1968 Oldsmobile Toronado: Navy Orphan

68tornado

It’s hard to believe that you could once buy an Oldsmobile with 7.5 liters of V8 brawn under the hood, especially as the Big 3 increasingly turn to turbocharging and smaller displacement motors to win modern buyers over. This 1968 Oldsmobile Tornado here on eBay not only packs a serious punch in the engine compartment but also features radical styling that even today stands out as equal-parts imposing and graceful. This particular car comes from dry, sunny Texas, and has been in storage up until recently when its owner high-tailed it to San Diego to join the Navy. With no major rust and still in running condition, this Tornado will hopefully have a short detour back to road-going condition. This is a no-reserve auction starting at $1,000, so there’s potential here to snare a cheap project.

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Comments

  1. Capt Doug

    Where are the headlights on this model? – I know the 66/67 had flip up panels. Seeing a new 1966 Toronado pull into my high school one morning gave me high hopes for American auto design.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Capt., here you go. YouTube is amazing. (minus 2 points for burned out high beam)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxYHK9lfNAo

      Like 1
      • phoneman91

        W34 Toronados had a headlight door override that opened the headlight doors automatically when the engine coolant temperature exceeded a certain high temperature.Even when the headlights were not turned on. To add cooling radiator area for the hot engine.

        Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Hi phoneman, hmm, does anybody else have problems with links? If you do, the grill ‘s on each side raised up to reveal the 4 head lights. I didn’t know that about the headlight door override dealybob. Thanks. ( so in other words, if, during the day, you saw a ’68 Toronado behind you with the head light doors open, you knew the driver mean’t business!)

      • Capt Doug

        Thanks!

  2. jean

    We, french are accustomed to front wheel drive cars, Citroen introduced the “traction” in 1934.
    A current believing was that, putting more than 100hp on the front wheels would not be possible. The Toronado did show that it was untrue.
    The Toronado is one of my car dreams, at the current bidding, if it was in Europe, I would jump on it.

  3. Karl

    The headlights on this car were located on the far ends of the grills and folded like a Dodge Charger.

  4. Chris

    The speedo is so cool. The styling is so far out in this car. The olds 455 is a great motor for moving these big cars around.

  5. phoneman91

    A very appealing ,flowing, design.Good body lines. The 1968s and 1968 have the best body lines of all vintages of Tornados. Like a heavy weight C3 Corvette.

    Seems to be straight and most importantly-has no vinyl top! It is rare to see a Toronado without a vinyl top. Good uninterrupted flow of C pillar into the quarter panel.

    And it would also be a plus if this Toronado had the factory optional front disk brakes. And if it was a W 34 Toronado.

    Too bad that it isn’t in better original condition.

    • phoneman91

      Typo: I meant to type: “The 68s and 69s have the best body lines….”

  6. Howard A Member

    These were some of the nicest “chain-drive” Toro’s. Still had the original styling, plenty of power (at a substantial cost at the pump) and went through the snow great. This one looks a little sad, but it took a while for American’s to warm up to FWD, and not many of these cars were sold. Be a pretty hefty project here, but notable as America’s 1st FWD car. Here’s another FYI, I didn’t know. Apparently, Firestone made a special tire for the front called the “TFD” tire. (Toronado Front Drive) I wonder how people got suckered into that tire. $$$

    • phoneman91

      First MODERN American car that was front wheel drive-was the Toronado . The Cord was the first-I believe.

    • phoneman91

      If this Toronado weighed 3500 pounds instead of 4500 pounds-they would have sold a lot more of them back in 1965. Price and weight-limited the appeal of these.

      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, I forgot about the Cord. I guess the 1st FWD car in the modern era. And these weren’t cheap either. Car and Driver tested one that had every available option on it, and it listed at $7,023, or $48,159 today.

