1955 Oldsmobile Stafire Convertible

Less-well-equipped ’55 Chevys sell for more, and don’t provide nearly the visual excitement or driving pleasure


Oldsmobile’s revolutionary Rocket engine debuted in 1949 and immediately became the favorite of racers. Designed from inception to take advantage of “Boss” Kettering’s research into high compression ratios, it evolved steadily with the availability of high-octane gasoline and was a consistent winner in stock car racing. By 1955, Olds engineers were getting 202 horsepower and an impressive 332 lb-ft of torque from the Rocket.

Oldsmobile’s performance engine injected new life into the brand, which became a styling leader and leaped to fourth place in Detroit’s sales race in 1955, selling 583,179 cars in only two series. That wasn’t bettered until a decade later, and Oldsmobile had to offer four distinct models to do it. 1955’s image-maker for Oldsmobile was the Starfire convertible, a luxurious trendsetter that offered a host of options in addition to the full complement of deluxe-level standard features, which included turn signals, dual horns, cigarette lighter, padded dash, clock and courtesy lights.

One memorable attribute of the 1955 Starfire was its spinner wheel covers, artfully designed and distinctive, which became favorites of customizers and street rodders and spawned a sea of imitators. The Starfire covers were, however, the genuine article, and were avidly sought after.

The 1955 Oldsmobile Starfire offered here has received a careful and high-quality restoration which has now mellowed but is still exceptionally attractive. Beautifully and impressively liveried in black, its red leather upholstery has waffle-pattern centers, the most expensive of several interior options available on the already luxurious Starfire. The top boot cover is also red, while the top is white vinyl. Equipped with power steering, power brakes, power top, six-way power front seat adjustment, power windows and the automatic headlight-dimming Autronic Eye, this Starfire is one of only 9,149 built in 1955.

A showpiece in any collection, this Rocket V8-powered 1955 Oldsmobile Starfire is ideal for tours, events or just a leisurely summer Sunday cruise.