BF AUCTION: 1983 Oldsmobile Toronado Convertible

Alright, so this Toronado wasn’t found in a barn, but it was discovered in a garage where it has spent the past 15 years. It currently has just 74k miles on the odometer and is still in fantastic condition inside and out. Oh and did I mention that it’s a rare convertible? That’s right, this is one of the small handful of Toronados to be sent from the factory to ASC to be converted into drop tops! If you’d love to own this convertible Toronado, be sure to bid!

This Toro left the factory in January, 1983 and was sent directly to American Sunroof Company (ASC) to undergo the conversion process. There seems to be differing accounts on just how many were built, the numbers range anywhere from 50 up to 200. Either way, that’s a very small percentage of overall Toronado production. After the procedure of cutting the roof off was finished, it was sold to its first owner in Pennsylvania, who owned it until 2004. Under their care, it accumulated 70k or so miles.

In 2004, the second owner purchased it and it has stayed in their care for the past 13 years. In that time it’s seen about 4k miles and has spent much of the time parked in their garage in Connecticut. That doesn’t mean they haven’t taken good care of it though, as it received a new convertible top, new transmission pan gasket, fresh fluids, new ignition system, rebuilt carb, a new steering box and new ball joints since they purchased it. There are receipts for all the work that was done by the local GM/Oldsmobile dealer that comes with the car.

Sadly the owner has some some family issues and doesn’t want to see it go to waste in their garage. As you can see, it is in really great shape inside and out, so we don’t blame them for wanting to see it go to a good home. It sure looks like comfortable with all that red leather! It’s a well optioned car with the Brougham interior, power steering, power windows, top and seats. It also is equipped with the auto dim headlights, tilt steering wheel and A/C (which is said to blow cool, but not cold).

One of the defining characteristics of the very first Toronado was it’s large V8 engine mounted up front with power going right to the front wheels. Well, this later example retains the front wheel drive layout, but doesn’t exactly keep with the high displacement heritage. This car is at least equipped with a V8 though, it’s the 307. It’s rated at just 140 horsepower, but the 3rd generation Toronado weighs significantly less than the previous generation, so that helps. The mess of wires and hoses could definitely use some organizing, but that is the norm for most cars built during this time period. It’s said to run great and passed a recent Connecticut emissions test.

There are some other small cosmetic issues that don’t need to be fixed, but if you did it would make this car as close to perfect as a 34 year old car can get. There are some small chips and scratches, but the biggest issue is crazing on the trunk lid. As you can see, it’s faint and isn’t a huge issue, but if you like your classics to be perfect, it might be something that drives you crazy. The paint is believed to be original, with a thickness reading of 0.1-0.2 mil, so it isn’t surprising that there are some issues. The chips and nicks could be touched up without much work, but fixing the trunk lid with take a bit more work.

It looks like this Toronado doesn’t need much to be a nice driver. The tires are 8 years old, so they might need to be replaced, but other than that it looks ready to go. The convertible is a rather interesting feature and does make it rather rare, but rare doesn’t always mean valuable. If you’ve been looking for a clean and unusual classic to drive though, this could be the one for you! And if you have any questions about it, be sure to leave them down in the comments and David B will be more than happy to answer them for you.

Special thanks to David for listing this interesting Olds with us! If you have a classic that’s taking up space and would love to see it end up with one of our readers, please consider listing it here on Barn Finds!

Location: North Haven, Connecticut
Mileage: 73,920
Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Vehicle

High Bid: $3,500 (Reserve Not Met)
Make An Offer
Ended: Sep 12, 2017 7:00am MDT
High Bidder: RUSSELL
  • RUSSELL bid $3,500.00  2017-09-10 19:47:48
  • RUSSELL bid $3,250.00  2017-09-10 19:47:33
  • John bid $3,000.00  2017-09-10 15:06:19
  • RUSSELL bid $2,500.00  2017-09-10 13:22:13
  • John bid $2,250.00  2017-09-10 12:46:50
  • RUSSELL bid $2,000.00  2017-09-07 07:58:42
  • William
    William bid $1,200.00  2017-09-06 06:29:19
  • Jim bid $800.00  2017-09-05 18:38:45


  1. Miguel

    I hate red interior, especially in the new Mustangs, but it doesn’t look bad here.

    I had a bad experience with one of these. My hood release cable broke and there was no way to get under the hood to unlatch it manually. The hood had to be cut. I don’t want that experience again.

    Like 0
  2. Rustytech Member

    Something’s not right, that front end looks more like an Eldorado than Toronado! I like the car though. Broken hood release cables were common on these, and there GM cousins. Opening the hood could be accomplished by putting a very long screwdriver or pry bar up between the radiator support and grill assembly to engage the latch, it wasn’t easy, but beat cutting the hood any day.

    Like 0
    • Miguel

      Unfortunately the car I had, had a metal plate under the car that blocked access from underneath. The mechanic shop where the car was tried everything.

      Like 0
    • Miguel

      The front end of the 1979 Toronado looked exactly like the Eldorado of the same year but this one with it’s huge turn signals looks less like an Eldorado. You could see this car coming from a mile away with those turn signals.

