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Production of 1966 Olds Starfire with 4-speed trans?


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Guest factoryrat

How would I find out total production of a 1966 Starfire with the 4-speed Muncie M-20 (wide ratio) transmission? This I know is a unique option on the '66, may have been more common on the '65 S/fire and J/star 1.

With the Lansing facility only a distant memory, how would I ever begin to find this out? Would there even be a record of it. My brother worked in the Lansing plant in those days and says he remembered seeing a single run of Starfires all with the 4-speed (about 20 cars) and that was all he saw again. Lansing was always the facility that did special run cars as it was the headquarters. Any thoughts out there?

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Guest my62tbird

Hey Factoryrat, I ordered a 65 Starfire and don't remember the order book showing 4-speed option. If I had have know this option, would have jumped on it. If you have one--Hang on to it. The car was very fast for a luxury car, but they used the power window motors from 64, which had non-curved glass. In less than 6 months, dealer replaced 14 window motors. Olds was always the guinea pig for new stuff. Was a fine car if you didn't mind 13 lights coming on when you opened the door. Hope you are the proud owner of a Starfire

Steve

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Guest factoryrat

Steve, appreciate your thoughts. I have heard of (known of) '65 S/fires with the 4-on-the-floor but never have seen one. I've seen 1-'65 J/star-1 with the 4-spd. at the Olds shows a couple of times. I did here that Mr. Miller (Dick Miller) of Miller Performance has or had a white '66 with the floor shift manual. I never was able to verify that information. In the very early 80's (forever ago) I saw a '66 advertised from a salvage yard with a 4-spd. They exsist that we know, but how many were made is the million dollar question? This may well be unanswerable if Olds never kept any production records of such an obscure option. Even if they did, who would have it today. Olds dropped the ball in this area (archieves) where Pontiac it seems really kept up with archieves.

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Guest factoryrat

I have tried them before on production figures on another topic and they could not provide me with what I needed. Olds was not very good in those days of keeping track of certain attributes of models it seems. A automatic car versus a manual transmission was not kept track of unless one could find copies of build sheets. I will give them another try on this subject though since all that remains of Oldsmobile and the great cars they built are the potholed streets and decaying neighborhoods around the properties on which the Oldsmobile plants once stood. Just like Flint and Saginaw and Pontiac, so goes Lansing.

Thank you for your idea, I will give them a try.

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Guest starman63

Hi, about 15 yrs ago I met a guy with a 65 Starfire conv with 4 spd, beautiful car. I recently ran into him and he still has it. It was for sale but the price was up there. I am trying to restore a couple of 65's one conv. I have a hardtop fully loaded, pw power vent windows, power locks, glide-o-matic, crus, tilt, and more. luckily I have several parts cars

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Guest factoryrat

Wow! Black on Black, surely you must regret not getting that one? What part of the country was it in? With the 4-speed and that wicked 425/375, and anti-spin, just a big 442! I know of a guy in California who had one fairly new and he told me it was one tire smokin, fire breathing beast. Thanks.

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Guest factoryrat

Starman63, nothing any more impressive than a '65 S/fire rag with a 4 on-the-floor! Ironically it seems the '65 was more prone to get a 4-spd. than the '66. I knew of a '66 in an Ohio junkyard several years ago with the strato-bench seat and column shift. Actually it was very nice and I never could figure out why that car was in a salvage yard. I was looking for '63 stuff at the time and did not pursue it. Nowadays that salvage yard (which was stuffed with Oldsmobiles of all kinds) is nothing but condominiums. Your loaded '65 coupe is really loaded.

Power vents has got to be one of the neatest options and very unique on a '65. I've seen many '63 and a few '64s with power vents but never a '65 or '66! Very nice!

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Wow! Black on Black, surely you must regret not getting that one? What part of the country was it in? With the 4-speed and that wicked 425/375, and anti-spin, just a big 442! I know of a guy in California who had one fairly new and he told me it was one tire smokin, fire breathing beast. Thanks.

It was in Bayside, Queens, NYC

I will bend over a little and you can kick me as well!

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  • 3 weeks later...

