I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking for another Oldsmobile because it is my favorite pastime. I was always looking for a good looking convertible and finally found the one I wanted; a 1962 Starfire Convertible in Provincial White with Blue Interior. I saw it advertised in JWO's February 2011 issue nearby here in NJ. Frank and Jill were caring past owners and happily passed it to me. It was getting little use and they were afraid of it deteriorating from lack of attention. On February 12, 2011, I bought myself one fine birthday present two days early!
At the present time, therefore, I am the proud owner of two Starfires. However it can't be for long. I have no storage for another and so something has to go. The coupe is for sale.
These two have more in common than being Oldsmobile Starfires. They were both built in Linden, NJ; the coupe the fourth week of February in 62, and the convertible the second week of April.
The Coupe was sold. It was a bitter sweet experience for me for obvious reasons. Details at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PAoMaTzDNk
The '61 Manual is more complete and is recommended for the '62 as well. The Manuals are large pdf files and will take sometime to download.
I was extremely pleased to get a complete history of the car. Included are all of the owners since new and dated receipts and photos of the restoration of this beauty. As a result of this valuable information, I have already contacted the mechanic who worked on the car in Illinois for some specs on the convertible top motor as well as the body man who painted the car to get the exact color and brand of paint used so I could exactly match it in some spots that needed attention.
Immediate attention was given to the performance aspects of the car. New plugs, wires and the discovery that a Pertronix point conversion kit had already been installed made me feel comfortable about the ignition system. Checking the timing showed that the Harmonic balancer is in need of remanufacturing. The balancer due to age and dried out rubber shifted location on the pulley. A common problem and one that can be solved. In the past I have sent a similar one out to Dale Manufacturing in Salem Oregon for a redo. Dales' workmanship is outstanding and guaranteed. This project will be completed in April along with a new water pump.
Having a receipt history of repairs and maintenance cannot be overstated. I note what and when essential repairs were done and plan further repairs accordingly. For example, I changed the brake shoes as a result of not seeing any mention of their repair recently. ( I would have done it anyway. )
The radiator was removed and sent out for repair to fix a leak. All back together and cooling like new. I got the heater blower to work but am not pleased with the heat. I'm thinking that a new thermostat is in order if there is one installed at all. I'll find out when I replace the water pump.
Much time was spent on getting the convertible top motor to work. After much diagnostics I learned that a relay had to be replaced. Not able to get one off the shelf and with the help of Thomas Spirock, I wired two relays in series to get the job done. The top now works perfectly after being down for close to a year.
Many changes have been made. The aftermarket radio that you can see mounted under the dash has been hidden in the glove box mated to a new power antenna operated by the factory dash mounted switch which was an available option. The stock radio is intact and merely a work of art in chrome and era dials.
I do agree to aftermarket gauges for the temp, oil, and voltage monitoring but preferred a better location and size rather than those that are pictured above.
I've started the detailing of the engine compartment.
This months project is to have the mufflers replaced. One has a hole the size of a nickel in it and the other appears to have blown out the baffle. The tailpipes have pin holes along their bottom side and I'm thinking of replacing them with resonators and new turndown exhaust tips. I'm after a quiet cruising sound. I'm going through the car systematically and replacing worn out parts when found. For example, when the car was on the lift I noticed that the shock absorbers look original and obviously are doing little to nothing at this point. I have ordered replacements and they will be installed shortly.
The latest electrical problem leaving me scratching my head is the windshield wiper motor. I got the two speed motor to respond to the switch, but when the switch is in the off position the unit does not turn off. I'm afraid of another relay issue that I will need assistance in resolving. All in due time.
New mufflers, custom bent tailpipes and chrome tips were installed. During the repair it was noticed by the installer that the heat riser on the driver's side was stuck in a partially closed position dramatically affecting the ability to exhaust and ultimately the performance of the vehicle. Repair was done and it feels like more horses were unleashed. I installed the rear shocks days prior to the muffler job. Not being as agile as I was in younger years, I decided to have the installer of the mufflers install the front shocks as well to save me from crawling under the car in my garage.