      Like 0
  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    OK gang, I’ll bite on the paint thickness tester. Is it really just a toy? With a thickness reading of 0.1-0.2 mil, I am guessing that is pretty thin? Anyone know what off the line thickness would be? Can this tool do anything else? Nice looking ride, bet it would be fun. Thanks for any advice, Mike.

    Like 0
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      Hi Mike,
      I am not a paint expert, nor am I an expert regarding the “paint thickness tester”. However, what I have been told and read on various sources on the internet (so, it MUST be true..LOL) is that on average, auto paint will run in the .2-.4 mil range. If a car has been painted and it was not stripped down to bare metal, the paint will register as thicker.. AND.. also, if any kind of filler has been applied, it will also show as a much larger number.
      The general feeling is that 40 year old original paint has been waxed, cut, polished, faded, etc and measures less, hence a number of .1 – .2 mil.
      Some of these toys can cost up over $100 as it not only reads the thickness but can give you a bit more info IE if there is filler, etc. The less expensive versions just give a thickness, so one can’t be 100% certain, is simply several coats of paint or filler…
      Talk soon,

      Like 0
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks Dave, interesting stuff!

        Like 0
  4. Mark

    The birds nest of cables and hoses says so much about why Japanese cars started dominating the 1980’s. Did GM engineering and marketing just not care in that era?

    Like 0
    • duaney

      GM was mandated by the EPA to control emissions, and they did the best they could at the time, but much of the mess is due to this situation. If you look at some newer GM cars, fuel injected, and the V-8 engine, it’s way cleaner under the hood. I have many Nissan Maxima’s from the early 80’s, they are fuel injected, but they’re way worse under the hood than this Toronado.

      Like 0
    • Hank

      Nah–all the damn emission sensors were vacuum operated. What a Mess. If I could have got my bosses at Steele Rubber to make the CVT top seal set, I was going to use the 307 for a boat anchor and find a late 60’s toro 350 engine and transaxle and put it in.

      Like 0
  5. slimwhitman

    I would really like to see the ASC label to verify it is truly an ASC conversion. It usually appears in the drivers door opening. Most Toronado convertibles were by Hess & Eisenhardt.

    Like 0
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      Hi Slim,
      From all the research I did on these, there is VERY little info out there.
      What I found to be the case is that often times the car was sent by a dealer and not by Oldsmobile. There are no steadfast production numbers for either H&E or ASC, however, everything I was able to find showed that H&E produced less than ASC. Numbers I found ranged from only 50 convertibles up to 200 produced. Some people feel that H&E produced 50 and the rest were ASC… Seeing as the factory did not officially ID them as convertibles, we will probably never really know. The VINs on these show as a coupe/hardtop.
      There is no door tag on this one. They were decals, so it is possible it was peeled off or simply wore off, much like the old oil change stickers have, that were often placed in the same area.
      Again from research I have done, the cut lines on the C pillar are not those of the H&E version but those of the ASC edition. Also, H&E had their own emblems affixed to the trunk lid below the Toronado emblem.

      There are nearly 200 photos of the car here:

      Here is a shot of the door:

      Like 0
    • Tommy D

      Agree, the roof job doesn’t look like ASC work (compare it to the many Eldo’s out there)…it’s common knowledge the H&E conversions were not as refined or desirable as ASC.

      Like 0
  6. Dt 1

    The car is definitely nice those rims got to go

    Like 0
  7. Jamie B. Member

    The grille is definitely not original, and seems to be from an Eldorado. Toros had a less attractive front-end treatment, so this replacement is a welcome change IMHO. Still not as nice as the Riviera of the era, which was the best-looking of the three siblings. Good luck to the seller.

    Like 0
    • Miguel

      The grille is an aftermarket piece that you could buy for any of these cars.

      Like 0
  8. Hank

    I had an 83 Riv cvt—The BIG issue, besides the miles of vacuum hose, is the cam bearings go on these 307’s and the #7 lifter will not pump up. rest of the cylinders with the valve covers off—after a new cam, pump oil over the fenders but #7 won’t.
    Also, there is NOBODY making the weatherstripping for the top. The front header bow seal is a standard extrusion, but the side window seals are not made by anyone. In my 7 years as a Steele Rubber Product Specialist I begged for them to be made, but not enough survivors and after engineering and prototypes even if they sold them reasonable, not enough of these E body CVT’s left to make it profitable.

    Like 0
  9. don

    you all are wrong, this is a buick riv that some tried to convert to olds toro.

    Like 0
    • Miguel

      Why do you say that? The rear treatment of the Riviera was very different than this car.

      Like 0
  10. BMW4RunninTundra

    Hey guys,
    Question, is there a way to tell if there is a reserve on the vehicles up for Auction?? Not necessarily the amount, just IF there is one needed to meet. If there is not a way, I for one think it would be helpful to know……………………

    Like 0
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      Hi BMW…
      I can’t say for sure if there is a way to tell if there is a reserve on the car, there could be something that only registered bidders see…?
      However, I CAN tell you that the car does have a reserve.

      Talk soon,

      Like 0
  11. James Martin

    Is the toronado still for sale?

    Like 1
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      Hi James,
      yes the Toro sold several weeks ago for asking price. It has since moved from CT to FL and was just recently entered in a car show down there.

      Like 0

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