Oldsmobile Starfire 1964


Oldsmobile Starfire 1964


Oldsmobile Starfire 1964

  • Origin United States of America
  • Engine 6,456 cc, V8
  • Top speed 108 mph (174 km/h)

Oldsmobile moved into the personal luxury market with the Starfire, using its most powerful engine option in an imposing, squared-off, two-door bodyshell. Oldsmobile was trying to reinvent itself during the mid-sixties. The mid-price GM division was finding itself in the same predicament that Pontiac and Buick had gone through in the past ten years.

The mid-market range was becoming very popular with buyers, but the more upscale buyers were demanding more value for their car-buying dollar. This year Oldsmobile responded in two ways. The most recognizable was the newly redesigned intermediate F-85 line. Larger and more powerful this year, the F-85 looked very much like the full-size 88 line. All major structural components were shared with the rest of the new GM mid-size line. Shared with Buick was a new V6 engine; also offered was an all-new 330 CID V8 based upon the larger 394 CID V8 Oldsmobile engine. The F-85 line was expanded by making the Cutlass a separate model (previously it had been part of the Deluxe line). The new Cutlass line added a 2-Door Coupe to its line, as did the Deluxe line.

The turbocharged Jetfire was no longer around, having failed to meet sales expectations. A mid-year performance model was added under the name 4-4-2 (for 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission and dual exhausts). While relatively few were sold, especially when compared to the Pontiac GTO, the 4-4-2 would wind up winning the popularity contest, as versions of the car would be sold well into the 1980s. Another new addition, although not formally part of the F-85/Cutlass line, was a "vistaroof" Vista-Cruiser station wagon. This new wagon had a raised roof section above the rear seat and extending to the back of the wagon.

Incorporated within its raised roof were glass panels, allowing rear passengers to view the scenery more easily. Riding on a wheelbase five inches longer than regular F-85 wagons, the Vista-Cruiser did share most styling features with the mid-size line. All of the extra length was added in the rear passenger compartment area. The Vista-Cruiser was added to the line after the start of the model year, and it shared its new look with the Buick Sport Wagon. The second step in the revamping process affected the 88 series model lineup. A new lower priced line was introduced to more effectively compete with Pontiac, Mercury, and upper-end Chevy, Ford, Plymouth and Dodge models. This new series, the Jetstar, came in two varieties.

The Jetstar 88 was the entry level full-size Oldsmobile. Basically it was similar to a Dynamic 88, but standard equipment included a smaller engine and slightly lower level of trim. The other series was the Jetstar I, essentially a Starfire 2-Door Hardtop with less accessory and trim content. Other Oldsmobile series returned with the same models as in previous years, except for the Super 88, which offered only a 4-Door Sedan and 4-Door Hardtop this year. Styling for all full-size Oldsmobiles was an update on the 1963 styling, meaning new grilles, taillamp treatments, and trim changes. This would also be the last year for the full-size Oldsmobile Fiesta wagon until 1971 when it would return as the Custom Cruiser. Declining sales and the popularity of the Vista-Cruiser would seal the big wagon's fate.