HI, I know of one 66 olds 4 speed starfire that is in AZ with low low miles ,

radio delete etc. The guy that owns it says it is A TIRE BURNING FAST BEAST. Said he had some younger rice rocke fans in it and they couldn't believe it. I also heard that the 65 starfire convert has the lowest production #s of all starfires. Is this true?

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Rbodymopar
How would I find out total production of a 1966 Starfire with the 4-speed Muncie M-20 (wide ratio) transmission? This I know is a unique option on the '66, may have been more common on the '65 S/fire and J/star 1.

With the Lansing facility only a distant memory, how would I ever begin to find this out? Would there even be a record of it. My brother worked in the Lansing plant in those days and says he remembered seeing a single run of Starfires all with the 4-speed (about 20 cars) and that was all he saw again. Lansing was always the facility that did special run cars as it was the headquarters. Any thoughts out there?

I drove a 1966 Starfire with a 4 speed that was for sale about 15 years ago, I should have bought it. It had the 442 console but do not remember if the tach was there. Car was black/black

I am located in Albany, NY, and saw only two Starfire 4 speed cars back in the day; one was a 1965 Coupe, and the other a '65 convertible.....BOTH were black on black, and I regret to this day that I did not buy either one of them.

I never saw a Jetstar I with 4 speed, but I would love to have one. :rolleyes:

I drove a 1966 Target Red Starfire 425 for years, and it was the best car I ever owned.......and FAST. Almost as fast as my 1970 442 W-30 4 speed! ;)

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  • 1 year later...

Just saw a for sale ad from MillBrook Imports claiming 277 4 speed Starfires were built in 1966. I own a 1966 Starfire with an automatic. However, I did buy a 1966 Dynamic 88 with a factory 4spd and posi. I removed the 4spd and all other components and have them in storage. My father bought a new 1966 Delta 88. A neighbor had a 66 Dynamic 88. I later bought the Starfire and have been working on them since around 1971. Stew's Oldsmobiles - 1966 Starfire Story

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Just saw a for sale ad from MillBrook Imports claiming 277 4 speed Starfires were built in 1966.

I do not believe any 1966 Starfires came with factory 4 speed transmissions. I would need some pretty bulletproof proof. I was just at the OCA Nationals in Des Moines Iowa earlier this month. There was a factory 4 speed 1965 Starfire convertible there. I seem to recall around 25-27 65 Starfire convertibles were made with 4 speeds.

66 Starfires were carried over to move out inventory, only reason they made them in 1966. 66 was the 1st year for the Toronado and ALL of the advertising, promotion and attention went to the Toronado, that had been going to the Starfire from 1962 through 1964. (1961 Starfires were not promoted much and by 1965 this was a 4th year halo car which Olds knew was not going to continue).

So, I would need proof before I even believed Oldsmobile would install a factory 4 speed. I would imagine if they did it would be very similar to the 65 set up. I HAD 4-5 photos of the factory 65 4 speed car from the recent Nationals but they are on a computer that crashed so I am not sure I can recover.

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...snip...

So, I would need proof before I even believed Oldsmobile would install a factory 4 speed. I would imagine if they did it would be very similar to the 65 set up.

...snip...

I don't have any proof. Does anyone know if it was even offered on the order sheet? If it was, do you think Olds would refuse to fill an order? In any case, the 66 Dynamic 88 I bought was clearly a factory 4spd. The Dynamic had a bench seat and no console, so I would imagine a Starfire would have needed a console. The picture I saw of the 66 Starfire with the 4spd I saw for sale (Mill Brook Imports, Restoration of Old Model Classic Cars) seems to have the Cutlas/442 console. Although I am not familiar with the Cutlas shifter arm, I think the picture shows a different rather long arm. If you are interested, I have pictures of the 4spd components I pulled out of the Dynamic 88 through the website I posted earlier (including the shifter arm).

