Underpriced Barn Find? 1965 Oldsmobile Starfire


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Oldsmobile use the Starfire name starting in 1954 with Ninety-Eight convertibles and ended in 1980 with a Starfire basically in name only, compared to the former great cars that Oldsmobile made in the previous decades. This red example looks like a great one to me. It’s a 1965 Oldsmobile Starfire and it’s on Craigslist with an asking price of $6,000. This one is located in the St. Louis, Missouri area.


The seller says that this is a “barn find” and it must have been a heck of a nice, clean barn! There is no mention as to how long it was sitting in that “barn”, but they also say that it has no rust. It looks like a very complete and original car and other than a couple of small surface rust issues above the grille, I don’t see too many bigger issues with the paint or the bodywork, at least from the photos provided. The 1965s were an all-new design and 13,024 Starfire coupes were made that year.


I’m always worried about rodent damage when anyone says that they found a car that has been sitting in a barn, or anywhere, for years, but the interior appears to be in pretty amazing condition. It’s hard to beat a red interior for me and this car has AC, power locks, power windows, and even a tach; pretty fancy for a 1965 car, even a special model like the Starfire. It would have been great to see a 4-speed floor shifter in here, I wonder what that would have done to the value? Certainly it would have been higher than with the automatic such as is in this example. 1965 was the first time that Oldsmobile used a 3-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmission which was quite an update from the fluid-coupling Hydra-Matic that they had used since 1940.


The engine supposedly only has 30 miles on it after being rebuilt and the car has around 60,000 miles on it in total. The seller says that this is a 426 with 400 hp, but unless some other kind of engine went back in there, Oldsmobile would have offered a 425 V8 with 370 hp. In 1966 that got bumped to 375 hp but they never offered a 400 hp motor for this car. The engine looks good but I would want to clean it up and source a set of decals for the air cleaner if nothing else. This seems like almost too good of a deal. Hagerty lists a #4 “fair” condition car as being valued at $9,700, fully $3,700 more than the seller is asking for this one. Surely this is at least a “fair” car, condition-wise. Does anyone else see this as a killer deal, or is it just me?

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  1. george

    It’s you.

    Like 0
  2. dj

    Its about right on price,but if its a barn find?? How do they know the engine has been rebuilt? Did the barn tell them or was there paperwork inside?

    Like 1
  3. Rustytech RustytechMember

    Red on red, bucket seats, console shift, with A/C. If this was closer to home I’d in large the garage. Looks like a nice winter project that could be show ready in time for spring car show circuit.

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  4. ccrvtt

    The interior alone is worth the price of admission. Starfires were not hot rods hence very few manual transmissions. The t-handle shifters were very delicate looking, almost feminine in my view. I’m sure the target buyer was middle aged and male but I saw women driving them around Lansing. Oldsmobiles of this era were solid, well-made, & powerful cars – exactly the image they tried to project.

    Once again the interior is to die for. Good find.

    Like 0
  5. Steve Barbush

    . Recently sold one that was incredibly Rusty 425 hundred bucks

    Like 0
  6. Dave

    Anyone know what the deal is with that flap of fabric on the front right corner of the drivers seat?

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    • TomMember

      Seat belt (buckle is hanging in front of the seat, out of sight)

      Not sure about the rebuild and the mileage? Nothing recent under that hood. Not sure about the orange engine? I have an original 64 98 and I believe the engine is more of a copper brown color (been a long time since I was under the hood). Love the auto high-beam headlight dimmer on the dash! great options. nice colors. just wish the body was not so blah. My opinion.

      Like 0
      • DENIS

        Tom, the 425s were orangey-red and it’s correct..’64 was a 394..totally different engine and last year for it…

        Like 0
    • John J. Cannone

      Its called the seat belt

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    • Utes

      @ Dave……
      That’s the seat belt.

      Like 0
  7. Greg

    I recently had two 64 starfires one convt and one hardtop both with 394 one regular one ultra. The hardtop was in amazing original condition paint interior etc. Loaded out except bench seat no consol. I tried selling it for over 8 months and best offer was 4500. That is all the money it would bring and it ran and drove nicely and in no way junk comdition.. My point is for some reason they just dont command the money..
    PS the convert was running driving but rough needing total resto i got 1900 for it.

