid ran low. I know on the Corvair ignition timing is retarded under boost. Also the intake was restricted as a boost control measure BC there was no waste gate.

    Like 5
    • eric

      The Corvair did not have a waste gate but the Olds did. The corvair used a restrictive muffler to limit boost. You could change to a freer flowing muffler and increase boost and this is where the term “turbo muffler” come from. On the olds, it would open a bypass valve to prevent over boost and this way ran a very free flowing exhaust.

      Like 7
      • Goatsnvairs

        Actually the Corvair boost was limited by the size of the carb Venturi. In 1965 they increased the size and power went from 150hp to 180hp.

        Like 3
  8. Ed VT

    As a 14 year old we had one of these sit in our driveway for two weeks while the owner and my cousin who met her here traveled. Oh how I wanted the keys! Man, it had a turbo! (Whatever that was). Now I think everything but my Gravely mower has a turbo

    Like 6
  9. Curtis

    I had one with the 4 speed back in my younger days. Ran good, but I could never find the “rocket fluid” that it took (this was long before the internet). Probably recipes out there for it somewhere now I would imagine. They’re nice looking cars when not in this condition. Mine was maroon with a white vinyl top as I recall.

    Like 2
    • Goatsnvairs

      You can use “Boost Juice” from Summit. I use it on my turbo corvair. Its basically glorified windshield washer fluid. If fact, in a pinch you can use good ww fluid….

      Like 2
  10. Goatsnvairs

    The problem olds had was they kept the high compression and “trusted” the public to keep the methanol tank filled. Big mistake. The Corvair dropped the compression and used high initial timing and an advance/pressure retard unit to minimize detonation. I believe olds offered Jetfire owners the option of converting to a standard intake at no cost when stuff started blowing up, while Corvair turbos ran from 62 thru 66. Ask me how I know.

    Like 5
  11. Steve Clinton

    $19,500.00? Jettison this Olds into the fire.

    Like 3
  12. Richard

    My dad had a 62 and I had a 63 when I was in the Navy. Both had dead turbos but cool cars none the less. Mine was red with black interior.

  13. ErnieSC

    I always hate to see Desirable/Classic/Antique/Etc. Cars Parted out or Crushed BUT at some Point – Short of Unbelievable Sentimentality – it just makes no sense to Restore. Restoring Chevelles, Camaros, Mustangs, etc. where Every Part imaginable is readily available, Full Restos still START at $50K! Parts for this car are not readily available so one is going to be WAY Underwater when completed. And even though this car is from my era, I would have a Hard time envisioning this being worth $80K PLUS in Concours Condition at a Museum! (But, it would be The Only One at a Car Show!)

    Like 7
  14. 62 Jetfire 62 Jetfire Member

    If you had or have one you might understand better. I have a 1962 Jetfire four speed, they only made 3,748 total Jetfires in 1962, I don’t know the numbers for 1963 but these cars were rare in numbers built and rare to find with the complete turbo still. Probably still worth 10-12 K. Rob in AZ

    Like 1
  15. John Douglas Muldoon

    Grandma had one with the 215 but not the aluminum and turbo package. Nice ride and sound. Perfect sized vehicle and engine for the price. Interested, but not anywhere near that asking price. 1800 tops and would need a lot more information.

    Like 1
  16. Rustytech Member

    Misprint. Should read $1,950.00!

    Like 8
  17. Mikey P

    $19,500????????????????????????? The body is rotted to hell! I wouldn’t give ya a squirt of piss for it!

    Like 1

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