Edited by sysmg (see edit history)
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I don't have any proof. Does anyone know if it was even offered on the order sheet? If it was, do you think Olds would refuse to fill an order? In any case, the 66 Dynamic 88 I bought was clearly a factory 4spd. The Dynamic had a bench seat and no console, so I would imagine a Starfire would have needed a console. The picture I saw of the 66 Starfire with the 4spd I saw for sale (Mill Brook Imports, Restoration of Old Model Classic Cars) seems to have the Cutlas/442 console. Although I am not familiar with the Cutlas shifter arm, I think the picture shows a different rather long arm. If you are interested, I have pictures of the 4spd components I pulled out of the Dynamic 88 through the website I posted earlier (including the shifter arm).

and I am not saying they don't exist. I am just speculating that the factory would have seen it as a burden and may have discouraged it. But that was 60's GM and if a customer wanted it they could usually get it. Full size 4 speed posts - see also Buick Wildcat, Pontiac Bonnevilles, some Ford full sizers, and Olds - have always been a fascination to hobbyists but sometimes the documentation is suspect. So it would be nice to have better records to prove it.

I would take a build sheet as proof as it would assign a production code to the 4 speed trans. Then we would know at least one existed.

And that one with what looked like a Cutlass console may be authentic because it's not like Oldsmobile was going to do a run of 4 speed consoles for such a limited application. I have looked at 66 Olds Starfires and almost bought a couple - bench seat cars. That's the rub for me and also I have owned and researched the 66 Toronados and man I mean to tell you when Olds got the Toronado green light the Starfire was done and received zero support.

I don't even think you could get a bench seat in them (Starfires) from 61-65. They had to be buckets/console yet they just threw a bench in most of them for 66.

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I don't even think you could get a bench seat in them (Starfires) from 61-65. They had to be buckets/console yet they just threw a bench in most of them for 66.

My Starfire has bucket seats. I was not aware that they were available with bench seats (they are so rare, I have only seen a handful). I know the Jetstar/1 (which was a less fancy Starfire) came with bench seats, as opposed the the Jetstar 88, which was a low end Dynamic/Delta 88.

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Just was looking in my collection of paperwork. I think you are incorrect on Olds not offering the 4 speed and that bench seats were standard. Although I agree that the Starfire was pretty much an afterthought once the Toronado sales took off.

From the 1966 Oldsmobile Sports Model Catalog. Describing the standard features of the 1966 Starfire "Starfire: Guard-Beam frame. 3-speed fully synchronized floor mounted transmission standard. T-stick Turbo Hydra-Matic or 4 speed fully synchronized transmission optional at extra cost. Self-adjusting brakes, 208.6-sq.-in. lining area. 4-coil suspension with front stabilizer bar. Dual exhaust system."

Also the following paragraph shows that the Bucket Seats are standard. "Starfire rest on its laurels? Never! For 1966, rakish new looks set this Oldsmobile stylishly apart from everything else on the road. Distinctive vents in sweeping new chrome side mouldings. Bold front end. Longer looking... lower looking too. Inside, thin-shell Strato Bucket Seats flank a smart control console (all standard). Beneath that dramatic hood, a 425-cubic-inch Starfire V-8 Engine delivers 375 high-compression horsepower (standard too). And as if all that weren't enough to get you Starfire bound, Oldsmobile adds one more thing: a price that's mighty hard to resist!"

One more paragraph clearly spelling out the seat options: "Strato Bucket Seats, contoured for comfort, are standard in Starfire. So is Starfire's sporty control console and Morocceen-insert instrument panel. Optional seating includes a reclining passenger seat, front-seat headrests and new Strato Bench Seats."

Edited by sysmg (see edit history)
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Thanks for clarifying. I too like the 66 Starfires (and 64 and 65's). I have been to project car auctions where there were 2 of them. One had bench seat, the other had buckets.

A good tool in the "old days" of about 18 months ago was JAXED. A person could do a nationwide search specifically for 66 Starfires and I suspect 2-5 would pop up at any time in various conditions. Last time I tried to use JAXED it had been modified to no longer be useful so I am not sure if that tool is still available.

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  • 1 month later...
Full size 4 speed posts - see also Buick Wildcat, Pontiac Bonnevilles, some Ford full sizers, and Olds - have always been a fascination to hobbyists but sometimes the documentation is suspect. So it would be nice to have better records to prove it.

I would take a build sheet as proof as it would assign a production code to the 4 speed trans. Then we would know at least one existed.

