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To Paint, Or Not To Paint: 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire Convertible


I need to start this post by explaining that I have a thing for Starfires. It’s the first car I remember my grandfather having and I remember it being very quick. This one has had what looks like pretty decent quality restoration work done on the interior and trunk, but still wears it’s original paint. It’s located in Lakeland, Florida and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is up to $10,100 but hasn’t met the reserve. There’s also a buy it now of $25,000, which threw me for a moment, but after looking at some online sales, may not be too far off the mark.


You can see the current quality of the original paint in this picture. I’m really torn here. I love originality, and it’s only original once, but at the same time the interior has already been replaced, so at what point do you draw the line? I’m really interested in your opinions on this one, as the new interior really is gorgeous, and I can’t help thinking how nice that would look against gleaming fresh black paint.


I know one thing I would change; those baby moons would go right away and the factory covers would go back on. I think I’d prefer narrow whitewalls as well, but that’s getting picky!

Starfires had pretty unique styling for the time, with the curved sides and distinctive two-tone band down the center. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but I really like it.


Just look at this interior. Wow. There’s more color in one of these seats than there is in an entire new car’s interior–any 2016 model! According to the seller, in 2011 $30,000 was spent on a combination of this interior, the trunk restoration, a new convertible top and a rebuild on the engine and transmission.


The Starfire was given the hottest engine in the Oldsmobile lineup, and this one is no exception. The 394 cubic inch V8 was rated at 345 horsepower! So would you leave it “as-is” and drive it, or paint it and finish the restoration? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Anthony

    Paint it… Nice car .. wish i had the funds to buy it….

    • Mark

      I second that. It’s no longer original. Go ahead and make the outside as nice as the inside.

  2. Johnni B

    I agree with Mark and Anthony. Repaint it black and put the original hubcaps back on. I love it.

  3. redwagon

    repaint. replace the moons. redline tires. i don’t care if they are not period correct the redlines would compliment the red interior nicely.

  4. jimjim

    Clean it up and leave it as is. I was at a show the other day with a ton of high dollar, beautiful cars and everyone was standing around gawking at the original paint car.

  5. Fred W.

    Original paint? The trunk lid looks to me like either pealing clear coat or a failing top coat with a lighter color underneath. Maybe someone way back clear coated the original paint to make it last longer?

  6. Alan

    Definately paint it

  7. Joe Haska

    I’m with the majority, make it nice, not too nice ,and drive it like you stole it! What a great car,

  8. JW454

    Yes, paint it. Also, get rid of the cut pile carpet and install loop pile, install the correct tires and hubcaps and, fix the wrinkles in the side of the drivers seat backrest. Then, spend a couple of days polishing the chrome. This car deserves to look as good as the day the General rolled it out of the factory. I always think of the person that drove these cars home for the first time when they were new. What a feeling that must have been.


    These cars are stunning when they are in mint condition. There is nothing quite like them out there with the tons of chrome and stainless trim. The designers went all out on this one so it deserves paint and finish.

  10. SunbeamerStu

    Paint. Such a beautiful ride.

  11. Brian R

    PAINT IT. That’s not patina, it’s crappy paint.

  12. Marty Member

    It looks like failing clear coat, already not original paint.

    But beautiful car nonetheless. So my vote definitely, is to paint.

  13. Rex Member

    Paint it black, but leave the baby moons. When I was a little kid, a neighbor took me for a ride in one of these that had a 4 speed and hauled butt (at least from the perspective of a little kid). Sweet car even with the auto.

  14. Marco

    Oh boy does this bring back memories. When I was a kid my grandmother had one of these when she was in her 80’s! Sold to her by the nice man at the Olds dealership who was a family friend. I think my dad had something to do with it because he loved driving that car. It was quick! My grandmother – not so much! The Little Old Lady from Pasadena she was NOT. Could barely go over 30mph. One time when I was riding with her a guy pulled along side and yelled “lady, you nearly killed me!” I think it was because she was driving so Slow! Nice car though. Give it some fresh black paint and it will be awesome.

  15. Paul

    PAINT IT! Its no longer original after having the interior redone, top replaced and the motor overhauled. It looks to be a nice car, give it the paint it deserves, along with the original hub caps.

  16. Keefer Zeller

    Drive it…and drive it….and drive it….then paint it. Sweet ride!

  17. Pierre-Paul Rioux

    Sweet ride either way , but i would paint this beauty black again and put original hubcaps !

  18. jackthemailman

    86 the skirts, paint it black, change the tires to 1.5 to 2 inch whitewalls and enjoy the snot out of it.

  19. JP

    These cars were fantastic and now, rare as hens teeth. Definitely worth a good lacquer paint job. This is one car I would do as a concourse restoration.

  20. Wayne Thorpe

    Looking at this car reminds me when my Dad brought home a 1961 Starfire convertible from a used car dealership in Mancheaster, CT. Red with white top and white interior. Man that car was quick! My mother didn’t like it because it was a convertible and my uncle who had great influence on my Dad’s car buying choices suggested he not buy it, because as the first year car, Pigeon Year, as he referred to it, my Dad shouldn’t buy it. My Dad didn’t get it to much to my, my brother’s and sister’s disappointment. He later bought a 1959 Caddy Series 62 Coupe deVille. For the more knowledgeable out there, didn’t the original Starfire carpeting have chrome bars embedded at the four primary seating positions? Lastly, I would paint it and wear the broadest smile as I drove with the top down and the Beach Boys playing loudly on the radio. Duke in CT.

