Aftermarket Chop Top: 1979 Oldsmobile Toronado

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“But I didn’t think GM made a ’79 Toronado convertible,” you say. And you’d be right. This is either an ASC conversion or someone else’s, and judging by the mechanism in the trunk, I’d love to see how the top actually works. The seller says it’s one of 400, and gives a list of condition issues that are keeping the price as low as it is. It’s located in Newburg, Oregon and is for sale here on eBay with a buy-it-now of $2,200 but lower offers accepted. Living in the sunny South, the first thing I noticed was the missing air conditioning compressor, but that’s really not what a convertible is about, is it? There’s certainly some areas that need improvement, but I’m thinking this is a cheap, big convertible that you could enjoy while improving, if that’s your thing. Do you think this one’s worth the time?

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Hmmm….seems like a lot of effort and $$$ to spend to get a convertible. I know lots of folks want NEW, but I would have put the cash into an affordable (back in 1979) ’50s convertible instead. Those cars mostly had good looking shapes. This one is a bit too square for me.

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  2. RayT Member

    Given the price and the seller’s sparse comments, I’m going to say this particular chop-job was not done by one of the established conversion shops. If not, it likely doesn’t have reinforcements (in rockers, bulkheads, torque boxes, and so on) that are essential if one is to drive it down the road without it separating into two halves.

    People have no idea how much the structure depends on the top to keep it stiff. They often used to find out afterward.

    No thanks….

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Looks like it’s driven just fine for years…

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  3. Cassidy

    I remember now why I’m not interested in most cars from the ’80’s: cars like this make an Edsel look super handsome! On a positive note, at least they aren’t asking for the moon with sale price.
    Totally agreeing with RayT: where’s the reinforcement?
    This could soon up like a mono-syllabic box of Rice Krispies: SNAP!

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    • Chuck

      Sounds to me like you are “dissing” the Edsel. Not nice ! I happen to be the proud owner of a 58 Edsel Convertible & have always liked their distinctive styling. Different Strokes.

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  4. Glen

    If it was going to fall apart, wouldn’t it have already done that?, I really don’t know how these conversion hold-up. Looking at the condition of the car it doesn’t appear to be a new conversion, and the seller says 400 were produced. I would assume it was done professionaly. Having said that, the people who right on Barn Finds seem to be extremely knowledgeable, so I’m not interested! Barn Finds is a great place to learn. keep up the good work.

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  5. bonneville 64

    I have seen a number of Lincolns converted by ASC and the top down appearance is very similar to this. If there were undercarriage pictures showing additional bracing, and / or an ASC body tag, would consider this for purchase. As it sits the $2200 buy it now price is a good starting point for making an offer. My opinion is that this would be, due to make, model, year, and conversion a limited market to sell the car. also I was thinking that the slightly later Buick and Cadillac ragtops had the 307 cubic inch engine. When Chevy brought out the 307, many folks said ” the power of a 6 and the thirst of a 454 “

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    • Al8apex

      301 Pontiac engines

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    • Al8apex

      that is an Olds engine, not a Chevy

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  6. Ed P

    If you are looking for something unusual, this is it. There will not be one in your neighbors driveway.

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  7. Big Eddie

    I have been in the car business for many years. I remember buying and selling these cars and its counter part the caddy front drive. They were nothing but money pits and that’s why I think this car is cheap. They had a lot of electrical and mechanical problems. Just my opion and experience. The Edsel was a better car lol.

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  8. Barry T

    Just because it hasn’t come apart into two parts does not mean it handles very well. Anyone foolish enough to buy this car better be ready to keep it forever as it would be tough to sell to anyone that knows anything about cars.

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  9. DENIS

    I drove one of these(ASC-CONVERTED) when nearly-new and it drove as nice as the factory coupe. If treated decent, they held together ok…this looks like a summer car for beer-runs n trips to the beach. This is a 307 Olds motor and pretty bullet-proof. There are some nice specimens that can be bought reasonably, so this needs to be made road-worthy and used for a party-wagon for the ANIMAL HOUSE crew.

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  10. edd

    Saw a 1984 (?) ASC Converted El Dorado on eBay today with a rag top.

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  11. charlie

    Friend had a professionally done one, had massive real frame under the unibody, sat about the frame width (maybe 5″) higher than the donor car (which had been brand new) and was as solid as the two door it was based on. As trouble free or trouble prone as any other GM of the time. See August Car & Driver’s experience with a 2014 Corvette, and 2014 Mini if you think cars were bad then.

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  12. Chuck F 55chevy

    I like it, but then I love convertibles. I had a 85 Buick front drive Riviera like this, and other than a pesky water leak, it was a luxurious ride, with some power. The Rivy even had a convertible, which I would rather have than this one, but if it was nearby for $2200 I would do some horse trading with some of my project hoard, keeping it maintained and running would be easy.

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