If a Lansing built car, a 4 speed 65 or 66 fullsize Olds (Starfire or otherwise) should have a "2L" code on the cowl tag, proving its a factory 4 speeder (same code as used on the A-body cars of the era).

BTW, off the top of my head, I can think of at least 3 factory 4 speed '66 Starfires I am aware of.

Here's one (already mentioned somewhat "tangentally" above, saw it back at the 2000 Olds Nats in Parsippany, NJ): http://www.millbrookimports.com/66-Olds-Starfire.php

Edited by imported_65Jayone (see edit history)
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Have seen that Autumn Bronze '66 Starfire with the four-speed in Parsippany, NJ at the 2000 OCA Nationals; also there was a black '66 4-speed Starfire that was from the northeast; would have to find the owner's name (he may be deceased at this point). Most '66 Starfire's I've seen have the buckets/console/tach, only a handful with the bench seat, in my experience. I know of Kurt Shubert's red '65 Jetstar I with factory four-speed, and the aqua '65 Starfire convertible with the four-speed that was here in NE Ohio a few years back. The '65-'66 SF's and J-I in '65 with the manual transmission sported the regular Cutlass/442 styled tach, with the font of the numbers similar to those found on the '61-'63 Starfires; most Starfires in '65-'66 of course were automatics, and had a completely different-styled tach which debuted in 1964. I know of no manual transmissions for '61-'64 Starfires, nor the Ninety-Eight Sport Coupes from '63-'64 which sported the Starfire accoutrements, including the 345 hp 394 as found in the Starfires of the era.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Rocketranch

I thought I would reply to this thread buy saying that I currently own a '66 4-speed Starfire. I have heard many estimates of production of these cars but I can tell you there were not many. I bought my car from Dave Stewart here in Chino Valley, AZ back in 1994. He was the original owner and special ordered this car from Neal Hurt Chevrolet, Cadillac - Oldsmobile in Prescott, AZ. Neal Hurt himself sat down with Dave and put pen to paper and created this beast. Dave was not a power option guy as he ordered this car devoid of options. It does not have P/S, P/B P/W P/S A/C not even Day/Night Mirror but what it does have is a M-20 Muncie 4-speed and console. They made Dave put half the money down before they would order it. I had the tri-bars and put them on it as it came with the standard full wheel covers. With the grunt of that 425 this car will gather ground. Stopping is challenging so your rocket launching has to be somewhat planned for stopping with manual drum brakes. The floors in these cars were all automatic pans cut to accomodate the manual transmission linkage. They welded in a piece in on the left side of the trans hump. The body tag indeed has the 2L for Group 2 L - floor mounted 4-speed and was built in Lansing. The color the car is currently is what we call "Uncle Earl Blue" as it was painted at Scheib many years ago. Most of the Starfire community thinks this is probably a one of a kind but who knows. .post-88663-143139205549_thumb.jpg

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Have seen that Autumn Bronze '66 Starfire with the four-speed in Parsippany, NJ at the 2000 OCA Nationals; also there was a black '66 4-speed Starfire that was from the northeast; would have to find the owner's name (he may be deceased at this point). Most '66 Starfire's I've seen have the buckets/console/tach, only a handful with the bench seat, in my experience. I know of Kurt Shubert's red '65 Jetstar I with factory four-speed, and the aqua '65 Starfire convertible with the four-speed that was here in NE Ohio a few years back. The '65-'66 SF's and J-I in '65 with the manual transmission sported the regular Cutlass/442 styled tach, with the font of the numbers similar to those found on the '61-'63 Starfires; most Starfires in '65-'66 of course were automatics, and had a completely different-styled tach which debuted in 1964. I know of no manual transmissions for '61-'64 Starfires, nor the Ninety-Eight Sport Coupes from '63-'64 which sported the Starfire accoutrements, including the 345 hp 394 as found in the Starfires of the era.

I'm the guy from the Northeast (Toms River, NJ) who had the black '66 Starfire 4 speed at the 2000 O.C. Nationals. (yes still alive!) That car was all original with about 63,000 miles on it. Bought it from the original owner. Sold it around 10 years ago. Didn't have enough indoor storage. Awesome car!!. I had 4 cars at that show (way too many) I'm trying to find that car again. Lost track of it about 2 years ago. Was in Cherry Hill. NJ. I've been to Vermont and seen the Autumn Bronze one. It's a beautiful car with low miles too. Well if anyone sees my old Starfire, Please let me know.

