Live Auctions

Down In The Mouth? British Toronado Find

Looking a little bit dingy, this 1969 Oldsmobile Toronado is another car found by reader Dik S. and is also located in the United Kingdom, in this case Rotherham. It’s listed for sale here on eBay, and interestingly enough, the seller seems to think of it more as a source of a power plant than a car worth restoring, although they do mention that it could be refurbished. There’s a buy it now price of 5,500 pounds ($6,755) but the seller is interested in lower offers.

The seller’s description rambles a bit, and it’s pretty difficult to understand much about the car itself. I should note that in the pictures I found online, those parking lights on US models appear to be clear; I’m guessing they have been changed to amber to meet European regulations, but it does have me wondering if any of these were officially sold in Europe? Any Toronado experts know?

Despite the dingy appearance, it does appear that the car has been on the UK roads at some point in time based on the license plate. The seller uses some hyperbole in their ad, but this really was a powerful car at the time, and would have been very likely to show this view to most other cars on the UK roads.

Here’s the source of that quickness: a 455 cubic inch V8 that was rated at 375 horsepower and 510 ft-lbs of torque at the time. Even though the Toronado weighed in at almost 4,500 pounds, 0-60 times were in the neighborhood of 7-1/2 seconds and it was capable of 15.6 second quarter miles! That was pretty fast for 1969! The seller has recently had all of the freeze plugs replaced, which had begun to weep. Apparently it’s up to you to reassemble the car.

I urge a little caution, though. I’m not tremendously impressed in the limited pictures that are shown of the work that’s been done to the car. Rattle can primer does not restoration work make. But how many Toronados are you going to find in Europe? I’d love to know what you think!



  1. motoring mo

    Sweet ride.
    Can’t imagine living with a RHD daily driver over there.

    • Bingo


  2. Pete Henneberg

    I live just down the road from Rotherham and have a Cadillac. I would give my eye teeth for this car. I must find out exactly where it is and go and see it. As you say – worried about the lack of pictures.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Pete, be sure and let us know what you find out–especially if you end up buying it!

    • Justin

      hi pete
      If you go see the car can you let me know whats what with it please. Cheers

  3. BRAKTRCR Member

    They are good cars. They are easy to work on. They are worth about what he is asking…. if it were running, driving, and beautiful. The seller might realize that after the listing expires a few times.

  4. Keith

    A lot of older sellers don’t realize ( all you gotta do is this this and this ) labor and parts cost money and should be deducted from the cars value at the time of the sale. Just because the same make and model in excellent condition sold for $$$$$ doesn’t make your car worth $$$$$ .

  5. Woodie Man

    Driving an American car in Europe back in the day…say the seventies….was a surreal experience; especially if you’re driving a left hand drive car in a right hand drive society like England. Ours are bigger, more powerful and just scream AMERICAN!

    Spending a summer in Southern Sweden working in a box factory I drove a Mercury Capri, but my boss drove a 75 or ’76 T Top 442 ( really just a fancy stock Olds at that point). With all the body graphics, black and T Tops, this guy would do a hundred routinely through the winding roads of sedate Southern Sweden…….everyone in Helsingbord knew this guy…because of his “Merican car.

    At least they drove on the correct side of the road :)

  6. Woodie Man


  7. Adam T45 Staff

    I’ve been car obsessed for more than 50 years. My tastes are quite eclectic. I’ve always quite like the side profile of these, but they are a car that has always confused me. Usually you can look at a car and work out what the manufacturer is or was trying to achieve. Is a car a thinly disguised racer? Is it a luxury limousine? Is it a family runabout? The Toronado doesn’t seem to fit any particular category. I’ve ridden in one and found the rear seating area quite claustrophobic. The performance wasn’t overwhelming and the brakes and handling left something to be desired. I’ve always believed that if this had been developed as a luxury four-door saloon, it had the potential to set the world on fire, as it would’ve been able to offer unmatched packaging with reasonable performance (especially if Olds had’ve gotten some weight out of it). It was a lost opportunity, which is a shame. As I said, I don’t quite understand this car.