      • starsailing

        Had a 68 Toro early 70s. Weight was no problem, handling was great, especially over 100mph, it squatted down and hugged the road. 455…Removed the giant muffler and replaced with couple Walker continental glass packs. Extra Hp and loss of abut 60-70 lbs. Worked carb and distrib over same way had my 66 442 done. Big H.P. gain. Removed power steering belt, more H.P. Removed heavy spare..quicker again. Fixed up better air filter, more H.P.
        Beautiful interior. Zero complaints…gas Mileage about 14-15 normal, 17 hwy.
        68 Toro was a muscle car…no mistake about it. Had a number of races lost none. Pulled horse trailer exceptionally well. Front tire burnouts were …smoking……Especially the one I did in front of the principal’s office at school…with the principal’s 68 Toro that I and friend worked on weekly in high school auto shop class. Teacher and principal could not figure out why he got just a few thousand miles on the new tires when new…..Auto shop was split…1 hr before lunch, 1 hour after. I had it for lunch running to Red Barn…racing both ways against classmates. Winter time….realized the front wheel drive was a coming…..especially when out on lakes ice fishing….Toronado was at first a rich man’s giant sports car…well refined by 68-70. Class front to back. The one for sale looks a bargain if motor , frame, tranny good.

  7. Dolphin Member

    I always think these look really good whenever I see one. The special wheels too, since they remind me of all the V8 torque these have. I just wish I could see them on the road more often.

    For such a handsome ’60s brute this is going really cheap—–bid to only $1K after 4 days. I really hope the person who wins this car does the right thing by it so people can see what this orphan GM brand was like back then.

  8. Capt Doug

    Cord was the 1st successful commercial auto builder with front wheel drive but hardly the 1st in the USA to build FWD cars. Cord started their FWD in 1929 with the L-29 – and built absolutely beautiful cars in their day.

    J. Walter Christie of the United States patented a design for a front-wheel-drive car, the first prototype of which he built in 1904.[6] He promoted and demonstrated the vehicle by racing at various speedways in the United States, and even competed in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup

    Harry Arminius Miller of Menomonie, Wisconsin designed the Miller 122 front-wheel-drive racecar that was entered in the 1925 Indianapolis 500

    • starsailing

      As A kid I read tons of books. One of them was about Indy racer…Miller special front wheel drive racer…
      .
      http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a6680/15-ways-the-indy-500-changed-how-you-drive/
      After winning at Indy in 1922, driver Jimmy Murphy placed an order for a front-wheel-drive car, figuring he’d post better times if he were pulled, rather than pushed, through the turns. Legendary engineer Harry Miller, whose cars and engines won the 500 a dozen times, responded with a design that enjoyed success at Indy for years. A transverse-mounted transmission eliminated a driveshaft and heavy rear differential, lopping as much as 150 pounds from the car’s weight. It also enabled the driver to sit on the floor pan, lowering the center of gravity. Murphy died in a wreck in 1924, before driving the car, but Dave Lewis piloted the Miller to second place at Indy in 1925, prompting other teams and automakers to adopt the configuration. In 1929, two American passenger cars—the St. Louis–built Ruxton and the Cord L-29—went into limited production with front-wheel drive. In the 80-odd years since, it has come to dominate the world’s passenger cars.

  9. Leon

    Land yacht It even has a boat fuel tank in the trunk

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Leon, HA, I saw that too. I figured it was just a “reserve” can, as these got pretty miserable mileage, if I remember.

  10. krash

    as a child during the 60’s, I remember my brothers and I being allowed to sit in a brand new Toronado owned by a next door neighbor. Being the youngest, I never got a window seat, even when parked….always stuck in the middle, on the “hump”. …I looked down… no tranny hump….actual leg room, no tunnel, just a flat floor….

    ..boy, was I confused….

  11. Michael Ponsano

    Pull the motor and install it in a custom COE to haul stuff!

  12. Bobsmyuncle

    These are are truly a gorgeous design, though I prefer the first design a bit better.

    This is a cool link;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ziYJVoaOeiI

  13. MH

    This car is right by my house. It’s on CL for 3K.

  14. Chris A.

    Great cars, wife’s aunt had one in a green color they called “The Frog”. Very stable, very smooth ride. Good thing her Uncle was a Texaco fuel distributor. The doors were so heavy they had three hinges.

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