    Like 0
    • TomMember

      Sorry to hear that, great cars, but you are right in the limited demand/limited market. If it is not a 442 or Vista Cruiser Wagon…prices and demand are low. To sell cars like this you have to target clubs and travel with them to specific shows to get in front of the right audience. even then, the cars bring what the market will pay UNTIL you find that one person looking for THAT car….hopefully 2 so they can bid each other up!! I had that on a 67 442 I sold back in 1991…2 guys showed up at the same time to look at it and I got more than I was asking. that is one car I should have never sold!!!

      GREG, odd question, any chance you have any windshield trim for the 64 olds year? I am missing one piece.

      Like 0
  8. Stefan

    Nice car but 30 miles since engine was restored??
    Valvecovers hasnt been off in many years…

    Like 0
  9. Luke Fitzgerald

    At least 30 k on that motor – looking at it

    Like 1
  10. HoA Howard AMember

    Starfire’s, from what I remember, were pretty flashy on the outside, although, ’65 (I think) was the only year without the telltale silver stripe along the side. This one seems quite plain. When you are a kid, no matter what car dad had, you always hoped he have gotten the “sporty version”. My old man had a ’65 Olds, 4 door, big car, brother got his 1st ( and probably only) speeding ticket with it, and we always saw ’65 Starfire’s, hoping someday. Like those exhaust exits, just a really nice cruiser. GM had it nailed in the mid-60’s. My favorite Starfire was 1962.

    Like 0
  11. jaymes

    too bad its not a 4 door(

    Like 0
  12. PaulG

    Hemming’s Muscle Cars magazine has an article about the mid 60’s Starfires in this months issue.
    Good read, and this one is (my opinion) spot on the $$

    Like 0
  13. Steve

    The article mentioned above in Muscle Machines is actually about the next level down Jetfire I. (Olds also made a Jetstar 88.) The Jetfire I did not have as much content as the Starfire. Sort of a lost car. More expensive than a 442, cheaper than a Starfire. The car in MM was also red as well but with a four speed manual. 1965 was last year of Jetfire I. Cool cars but no aftermarket support to speak of.

    Like 0
    • ACZ

      Jetstar I is what I think you mean. The Jetfire was 63 F85 with the 215 cid aluminum V8 and a turbocharger. The Jetstar I and the Starfire were both on the 88 chassis. The Jetstar 88 was too, but usually had a smaller engine.

      Like 0
  14. Tom Driscoll

    Love that interior, exterior…not so much

    Like 0
  15. Paul R

    Love the exhaust exits in the rear quarters! Nice car!

    Like 0
  16. JamieBMember

    Like others here, I had a Starfire coupe, too. 1966, red on red. Great looking car, and the 425 ci V8 purred like a kitten. And like others here, when it was time to sell it, the best offer was only $4500 or so. Except for the Pontiac 2+2 (which I also stupidly sold!), these mid-60s full-size GM coupes (Starfire, LeSabre/Wildcat, Grand Prix) only bring $4000 to $6000. If this one were closer to home, I might be a buyer again.

    Like 0
  17. Action Jackson

    Asking price ain’t gettin price. Somebody show this man some money.

    Like 0
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      The seller says that they won’t take a PayPal payment, so unless a person is from there or flies/drives there with cash, it’s a no-deal.

      Like 0
  18. G 1

    My roommate in college had one of these. Fast enough on the open road.

    Like 0
  19. John J. Cannone

    Just want all of you to know that I am the new and very proud owner of this car. It will be in Miami in 2 weeks and will sit next to my other 1965 Olds Starfire red with white interior convertible with the rare 4 on the floor.
    I currently own 8 various Oldsmobiles and this is a welcome addition. I plan to do a minor frame on resto and show the car locally.

    John J. Cannone

    Like 1
    • Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

      Terrific, John! Be sure and update us with pictures as you continue with the car!

      Like 0
  20. John J. Cannone

    I own this car now. The engine was rebuilt and for no reason. The engine was smoking due to a leaky tranny modulator so fluid was being sucked in to intake manifold. Also found engine serial # on wrong head so the heads were removed and put on backwards.Car runs fine and being totally restored.Car has every option except cruise and power door locks. I am putting power door locks on as part of the rebuild.
    John Cannone
    Miami Florida 305-606-7907

    Like 1

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