Amazing Interior! 1975 Oldsmobile Toronado

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I love it when a 19-foot-long car that weighs almost 2.5 tons is touted as having “significantly improved gas mileage” over the previous year. The mid-1970s were a different time in the auto industry with many regulations being required of carmakers, such as safety, emissions, and also fuel economy due to the recent gas crisis and shortages. This 1975 Oldsmobile Toronado isn’t a car that anyone drives for good MPG, you drive it because you can.

Catalytic converters were fairly new and because of them, carmakers required unleaded gas to be used, to the extent that a restrictor was now in the gas filler tube to ensure that only unleaded gas nozzles would fit. Ahh… the good ol’ days. I have to say that it’s nice to have cleaner air though, isn’t it? The second-generation Oldsmobile Toronado was made from 1970 for the 1971 model year until the end of the 1978 model year. The surface rust on the hood is sometimes a cool look, but maybe not on a luxury car.

I’m a sucker for this era of the Toronado. As always, I like them all and would put the first-year 1966 model on my master wish list, but I grew up in the 70s so these were the cars that I remember, no matter if they were somewhat clunky and square-edged compared to the first-gen cars. That gives them charm now and this car looks good on the exterior as far as I can see, other than needing a weekend of polishing compound. Ok, maybe a full paint job.

How about those seats! They look brand new, don’t they? The whole interior looks great as far as I can see, other than some sort of blemish on the leading edge right in the center of the dashboard top. It looks like it may be a sticker or something. I believe this car is a Brougham but I’m not positive. It would have had a 60/40 split-back seat with an armrest and other features, but the seller doesn’t mention it and I don’t see any Brougham badges. The back seat looks like new and we don’t see the trunk or any underside photos, but the seller included an engine photo!

There it is in all its glory, Oldsmobile’s OHV V8, which by 1975 had 210 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque. It sends power through a three-speed THM-425 transmission to the front wheels. The seller doesn’t say if or how it runs, but I have to assume that it does, and it has accumulated 75,000 miles over the last 49 years. It’s posted here on craigslist in St. Paul, Minnesota, and here is the original listing. The seller is asking $2,250, I spend more than that on mustache wax in a year. Hagerty is at $6,900 for a #4 fair-condition example, how is this car still for sale? I should check this one out in person. Any thoughts on this Toronado?

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  1. Brian Pinkey

    Basically a sister car of the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. I took care of 3 of them as part of an insurance company’s fleet. The drive axles warped from the massive weight, so they had to be replaced a few times, they were $425 @ part only mid 1980s, but the Olds axle was identical for only $325! whoopee. Great driving one with gas paid for, maybe 10 mpg.

    Like 5
    • duaney

      As the owner of many Toronado’s and Eldorado’s for over 30 years, I’ve never heard of any drive axles “warping” The weight of the car couldn’t possibly have any effect on the drive axles, there was never a problem with the same drive axles propelling the GMC motor homes. There is a rubber damper on one axle, those yes can fail, but it’s rare. Is this what you’re referring to? The most common failure are the rubber boots being damaged, and even then, usually a disassemble and clean, re grease, new boot, as good as new.

      Like 4
      • ClassicP

        You took the words out of my mouth. Good post.

        Like 3
  2. TonyC

    I would say it’s at least worth examining, assuming the Craigslist ad is sincere (I mean, we all know how that can be). There must be something up with it to be that low in price; my big question marks would be whether the engine fires and runs, and whether the transmission turns the wheels…in particular the latter, considering what it costs to rebuild a transmission, especially a front-wheel-drive transmission.

    I think these Toros were really cool-looking, especially the taillight design Olds pioneered with two sets of lights: One being the regular types, the other being high-set to give nobody a chance to deliver that clichéd excuse, “But I didn’t see him brake!” Plus, with two lights set on high on either end of the car, tied to brakes and turn signals, and built into the overall design instead of the afterthought tacking on of lighted bunions that the industry had been doing since 1986, that makes for a very neat rear view. I have to say that Olds did a very nice job facelifting the old ’67–’70 Eldo shell Caddy handed down to them when Caddy went for a new, gargantuan Eldo shell for ’71 (which its primary rival, Lincoln’s Continental Mark III, managed to outsell coupe-for-coupe, though not quite in overall sales numbers once the Eldo ‘verts of that year were factored in).

    Like 0
  3. Big C

    If it’s not swiss cheese underneath? And it runs? This should already be in your driveway!

