Glass Galore: 1977 Oldsmobile Toronado XS

If you’re like me and into something a little less conventional, perhaps the XS option package on the late 2nd-generation Toronados fits the bill. I found this 1977 Oldsmobile Toronado XS here on Craigslist in Madison, Wisconsin. The seller is asking $7,900.

While the first-generation Toronados seemed to strike a good balance of sport and luxury, the second-generation appeared to abandon the former. I don’t know if the XS was trying to re-capture some of that sportiness, but it’s at least a unique look nonetheless. Maybe the $10,684 XS price tag compared to the Brougham’s $8,134 base price deterred buyers, as Oldsmobile only built a little more than 2,713 Toronados in XS trim in 1977. An 8.5%  price bump in 1978 resulted in just 2,453 built for that model year.

If you like burgundy, you’re all set here. The burgundy paint looks to be in good shape as does the matching vinyl top. That wraparound rear windshield was unique to the XS and makes it look like a totally different car. Aside from some rust bubbles on the trunk lid, the body appears to be in good shape.

The burgundy interior is also in tip-top shape. A split bench seat looks as comfy as my sofa at home. The red carpet covering the Toronado’s signature flat floor appears to be in very good condition as do all interior surfaces. The radio has been replaced with a “newer” unit and, if memory serves me correctly, it’s the same one my mom had in her 1984 Buick Century circa 1990.

While we don’t get to see the engine, if this is an “all original” car as claimed in the ad, there should be a 403 cubic-inch V8 under the hood. That powerplant produced 185 HP and 325 ft. lb. of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels by a column-shifted automatic transmission. The seller says the 84,900 miles are original and it “drives perfectly.”

With roughly 5,000 examples built over 2 model years, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to snag a Toronado XS. As best as I could tell, we’ve only ever covered two Toronado XS on Barn Finds. This one appears to be in very good condition with just some minor body work needed on the trunk lid to make a like-new car. I see this as a great car to cruise in, but is this too unconventional for you?

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    I thought all Toronados were FWD? Looks like no transmission hump either.

    Like 13
    • Jimbo

      They were. The story does say “to the front wheels”.

      Like 11
      • Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

        Yes methinks there has been some good editing.

        Had a neighbor who had one years ago in beige over beige. Always thought the XS was just another was to spell “Excess”. But I really like any wire-bent rear glass.

        Like 14
    • Will Fox

      They were. And this one is too. Eldos/Toros held the title for their flat floors.

    • Jonny Collier Staff

      You are correct, Fahrvergnugen. I made my final edit what I thought was before members’ early access, but I guess I was a little late. Good catch!

      Like 12
  2. Evan

    Everyone loves the “bent window” 78-79 Caprice/Impala coupes, but this was a year earlier and a lot cooler.

    Like 16
    • CCFisher

      The “bent window” Chevrolets were introduced in 1977.

      Like 13
    • Jim

      Wonder how hard it would be to replace that window if it got broken!

      Like 14
      • Oldsfan88

        How hard? Ever take apart a computer circuit board and put it together in the dark?

        Like 13
      • Mark Houseman

        Well, if there ever was one with a broken window, I HAVE ONE! Along with all the unusual trim in red.

        Like 2
  3. Bhowe Member

    Honestly never seen one before with the wraparound rear window. Neat car!

    Like 2
  4. Euromoto Member

    Just don’t ever break that rear window…I have an ‘82 Porsche Targa with a similar worry but this car is way more rare and I’ll bet that glass is made of unobtanium.

    Like 20
  5. JOHN SKEADAS

    What a great country we once lived in. 1977, only 40 some odd years ago and it was a different world. I feel sad for the current generation. Most will never know just how great America once was.

    Like 54
    • Jack M.

      Luckily unlike some countries, there is nothing holding you in. For those that don’t like it they are perfectly free to leave.

      Like 9
    • Steve S.

      Cars like this represent the beginning of America’s downward spiral. Fat, bloated, mediocre, reveling in false prosperity, all symbolism and no substance, blind to the rest of the world moving ahead because we think we’re “the greatest country in the world” which is what every empire thinks right before the fall.

      Like 5
      • 1 fast 1

        If customers want it Detroit will build it. This is the best country in the world. Others look to us for innovation, after all we did put a man on the moon. And fins on a Cadillac……!

        Like 7
      • 454RAT Member

        This car is class personified. Any real car person would drive this car with a smile on their face. I am a muscle car guy, but there is nothing like cruising a Land Yacht that drives itself and feels just like sitting at home in a big La Z Boy recliner. You could possibly be on the wrong car site.

