1964 Oldsmobile Starfire

1964 Oldsmobile Starfire

The 1964 model appeared very similar to the 1963. Curb weight was down, but overall length was up to 215.3 inches. Sales dropped this year to 13,753 coupes (down 36%) and 2,410 convertibles (down 45%). The Starfire shared its basic body shell with the new and lower-priced Jetstar I hardtop coupe and competed directly against the Pontiac Grand Prix.

The Starfire’s engine had 345 horse power from a 394 cu in “Ultra High Compression” Rocket V8, and had many standard features including Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering and brakes. Front seat belts were now standard.

When Andrew Ahlborn was looking for a ’72 Olds, he saw this 1964 Starfire in a service station lot on highway 24 where the owner had placed it hoping to find a new home for what turns out now to be a relatively rare high performance luxury car – often called an “Executive’s Hot-rod” direct from the Oldsmobile factory.

Although it was a standard feature of the Starfire, not all examples feature the custom-looking tri-bar headlamp cover found on the high beams of Andrew’s car. The covers appeared on the first Starfires built before and shortly after Oldsmobile’s 1964 model-year introduction in October, 1963, but this feature was dropped before the year was out.

All Starfires were supposed to come with them, but the public was getting pulled over for having them. Owners told dealers to pull them off. Oldsmobile stopped making them, so if you wrecked your car, they were impossible to replace.

Oldsmobile referred to these tri-bar headlamp covers as “custom sport headlights” and they are expensive and extremely difficult to locate.

The Starfire name was first used by Oldsmobile on a one-of-a-kind “dream car” shown at the 1953 Motorama auto show. In keeping with aircraft images becoming popular to help sell cars, it was named after the Lockheed F-94 Starfire jet fighter.  This original Starfire was a 5-passenger convertible that had a fiberglass body, a 200 hp Rocket V8 engine, and a wraparound windshield like that used on the top-of-the-line and limited-production 1953 Fiesta 98 convertible.

Specifications for the 1964 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe Hydra-Matic:

  • Rear-wheel Drive (RWD), automatic 3-speed gearbox.

  • Petrol (gasoline) engine with displacement 394.2 cu. in, advertised power 345 horse power, torque 440 lb-ft.

  • Characteristic dimensions: outside length: 215.3 in, width 78 in, wheelbase:123 in.

  • Reference weights: shipping weight 4153 lbs base curb weigh 4343 lbs.

  • How fast is this car ? top speed: 200 km/h (124 mph) (theoretical).

  • Accelerations: 0- 60 mph 8.6 sec.; 0- 100 km/h 9.1 sec; 1/4 mile drag time 16.6 sec.

  • Fuel consumption and mileage: average estimated: 11.4 mpg (imp.) / 9.5 mpg (U.S.).

This was – and is – a very special car and was almost the culmination of the performance Oldsmobile brand – by now one of the oldest brands in automotive history.

For some odd reason Oldsmobile was cancelled as a brand in 2004 – today referred to as just one example of General Motors mismanagement – odd because over the 100 or so years of the name – even when Olds was forced to compete internally with other GM models, it remained a proud and sought after name (except of course when it was lumped in with other amalgamations during the 1970’s automobile industry troubles).

The Oldsmobile division’s last completed production car was an Alero GLS 4-door sedan, which was signed by all of the Olds assembly line workers. It was on display at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum located in Lansing, Michigan, until GM’s bankruptcy when they retook possession of the car. It is now located at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.