1962 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe
On loan from: Keith and Marie Danburg, Kearney, NE
Notable: The Danburgs bought this car in Colorado from its second owner. The original owner lived in Oregon. The broad band of stainless steel trim highlights the two-tone dark rose metallic and charcoal colors.
Original cost: $4,131.00 (Convertible was $4,744.00, the most expensive car in the Olds lineup)
Number made: 34,839
Engine, etc.: Rocket V-8, 394 cu. in., 345 hp; 4,213 lbs.; 123 in. wheelbase
The Starfire was introduced in 1961 as “Distinguished…Distinctive…Decidedly New” by Oldsmobile, as a personal-luxury convertible. It was a high performance, high style luxury automobile. The coupe was added in 1962.
It was built on the Super Eighty-Eight’s 123-inch wheelbase. The 1962 Starfire had all of the features found in the Super 88 plus brushed aluminum side panels, a sporty cockpit with bucket seats, leather upholstery, floor console, and power-operated front seats. Standard were the Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering and brakes, and dual exhausts with “glass packs”.
The engine was Oldsmobile’s highest output engine that year and available only in the Starfire. Some believe this was the first muscle-car from Oldsmobile since it combined a very powerful engine in a smaller compact body.
The new Starfire was introduced at the General Motors 1961 Motorama in November, 1960. The name had been used in the 1950’s to designate a model in the Ninety-Eight lineup. Before this, the name was used for a fiberglass show car that took the name from the Lockheed F94B Starfire fighter airplane.
The 4-inch wide band of brushed aluminum on the sides was exclusive to the Starfire. The car came in 15 exterior colors.
The Starfire’s best sales year was 1962 and sales started to slide in 1963. It faced competition from a redesigned Ninety-Eight Custom Sports Coupe as well as from the cheaper Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick Riviera. The Grand Prix outsold the Starfire by almost three to one and the first-year Riviera almost doubled Starfire’s production totals. The Thunderbird outdid it by two-and-a-half to one.
Sales continued to slip in 1964, down to 13,019. Additional pressure on sales came from the new Oldsmobile Jetstar 88 and Jetstar I models, both of which cost less than the Starfire.
By 1966 the Starfire was overshadowed by the revolutionary Tornado. The Starfire was dropped by Oldsmobile that year though the name was revived in 1975 for a very different car.
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Oldsmobile/1962%20Oldsmobile/dirindex.html (Original 1962 Oldsmobile brochure, all models)