        Like 8
  6. Oldsfan88

    Some really unique facts about the development of the XS. It was originally conceived with sliding T roofs. The attempt did not pan out as the couldn’t manage the mechanical specs. GM scrapped the project and sold the remainder of the XS MODELS with the bents wrap around glass. They tried to sell them for 10 plus price, but didn’t find many takers.

    Like 11
    • CCFisher

      The T-top XSR came close enough to production that it had a 2-page spread in the 1977 Oldsmobile brochure. Oldsmobile cited technical difficulties when cancelling the XSR – the one prototype that still exists has no internal drainage system for the roof.

      Like 12
      • Will Fox

        I’ve seen that T-Top Toro at a car show in MI. some years back. Silver/burgandy interior and it needed work then. And you are correct; no drainage system for those panels, which would rot that roof in nothing flat had they produced it. When I saw that car, the panels still operated electrically, rather than manual like all other cars with T-Tops. Quite the complicated set up.

        Like 1
    • Nessy

      Two were built and both survive, tucked away in storage. One in Firethorn red, the other silver, both had black interiors. Heinz Prechter, founder of ASC designed the concept for GM as a bold new idea after the end of all GM production convertibles in 75, the Eldorado continued one more year into mid 76. After GM cancelled the production contract due to 101 reasons from extensive costs, (final cost was going to exceed a new Eldorado or Mark V) no headroom and lack of water drip channels, it was a neat but poor design, the cars were ordered to be scrapped. However, Prechter claimed ownership rights since it was his design and took the cars into hiding after a fight with GM. Rumors of a third example have gone unconfirmed. Now believed to be just an airbrushed illustration.

      Like 10
  7. Geoff

    Definitely fits in the “so ugly its beautiful” category. Olds went to extraordinary lengths to make this hideous thing. Good luck finding a rear window if it ever breaks.

    Like 1
  8. Malcolm Boyes

    I think if I broke that back window I’d remove the trunk lid and turn it into a pickup! As a lover of oddball cars this certainly strikes a chord with me..Nice to see it here..thanks Barn Finds..again!

    Like 1
  9. Maestro1 Member

    If you want something unique, with Toronado bones this is it. Be sure and attach a gas station to the filler of the gas tank. Who cares? I have a ’66 and it’s terrific. Buy and enjoy.

    Like 10
  10. rodknee

    One of the few cars that probably looks better from the back than the front. The bent glass, the tall chrome side ‘bumpers’, the fantastic shape of that trunk lid (which is more attractive than a lot of engine hoods), the narrow slotted taillights, that amazingly curved chrome bumper and if Im not mistaken, twin taillights just below the rear window.

    Outstanding style – love it!

    https://madison.craigslist.org/ctd/d/madison-1977-oldsmobile-toronado-xs-all/7235719257.html

    Like 10
  11. Dawn

    Both my Mom and uncle bought burgundy ’77’ Toros. My uncle had this exact Toro. My mom’s didn’t have the wrap around back window. These cars were the epidemy of luxury as they were built on the Cadi Eldorado frame. It was the first car we had with power windows/locks and an 8-track player! We thought we were so cool back then. Would love to have one again.

    Like 11
  12. Courtney

    Too bad it has had a front end impact

    • 454RAT Member

      You have a good eye. I can’t see the front end damage. Are you sure about that?

      Like 7
    • Oldsfan88

      I’m looking and I don’t see it, the hood gap could be off, but all the lines look good.

      Like 6
  13. Clayton haisch

    I had 1 years ago it was gray with a vinyl top, I believe it had a 455 city. But not an attractive car it was one fast son of a gun, drove it for years friend wanted to buy it but he had never seen it, I told him it was the ugliest car he would ever see, he bought it for 200.00 and drove it for a long time, than his little brother took it over and drove it for quite a few years, last I heard it was still running, really a strong old brute

    Like 1
  14. Les

    The lights below the rear window are brake and turn signals only.

    Like 9
  15. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I am somewhat surprised no one has mentioned the 1947 Studebaker Champion, which also had the wrap around rear glass. Not quite the same as the Toro, but a forerunner, nonetheless.

    Cadillac seemed to have solved the problem of power T-tops as they had them back in the late 70s.