    • starsailing

      I bought a 68 Toronado in 73 after a salesman wouldn’t let me test drive a Pantera because I had long hair and 22 yrs old. I had cash in hand to buy it. I owned and street raced a 66 442 street and strip with last engine/drivetrain running in mid 12s. So I supertuned the Toro, curving distrib, timing, Quadrajet carb mods, modified air cleaner free flow…removed air condition belt, dumped the spare tire, dumped the heavy muffler added lightweight Walker Continental straight through glass pack exhaust, etc.I removed the back seat to put in new speakers for the 8 track…and kept the whole back seat out for several months…telling the wife I had problems with setup..( didn’t..just wanted the extra weight out for as long as I got away with it!) Came with some bias ply tires that were fun to do front wheel drive burnouts…changed to Michelin radials…It was a luxury oversized sports/muscle car! 68-69-70 similar. Handling was superb especially at high speeds as it hugged the road. Front wheel drive…drive hard through paved corners …you have to learn not to plow the front tires, but flooring it aiming wheels powering out of turns. Brakes were FINE! Back seat huge, if the mother in law didn’t complain while riding back there it wasn’t bad. Plenty of front seat room especially with no floor hump….didn’t have to use back seat at the couple drive in movies we went to at the time…
      Sports car handling with speed…A Yellow 69 Boss Mustang had rear ended me while I was at a stop light…that driver did a hit and run, I did the Steve McQueen chase scene in Mpls Mn right behind the guys bumper for several miles through the city …just a car length behind his bumper the whole time. He finally pulled over shocked that he could not lose me. As hard as he hit me there was only a few dents in the bumper which he paid for a new bumper eventually…Mustang had $$ damage.
      Toronado set records on the Pike’s Peak Hill climb..videos online. I then used it for towing my horsetrailer w/horse to horse shows…. barely noticed it behind and handled perfect…wide and low to the ground….easily a 14 sec flat machine after I set it up. A W34 Toro even better if you can get your hands on one. I would buy one in a heart beat and do it all over again….minus the long hair!

      Like 1
      • Adam T45 Staff

        Starsailing, I think that you did what needed to be done to a Toronado. You obviously made upgrades that worked well on the car. The one I drove was an early one with drum brakes and original spec tyres. I really did like the look of the car. I think that especially in side profile it was a tough looking car. Driving it you could sense that there was potential there. You would have to agree with me surely, that if they’d built a 4-door version (especially with some of your upgrades) then they would’ve had a world beater.

  8. Bill

    My uncle bought a new 69 Toronado. Dad (his brother) didn’t think he made a good choice with that car.

    It seemed cool to me, though. It was built like an aircraft carrier. Being only ten, I mostly remember the vertical rotary speedometer. And the wide, flat, and roomy front floor.

  9. starsailing

    Hi Adam, My 68 had drum brakes, I towed a horse trailer with my Hunter jumper Thoroughbred named Starsailor in it. Never any problem. yes the trailer had brakes as well, no problem. Very few people drove a Toro like I did, as well as a 69 Riv I did the same to the same years. It was literally like driving an oversize 70 Pont 455 Firebird. I buried the cylinder speedometer a few times, and the faster it went, it simply hugged the road. The 71 and up Toros with detuned engines/smog/etc were fully luxury cars, and high performance was no longer a goal of GM…interior were becoming so cushy…my mom remarked that her Cutlass Supreme and her friend’s 74 Toro had interiors like a beautiful COFFIN interior…. Same exact route by GM for Cadillac el Dorados.
    As I mentioned before …I let one old lady at work drive my Toro in a blizzard to her home….the front wheel drive excelled in deep snow and drifts to her so much, she bought a new one. Then several other old ladies at work bought a couple. My in laws/outlaws bought a Big Caddy El Dorado after driving my Toro.
    FWD vehicles were not the rage yet. Toronados and the FWD Cadillac were the test market for the reliability and new driving technique that needed to be proven to the public. Negative False rumors abounded back when I was driving mine. Looking around now you see refined FWD and 4WD 4dr cars as the norm. I bet GM designers had some drawings of a 4dr FWD in their archives someplace.
    FWD for winter driving simply makes the driver a master of Old Man Winter! When the wife got her new 4dr 96 Ford SHO…we both wished it was a 2 dr. and I wished it had the H.P. of the 68. Reminded me a lot of the Toro. So much so….I slapped some Nascar type magnetic race car number and magnetic racing product looking decals on the passenger side of her SHO. Whole passenger side looked like Nascar setup. Going to work in A.M. she never saw the right side of her car….and the 30 Min drive had all kinds of guys pulling along side her wanting to race her….boy did I catch he** for that…
    Hemmings had the story several times on the experimental FWD 68 Olds based on Cutlass size frame body setup. It was a 2 dr. Pretty much everyone wanted it!
    I always wanted to slap on a set of wrinkle wall slicks on my Toro…and drive only a straight line. The only 4dr car I wanted over a 2dr was a 64 Ply or Dodge? I saw ad for auction yrs back that was factory ordered with a 426 Wedge.

  10. Max

    Has the trail gone cold? Where is this car, anyone know?

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