1978 Oldsmobile Toronado: Glass House

left rear

This is a rare, only 2,000 built, and unusual car and somewhere there are folks who think it looks really cool. This Toronado XS Brougham is listed on craigslist in Seattle for $3,500. Jay Leno has one, so it must be cool…right? This example has only seen 90,000 miles since new. The red leather seats are perfect and sofa like. It drives, but it’s been sitting for a long time so it will take some sorting to make it perfect. After a tune up, this would be an inexpensive cruiser just as it is. For those so inclined, I guess it would be interesting bagged and slammed with custom wheels. Thanks to Ed B for finding this unusual car!


  1. Mark E

    Before I clicked on the article I was examining the pic and thinking “that’s an XS!” So, big deal, right? Well, the XS was the sporty package with the wrap-around rear glass and was SUPPOSED to come with T-top-like glass roof panels that would electrically slide open (see above). Technical problems ensued and they all ended up as plain old moonroofs. I’ve only seen one in person. I hope very much that a Toronado collector buys this car as they were rare when new and must be truly scarce by now.

    • al8apex

      not all of them came with t-tops, although I DID view one in the Oldsmobile (Somerset?) showroom (with the retractable t-tops) on Maple Road in Troy Michigan when they were new. Don’t recall seeing many, if any others, I understand that MORE than one were made though.

  2. JW454

    I bought one of these about twenty years ago for $100.00. It sat at a friend’s house for several years and finally, I let another friend run it at a demo derby. I then sold the motor to a co-worker for $200.00. They just had no value back then.

    This one is a very nice car.

  3. Alan (Michigan)

    Seems like a seriously nice car for $3500.

    Just look at those seats!

    Like 1
  4. Tom

    no engine pictures?

  5. Ed P

    $3500 seems more than a good deal for this car. Somebody needs to jump on this beauty.

  6. DENIS

    They are an amazing road cruiser…looks nice for the money. Not all that collectible but maybe some day….but a helluva Sunday ride and your living-room couch is not as comfortable….I have owned lotsa Toros from ’66 on up….not cheap to repair though…

  7. Fred

    Jay Leno has one because he knows , that which is undesirable or semi desirable today suddenly becomes what everyone wants in the future. He’s betting this could be one of those, and he just may be right.

  8. Pete W.

    Not the biggest Toronado fan in the world, although I did own a ’68 beater for a while back in the mid 70’s (8 mpg on premium and very expensive CV joint replacement is all I remember about it), but I can honestly say that, not only have I never seen one of these things before, I’ve never even heard of it.

    I mean, that’s a pretty pricey mod for something they only made 2000 of. Just the production costs alone, at that volume of sales, must have made it a net loser for GM.

    Huh. Live and learn.

  9. AlphaRoaming

    A nice red leather sofa can cost that much! Somebody will buy this and hopefully not “pimp” it much more…groovy man!

  10. Mark 'cuda man

    I own one of these, the same year, that my parents bought when it was one year old. Mine is burgundy with a double thin white pin stripe with red plush leather pillowed interior with 82k and totally original. It’s fully optioned including the original 8-track/CB radio. This car came in to the local Oldsmobile dealer for service where I worked just out of high school in the parts dept. I told the 1st owner that if he’d ever sell it please let me know. He contacted me and I talked my dad in to buying it. This same dealer had another one that they couldn’t sell because of the retail price (they were extremely expensive for the day). It was all white with red dash and carpet. It sat brand new on the lot for almost two years. I have a letter from General Motors in Detroit from the early 1980’s that says there were just over 2k made in 1977 and close to the same amount in 1978. There were only 2-3 made with the sliding T-tops and they went to G.M. executives (this super rare model is pictured in the showroom manual). I put a set of optional chrome Toronado wheels on it from the early Toronados and it looks great. I also aquired an extra back window (just in case one’s needed and the rear window trim). My father and I owned approximately 35 early Toronados and a half dozen ’67-’70 Eldorados during the ’70’s thru ’80’s. My ’78 has been in storage for the last 20 years. Haven’t seen it in the last 12.

    Like 1
    • Rob wolthers

      I have one of these been sitting for 15 years in back yard was uncles big wrap around rear window 60000 miles on it window was down for years though so probably not in best shape underneath

      Like 1
  11. Rex Kahrs Member

    Perfect for a secret agent with a plaid jacket and white shoes, eh?

    OK actually it’s cool and if it were closer I’d buy it. Smashing baby, yeah!

    Like 1
  12. jtnc

    I think in this case “XS” was a clever way of GM admitting to “Excess.” The “folded” rear window treatment is interesting, but overall it’s an absolutely hideous car inside and out, emblematic of all that was wrong with the domestic psuedo-luxury car industry in the late 70’s and 80’s. No wonder they only sold 2,000. HOWEVER, I have to admit it is very rare and unusual (even if not in a good way!) and for a mere $3,500 I hope someone will preserve it.

    I know that Jay Leno has a ’66 Toronado, a beautiful and groundbreaking design which in no way resembles this monstrosity; if he has an “Excess” like this one also it must just be for yucks.

  13. Booya

    It’s kinda hideous, really. Still kinda want it.

  14. Mike

    One of my Buddy’s from High School, Parents owned one of these same color and everything, same interior, man was it a cruiser, our Junior year in HS he and I with our dates took it to the prom, and parties afterward. I remember going to ST Louis in it with his Dad one day, man that thing was like riding in a Limo. Never did know what ever happened to that car, I know his Mom is still alive and kicking, might just need to go ask her, because they had a habit of putting cars in a couple of shed on their property, but Jim would put them up on blocks, and fill the motor with oil, drain the fuel tank etc. The pictures look like it might have a factory CB radio on it, I know Randy’s folks did.

  15. Bryan

    It’s interesting that once the American convertible was laid to rest (starting in the late 60’s up to the 1976 Eldorado), Detroit responded with unusual and distinctive roof treatments on its cars.

    Chrysler had optional Crown roofs on Cordobas and St Regis roof treatments on New Yorkers. Ever see the vinyl roof treatment on a mid to late seventies Eldorado Biarritz? How about a Ford Thunderbird Diamond Jubilee Edition? Of course, T-tops, coach lights, and opera windows were introduced, and sunroofs became more popular than ever.

    The XS is the craziest roof treatment I’ve ever seen. Not a very attractive car but definitely distinctive and collectible.

  16. Jason Houston

    I can think of some car owners who need to be bagged and slammed with some custom wheels.

  17. Tim

    I have a ’78 Toro XS in my carport for the last 15 years. I bought it from the original owner. It had 32K miles on it. I drove it very little because I wanted to keep it in original pristine condition. It attracted attention everywhere I went. One time a guy in a pick-up cut me off making me come to a complete stop. He jumped out of his truck, put his hand on his forehead and exclaimed loudly “my God, that’s the most beautiful car I ever saw”. he came to his senses noting the beeping horns of irate drivers, got in his truck and allowed me to drive off. I saw him in my rearview mirror following me all the way home. He pestered me for days wanting to buy it. About a month later a flatbed showed up and tried to steal the car at night while I was sleeping. An observant neighbor jumped in his car and blocked him in with his car until the police arrived.
    The Toro is a beautiful car. I get offers on it all the time. Big land yachts from the 70’s like the Toro are over the top in size and style. They remind me of tail finned cars from the 50’s.

    Like 1

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