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Great to hear that you're still around, and please forgive me for passing along the erroneous information I had apparently heard somewhere along the way. More important that you're around to tell us about it, for sure!!!!

Also, forgive me for not remembering your name, but do remember and appreciate your taking the time to tell me about your car in person back then.

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Harry, glad to hear you're still around. I always lusted after that black four-speed car from the first time I saw it at the 93 National Meet but I didn't have anywhere suitable to keep it back when you were ready to sell.

On another note, one of our well-known 66 Starfire collectors is thinning her herd in new JWO classifieds- the red one and the bench seat bronze one are for sale.

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Harry, glad to hear you're still around. I always lusted after that black four-speed car from the first time I saw it at the 93 National Meet but I didn't have anywhere suitable to keep it back when you were ready to sell.

On another note, one of our well-known 66 Starfire collectors is thinning her herd in new JWO classifieds- the red one and the bench seat bronze one are for sale.

Thanks Glen. I'll check out the ad in JWO. I wish I had the room at the time too. But I was storing it outside under a car cover and that just doesn't cut it. I had gathered alot of parts for that car, which I still have. If anyone is interested I'll put together a list and email it to them. Oh, by the way. The production # for '66 4speed Starfires produced was 277 which I think I got from you.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Guys

I just bought a 4 speed 64 Jetstar Convertible and I've been searching the net for info. I ran across this thread so I thought I would post some info about my car. I have read there were a total of 312 4 speed big cars built in 64, of those only 51 were convertibles. The only cars to get a 4 speed were cars with a 330, it was not available with the 394. Here is a pic of my trim tag with the L2 which designates the 4 speed. This car sold new in CA and has been in AZ since 1994. It needs a general restoration but has most of the rare 4 speed only parts. I am however looking for a correct Muncie shifter.

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Edited by spb350
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  • 3 months later...
Guest OldsToro1984
I do not believe any 1966 Starfires came with factory 4 speed transmissions. I would need some pretty bulletproof proof. I was just at the OCA Nationals in Des Moines Iowa earlier this month. There was a factory 4 speed 1965 Starfire convertible there. I seem to recall around 25-27 65 Starfire convertibles were made with 4 speeds.

66 Starfires were carried over to move out inventory, only reason they made them in 1966. 66 was the 1st year for the Toronado and ALL of the advertising, promotion and attention went to the Toronado, that had been going to the Starfire from 1962 through 1964. (1961 Starfires were not promoted much and by 1965 this was a 4th year halo car which Olds knew was not going to continue).

So, I would need proof before I even believed Oldsmobile would install a factory 4 speed. I would imagine if they did it would be very similar to the 65 set up. I HAD 4-5 photos of the factory 65 4 speed car from the recent Nationals but they are on a computer that crashed so I am not sure I can recover.

Your belief is incorrect.I know an OCA member in New Jersey who owns a black on black 1966 Starfire with a factory 4 speed. There are more out there. By the way, I bought my 1966 Lucerne Mist Starfire with black interior/white headliner in 1972 from the original owner, thats 41 years ago. I would also like a 1966 Starfire with a 4 speed.

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  • 9 months later...

I have been a fan of Oldsmobiles and particularly interested in manual trans cars. They are uncommon across the board, but they were made. They were almost ALWAYS oddball special orders. The 1964 4-4-2 offered a 4 door 4 speed. I saw one. My interest is the 1973 Cutlass, last year for the manual. I even saw ONE 3 on the tree '73 Cutlass Supreme. I can tell you from my observation that back then you could get a 4 speed in the big cars up to 1966 as far as I have seen. I have seen a black Starfire and a red Jetstar at OCA shows. I also know of a project red Starfire tucked away in my friend's barn. It is his dad's and will not be for sale anytime soon. I examined it closely, because I am building a 1966 Wildcat 4 speed. I am told back then all 4 divisions engineered their own linkages with no interchange. The 1973 era is much simpler as all four use the same basic parts. The Oldsmobile factory was slipshod with record keeping. To make matters worse before the massive interest in "numbers matching" they had a fire, which destroyed what they had. At one time before her passing you could write a pleasant letter to Helen Early and she would personally pen a response with whatever info she had. This makes me feel old... I would like to know how many 1973 Cutlass Supremes were made with 455 4 speeds. I will never find out for sure.

