Other Oldsmobiles Anything not listed above, such as F-85 (1961-1963), Firenza (1982-1988), Starfire (1961-66 and 1975-80), Omega, etc.

1961 Starfire Holiday Hardtop

Old June 24th, 2017, 08:46 AM
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1961 Starfire Holiday Hardtop

I know.....they never made it. All 1961 Starfires were convertibles, everyone knows that. But what if? To me (unbiased opinion) Oldsmobile wasted an opportunity to create a muscular, attractive hardtop to rival the 61 Impala SS or the Pontiac GP...the 61 Starfire Hardtop.


Back story.....not much of one. Having sold my 69 GTO last year I quickly started looking for something.....different. I came upon this Olds on Craigslist in Ohio and bought it unseen........maybe no the wisest decision but overall the car is fairly straight and rust free California car as the seller described. Not perfect but a great drivable project car.


I knew nothing about Oldsmobiles but I've been messing with cars for a long time and I've done a couple of full restorations in my garage so my only challenge is keeping the budget down lol. Most things I can do myself, I'm not a mechanic but a machinist by trade so I can do most fabrication and I have access to pretty much any kind of equipment I need.


So the car......like I said, not knowing much about Olds after buying the car and doing some research found out my car is factory black with red/maroon interior but somewhere along the line someone added a Starfire/98 grille and rear panel, which looks amazing with the black paint.


I really liked that and the fact that the factory bench seat interior had been reupholstered in generic maroon tuck and roll and was lumpy as well made me want to put in a new interior. As luck would have it I found/purchased this original 61 starfire leather interior for my car.


Plans are to install console, shifter and seats soon. I'm missing a few parts and I do have a couple of questions for 61/62 Starfire owners. If anyone has pictures of the bare floor pan with the seats removed that shows the seat reinforcements I would appreciate if you could post those pictures. Also, if anyone knows if the Chevy Impala used the same floor reinforcements pleas lit me know.


I'm also looking for 61 Starfire door panels, rear panels and the dash nameplate.


Also I'm looking for the external shift linkage, its a couple of rods and a bellcrank mechanism I need looking at the Starfire supplement to the factory manual.


Also....my car does not (currently) have power windows so I'll be fabricating a panel to replace the pw switch panel in the console, maybe put in a cupholder, who knows?




Any help, advice, comments welcome!


John
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Old June 24th, 2017, 08:59 AM
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I've always loved the 61 bubbletops. Beautiful car. Nothing wrong with building a "phantom" so long as you are up front about it and not one of these people who fabricates a story (like the infamous green "pilot car" 64 Faux-Four-Two..). Good luck with it.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 09:09 AM
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Haha no I'm not "THAT" guy.


My GTO was orange (instead of the original blue, my wifes choice) and I never did put Judge stripes on it and always regretted not painting it in its original Warwick Blue. I never tried to pass it off as a Judge and it got old telling people the real deal and I always felt like that took away from the build.


No, this car is a fun, "what if" driver and nothing else. I think this original interior, with its patina will fit perfectly with the car. I don't think I'll go with the exterior aluminum trim or hubcaps at this point because I really like the 15" redlines and dog dishes. I will change the front fender badging to Starfire and add the same above the Rocket 88 emblem on the trunk. I also like the clean hood design of the 88 so i'm not going with the hood spears and Oldsmobile lettering. I like the grille and Oldsmobile callout under it as is (for now). Keeping it smooth, clean and subtle is the goal. And using all stock period parts.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 09:33 AM
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Cool idea. That interior has to a rare find and its in great shape. Don't know these will help but this is the front floor from my 63, unfortunately only shows front seat brackets.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 09:34 AM
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The pics would help
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Old June 24th, 2017, 04:57 PM
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A good looking car, go for it, and post pics when done.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 07:55 PM
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You'll need to find a floor shift steering column too .
To get rid of that shift lever .
The "bracket " that goes in place of the shift lever housing is the same 1961 & 62 .
The steering column mast jacket , unfortunately is 1961 Starfire only .
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Old June 24th, 2017, 08:38 PM
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I planned on removing the shift lever and cleaning the attachment point off the column and bodywork it and repaint then just cover the indicator. Unless I luck out and find a 62 Starfire parts car.
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Old June 25th, 2017, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Don R. View Post
The pics would help

Thanks for those Don, looks like, from comparing your floor at least the front drivers is similar if not the same. Now the big question.....Does your car have an extra crossmember under those mounting points?


