Back in the early 1960s, Oldsmobile wanted to build a full size sports-luxury coupe to compete with the Ford Thunderbird. They came up with the Starfire, which borrowed its name from the Lockheed F-94 airplane of the same name. Known for its tremendous speed, the F-94 was the first US production jet to come with an afterburner.
Oldsmobile’s Starfire was based on the Eighty-Eight and when it went into production in 1961, it was the most powerful and most expensive car they offered. What made this car special was its 425 cubic inch (7.0L) Rocket V8 engine, which was only used in the Starfire and the Jetstar. With a Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, the engine put out an easy 370 horsepower.
So, what happened to the Starfire? As good of a car as it was, the Starfire was no match for the all-new Buick Riviera which stole the spotlight in 1963. The clean-sheet design of the Riviera was a huge hit, garnering high praise and lots of attention from the automotive press. Oldsmobile saw the writing on the wall and discontinued the Starfire in 1966. You might say that like a dying star, it burned out with a flash instead of fading away.
This car perfectly captures the optimism and euphoria of post-war America and the jet age. This car was built by the country that won the war and defeated the Axis Powers. This car was built by the country that had set its sights on going to the moon in President Kennedy’s famous 1962 speech. This car was built by the finest country in the world, and it embodies everything I love about the high output generation of cars.