A Golden Trumpet: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

Black Plate Toronado

When it comes to high performance driving, I’ve found I like the conventional front engine rear wheel drive layout. There’s nothing more terrifying going into a fast corner than having torque steer rip the wheel out of your hands. I have to give it to the guys at Oldsmobile though for building the Toronado and for doing such a great job with it. It was a daring move considering that most car buyers in the ’60s were like me and didn’t like the idea of straying from what they already knew. Without actually experiencing one of these beastly front wheel drive cruisers, you’d think torque steer would be out of control from the massive V8, but that isn’t the case! These are fantastic cars to drive and this California black late ’66 looks like a great example. You can find it here on eBay in Anderson, California with bidding already to $12k!

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

Unlike most modern front wheel drive cars, the Toronado has equal length axles, which just about eliminates any twitchy handling characteristics. It doesn’t resolve issues like understeer or the beating that the front tires take from propelling and steering a 4,600 pound car! As long as you don’t get to crazy in the turns, neither issue should be that noticeable.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

This car looks to be in fantastic condition and the seller has already done much of the work to make it a nice driver. The Super Rocket 425 V8 is said to running strong after being tuned up. It’s good for 385 horse and 475 pounds of torque! The seller really has done a lot to the engine, so it should be ready to enjoy.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado Interior

The interior is amazing, I love the steering wheel, massive gas pedal and all that foot room. Since it’s front wheel drive, the floors are completely flat which allows for a lot leg room. I don’t see anything that needs attention in here, it really just needs a new owner to put some miles on it!

Oldsmobile Toronado

While I’ll always want my sports cars to be rear wheel drive, I think it would be fun to have one of these as a cruiser! Whether that’s just driving around town or putting some serious highway miles, you just can’t get much cooler or interesting than the Toronado. So would you enjoy hitting the road in this beast and would you do a few burnouts with it? I know I would!

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Comments

  1. 68 custom

    Has to be one of the most beautiful cars ever! Looks stunning in gold. I would love to own one! especially a 66!
    A 69 Gran Prix SJ with a 428 and 4 speed would be another one I would love to own!

    Like 1
  2. RayT Member

    Took me a long time to warm up to Toros. Not at all my kind of car, but I’d take this in a heartbeat, and put it to regular use.

    Only the first-gen Toro however. Oldsmobile let it get “mainstream” in a hurry after that.

    • 68 custom

      but they were always front wheel drive.

  3. brakeservo

    If the Cord 810 had survived until 1966 – this is what it would have looked like! You can’t tell me the design team didn’t take a long hard look at Buehrig’s masterpiece – even the design of the wheels looks copied and evolved from the Cord.

  4. BRAKTRCR

    Dad bought one new in 66. Would bury the 135 mph speedo and he did so with my brother myself and Mom in the car.
    In 1980 I bought it’s replica in sad shape, and did an amateur restoration on it for him. Dad is gone, but I still have the car. It needs restoration again, but I still love everything about the car… except the drum brakes. In 68 they finally went to disc brakes up front.
    The subject car is beautiful. Hopefully mine will look good again someday soon.

  5. Rick

    These are really fast, Case in point: i was in high school in the early 70s, and one of my classmates drove one of these to school, it was his parent’s car, anyhow he would drive a bunch of us down the Fall City Road at 135 mph and we would throw big rocks out the window at mailboxes and it would wipe them right off the post.

  6. David Skulstad

    “As long as you don’t get to crazy in the turns” ?? LOL Who would use a car like this for getting crazy in anything but a straight line? These cars were only cruisers and have grown up in learning to drive in the 60’s in cars like these I can tell you there were not any of them capable of going fast in the turns. Jay Leno has one that he has converted to a rear wheel drive with 1000hp that is probably pretty good in comparison in the turns, but all that weight would be hard to handle. The transmission used a 2 chain drive set up that was very unique for any auto. This car was the first car that I know of that had tires specially designed for it by Firestone to handle the front wheel drive. Love this car.

    • Utes

      Are you high?!
      Toro’s were ALWAYS phenomenal canyon-carvers. They stuck like glue in the corners w/all that weight over the front end. An insane hole-shot car in the snow as well.

    • Pete

      Like Utes says the Torinado was way ahead of any other big V8 off the peg car in the handling dept. It was only when the Jensen FF came along that it was bettered. And yes I have driven both “in anger”. And the design of the original (nicknamed the meatcleaver internally in Olds) is fantastic 😊

  7. Rick Ambrose

    My friend had one back in ’68. It was also a ’66, silver with black interior. I will never forget we got one up to 135 flat out on US 24 between Manhattan and Wamego, Kansas. I think 135 pegged the unique rolling speedometer. Steady and smooth at flat out top speed. I was age 16 in the passenger seat, what a rush! You could also smoke the tires for a good block when you punched it…… If you are still out there S.C., thanks man! What a ride……….

  8. SinkTip

    Back in the late 80’s a friend had a mint black on black 70 Riv GS 455. The thing would roast the front tires. I will never forget the terror of him boiling the rubber across four lanes of highway with so much smoke coming out from the hood and cowl that you could not see.
    He traded it a 6 cyl 3 speed 1967 Camaro. I always wonder what became of that Riv.

    • scottymac

      The Buick Riviera was rear wheel drive from its introduction in 1949 until 1978. In 1979, it switched to front wheel drive. I remember my dad working on Toros when they were 2-3 years old, the CV joints were horribly expensive.

  9. Tom Driscoll

    No torque-steer, but one axle employs a wind up spring that has to rotate x number of degrees before hitting direct drive, and under power, that’s when the wheels start to spin! As an owner of a ’70 GT (w-34), I’ve watched these cars for years…it appears the holy grail is a ’68 or ’69 w34 400 hp package…many ’70’s but I have yet to ever see a ’68 or ’69. Off subject, but do agree the “66 and ’67 really are the coolest looking.