As much as it pains me I'm tempted to start ripping the interior out of my car right now but I know I need to do a little paint/body work to the front seat bases.


Also took out the rear seat bottom and comparing the two the convertible seat is 3" narrower total 1 1/2" per side so I'm not sure what I'll do about that. Either widen the existing sides to meet with the seat, or stretch the Starfire seat covers + additional material to widen them and stretch over my original bench frame? Try and find original Starfire rear panels/armrests?
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Old June 27th, 2017, 09:57 PM
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Still looking for those linkage parts if someone could help....


Also, any photoshop experts on here? Could someone photoshop a side view of my car with the starfire trim and wheel covers?
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Old June 27th, 2017, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Don R. View Post
The pics would help

Don, also very helpful I can see the way the shifter linkage is going....and did you fabricate the little guard on the side?
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Old June 28th, 2017, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 61Bat View Post
Don, also very helpful I can see the way the shifter linkage is going....and did you fabricate the little guard on the side?

What you see is all stock - for 1963. Here is a shifter diagram from the 63 shop manual that may help. Regarding the seat mounts you asked about a crossmember underneath, I need to look. Question, does your car have an "X" frame or perimeter frame?
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Old June 28th, 2017, 09:24 AM
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Perimeter frame. First year if I'm not mistaken.
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Old June 30th, 2017, 10:53 AM
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So I have a 5 day weekend ahead of me and I figured I'll at least start and mock up the seats to see what I need.


Unfortunately I had a little accident....I was having my daughter help me take out the old seat and she ran the seat mount up against the door panel ripping the material. I'm looking for Starfire panels anyway but this one was pretty nice, only a little fraying at the bottom. How can I be mad?


Seats out and the old carpet has definitely been replaced with some JC Whitney grade stuff. I was just going to redye it but it looks like I'll be replacing it, its just wore out.
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Old June 30th, 2017, 11:02 AM
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So with the old carpet out I can see someone primed these floors brown...but they are absolutely rust free and solid! I'm not used to that, if this was a Missouri car I'd be looking at street signs for floorboards....


Starfire passenger seat with the fixed mounts lined up with the outer seat holes . Rear mount looks like a simple angle will suffice....not sure on the front I sure wish I had a picture.....Oh well as long as its strong and I don't have to cut the car or the seat I'll come up with something. At least its the inner mount and will not be seen.
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Old June 30th, 2017, 11:25 AM
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Also went by the local automotive paint shop and got a couple of cans of paint matched to the two interior colors. I found a couple of spots not faded by the sun so they are a good match. I just need to touch up a few areas that are the worst, not fix everything so it doesn't look too shabby but not perfect.
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Old June 30th, 2017, 11:27 AM
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Who has the best automotive carpet? What I'd really like to have is the carpet I believe they put in Bonneville's and Cadillac's in the late 50's that had the silver or gold thread woven in with it. Does anyone have a source for that?
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Old June 30th, 2017, 09:23 PM
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Old July 2nd, 2017, 08:09 AM
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love the car the way it is... a good interior guy can fix that rip... how you get your daughter to help... must kids have a phone in their hand .. also YES on cup holder.. a must have for the interior.. may elc door lock key fob..
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Old July 14th, 2017, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 1969w3155 View Post

Thanks! Ordered and received a carpet set in vermilion we'll see how that looks.

Welded in all my seat mounts and seatbelt mounts and installed Hushmat on the floor.
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Old July 23rd, 2017, 03:54 PM
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Ok, more work today.


Fabricated and upholstered a new rear package shelf. First time. Dash is next .


They might be hard to see but I'm pretty proud of the filler panels on either side of the rear seat back. Since the convertible seat is narrower I had a good friend of mine fab up new wider replacements they are even leather grained like stock and attach to the rear side panel with the same screw holes. A quick spray job and they look completely factory.


