American manufacturers were well known, during the ’60s, for enthusiastically stirring the pot, so to speak, rearranging entire lines from top to bottom, creating new models, and generally keeping things as confusing as they could possibly be, whether intentionally or not. Sometimes great things came out of it, sometimes less cars were produced, and sometimes, something else entirely happened. Mistakes. Errors. Miscalculations. Such was the case of the 1964 Oldsmobile Jetstar I. The story behind its name and the confusion that went with it is too long and too involved to relate here (also I don’t really care) but the fact is that the Jetstar I ended up sharing many components with the Starfire, and although it was much less expensive, could be ordered with options packages that would make it almost its equal, at a significantly lower cost. Slight miscalculation.
The biggest, most powerful engine one could get on the Jetstar I was a 425 cubic inches V8, or 7-liters, that produced 370 horsepower. It could reach a top speed of 105 miles per hour, and accelerate to 0-60 in 9.5 seconds, not bad for a car busting the scales at just a few pounds over 4,000.
Designed to compete with the Pontiac Grand Prix, over 16,000 Oldsmobile Jetstar I were produced and sold the first year, while Pontiac churned out 61,000 Grand Prix. The problem with the Jetstar I is not that it was a bad car, it was just inserted into the range without much thought or planning, and managed to cannibalize the sales of the Starfire, which it was designed to support. The Oldsmobile Jetstar I remained in production until 1965.