From Motorbooks International, "Illustrated Oldsmobile Buyer's Guide"

Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire 1961-'63




RIGHT: Supercharger was conventional Roots type, but injection system used a distilled water and methyl alcohol combination, which was unorthodox. The injection system combination of incoming air and Turbo-Rocket Fluid led to supercharger for combustion and exhaust.




HISTORY

On paper, it looked good. Conventional power modifications to the aluminum 215 V-8 were difficult compression couldn't be raised, more carbs and a hotter camshaft would disrupt smoothness and the good low-end torque. One of the big Olds engines would be too heavy. Gilbert Burrell, who had come up with the original Rocket V-8, opted for a turbocharger, collaborating with Olds engineers Ed Rosetti, Ted Louckes, Gibson Butler and Frank Ball. The conventional centrifugal blower was built for Olds by AiResearch. To get the engine to tolerate it, and the 10.25:1 compression ratio it entailed, the designers added an injection system for Turbo Rocket Fluid (half distilled water, half methyl alcohol) stored in a pressure reservoir and injected commensurate with turbo boost starting at 1 psi. This fluid-injection not only prevented ping, but also added somewhat to power output, thanks to the methyl alcohol. It was an interesting though complex solution to the need for increased performance, and it certainly produced jolting acceleration. But the system wasn't reliable, and was abandoned after the 1963 model year.

IDENTIFICATION

Brushed aluminum side trim was a Jetfire exclusive, as were Jetfire badges on the fenders. Year-to-year identification was the same as for the 1962-63 Cutlass.

PERFORMANCE AND UTILITY

A superb performer, the Jetfire typically scores 0-60 in about 8.5 seconds, with a top speed of about 110 mph; yet it will deliver reasonable fuel economy if you can manage to stay off the turbo boost. Bucket seats and console restrict passenger capacity to four; rear seating is cramped.

PROBLEM AREAS

The water-injection turbocharger system was subject to faults even when under warranty, and it is not any more reliable now. Carbon buildup was a problem with Jetfire engines. Many of the turbocharging and fluid injection systems were removed entirely or partially disconnected. If buying a Jetfire, the prospective owner should make sure everything is there, and that it works. As with any turbocharged engine, the miles take their toll. Brushed stainless side trim is just as much a problem here as on the contemporary Star- liner.

SUMMARY AND PROSPECTS

A unique, low-volume car with singular performance, the F-85 Jetfire remains one of the most desirable Oldsmobiles, regardless of its reliability problems. Jetfires are worth about triple the value of standard Cutlasses in similar condition, and will continue to appreciate strongly.

PRODUCTION

              1962    1963
sport coupe   3,765   5,842
1962-63 JETFIRE SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE
Type ..........90-deg V-8, water-cooled, cast-iron block and heads
Bore x stroke ........................................3.50x2.80 in.
Displacement ............................................... 215ci
Valve operation .........................................hydraulic
Compression ratio ......................................... 10.0:1
Carburetion ........................................4-bbldowndraft
Bhp .........................................215 gross at 4600 rpm
CHASSIS & DRIVETRAIN
Transmission ...............................3-spd, Hydra-matic opt
Rear axle ratio ......................3.08:1 3.23:1 with automatic
Front suspension ...........independent, coil springs, tube shocks
Rear suspension....Iink-type, live axle, coil springs, tube shocks
GENERAL
Wheelbase .................................................112 in.
Overall length ......................118 in. (1962),192 in. (1963)
Track........................................................56in.
Tire size .................................................6.50x13
Weight .............................................2,739-2,174 lb
PERFORMANCE
Acceleration ........................................0-60: 8.5 sec
Topspeed ...................................................110mph
Fuel mileage ............................................14-18 mpg