Rick Strones '65 (Factory 4-speed!) F-85 Wagon
My father ordered this car new in 1965. He needed a station wagon and
wanted a 4-speed. My understanding is that at the time, Oldsmobile would
put a 4-speed in any of their cars. The car was bought in Missouri, but
soon taken to New Mexico and then later Arizona. Spending most of its life
in the Southwest has allowed the car to survive. It's currently
un-restored, driven almost every day and is 99.9% original.
This picture shows the car in its original condition, as it was taken in January of 65'.
Some of the options include, High Compression L74 330 ci Motor, M20
4-speed, G80 3.23 Anti-Spin Rear Axle, M01 Heavy-Duty Clutch, G51
Heavy-Duty Rear Springs and C60 Air Conditioning. In addition, the dealer
converted the single exhaust to duals and put 442 emblems on the front
fenders and grill (in 1964 locations). The car does fit the mold for the
original 442 definition, 4-barrel carb, 4-speed and dual exhaust. In fact,
I have all the components to complete the 442 package including a 400, but
I'm uncertain at this time whether these items will be used in the
restoration or whether I will maintain its original configuration.
I've never been able to find out how many 4-speed wagons were built in
65'. I'm sure the number is very low, in fact this may be the only one.
Just being a F-85 and not a Vista-Cruiser makes it even more rare (I
believe fewer F-85's were produced). I've shown the car to, and talked with
several Oldsmobile enthusiasts and no one has ever seen or heard of any
others. Future plans include a full restoration and trips to Oldsmobile
This is the only picture of the interior showing the shifter area. It's not
a very good picture, and it shows a non-original shifter.
The gages have been put in a panel, with the bezels painted
to match the interior color and look original. They are awesome gages, and
most people probably don't know they are available (water temp, oil press
and volts + more are available). They have GM part numbers and are
Oil-filled (except electrical gages) Autometer gages which have the rocket
emblem and the word Oldsmobile on the face. If you don't already know about
them I can send you some info on them.
Unfortunately my dad removed and discarded the original shifter early on because
he said it rattled (the only original item I don't have). So far I have not been able
to find an original non-442 65' 4-speed shifter. I am sure there were very
few produced since most 4-speed cars were probably 442's and had the Muncie
shifter. In fact I have never even seen an original one in a car, even at
the Olds Centennial most were non-originals.
The original had a small
T-handle under the knob, I think for reverse. There has to be one out there
somewhere, the other possibility which I have not pursued yet is to check
Chevrolet cars which may have used the same shifter. I don't know if GM had
special floor boards for floor shift cars, but all they did on this car is
cut a hole in the floor and welded in a piece of floor that had the shifter
hole and mounting holes for the boot (probably from a 4-speed floor pan).
The boot is the standard non-console style, for a round shifter.
Click here for an illustration of the 4-speed set-up given in the original GM service manual.
This picture shows the car basically in it's current state
with 15x7 rallies, which probably will be replaced by the original hubcap
wheels after the restoration.
I always enjoy showing and telling people about this car since
it's so unique. I can't wait to get it fully restored and go out and show
those new camaro and mustang owners what the real definition of a fast car
is. Click here to see the original window sticker!