Fabricated and installed a new rear seat divider. Had to extend the upper rear seat hooks because of the way the convertible rear seat leans forward at the top, not straight like the hardtop. I extended the actual package shelf forward to fill the gap.


Installed the seat belts also which got a big thumbs up from the missus .


Console is just sitting in the car for now to mock it up. I finally found the shift linkage so now to mount the shifter and work on the wiring harness to hook up the lights and the tach.
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 02:03 PM
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Have you thought about installing the plastic and aluminum Starfire floor mats? Not sure if 61 had them but they were on 62-64, a nice red set would look great with that new carpet...
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 11:24 PM
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I really like the look of the 61 mats they were rectangular quite different looking from the set in your 63 Don. I would like to have a set the only ones Ive seen is a set on ebay the seller wants $750 for a pair of NOS that's a little out of my league and heck I wouldn't want to put my feet on them for that price LOL!
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Old August 4th, 2017, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 61Bat View Post
I really like the look of the 61 mats they were rectangular quite different looking from the set in your 63 Don. I would like to have a set the only ones Ive seen is a set on ebay the seller wants $750 for a pair of NOS that's a little out of my league and heck I wouldn't want to put my feet on them for that price LOL!

Total agreement...
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Old August 9th, 2017, 10:15 PM
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So I have to ask Don is that the original carpet in your car? Is repro carpet available with that style mat? I've never seen one in person and I never knew any car manufacturer made carpet sets like that. Starfire only?


Regardless....very cool. So many great details on the Olds Starfires! I can see a real Starfire in my future one of these days. Full size luxury muscle is where it is at!


Here's an image of the mats on Ebay....



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Old August 11th, 2017, 09:50 AM
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AFAIK the carpet and mats in my car are original. I'd be surprised if repro mats would be available since these cars are far from mainstream but I'm not sure. When I pulled the front carpet out of my car I was surprised and pleased to find a non-rusted floor underneath, probably the only old GM car I ever owned that didn't leak from the windshield seals!
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Old October 7th, 2017, 07:17 AM
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Did you get the linkage and console in? I have been following this thread because I have been debating doing this in my car. I have everything but the guts to pull the trigger. What did you do with the shift indicator? I bought one out of a 62 Starfire to find out it was different and wouldn't work.

Originally Posted by 61Bat View Post
Ok, more work today.


Fabricated and upholstered a new rear package shelf. First time. Dash is next .


They might be hard to see but I'm pretty proud of the filler panels on either side of the rear seat back. Since the convertible seat is narrower I had a good friend of mine fab up new wider replacements they are even leather grained like stock and attach to the rear side panel with the same screw holes. A quick spray job and they look completely factory.


Fabricated and installed a new rear seat divider. Had to extend the upper rear seat hooks because of the way the convertible rear seat leans forward at the top, not straight like the hardtop. I extended the actual package shelf forward to fill the gap.


Installed the seat belts also which got a big thumbs up from the missus .


Console is just sitting in the car for now to mock it up. I finally found the shift linkage so now to mount the shifter and work on the wiring harness to hook up the lights and the tach.
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Old October 7th, 2017, 05:07 PM
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I haven't permanently installed the console yet or installed the shifter.


Honestly we've been driving it almost every weekend and just enjoying it. I went to an event today called the Hotrod 100 with a bunch of pre 64 cars cruised to a couple of state parks in Missouri wine country very scenic and the car performed perfectly.


Probably November I'll put it up on stands and do the shifter install and get the console bolted in. I had to source the X bracket and the other bracket/brace separately but I do have them. Along with that I plan on pulling the dash and recovering it and possibly switching over to a 62 Starfire wiring harness/fuse box so I can fully integrate all the wiring as close to factory as I can.



Almost forgot.....your question about the shift indicator. I plan on just cutting out a thin block off plate to "delete" the column shift indicator and I am just going to pull the lever off and leave the "nub" for now. I was going to cut it off and body work it but I think I want a "spare" column before I alter the one I have. I hate to "butcher" an original part it I don't have a spare.


So why didn't the 62 column work? Always looking for more information.

I've always liked your car, cruised with a 61 Biscayne post car today it had a 348 tri power in it with a 4 speed. Neat car not original but done up that way with poverty caps.

