Will be in the Family Forever!
“I can’t believe I didn’t run across the Oldsjetfire website before. Fantastic. The ’64 to ’72 Cutlass crowd are very lucky to have all the resources they could ever wish for. I know the ’61 to ’63 folks will probably always be swimming upstream but your website is great news to me. I have always been a car nut since I was about 9 or tens years old. When my dad got our ’63 in 1974 I became very interested in the ’61 to ’63 models, especially the Jetfire. I owned a 1964 F-85 and a 1964 Cutlass before I bought the ’63 from my dad.”
An associate of my father purchased this car new in St. Louis, Missouri on August 13, 1963. The gentleman gave it to his wife to drive. She only used it for going to the grocery store and other errands. When my father learned that the couple wanted to sell the car he purchased it May 14, 1974 with 37,000 miles on it. I purchased the car from my father March 30, 1984 with 67,000 miles on it.
My father had a “company car” that he was able to use for personal-use so the Oldsmobile was mostly driven by my mother. She put very few miles on the car. My siblings and I all drove the car a short time before getting our own cars. The car has a lot of sentimental value. I took my driver’s license test in this car. I drove it on my first date, the senior prom and my first camping trip.
When I purchased the car from my father I already had intentions of restoring it. On June 28, 1991 I started a complete restoration. The car was in pretty good shape because it had been garaged most of its life. It took several years to complete while trying to raise a family. Almost all of the work was performed by me except the body paint top coats, seat upholstery, chrome plating and engine machine work. I completely disassembled the car and organized the parts in boxes and bags with labels. Everything was completely stripped to bare metal and painted with self-etching primer. I did the final painting on everything except the body. All mechanical components were individually restored using new bushings, seals, bearings, etc. The original engine was completely rebuilt and bored .040 over. The interior was completely restored using the original type materials.
The car was originally equipped with an automatic transmission and air conditioning. The air conditioning components were accidentally put in the trash when they were removed and set aside to make an engine repair when my parents owned the car. I converted the car to a 4-speed manual transmission because I never liked how the automatic shifted. I found a 1963 F85 Cutlass that was originally equipped with the 4-speed that had been sitting in a junkyard for years after the engine was destroyed. It had very low miles on it when put out to pasture. I obtained all of the related components including the partial floor/tunnel stamping that the factory installed to provide clearance for the shifter. The donor car still had the shifter “console” and it was in pretty good shape except for some pitting. Apparently the factory cut a portion of the floor pan and transmission tunnel out on the assembly line and welded in a partial stamping with larger tunnel. You can see the factory saw cut marks where the retrofitted tunnel piece overlaps the main floor pan. I installed it with a continuous weld using a mig-welder.
The car wears its original colors. The top is Provincial White and the body is Midnight Mist which is a dark blue metallic paint that almost looks black when it isn’t in direct sunlight. The interior is the original white color Morocceen with black trim and dash pad. The carpeting is black. The trunk is lined with a fine woven pattern fabric material with a thin foam backing that I found to match the original.
The restoration was completed in March of 2008 although I still have a couple of things to get perfect. I need to get better door handles and the pot metal ribbed panels that go over the rear bumper. The original ones are o.k. until I find replacements. I could get these parts re-chromed and have the pits repaired like I did with the taillight bezels but it’s very expensive. That’s another reason it took me so long. I’m far from being wealthy. I have two sets of wheels for the car. I restored the original 14″ wheels and wheel covers and put reproduction B.F. Goodrich Silvertown bias ply white wall tires on them. Also, I have a set of aftermarket chrome wheels that were patterned after Chevy rally wheels and are shod with radial tires. The car handles much better with the radials.
I have the original Protect-O-Plate booklet that lists the delivery date as August 13, 1963. I found the original build sheet (Oldsmobile Production Order – Dealer Copy) when removing the seats and it lists the production date as July 25, 1963 at the Lansing, Michigan assembly plant. Also, I have the original owner’s manual in a folder with the dealer’s logo and address on it.
I came very close to purchasing a 1963 Jetfire when I was a teenager back in 1975 but I was about $200 short of the asking price. It had been sold by the time I had enough money. I’m glad my father kept our Cutlass long enough so when I established myself I was able to buy it for a hobby car. I thoroughly enjoy showing off my car at local shows and have won several awards. I’m mostly proud of my fortune to receive “Best of Show” award both times I’ve entered a show here in St. Louis exclusively for all years of the Oldsmobile brand. This car will remain in our family forever.