Rare 1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire Spent 50 Years in a Barn, It’s an Amazing Time Capsule

Introduced in 1962, the Jetfire isn’t the most iconic Oldsmobile out there, but it was the company’s most innovative automobile at the time. That’s because it featured a turbocharged V8 engine, which made it the world’s first production car using this type of forced induction.
1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire barn find 
But while ahead of its time, the Jetfire’s turbo V8 had reliability issues, so Olds discontinued the car in 1964, after only 9,617 units were built. Come 2022, and most of these cars have disappeared, so finding one in a barn in almost perfect condition is downright spectacular.

Documented by YouTube’s “Auto Archaeology,” this Jetfire was parked back in 1971, after only eight years on public roads. There’s no info as to why the owner chose to retire it, but he kept it around until 2021. After a whopping 50 years in storage, the Olds was finally dragged out of its resting place and hauled to a new home.

Amazingly enough, the Jetfire preserved itself rather well in storage, despite not being kept in ideal conditions. Yes, it’s covered in a thick layer of dust that hides the red paint, but it’s in a fantastic condition beyond that. And I’ll say it again, this car has been sitting for five decades, more than enough for a metal carcass to rot away.

Seeing it come out of the barn through the bushes that almost blocked the entrance is amazing. And it’s just as satisfying to peek inside and discover that the interior is also in excellent condition, with no cracks or significant wear and tear on the dash or the upholstery. This thing is an authentic time capsule.

Anxious to see what hides behind that thick layer of dust? Well, the footage includes photos of the Olds after it has been washed. You’ll find them at the 7:57-minute mark. Not surprisingly, the paint is no longer perfect, but this Jetfire looks gorgeous in the sun.

So what happened to it, you ask? Well, the guy who bought it decided to sell it after a short while to an enthusiast who will preserve it as is. Hopefully, he’ll get it running, too, because this rare Olds deserves time on public roads again.

What made the Jetfire special then? It’s about what lurks under the hood. Based on the first-generation F-85 that arrived in 1961, the Jetfire gained a turbocharged version of the 215-cubic-inch (3.5-liter) Rockette V8. Dubbed Turbo-Rocket, it included a Garrett T5 turbo, a 10.25:1 compression ratio, and a custom single-barrel carburetor (among other upgrades).

The setup enabled the Turbo-Rocket to generate 215 horsepower and 300 pound-feet (410 Nm) of torque, a 40% increase over the naturally aspirated unit. All without increasing fuel consumption.

However, the high compression ratio and the forced induction generated some issues with spark knock during hard acceleration. As a result, the car used a 50:50 mixture of distilled water and methanol to cool the intake charge.

But when the special tank ran out of the “Turbo-Rocket Fluid” provided by GM, many owners refilled it with plain tap water. Water damaged the system, the Jetfire got a bad reputation, and sales never took off. But you can find out more about that in our comprehensive story on the turbocharged Olds.

While the company built more than 9,000 units, only a few of them have survived to this day. According to oldsjetfire.com, a website owned by Jetfire expert Jim Noel, only “about 100 are in operation today, and probably less than 20 have fully functioning turbos.”






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