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Old November 11th, 2017, 06:23 AM
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The part that is on top the column is different at the dash. My friend made me a new indicator for the TH400 I put in and and a blank one that I could use if I go to floor shift.


Originally Posted by 61Bat View Post
I haven't permanently installed the console yet or installed the shifter.


Honestly we've been driving it almost every weekend and just enjoying it. I went to an event today called the Hotrod 100 with a bunch of pre 64 cars cruised to a couple of state parks in Missouri wine country very scenic and the car performed perfectly.


Probably November I'll put it up on stands and do the shifter install and get the console bolted in. I had to source the X bracket and the other bracket/brace separately but I do have them. Along with that I plan on pulling the dash and recovering it and possibly switching over to a 62 Starfire wiring harness/fuse box so I can fully integrate all the wiring as close to factory as I can.



Almost forgot.....your question about the shift indicator. I plan on just cutting out a thin block off plate to "delete" the column shift indicator and I am just going to pull the lever off and leave the "nub" for now. I was going to cut it off and body work it but I think I want a "spare" column before I alter the one I have. I hate to "butcher" an original part it I don't have a spare.


So why didn't the 62 column work? Always looking for more information.

I've always liked your car, cruised with a 61 Biscayne post car today it had a 348 tri power in it with a 4 speed. Neat car not original but done up that way with poverty caps.
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 06:29 PM
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Hard to get a good picture of the bracket from underneath I just have it installed right now with text screws until I'm sure it's in the exactly the right spot it has to be very close. Next I have to fabricate linkage to the shift detent for the transmission.
So I've installed the shifter.

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Old December 22nd, 2017, 07:26 PM
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I've also added a 4-barrel carburetor dual exhaust and Starfire chrome valve covers and done some engine detailing. Waiting on a new heater control valve because I cleaned and tested the original.......SMH I should have known, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

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Old December 22nd, 2017, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 61Bat View Post
So I have to ask Don is that the original carpet in your car? Is repro carpet available with that style mat? I've never seen one in person and I never knew any car manufacturer made carpet sets like that. Starfire only?


Regardless....very cool. So many great details on the Olds Starfires! I can see a real Starfire in my future one of these days. Full size luxury muscle is where it is at!


Here's an image of the mats on Ebay....


my 64 starfire had mats like that sewn onto the carpet.
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Don R. View Post
Have you thought about installing the plastic and aluminum Starfire floor mats? Not sure if 61 had them but they were on 62-64, a nice red set would look great with that new carpet...
hey don does the foot actuator work on your wonderbar?
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 61Bat View Post
I've also added a 4-barrel carburetor dual exhaust and Starfire chrome valve covers and done some engine detailing.

What year Starfire are they from ? I thought I had a pair many years ago that I bought new.
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 09:24 PM
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Bat, where did you get the air cleaner housing and decals ?
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by OLDSter Ralph View Post
Bat, where did you get the air cleaner housing and decals ?


Air cleaner came from a gentleman in Alaska; the decals and rocker covers were sourced from Ebay.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 06:31 AM
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So todays project is to install a 62 Starfire wiring harness. That will allow me to install the console with everything working properly and the fuse box is larger allowing expansion when I install a stereo, pw, vintage air, aux gauges etc.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cherokeepeople View Post
hey don does the foot actuator work on your wonderbar?

It does! The PO of my car had the radio rebuilt and it works great although the speakers could use some attention. The only problem with an AM radio these days is there is very little to listen to!
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cherokeepeople View Post
my 64 starfire had mats like that sewn onto the carpet.

My 63 still has the original factory carpet, those mats are the reason it has survived.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 07:44 PM
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So I used this store bought turnbuckle to finish up my linkage. I have the finished piece next to the original for reference. I heated up the left hand side of the hook and bent it to a 90 deg as shown and drilled it for a cotter pin. I drilled and tapped the other side for 3/8 -24 to hook to the original linkage rod. I had to buy the left hand jam nut separately. 85 cents for one nut! $2 for the turnbuckle.

Last edited by 61Bat; December 23rd, 2017 at 11:04 PM.
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