Oldsmobile Starfire

Oldsmobile Starfire is the name of several built by the summer of 1953 until late 1979 models and series of the former U.S. automaker's Oldsmobile, the (GM ) group belonged since 1908 for General Motors. The name goes back to the U.S. fighter aircraft Lockheed F -94.

Motorama Show Car

Oldsmobile Starfire used the term for the first time for a show vehicle that General Motors presented at the 1953 Motorama to the public. The five -seater convertible had a fiberglass body. This technology was in the body area is still in its infancy; there were in the U.S. to date, only the built in small series sports car Woodill Wildfire / Glasspar G2 ( 1951-1953 ). The production of the most famous cars with plastic construction of the sports car Chevrolet Corvette, ran until 1953.

Starfire by an in-house rocket was powered V8 engine whose power of 170 HP ( 127.5 kW) Rocket V8 to 200 HP (150 kW) was increased. He remained a one-off.

However, Oldsmobile introduced the middle of 1953 with the Oldsmobile Fiesta a built in small-series luxury convertibles out that, albeit with conventional steel body, took up elements of Starfire as its coming in vogue panoramic windshield.

The term used Oldsmobile Starfire temporarily as an additive for the series Ninety- Eight and 1961-1966, respectively, for an athletic -themed Coupé Cabriolet based on the Oldsmobile 88

Coupe of the lower middle class

The name Starfire, once used for the most expensive model in Oldsmobile Program, lived from 1975 to 1980 again, but this time for the cheapest model. The coupe was based on the H platform from GM, which had been introduced in 1971 for the Chevrolet Vega ( 1974 Pontiac Astre as ) in the lower middle class.

Following the oil crisis of 1973, a fuel-efficient model was searched quickly. GM therefore extended the H- series of substantially. So the Chevrolet Monza, Pontiac Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk and Oldsmobile Starfire emerged. The GM body shop Fisher Body Co. prepared three variants: a 2 2 -seater hatchback coupe, just such a notchback coupe and a 2- door station wagon.

H- Bodies have rear-wheel drive, front longitudinal engine and a wheelbase of 97.0 in ( 2464 mm). While the wheels are front hung on conventional double wishbones, the rigid rear axle is performed on lower side and upper semi-trailing arms in 1976 omitted the trailing arm in the "torque arm rear suspension", the axle is supported with a bolt- carrier forward the gearbox, to lateral guide serves a Panhard rod. Front and rear coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers act. A further development of it came later in the 3rd and 4th Generation F- Bodies ( Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird / Trans Am ). Front sway bar was a standard. The design should also be able to accommodate a planned GM Wankel engine, but was never ready for production.

The Starfire had a length of 179.3 in ( 4554 mm), a width of 65.4 in (1661 mm) and a height of 50.2 in ( 1275 mm); the length can vary by a few millimeters in the other H- bodies.

After American reading these European standards quite handsome vehicles were classified as " subcompacts " ( such as Chevrolet Chevette or Opel Kadett ) because they were slightly smaller than compacts, so cars like GM 's X- Bodies ( Chevrolet Nova, Pontiac Ventura, Buick Apollo and Oldsmobile Omega). In advertising for the Oldsmobile Starfire coined the term super coupe ...

GM used rectangular dual headlights for the H- Bodies and in some full-size models, as they were then in fashion.

The H- Bodies were manufactured at the plant Lordstown, Ohio, and Sainte -Thérèse, Quebec City ( Canada). They were from the beginning of 1975 at the dealers ( the Pontiac Sunbird in the fall of 1975), not all body styles were offered by all brands. The vehicles of different brands looked almost the same, they differ primarily in the front end.

With the built since 1986 H series with front-wheel drive version is not used from 1971 to 1980.

The models Vega and Astre were provisionally continued to be built in parallel and ran until 1977 from. Other than these, the new H- Bodies except 4 were - and V6 engines temporarily available with V8 engines. The weight was, depending on the version, between 1,270 and 1,360 kg. H- Bodies are in the FIN identified by the letter "H" at the 4th position.

The market segment of the lower middle class was for Oldsmobile less important than, for example, for Chevrolet and Pontiac. According to the brand's commitment was limited more or less to the mere presence. This was expressed in the fact that only the hatchback coupé was offered, and that there were only two trim levels. The proportion of Starfire in the total production of the brand in this period finally was about 6%.

Model history


The Starfire was available in the first model year, only with a model developed by Buick V6 engine. Surrounded by a V8 derived engine with 90 ° fork angle (factory code LD5, for California LC6 ) had a displacement of 231 ci ( 3785 cm3) and made 110 hp (82 kW) at 4,000 / min. Standard were dual carburetors and a four-speed transmission. Five-speed gearbox already and three -speed automatic GM " Turbohydramatic THM200 " there was an extra charge.

Were offered the Sport trim levels (base) and Coupé S, to spring from a GT package with decorative stripes, sport wheels, sports instrumentation including tachometer, five-speed gearbox and rear stabilizer. The Coupe S was identified by a narrow ribbon on the side. All had standard front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. Power assist for the brakes was also standard for the steering but just extra charge like a steering wheel adjustment.

There were 5 per standard respectively metallic shades are available. The interior consisted of a standard related with imitation leather high-back individual seats and a console in the front and a folding rear bench. An adjustable backrest for the driver's seat was extra charge. Four colors for the interior was a choice; Leather upholstery in three different were optional.