    Like 3
  4. Nelson C

    Inside and outside look like two different cars. These were built to remind you that you had arrived. Fuel economy was just a tax on getting there. A reminder that HP and torque are SAE net measurements and adequate to move these beasts around.

    Like 2
  5. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    Certainly can’t complain about that asking price, a rarity in today’s market.

    Like 4
    • Dan H

      At that price you could buy it just for the engine and transaxle. Then find a nice 2nd gen Corvair and build an Olds 455 Toro Corvair. Time warp.

      Ok, I may have had too much coffee this morning.

      Like 3
  6. Henry John Borchers

    Bought a 1974 Olds Toronado new from Di Feo OLds in Jersey City, NJ. Dark Blue with a light blue roof. It would cruise by most anything on the NJ Turnpike except a gas station. Traded it in for a Buick 225 in 1979. Still sorry to this day.

    Like 1
  7. David Cook

    As far as Oldsmobile touting improved fuel economy, let me remind everyone that in 1974, the first year that the government rated fuel consumption, Oldsmobile Toronado was the winner. I believe that it was rated at around 7 miles per gallon. The addition of the catalytic converter and the improved tuning probably gave the car a rating of 10 miles per gallon. Now that’s around a 25% improvement.

    Like 2
    • ClassicP

      Yep and gas was .48 a gallon or .51 for Hi-Test. Where I was anyway. I worked at my uncle’s Gulf station it was like Wally’s on Andy Griffith had the ding ding when a car pulled in I cleaned windshield $2 of gas and $3 or more windshield front and back. Checked oil, tire pressure, etc. 50 years ago where did the time go.

      Like 2
  8. George Mattar

    How can that stunning interior be in a car that has dead paint? I detailed these new at an Olds dealer. Horrific gas mileage. Wore out front shocks in 10,000 miles due to weight. But what a ride.

    Like 1
    • ACZ

      Typical for a Northern car. Outside takes the majority of the abuse. On a Southern car the opposite is true.

      Like 1
  9. Zen

    This car must be a Brougham, with those pillow-top seats. This is from when a luxury car was comfortable, not sporty. I hope it finds a good home.

    Like 4
  10. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    That interior is relatively subdued compared to the ’77 models!

    Like 4
    • ACZ

      That pic looks like a Cutlass Brougham.

      Like 1
  11. Truth

    If it’s mechanically sound and runs and stops etc .. it’s an absolute steal. If I lived closer I’d go buy it.

    Like 2
  12. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    48 cents per gallon in 1975 would be about $3.00 per gallon today. Which, if it weren’t for the oil companies gouging us, is what we SHOULD be paying for a gallon of gas.

    A $3000 car in the early ’70s computes to about $35,000 today. SO, while it SOUNDS like everything was cheaper back then, in reality it’s about the same. Including the gouging.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

      Here is a recent article that compares the cheapest cars you can buy today to the equivalent in 1984. It is really interesting and points out that today’s cars are relative bargains compared to what you got in 1984.

      Like 0
      • Nelson C

        Gentlemen, you are correct. The new vehicle today is an incredible value with all the performance, convenience, safety and fuel economy. Only thing missing is character. The heart stopping appearance that makes you look, no, stare at its beauty. Not to mention the viseral qualities. I’m not talking about the latest Pony car but the garden variety daily driver. How many of the CUV/SUVs in the Walmart parking lot stop you in your tracks and say “Wow”?

        Like 2
  13. David Smith

    I had a 74 with leather 8 track etc. 7mpg sounds about right in town . Cruising about 15. Incredibly comfortable on the road. Backseat better for short legs

    Like 0
  14. V12MECH

    Built a BBC super modified with toro swing axles adapted to quick change rear end for handling experiment, those axles are tough! No warping.!

    Like 1
  15. chrlsful

    what a great car in 1st gen. 2nd – down hill a bit, sorry to see the continued slide. Y did they do that (Riviera and many others of the time, same)? Meanwhile europeans got better w/each generation(al face lift).
    Many the mechanicals improve (thinkin final yr fiero right now, but plenty others).

    Like 1
  16. Steve Mellon

    In 1974, we ( my ex and I ) ordered a 1975 Tornado. It was a beautiful dark grey color with the Brougham package. That was the first year of the additional brake lights on each side under the rear window. Had it for just a year and the ex decided it was an old lady car and she wanted something sportier. Was glad to see the changing cars every year and her a$$ headed down the road.

    Like 0
  17. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    I tried to click a “like” on chrlsful’s post. The “like” button seems to be inoperative. One of these statements is true.

    Like 0

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