I have now written about the 1961–1963 Pontiac Tempest, the 1961–1963 Buick Special/Skylark, and the 1961–1963 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass, but the one facet of the GM Y-body “senior compacts” I still haven’t delved into of that first flush in any great detail is the 1962–1963 Olds F-85 Jetfire. The Jetfire was (with the concurrent Corvair Monza Spyder) the world’s first production car with a turbocharged gasoline engine — an honor many sources still erroneously attribute to BMW or Saab. I think I have a fair bit to say about it, although it’s a familiar topic and perhaps played out. Does anyone care anymore? Not sure.

(ETA: The finished Jetfire article was finally published on April 29, 2023.)


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  1. Jay Leno did a video about the Jetfire last year with it and that has 1M+ views, I think there is definitely interest in the subject.

  2. Very much agree, the F-85 deserves its finished story and the Jetfire was as much a part of that as it was also another technical breakthrough that GM pioneered and then forgot about.

  3. Your site, in my opinion, is the preeminent source of interesting stories on somewhat obscure subjects I’ve ever come across. Some years ago I read Halberstam’s “The Reckoning,” a source you frequently cite, and I find your style very similar. With that said, a story on the Oldsmobile Jetfire would be a wonderful read. I’m very much looking forward to it.

    1. The challenge that I have not infrequently faced is finding what I regard as the “sweet spot” in terms of subject matter, which is something about which a workable (read: large) amount of information is available to me, but where I feel like there’s still something useful I can say about it. There are some subjects that meet the first criterion and not the second, and a fair number that fit the second and not the first. I have taken a certain pride in being able to chronicle some things in a fair amount of detail that don’t get a lot of play otherwise, although whether anyone else is that interested in, for example, the origins of the Ford Fiesta or the history of the JDM Toyota Soarer. Sometimes, the information that’s generally available includes a lot of errors and misconceptions that are worth attempting to clear up, or there’s some technical aspect I have to teach myself in order to explain, or something once familiar is becoming obscure in a way that seems to deserve chronicling. (For instance, given how influential and ubiquitous the original Hydra-Matic used to be, I daresay it’s no longer very well-understood.)

      The Jetfire fits into an odd space where it is a relatively small subject (given that I’ve already covered the origins of the Y-body cars at some length) — which is good — but there’s already a fair number of articles about it, and most of them say more or less the same things. So, the question is whether I have anything to add to that discussion and whether people consider it played out or overly familiar.

  4. Personally, I’d love to hear more about it.

  5. Whatever you choose to write about I will read. I was thrilled that you published more articles this year, I thought that with the loss of a lot of your materials a while back and your concern about California’s privacy laws spelled the end for you.

    This website has been a treasure trove. I wish that I had the talent for writing and research that you do. And so, I always welcome new articles should you choose to produce them.

    1. and your concern about California’s privacy laws spelled the end for you

      I’m still pretty concerned that it does, particularly now that several other states have rolled out their own variation on the often ill-framed California law even as California doubles down. (The latest iteration of the law is more lucid and reasonable in some respects and, uh, definitely not in others.)

      1. The new regulations have been issued, apparently with no opportunity for public comment (at least none I was notified about, and I was on the mailing list for comment on the original regulations), and they are FAR, far worse than I feared. They actually make publishing itself more or less illegal, and devastate the First Sale Doctrine and freedom of expression. They nullify a lot of the statute’s attempts to strike a reasonable balance between privacy and practicality, and they’re also technologically ambitious in a way that isn’t currently feasible except for big companies. It’s horrifying, and since they delayed and delayed, there’s no opportunity to even comment.

  6. Definitely do the article.

  7. Glad to see you’re still writing. As the author of a blog with a lot of automotive content, I think being an information “aggregator” is a useful niche.

    I have written about the F-85 Jetfire, but would very much welcome your expert perspective.

  8. I think the “AUWM” contribution is often to bring some light to the individuals involved in engineering, designing, styling, or marketing a car or innovation–and, other than John Beltz, the people involved in Oldsmobile around this time are not exactly household names. And the decision at Oldsmobile to turbocharge that Buick-block engine must have been some sort of compromise–if anybody knew (or claims to know) how it was made, that would be interesting.

    Of course, none of this means that Jetfire is the best idea on your mind, just that it can be a good one.

    1. I have spent the past weeks putting together a very sizable mass of research information related to the Jetfire, including various technical papers and the service manual. Some of it is tangential, but probably necessary background at least for me (e.g., regarding the development of aircraft turbo-supercharging, of which I know a little, but not a lot), but it eventually (a) gave me a reasonable grasp of how the Jetfire fluid injection system operates, which is surprisingly involved, and (b) uncovered some interesting details that seem worth relating.

      1. Good! I always learn something – wish I could remember it all! (But I can come here and re-read it.

  9. A later iteration of turbocharging with GM is the ’92-’93 GMC Typhoon SUV and Syclone pickup. Possibly add those to your article. Thanks again for what you do!

  10. I for one will avidly read any new content you might write; I admire your determined persistence, despite California’s well-intentioned legal incompetence. Long live AUWM!

    1. Where it presently stands is that I have a length more or less complete draft. (The conclusion is still a little muddled.) I have rearranged and rewritten big sections of it in trying to decide exactly how much I wanted to get into the history of supercharging, beyond the history of turbocharging, which is more directly pertinent. It includes almost every detail I could dig up on the Jetfire, and more than I had originally intended on the turbocharged Corvair.

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