Oldsmobile Jetfire (1963)

The Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire was introduced in April of 1962. It received new sheet metal below the belt line for 1963 and its length increased by four inches. There were three standard models, two Deluxe models, two Cutlass models and the model you see here, the turbocharged Jetfire coupe. One of the first uses of turbocharging on a production vehicle, the Jetfire’s aluminum block, 215 CID V8 engine had an output of one horsepower per cubic inch of displacement. The Jetfire was only offered for two model years; 1962 and 1963. A total of 9,607 were produced.

  • Engine: 215 CID V8, 215 horsepower
  • Price: $3,408.00

Oldsmobile Jetfire Beginings and story

The Oldsmobile Jetfire, was a Cutlass pillarless hardtop with a turbocharged version of the 215 V8, which Oldsmobile referred to as the Turbo-Rocket. This made the 1962 Jetfire the first ever turbocharged production car. Equipped with a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger and carburetor, the Turbo-Rocket engine was rated at 215 bhp (218 PS; 160 kW) at 4,600 rpm and 300 lb⋅ft (407 N⋅m) at 3,200 rpm.

The Jetfire came with bucket seats and console, unique trim—two chrome fins on the hood and full-length contrast stripes on the bodysides—and a pressure/vacuum gauge mounted in the console. Although much faster than a standard F-85, the Jetfire was criticized for having the same soft suspension as its less-powerful brothers, for its lack of a tachometer and other instruments, and for the poor shift quality of both the automatic transmission and the optional four-speed. Car and Driver tested an automatic Jetfire and obtained a 0–60 time of 9.2 seconds, with a top speed of 110 mph (176 km/h).

Ultimately the Jetfire engine was far ahead of its time. With forced induction and an already high compression ratio the Jetfire was capable of producing more torque than a naturally aspirated engine that was twice its size, significantly improving the engine’s efficiency and usability in real-life driving conditions, turbo lag not being an issue at motorway speeds. But since turbo and supercharging the engine essentially means forcing the compression in the combustion chamber even higher, the Jetfire was prone to ‘spark-knock’ and without modern engine management systems the only way to mitigate this was to use a 50/50 mixture of methanol and distilled water.

The F-85 was restyled for the 1963 model year, to a crisper, more squared off design than the one of the 1961–62 models. While the wheelbase was unchanged at 112 inches, the new sheetmetal added 4 inches (100 mm) to the F-85’s rear overhang, increasing overall length to 192.2 inches (4,880 mm). The Jetfire and its turbocharged V8 returned, for what would be its final year. Three-row seating was dropped on station wagons. On automatic transmission models only, the compression ratio of the “Cutlass” engine was raised to 10.75:1, pushing output to 185 hp (188 PS; 138 kW) at 4800 rpm and 235 lb⋅ft (319 N⋅m) at 3200 rpm. A Delcotron alternator became standard on all models, as well as on the rest of the Oldsmobile car line. Overall sales climbed again to 121,639, of which 53,492 were Cutlasses.

When the decision was made to upgrade the F-85, Jetfire and Cutlass to the all-new GM A platform, the GM Y platform was repurposed for the Chevrolet Corvette in 1976.

source: gm.com & wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0)

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