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Hi, I noticed your query about the correct shifter. Your best bet is to buy "Vintage Hurst Shifters" by Pete Serio. The book is a real education. He helped me find the shifters for my oddballs. Look on ebay. From what I see, you could use the early Cutlass/4-4-2 boot and trim, Olds probably was not going to tool up for that low quantity run. Check online Fusick catalog. I hope this helps, Ed

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Heh. The 65-66 big car 4-speed consoles were pretty much identical to the A-body units, maybe a little different on the console body for the difference in floors. The top plates are the same- as are the 3-speed floor shift consoles. They put a 3-speed shift pattern plate on top of the cast-in 4-speed plate.

I have seen one 73 S coupe with column shift 3-speed. That same junkyard (long closed) also had a 1975 Cutlass sedan with inline 6 and 3-speed which I thought was just plumb weird because most Olds dealers here would not order anything like that. Only one I ever saw.

Supreme, search thru the picture albums here under Buick. There's a 65 or 66, can't remember which, 4-speed Wildcat in them. Ratty, but the 4-speed stuff is all intact. Might be a good reference point for you.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 months later...
Guest exbcmc

Flyi guys, there is a 66 on eBay now with 24k original miles. I believe in Mich. looked very nice, blue w/blk bucket seats.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just was looking in my collection of paperwork. I think you are incorrect on Olds not offering the 4 speed and that bench seats were standard. Although I agree that the Starfire was pretty much an afterthought once the Toronado sales took off.

From the 1966 Oldsmobile Sports Model Catalog. Describing the standard features of the 1966 Starfire "Starfire: Guard-Beam frame. 3-speed fully synchronized floor mounted transmission standard. T-stick Turbo Hydra-Matic or 4 speed fully synchronized transmission optional at extra cost. Self-adjusting brakes, 208.6-sq.-in. lining area. 4-coil suspension with front stabilizer bar. Dual exhaust system."

Also the following paragraph shows that the Bucket Seats are standard. "Starfire rest on its laurels? Never! For 1966, rakish new looks set this Oldsmobile stylishly apart from everything else on the road. Distinctive vents in sweeping new chrome side mouldings. Bold front end. Longer looking... lower looking too. Inside, thin-shell Strato Bucket Seats flank a smart control console (all standard). Beneath that dramatic hood, a 425-cubic-inch Starfire V-8 Engine delivers 375 high-compression horsepower (standard too). And as if all that weren't enough to get you Starfire bound, Oldsmobile adds one more thing: a price that's mighty hard to resist!"

One more paragraph clearly spelling out the seat options: "Strato Bucket Seats, contoured for comfort, are standard in Starfire. So is Starfire's sporty control console and Morocceen-insert instrument panel. Optional seating includes a reclining passenger seat, front-seat headrests and new Strato Bench Seats."

 

  A friend of mine has a all original ( including paint ) 1966 Starfire, 425, bucket seat 4speed. Great styling for the personal luxury customer who doesn't want FWD. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Very interesting thread! A similar thread in the Buick forums is now in progress regarding 1964 Buick full-size cars with factory 4-speed transmissions. On the Buicks, the LeSabres got the wide-ratio 4-speed, but the Wildcats got the 2.20-low gear gearset. PLUS confirmed sightings of 4-speed Buick station wagons. Even some links to YouTube videos.

Thanks for the great information in this Olds thread!

NTX5467

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In a recent posting, Sean1977 has included pictures of Buick cowl tags and also an explanation of the related codes for 4-speed equipped full-size Buick in particular model years. It's worth a look ("4-Speed Buicks"). How might his explanations relate to how Olds might have done things back then? I know each division operated separately back then, but there probably were some basic similarities in how they did things as a part of GM.

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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