Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alameda Street Sighting - 1964 Oldsmobile Jetstar 88

Few cars have carried as many marketing names as the Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight. Some have been straightforward trim levels, such as DeLuxe 88 and Super 88, but Oldsmobile has long been associated with rockets, so much so that their logo was a stylized rocket for decades. The Rocket V8 engine sparked a lineage that would include the Rocket 88, Dynamic 88, Jetstar 88, and more puzzling Delmont and Delta 88s. Delta was the most enduring nameplate, lasting more than twenty years. Jetstar, as seen here, was the cheapest full-size Olds and the name was only used from '64 to '66.

The Jetstar 88 was built using the same body as other 88 models, but used the 330 cubic inch V8 from the mid-sized F-85 (Cutlass) line and a two-speed automatic. GM marketing went whole hog on jet-age adspeak for this package, calling it the Jetfire Rocket V8 with Jetaway (Super Turbine 300) transmission. Pillared sedans were called "Celebrity", while four-door hardtops were called "Holiday". Jetstars didn't offer the performance or braking ability of Dynamic or Super 88s, but provided more interior and trunk space than a smaller F-85 without sacrificing the relative economy.

This Jetstar has been around the block a few times, and its coat of Provincial White is on its way out. Despite the growing rust problem, the body is relatively damage-free apart from a small crunch to the left rear corner. Perhaps the ginormous truck mirrors do serve a useful purpose after all. To me the Olds design has more character than a same-year Chevy Impala, a little awkward from some angles but not overtly strange. I think it's one of the better-looking full sized cars to come out of GM in 1964.

2 comments:

  1. Jetastic !

    Keep them coming Jay B-)

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  2. I've never driven a Jetstar 88, but I have driven my Dynamic 88 nearly 20,000 miles. It has the 394 cubic inch V8 with 2 barrel carburetor which produces 280 hp versus the 245 hp of the 330 V8 found in this Jetstar. That 394 will move that big Olds effortlessly, and the 11 inch drum power brakes provide great braking power. I honestly think that Olds can stop quicker than my 2007 F150. Like this Jetsar, my Olds is also a Celebrity Sedan. Some of the features which I find most attractive on these sedans are the wrap around rear window and the small peaks carried through from the tops of the front fenders to the rear of the car, ending in slight fins at the rear. The large amount of glass along with the pointed fenders make it easy to judge exactly where you are in the road. All in all, the '64 Dynamic 88 was designed to be, and by 1964 standards, was a great road car. When I first put my Olds on the road in 1998, it still rode on bias ply tires. Driving on them was a real trip back to the time before radial tires were available. Not a great driving experience. If the original owner had made the switch from bias ply tires to radials along the way, he would have loved this car even more than he did when he bought it. And, he must have loved this Olds. He drove it for twenty three years.

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