Oldsmobile 98 Generation 5 1957 J2 Starfire Convertible

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98 Generation 5 1957 J2 Starfire Convertible





Oldsmobile Starfire is a model of automobile produced by the Oldsmobile division of

The Starfire name was first used by Oldsmobile on a one-of-a-kind dream car that was shown at the 1953 Motorama auto show. Named after the Lockheed F-94 Starfire jet fighter, the original Starfire was a 5-passenger convertible that had a fiberglass body, a 200 hp (150 kW) Rocket V8 engine, and a wraparound windshield like that used on the top-of-the-line and limited-production 1953 Fiesta 98 convertible.

The name was then used for the 1954–1956 model years to designate the convertible models of the 98 line in much the same way that the Holiday name was used to designate hardtop body-styles. The 1954–1956 Oldsmobile 98 Starfire convertibles were the most expensive Oldsmobile’s offered during those years. During the 1957 model year, all 98 models were referred to as being Starfire 98s. The name was dropped from the 98 series beginning with the 1958 model year.

The 1957 Oldsmobile, for instance, could be had with something known as the J-2 option. It began with the stock Olds Rocket V-8, which had been enlarged that year to 371 cubic inches and came with a higher 10:1 compression ratio. Oldsmobile’s mad-scientist engineers then removed the standard four-barrel carburettor and installed a new intake with three Rochester two-barrel carbs. Under standard operation, only the centre 280 CFM carb was functioning. When it came time to hit the track, or leave the stoplight, the driver would put “pedal to the metal,” and the outside carburettors, working off the windshield wiper motor, would open up, each flowing 290 CFM. Breathing through dual exhaust, the result was 300 brake horsepower and 415 foot-pounds of torque.

Lee Petty’s J-2-outfitted ’57 Olds sailed down Daytona Beach at 144.9 mph. Bill France Sr., recognizing an unfair advantage when he saw it, complained that Oldsmobile wasn’t offering the J-2 to the public, and he was right. Oldsmobile responded by putting the J-2 on the options list for Mom and Dad’s new car, but the Automobile Manufacturers Association’s ban on factory support for racing came down not long after and settled the matter. The J-2 would last on the books until 1958, but they remained rarely ordered, as few people knew about it. Those “in-the-know,” however, likely never forgot it.

After a two-year hiatus a single convertible body style Starfire became available in 1961. Intended to compete in the growing personal luxury car market, it shared most of its sheet metal with other models and was considered part of the full-sized Oldsmobile line. The Starfire Hardtop Coupe joined the convertible for the 1962 model year. The convertible was dropped for the final 1966 model year, moving to the Eighty-Eight model line.

After a nine-year break, the Starfire nameplate returned for the 1975 model year as Oldsmobile's first subcompact, powered by a Buick V6 engine. The 1977 Starfire featured the first-ever Oldsmobile four-cylinder engine as standard equipment, with a V6 and V8 optional. Production ceased in 1980.

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