Search for Oldsmobile leads to 1964 Starfire

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Marvin Jackson knew he was looking for an Oldsmobile in first-rate condition, but it was becoming a challenging search when Jackson went to see an Oldsmobile for sale in Atlanta early last year.

He recalls that the Olds “looked pretty good and drove pretty good,” however, pretty good wasn’t good enough so he returned home to Washington, D.C. without the car.

As 2013 was drawing to a close, Jackson learned of a 1964 Oldsmobile Starfire for sale in San Angelo, Texas. He enlisted the aid of a fellow member of the National Oldsmobile Club who lived close to where the car was located. After the club member’s inspection gave it a glowing report, Jackson purchased it, sight unseen, in January 2014.

Soon thereafter his Tahiti Yellow 1964 Oldsmobile Starfire coupe was delivered. Jackson saw that between the chrome bumpers the car came within three-quarters of an inch of being 18 feet long. Rolling on a 123-inch wheelbase, the 4,167-pound Starfire provides a luxurious ride for its passengers.

Virtually every surface inside the car that isn’t chrome-plated is black, from the headliner down to the carpet. Between the front bucket seats is a console through which the automatic transmission gear selector lever protrudes. Unlike the gear pattern on modern cars, the gear positions on this Oldsmobile are from front to rear Park-Neutral-Drive-Super-Low-Reverse.

“You have to pay attention when you’re driving this car,” Jackson cautions.

When new, the Starfire had a base price of $4,138. However, most of the upscale Starfires carried numerous extra-cost accessories. This car had many extras, some of which included air conditioning, power windows, four-way power bucket seats, reverberating speaker, simulated wire wheel covers, and Guidematic power headlamp control.

As a preventative measure Jackson has replaced most of the rubber parts on his Starfire. The single exception is the original bias-ply spare tire in the spacious truck.

Beneath the engine hood lurks the 394-cubic-inch high-compression V-8 engine prepared to deliver 345 horsepower to the rear wheels.

“It’ll smoke the tires and pin you back in the seat,” Jackson affirms. An electric fuel pump delivers high-test fuel from the 21-gallon gasoline tank to the powerful engine.

Oldsmobile built only 3,753 Starfire Coupes in the 1964 model year; how many of the now 50-year-old cars survive is unknown.

The odometer on Jackson’s Starfire currently reads 61,300 miles. The figure will be climbing this year when he plans to limber up his 1964 Starfire and drive it to the national Oldsmobile meet in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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