American Innovation – 1962 Oldsmobile F-85

Younger folks may remember now-defunct Oldsmobile as the brand that, in spite of advertising itself as “not your father’s Oldsmobile”, was the epitome of that tagline. Towards the end, they were having some success building good cars to try to compete with the Japanese luxury brands with cars such as the Aurora, Intrigue, and Alero. But what many people may not remember is that Olds used to have a reputation for innovation, beating other GM divisions to the punch with the first production turbocharged engine, an early aluminum V8 engine, and the comeback of front-wheel drive in a luxury car. Find today’s innovative 215 Rockette-powered 1962 Oldsmobile F-85 with bidding at $3000 and only 6 hours left in Liberty, KS.

1962 Oldsmobile F-85 left side

With a name like F-85, you can imagine the jet-fighter design cues would be all over the place, and this Olds delivers. Rocket-styled tail lights, fins emulating wings, and headlights recalling jet intakes, as well as the stylized airplanes in the badging, all convey the same message: this car is fast enough for the jet age. The angular styling sets this car apart from its competitors.

1962 Oldsmobile F-85 front

Here’s the nose. You can see it’s had a tap to the front at some point, so plan on spending a little to straighten things out. The car only has 61,270 miles on it, but hopefully this was enough to eliminate the chance of all-too-common casting failures that spelled the end for many of these engines. Everything is said to work, and the seller says it runs and drives well.

1962 Oldsmobile F-85 engine

Oldsmobile gave up on this engine in 1963, and the tooling was sold to Rover, becoming the Rover 3.5 liter V8 first seen in the P5 coupe and P6 3500S. Casting technology was not advanced enough for GM to be able to manufacture them in a cost-effective way, and the wrong coolant could also create problems. That aside, this engine with a four-barrel carburetor could give 185hp, and the turbocharged Jetfire engine put out 215bhp.

1962 Oldsmobile F-85 interior

The interior is remarkably minimalist and unadorned for an American car of this period. With that speedometer pod on top, it almost reminds you of cars that were made to be easily built in left- and right-hand-drive versions. This particular car’s interior is in pretty good shape, with clean carpets, a tidy crack-free dash, and new-looking upholstery. As American cars go, the low survival rate means this is quite a rarity, so you can have some level of exclusivity for not much money. Have you driven one? Share your experiences!


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One Response to “American Innovation – 1962 Oldsmobile F-85”

  1. Cotton Boll Conspiracy Says:

    In retrospect, if the company had stuck with “My father’s Oldsmobile” it might have survived. They made some dandy cars in the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s. My dad still has the ’66 Cutlas he bought new, and it’s a classy looking ride.

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