  10. mtshootist1

    I had a 75 Toronado, the front wheel bearings started to go out, I wound up selling it, the only place to get bearings at the time was GM and they were pretty darn expensive.

  11. NickF

    ’67 had 385hp vs 375hp in the ’66

  12. AMCFAN

    This is a fantastic car. My father almost bought one like it used in 1970. It was at a local Chevrolet dealers OK used car lot. These were and are very classy even used. Later I was saddened to see them as the cars of choice in the demo derbies in late 70’s early 80’s at the time being edged out by the Chrysler Imperial.

    The Eldo’s and Toro’s were getting hard to find by that time and everyone started figuring out the chink in the armor is just the right hit on a front wheel would take it out.

    I was always fascinated by the 66/67 Cutlass built by Hurst and dubbed the Hurst Hairy Olds which used twin Toro drive lines. Had the Monogram model as a kid. This car would smoke all four tires going down the strip. This would also smoke the idea on reliability issues on the V8 FWD Toro.

    Remember once seeing a 66 all smashed up from being in a derby and the red leather seat on the drivers side had NO wear. The dash pad looked nos and the rotating dial speedo showed 40K miles. I think this feature car should be worth a lot more on just principal. This is great GM engineering and really the last true innovative car that had it going on and was built right the first time. Certainly not lets build it and let the customer do the R&D. Try to put a band aid on the problem. Offer cash to make the customer go away and wait to issue a recall.

    Actual story from a friend who bought a new Cruise. Developed an engine knock. Had GM take it back under the lemon law. Give him a new one sticker for sticker. Trans goes out a month later. He gets mad trades the second lemon on a truck. The rear end goes out a month later. The rear end gets replaced but developed a vibration. GM installed an aluminum drive shaft to mask the issue. My friend is a mechanic. Knows vibration and noises. Wrote him a check for $1500. and said wait on the recall. It has been two years and no recall.

  13. BRAKTRCR

    The auction is ending in 8 hrs at $12k.. I don’t know if there ever was a reserve on this auction, but the dealer’s website has the car listed at $20,400 That’s a big difference. Wonder if the auction will run it’s course. I naturally think $12 is a very good price, but I am biased to these.
    Perhaps I’m showing my age, but no one has mentioned, this was the first year of the Quadra-Jet carbs. Some of them failed… miserably, and some Toro’s burned to the ground. We never had trouble with ours, I happen to like Quadra*jets, when tuned right, they are awesome. When tuned wrong, they deserve the name Quadra-Junk. But to me, that is the tuners fault, not the Carb’s fault..
    In 66 the Toro was “The Motor Trend Car of the Year” I think it meant more then than now. In an article they wrote, while testing the car, they did have a complaint. At 110 + mph while driving in the rain, the wipers didn’t stay pressed to the windshield very well. That still cracks me up. Driving in the rain, at 110+ mph, in a 4800 lb car, on bias ply tires, with drum brakes…. yeah I love the 60’s

    Like 1
  14. angliagt

    Nice car.I noticed the license frame right away,
    as Patton Chevrolet/Oldsmobile is about 20 miles South
    of here.
    I have a really nice set of those frames from a
    ’74 cb Midget that I bought last year.

  15. Roselandpete

    50 years old and they still look great.

  16. Old man

    12k is a steal they generally bring 20-22k on the collection car circuit. The seller must be kicking himself hosting a no reserve on all places Ebay. Sorry feller excellent find nice presentation but way below market value.

  17. Elbert999

    Dad had a new 66 Toro, driving to Lake Erie in Ohio. Pulled over by Highway Patrol. Patrolman asks if he knows why he was pulled over, Dad says no and he wasn’t speeding. Patrolman says he pulled him over because he wanted to drive it. Left and came back in a few minutes. Dad asked what he found out and he said he found out they (patrol) had nothing that could catch it!

  18. Bill Rosen

    I bought this car and am excited to get it to my garage, go through it and then get it out on the open road. I have always thought these were truly beautifully styled road cruisers. I can just imagine the designer with a big clay model shaping those fenders. My son and I are going to have quite a time.

    Like 2
    • BRAKTRCR

      Way to go Bill and congrats!! I think you stole it, Good job. I am not being a know it all, and you may know more about Rochester Quadrajets than I do, but, if you don’t, here is my 2 cents worth of advice. The quadrajet can be an awesome carb, and it can be a nightmare. My experience when I didn’t know better, was to buy a rebuilt, from a carb shop. They said they tested it on an engine before delivering it. While that was true, they tested it on a Small Block Chevy. That doesn’t help you on a 425 cube 385 hp 10.5 to 1 compression Olds motor. Research proper serial numbers for the carbs for your car, and find someone that specializes in the Rochester Quadra-jet. It can make the difference between you loving the car, and endless frustration. Again, just my 2 cents.
      Again congrats on an awesome purchase. Your car is motivating me, to get going on mine again. Oh, 1 other thing, If you see a disc brake set up from a 68, grab it lol cuz your 66 is hard to stop from 100 mph with drum brakes

      • Bill

        Thanks for the advice on the carb. I was one of those who referred to these as quadrajunks. Years ago my friends and I would pull them off and and replace with a Holly. I plan learn about these now and tune this one properly.

        By the way, the seller, Michael Platt, of Platt Motors in Anderson, CA has been fantastic. Great communication, fair in every way. The car should be here in Seattle by Monday.

        Like 1
  19. BRAKTRCR

    Bill 4 months have passed since your purchase. Just curious if the car is… better, worse, or just as expected. Would love to hear an update

    Like 1

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