When it comes to full-size cars from the 1960s, we often think about the Chevrolet Impala, the Cadillac Eldorado, Ford Galaxie, and Lincoln Continental. There’s also a variety of Chrysler models, including the 300 series and the New Yorker. And these vehicles usually grab all the attention on the classic car market nowadays.
However, the list of cool, massive rigs from the era extends beyond these familiar nameplates. Often forgotten like most other automakers that went under, Oldsmobile also rolled out a few impressive machines.
The 88 and 98 are the first that come to mind. Both were stylish, powerful, and relatively luxurious during the 1960s. And they were also offered in a variety of body styles. Then there’s the short-lived yet equally spectacular Starfire.
Oldsmobile first used the name on a concept car introduced in 1953. And the story goes it was named after the Lockheed F-94 Starfire jet fighter. Oldsmobile then revived the badge for a luxury version of the 98 from 1954 to 1957. The Starfire didn’t become a stand-alone model until 1961.
While it shared most of its body and the wheelbase with the Super 88, the Starfire was more than just a fancied-up 88. Oldsmobile designed it as a performance-oriented grand tourer and restricted its body styles to two-door coupes and convertibles.
Likewise, it came standard with the company’s most powerful V8 at the time: the 394-cubic-inch (6.5-liter) Skyrocket rated at 330 horsepower. In 1965, it also got a 425-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) mill good for 375 horsepower.
A niche automobile, the Starfire wasn’t as popular as the more common 88 and 98. While the latter moved more than 100,000 units a year, the Starfire found some 42,000 customers in 1962. Sales dropped to 25,000 in 1963 and dwindled to only 13,000 examples in 1966. As a result, Oldsmobile dropped the nameplate for 1967.
Come 2023, and the Starfire is a classic we rarely see on public roads. Not because it’s rare but mostly because many of them were abandoned in junkyards or locked up in barns until they became rust buckets. But the survivor you see here proves that Oldsmobile’s forgotten full-size two-door is a stunning piece of automotive history.
A 1963 version of the hardtop variety, this Starfire surfaced on the Interwebz searching for a new home. And it’s in fantastic shape thanks to a relatively recent restoration that also included a refinish in its factory color.
The seller describes the color as “champagne,” but the pink tint suggests it’s actually Antique Rose, one of the so-called “glamorous colors” available in 1963. It also comes with a matching interior, a rare feat in this color. Oh, and it’s also a one-year-only paint, so you won’t see this combo on a Starfire from another model year.
While the exterior looks almost pristine, the cabin has a few flaws, including some wear and tear in the seats, missing carpets, and incomplete door panels. But it’s nothing that can’t be fixed or replaced without significant investment.
There’s good news under the hood as well, with the original 396-cubic-inch V8 still in place and running. The car drives and stops as it should, while the frame appears rust-free.
Granted, metallic pink isn’t a very popular color on 1960s automobiles, but this Starfire looks tremendous in this hue thanks to the white top and matching side trim. If you fancy an elegant Olds that stands out and “runs” fast, the coupe sits at $8,500 with two days to go.
For reference, a 1963 Starfire in Fair condition is valued at about $10,000, while Concours-ready examples tend to cost more than $50,000.