    Like 2
    • Mark Houseman

      I’m very familiar with the 70’s Cadillacs and never heard of electric T-tops

  16. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    @ Mark Houseman

    Google Cadillac electric t-tops

    • Mark Houseman

      Well!!!! I learned something néw

      Like 1
  17. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I always thought this was a forum to learn new things about the cars we love.
    Actually, I think I just learned something new as well. I just read that these are actually aftermarket, installed by a coach company, but, sanctioned by Cadillac. And that only 7 Eldorados were so equipped. Amazingly, all 7 still survive.

    Like 1
    • Nessy

      Angel Cadillac Diva, that’s not exactly what happened. They were also not aftermarket as I just explained the facts about the cars up above. They were going to be full production cars. After Olds dropped the plan for the reasons up I mentioned, ASC had some extra electric tops ready to be installed so they approached Cadillac and installed them in a few 78 Eldorados, 7 in fact as you stated and yes, they all survive today but it was Oldsmobile along with ASC who came up with the plan, not Cadillac.

      Like 8
      • Nessy

        Also, Oldsmobile had already taken in hundreds of orders for the T Top cars before the plan was dropped so they sent out a press bulletin to all dealers announcing the cancellation of the tops with a glass sunroof being the replacement. Numerous dealerships were sued by angry potential buyers who left heavy deposits but were now told they had to settle for a regular sunroof model, however, the deposits were not refundable. Then, the dealerships went after General Motors for false advertising of a car that never came to be. It was a complete disaster and it’s a miracle that the cars survived. GM wanted them scrapped. Thanks to Heinz Prechter of ASC for saving them.

        Like 8
  18. george mattar

    I had the pleasure of driving two of these brand new at the Olds dealership I worked at in college at PSU. Both wives of the owners, had these cars, one white, the other fire engine red, not this beautiful Firethorn Red, which by the way faded into oblivion if not regularly waxed and garaged. There was no clear coat then, just good old lacquer paint. I worked in the detail dept. I knew these were rare 40 years ago. Giant, float like an aircraft carrier, but slow with even a 403 boat anchor pulling all that weight. These things ate front end suspension like a pig. Horrible gas mileage, but who cares? Today’s 6,000 pound pickups driven by women at 100 mph going to work eat just as much gas.

    Like 6
    • K. R. V. Member

      Actually any new pickup, that has at least twice the hp, driven at the same rate of speed and acceleration, will get roughly twice the mileage!

      Like 1
  19. Michael L Gregory

    I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for Toronados. My sister had a ’68 I drove frequently. A friend of mine had a ’66 and one of these XS models in a very boring beige over beige. But that back window was something else. Another feature of these and Rivieras of similar vintage was the high-mount brake lights right under the back glass. No one was going to mistake that the driver had applied the brakes. Glad it became the norm. I used to follow these cars around for a while just to watch all the brake lights come on. Yes, I’m easily entertained.

    Like 6
  20. Mark Houseman

    Your mention of the law suites reminds me of law suites filed when GM said the 1976 Eldorado convertible was the “last convertible” that was ever going to be made. Remember that? What a debockle when the little 80’s model convertible showed up at the Cadillac dealerships.

    Like 6
  21. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Nessy

    You mentioned that Oldsmobile came up with the idea of installing these power t-tops in Cadillacs. Oldsmobile scrapped the idea of putting them in Oldsmobiles because of poor design, no driprails, etc, etc,etc.
    So, who changed the design so that they worked in Cadillacs and not Oldsmobiles?
    As I said earlier, Cadillac solved the problem that apparently Oldsmobile had.
    I have never owned an Oldsmobile Toronado, or a Cadillac with power t-tops. I can only go by what I read on the Internet.
    We all know there are tons of myths on the internet.
    I thank you for your informational input.

    • Nessy

      Angel Cadillac, nobody changed the design. The issues were not solved in the Caddys. After the Olds saga, ASC was still hopeful on selling the idea so they approached Cadillac. The tops in the 7 Caddys are the exact same setup from the Olds. No drainage in the Olds, same in the Caddy, no headroom in the Olds, same in the Caddy. The 7 tops were leftovers already made which were installed in the Eldorados. There are two switches in the headliner. You are supposed to open the driver top first or they snag up in the huge center t bar. They only open a little more than halfway so if you are over 4 feet tall, you smack your head every time you enter the cars if the tops are open, plus the tops would not form a seal against the door windows so the doors were almost impossible to shut tight unless you press on the door glass as you close the doors. It was a great idea but impossible to manufacture in volume. How do I know this? I have a friend who worked for ASC when this project was underway. We still talk about it today.

      Like 5
  22. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Nessy

    Like 3

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