10. Oldsmobile Jetfire
The Oldsmobile Jetfire is an important model for automotive history that never got the respect it deserved. This was the first turbocharged passenger car alongside the Chevrolet Corvair Monza. However, the Oldsmobile system was more complex and powerful than the Chevrolet system. In those days, each GM division was in competition to present something better than their competitors.
So Oldsmobile chose turbocharging as the new technology to perfect. GM added a special “Turbo Rocket Fuel” tank consisting of distilled water, methanol, and a corrosion inhibitor mixture they injected into a fuel-air mixture to prevent detonation. This was necessary since turbochargers were prone to detonation in those days, which could ruin the engine.
The Jetfire V8 was state-of-the-art technology and initially the market was interested. The V8 delivered 215 HP, one HP per cubic inch, making it one of the best performance cars of the day. With the 0 to 60 mph time of eight seconds, it was almost as fast as the Corvette.
However, the Jetfire had problems from the beginning, most owner-related. People praised the power delivery, but they weren’t used to maintaining a turbo engine. Many owners forgot to fill up the “Turbo Rocket Fuel” tank. This caused a loss of power and even engine failure. Soon the Jetfire developed a bad reputation despite the praises of automotive magazines. After just two years and around 10,000 Jetfires sold, Oldsmobile decided to kill the car and turbocharging technology, putting it among our unique flops.