    • Bill Poertner

      Yes, the original carpeting had chrome bars imbedded in carpeting in floor of each seating area. First car I bought was in 1971 when was 15 years old. It was a 1962 Starfire with original white paint and two tone red leather interior. Installed new white fabric top and convertible roof motor after buying. Everything was original when I got it including having factory hubcaps and original
      jack and spare tire in trunk. What an incredible car!

  21. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Like the keen eyes have said….it’s been repainted… repaint it – right – again. Also we should note – some of the ways people cover up cars – sadly adds to the paint deterioration.

  22. Jay

    Paint it the original colors.

  23. Chuck Foster 55chevy Chuck F

    I feel kind of bad for having one of these to part out, but a coupe, I got it for the bucket seats to use in a 61 Catalina vert I have. This one I would have buffed out by a good detailer, although it does look like clear coat that has been baked by the Florida sun. Summers are brutal down here in the Sunshine State.

  24. Ken

    I’m with the majority, paint it. My favourite year was the 62. What a gorgeous car!

  25. Mark S

    The thing about painting it is if your going to do it you have to understand that back when this was made there was no base coat clear coat paint. To use anything other than single stage paint in the correct colour would be doing it incorrectly. I’m in agreement with the crowd on this one so long as there is no base/clear paint used.


    Some pictures show original caps, other with baby moons! Maybe they come with both!🙀

  27. JohnnieD

    Someone already got taken for a ride at 30,000. Much incorrect here starting with the rusty A/C and the engine bay not dressed while it was empty. There are wavy and scratched stainless pieces on it and the dash chrome is pitting. The dash pad is distorted in the corners and a patch put on a split in the center. The top does not look like it got new bow pads when they did it or it would be crisp and smooth. No A/C. last this is not original paint lacquer does not boil off like two stage clear coat. It’s all cost relative. For 10,000-12,000 you drive it the way it is for pleasure. if you want it to look like something you start all over, it needs another 30,000 spent on it and it would be gorgeous. Still, the one that draws the money is the 61 not the 62. Oldsmobile buyers are well funded, very picky and typically cheap. They only step for super condition turn key cars and they always want to steal them. This is not a turn key car.

  28. Craig Rapoza

    My 1st car

    61 Starefire conv.
    white /Red/Black Top

    Faster than stock GTOs of the early 70s

    High school in Providence RI

    I miss Her

    Like 2
  29. Tim Rusling

    Whether it’s bad non-original paint back there or patina on the rest of the car, GM didn’t let the car leave the plant looking like that, so paint it properly [using today’s technology] for appearance and durability. Do the other corrections as time and money permit, but just enjoy the car for what it is. . .a better than average example of a wonderful styling era that will never happen again.

  30. starsailing

    Spent an afternoon when I was about 13-14 painting the interior lights on two 62 Starfire converts and one 58 Impala. One Navy blue with blue interior, other maroonish with same color interior as above. The owners were about 20yrs old. This delightful chore was at Craig’s house, the 58 Impala’s owner. Reverbs on all 3 playing WDGY radio station. Painting the blue interior light bulbs blue….and the maroonish interior red…all translucent paints. Transformed into…”MOOD” lights for parking on the river road or drive ins with the girls they said. My motive for hanging around the guys was Craig’s sister…Dawn, a year older than me….Sigh…I convinced the Oldsmobile guys to take tin snips to their air cleaner tops for better air flow to be faster and sound. WAAAAAAAAAAH! was the typical announcement from their carbs when they came up the street to Craigs…Clean up their cars, wash, wax for a few bucks…just to be near Dawn…Taboo to date the neighbor girls back in those days…Dawn and others simply were not allowed in our tree forts or club houses at the time…Little Rascal’s rules applied to the neighborhood back then. Craig decided to go one step further with the silver blue 58 Impala, he spray tinted the side glass translucent blue,(gasser look when done with lightweight plexiglass installed.) That fall he put it up for sale and I convinced mom to buy it!(348/4brrl/glide). Dad parked it in the driveway and commenced scraping off the window and I had to replace the tinted bulbs.
    Get the above painted….add a reverb, change to thin white walls, baby moons with or w/out chrome rings…change air cleaner, super tune, maybe go to tripower. Ditch the skirts for sure…Drive it…yeah drive it….!

  31. Jimmy R.

    FYI; lush cut pile carpet is ORIG in a 1962 Starfire!! I own one in low mileage #2 condition (for twenty eight years), and have owned one other. They also have vinyl with chrome bars on the four areas where you put your feet.

  32. Craig Rapoza

    I had a 61 Starfire. Great Car. White over Red Leather, Black rag top.
    The Interior on this one is @Nice@ the seats are not leather, there should be chrome runners over the carpets. The engine looks good. the 394 was fast. I would paint it. The rust will kill it if you don’t.

  33. Don T.

    PAINT IT. My automotive gonads dropped when I first saw a black 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire Convertible on the feature turnstile at the Old’s dealer in Beaumont, Texas. The flash of that stainless swath cutting through the glossy black finish was staggering. It was a life altering moment as I would never know a weakening of my love for cars from that moment forward.

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