For space reasons, there was only one emergency spare wheel was housed in a side pocket of the luggage compartment.

Total 31'081 Starfire left the factory in model year 1975.


For 1976 stood at minimal changes. Nominal made ​​of 105 hp V6 still (78 kW). The five-speed gearbox was now of Borg - Warner. The 5th gear continued to show designed as an overdrive and served rather than the reduction in consumption of good sportsmanship. The model SX replaced the coupe version S. There was a similar ribbon with the model name. The SX was slightly cheaper than the S of the previous year, while the prices for the basic version were slightly raised.

29'129 vehicles were built.


The Starfire received a new front mask. The two horizontal slots gave way to vertical bars. The trim levels base / SX / GT were retained. Newly received the basic version of the technically interesting, known from Vega and Astre OHC inline four- cylinder engine with 140 ci ( 2294 cm3) and dual carburetors. He made 84 hp ( 61.8 kW). The engine block was injection molded from aluminum, but the cylinder head made ​​of cast iron. To simplify the toothed belt camshaft drive to the water pump, which served as a belt tensioner at the same time. The oil pump is located on the crankshaft and is shaped so that it serves simultaneously as a front cover of the engine.

The previous V6 was still available at extra cost ( standard in the GT package). The prices were slightly raised.

The production dropped to only 19'091 pieces.


The production of the 2.3- liter four- cylinder ran out to the end of the model year 1977. He was replaced by a slightly larger, of Pontiac -built four-cylinder engine (code LS6, LS8 ). The engine, nicknamed the Iron Duke made ​​85 hp (63 kW). Optionally, there was still the familiar V6. Was nachgeschoben during the model year, an extra -managed five-liter V8 from the Chevrolet - shelf (305 ci, code LG8 ) with 145 hp (106 kW). However, the combination of this high-torque motor proved with the improved weight THM200 automatic transmission as an accident-prone. For the SX there were new so-called " Firenza " package. Except rather striking visual accents such as a contrasting edge with additional trim and color accents on the hood, it included the condensed " Special Rallye" suspension, front bumper, spoiler, flared wheel arches, sports wheels and other details.

Thus, the customer could choose between basic version, SX, SX Firenza GT and SX GT. The latter had, instead of the four- cylinder to V6 as the standard engine.

Prices rose again slightly; the base model cost about $ 4,000 for the first time.

With 17'351 vehicles, the production reached the second lowest level of all model years.


A facelift brought the hood on the same height as the fenders. For the front the brand's typical subject of two groups of two, has been developed with vertical bars. Also new were simple instead of the dual headlights. Overall, the new design had a harmonious but less characterful. The four-cylinder was now available with 85 or 90 hp ( 63 or 67 kW). The V6 made ​​115 hp (84 kW ), the V8 but only 130 hp (95 kW). Whether this was a result of more restrictive emission standards or the response to the automatic problems in connection with the V8 is unclear. Partly also stronger THM250 -C appear to have been installed.

The trim levels remained unchanged. Unlike the first model years, the basic model is now sold significantly better than SX and derivatives. Oldsmobile refrained for the StarFire offer a technology developed for H- Bodies version of the V6 with 3.2 liters of displacement because they are virtually the same performance offered as the "Iron Duke".

After all, the production recovered somewhat: 20'299 vehicles left the factory.


After the facelift of the previous year the Starfire learned little optical changes. The V8 engine was accounted for in the entire H- series as well as the five-speed gearbox. The performance of the four-cylinder engine dropped to 86 hp ( 63 kW). It is unclear whether the 90 - PS version remained in the program. Oldsmobile also making the latest version of the V6 waived with 4.1 liter displacement and 125 hp offer (93 kW) at 4000 rpm as a replacement for the V8 Starfire. The 3.8 liter V6 made ​​even 110 HP ( 81 kW).

A little facelift and less power at significantly higher prices are poor candidates for high quantities. When the production of Starfire ended on December 29, 1979, only 8,237 copies were rolled off the line.

The end

In order to get a higher share of production to the new, more promising X - Bodies with front wheel drive and transverse engine to secure ( Chevrolet Citation, Pontiac Phoenix, Buick Skylark and Oldsmobile Omega ) occurred Oldsmobile its share for 1981 from the H- range of Chevrolet and Pontiac. This meant that for the model year 1981, a gap in this ( for Oldsmobile but not decisive ) market segment was created. It could only be from the spring of 1981 ( model year 1982) concluded with the new J- platform with front wheel drive. Their best-selling model was the Chevrolet Cavalier, the Oldsmobile version called Firenza.

Between 1975 and 1980 produced a total of 125.188 Oldsmobile Starfire - slightly more than half of the Erstjahresproduktion sister model of the Chevrolet Monza (without Vega ).


  • Contemporary advertising literature
  • Flammang, James M / Kowalke, Ron. Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999, Krause Publishing, Iola (1999), ISBN 0-87341-755-0
  • Encyclopedia of American Cars from 1930, editor Consumer's Guide, Publications International (1993 ) ISBN 0-7853-0175-5
  • The Production Figure Book For U.S. Cars Jerry Heasley, Motorbooks International ( 1977) ISBN 0-87938-042- X