By 1977, America’s long-running love affair with strippers was starting to peter out. The economy was strong during the last years of that decade, and the eighties ushered in an era of conspicuous consumption, even if it was just an Olds Cutlass coupe or a Toyota Celica. Yes, there were a few poverty-spec cars still to be had, but Detroit had learned a big lesson from the Japanese: the overwhelming majority of folks don’t really like to ride around in stark, dog-dished, de-chromed strippers. Which may explain why this F-85 coupe, intended to be a genuine stripper, fooled me with its dressy clothes.
Here’s how it’s shown, well hidden near the back of the 1977 Oldsmobile Brochure, embarrassed to be seen in the buff. Who would want to buy an Oldsmobile like that in 1977?
Especially when a much nicer Chevy Nova Concours coupe could be had for…$1.00 less. Yes, that surprised me too. Admittedly, the Concourse coupe shown here has a few options, like that stupid “cabriolet” roof, but its standard features put the F-85 to shame.
The Concours came standard with full wheel covers, chrome trim on the wheel openings, and a stand-up hood ornament, even!
The Concours’ best feature was a decent interior, compared to the mere Novas. And compared the F-85, this looks like a…dare I say it….Seville.
Here’s what that extra buck bought you for having the Oldsmobile name on it: flesh-toned bare skin.
That’s better; at least a bit of color to cheer things up a bit. So why would anyone pay a buck more for a poverty-spec F-85 than a Nova Concours? Beats me. I was hoping you would know.
Because it has a Buick V6 engine under the hood? Well, the Chevy 250 six was bigger, and had more power (110 vs 105 hp) and torque than the 231 V6. And ran smoother too.
Presumably I’m not the only one wondering what the appeal was, as a mere 2,241 of the 1977 F-85s were sold, and there was none to be had in 1978. The whole idea of bringing back the F-85 in 1975 as a stripper Omega was a dubious idea. And a short-lived one.
And it probably explains why this one has optional chrome window surrounds and full wheel covers, making it look just like a base Omega, which in essence it is. When I first saw it, I thought someone had de-badged it, since there was no “Omega” to be seen anywhere. And then I saw the little script “F-85” on the front fender. Aha! This was worth stopping for after all. Except I would have much preferred to see it naked, like it was meant to be.