The heating problem was a faulty vacuum actuator that opens and closes the vent in the air box. Until I find a replacement I made a rod that keeps the vent in the open position allowing the hot air to blow into the car.
I went into the shed to prepare the lawn mower for the coming season only to be reminded that above me in the roof rafters I had in storage an extra air box and contained within three vacuum actuators. I laughed at the loss of memory and eagerly removed one actuator and installed it in the car to make the heater work exactly as it was designed to perform.
After reading forum suggestions on wiper motor issues I decided to take out the motor and inspect the inners. It merely required cleaning of the caked and dried out grease and fresh lubrication of contacts and moving parts to solve the problem.
I removed the console and cleaned the face of the tachometer and repaired the plastic slide that surrounds the shift lever. I disassembled and cleaned as well the back lit gear indicator and am impressed at how new it now looks.
My experience with GM window washer pumps is that at best they were not reliable and always were in need of repair. I found an aftermarket kit which worked well in my first Starfire, and decided to use one again in this one. The company is called Wet Storm and can be found online. For $25 you get all you need to do a professional job. In my case I merely had to route the wires and attach the + and - to the wiring harness at the wiper motor, install the self contained pump and reservoir in the stock location, attach the original tubing and it works off the stock push switch on the dash. Few people will know that it's not original.
4/07/11 The Trunk
Trunk Matting and Quarter Panel inserts were purchased from Fusick.
Aftermarket Sequential Turn Signals
3/07/13 Generator Replacement
I finally upgraded to an alternator. I purchased the "Powergen" from Powermaster Performance. It looks like the original Generator but is actually an alternator that provides greater output than the original equipment. It mounts directly to the stock brackets and requires one 10 gauge wire to the battery to be functional. Original wires to the generator and regulator were disconnected and hidden from site. I added a Delco-Remy plaque to it to further disguise the upgrade. I'm betting that very few will know it's not stock.
11/2/13 New Top
I was in need of a new rear window because of the normal aging process. I decided to get a new top as well and return the car to its original build sheet order. In the process of research I learned how to read the trim code tag. This is how the car was ordered:
This past Winter provided a lot of time for improvements to be completed. On my to do-list was the restoration of the steering wheel, carpeting, and finding the proper pleated convertible boot. Happy to say that all appear to have been achieved.
I sent an extra wheel to Gary at Gary's Steering Wheel Restoration in Carlisle , Pa. and am totally pleased with the results. After just over eight weeks later the car now sports a newly refurbished wheel that is flawless in workmanship and is show quality.
I purchased carpeting and extra yardage from Stockinteriors.com and redid the interior of the car. I removed the seats and console, kick panels, door panels, carpeting and original jute underlayment. New carpeting was applied to the lower door panels as well as to the kick panels. New jute and carpeting took awhile to install but came out perfectly. I removed the Starfire mats from the old carpeting, gave them a good cleaning and installed them to the new carpeting.
I located an original Convertible Boot in Wisconsin. Dale emailed me after reading my post on the AACA Forum asking for any information on where to have a proper one made. Dale has had an original one in storage for 35 years and was willing to sell it to me. I refurbished it to like new condition.
11/14/17 The NOAC in Reading PA. on 6/24/17 was not what I expected. Thought that the turn out was moderate and the judging field to be poorly set up. Having said that, it was an enjoyable trip for the four of us: Peter and his dad Bernie, and cousin Kenny and me. I drove the Starfire and Peter the 37. The morning drive out started in rain. There went all of the hours of cleaning and detailing in preperation for the event. The trip went smoothly with no mechanical issues.
The Starfire was entered in the Street Stock Class and won a First Place Trophy. At first I was ecstatic, only to find out later that the method of judging was P. C. They awarded a Best in Class trophy and three or so First Place 'runner ups'. Come on !! We're adult men. First, Second, and Third Place, etc. ! We can take it.
Took a wrong turn going home which lengthened the trip. All went well.