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FWD Muscle: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado


While many of the barn finds we come across have rust, we always wonder how much is too much. When is it patina and when it is just serious corrosion? There has been lots of conversation about this already, but we thought this rusty 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado might be a good car to reignite the debate. The seller claims it is nearly rust-free, but maybe their definition of rust is different than ours. Have a look at it here on eBay and then come back and tell us what you think.


The seller claims this front wheel drive classic was found in a barn in San Diego and that it is completely original. Based on the condition of the body and interior we are inclined to believe these claims, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is covered in rust. Much like the outside, the inside is starting to show its age and is going to need to be completely redone. At one time this was a comfortable and spacious cruiser, mostly as a result of the lack of a transmission tunnel.


The body isn’t the only area showing some rust, the engine bay is as well. The seller doesn’t state whether this 425 Rocket V8 turns, but hopefully it turns over freely. This 425 cui was rated at an impressive 385 horsepower and 470 pounds of torque when new, which is a lot of power going through the front wheels. When the Toronado was introduced in ’66, it was the first American front wheel drive production car since 1937, when Cord closed up shop. Modern FWD cars would suffer from torque steer with this kind of power, but the equal length drive shafts of the Toronado eliminated this problem and meant all that power could be put to use.


This post wouldn’t cause much of a debate if it didn’t discuss this car’s rust. The seller claims it is nearly rust free, but looking at it, it obviously has rust on nearly every body panel. So is the seller wrong in their claims or is it that their definition of rust is any rust that has eaten through the metal? If you look closely at the bottom of the body you will notice that there are very few spots that the rust has gone through. Maybe the seller is correct and this car is mostly rust free, but is covered in patina. We guess it all just depends on your definition of rust and patina. So what is your definition of rusty? Is this car a rust bucket or a patina covered beauty?


  1. bret

    should have gone to “SpeckSavers” lol

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  2. Connor

    I usually go crazy for these but just looking at this one makes me want to run away screaming!
    Just so you guys at barnfinds know, this article isn’t compressed on the homepage.

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  3. Gary

    I am more interested in the Riviera next to it…….

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  4. Horse Radish

    These came fully optioned with some extras like tilt/telescope steering etc.
    I still have a column and other bits sitting around that I saved from a rust free car here in L.A..
    Sad to see them go, so this one is worth saving.

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  5. Peter R

    This is not vaguely “rust free”. There is rust on almost every panel and the engine compartment needs lots of work. What about the floors and trunk? Perhaps it is nearly free of “rust through”??? I can’t believe anyone but the seller might see this extensive rust as “patina”

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    • Horse Radish

      that all depends on where you live.
      Us Californians don’t encounter any significant rust, so all cars are like that (virtually NO rust).
      What you call rust is oxidation where the original paint is all gone.
      What you see comes off when you prep for new paint anyway and underneath it probably looks like the day it came from the factory, assuming it’s been in CA and not too close to the coast.
      A couple of looks under there are still necessary.
      hardly “extensive”, that’s for sure

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  6. Catfish Phil

    This much patina might be fine for a pick ’em up truck, but not for a luxury car.

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    I don’t see any “rust through” but rust is sneaky stuff. The “original black plate” looks rusty blue to me. It IS a calif car, as I can see the air pump tubing, and I am pretty sure only Ca had air pumps in 66. We have had one in the family since 81 and my dad had one new in 66 Amazing cars, the early Quadra Jets were a bit of a challenge but once sorted out I think they are great carbs. I see this car as being a great parts car. Might be worth saving but I think you can get a driver for what 4-6K? Bill Mitchell at his finest

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    By the way this car DOES have the telescoping wheel

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  9. jim

    not sure the sellers pictures match the sellers story on this one. there are some nice FWD Muscle cars for sale if you do not need it to be a 1966.

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  10. Anthony

    Ever live in the Northeast? That car is perfectly savable its only surface rust not rot, and it just so happens Eastwood restoration supplies came out with something new to remedy that. It looks like a lot of mold on the hood but who cares. Ive seen cars ten years old here in NY with more metal damage than what is there.

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  11. Gary

    I think I could have cleaned out the rats nest from the battery box before I posted it for sale…maybe cleaned the moss/ mold off the hood as well. Sweet under dash 8 track player on the left side of the column.

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  12. Chris

    As long as those rusty spots in front of the rear wheel wells aren’t rusted through, I would say that most of this is surface rust and not so hard to tackle in restoration. Surface rust doesn’t count as detrimental to the condition of the car. I would consider rust to be rotten holes in the floor, quarters and around the windows. Some people might just lightly sand this and throw a coat of clear over it to preserve the patina. I agree with their claim that it is nearly rust free.

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  13. Otter

    Looks like surface rust from the right side of the country…

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  14. paul

    & your point is?

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  15. Kman

    This is a beautiful car with a lot of potential. I noted that the rockers, door frames and many other ‘trouble’ zones were pretty clean. Most of what I saw looks like surface rust. Yes, I’d like to see the underside and if the car was cleaned up, much might be revealed. There’s not much said about what works and what doesn’t so if there’s a long list of re & re’s on top of the paint, upholstery and chrome.

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  16. hhaleblian

    Pick it up in your wet suit, because you’ll be under water pronto.

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  17. paul

    As an X auto body shop owner I can say that this car is virtually rust free as far as welding new sheet metal patches, that said, this car needs so much effort & like hhaleblian points out, for what, these cars are not worth much.

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    • paul

      Also want to mention these cars handled like a battleship & braked like a barge.

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      • Gary

        But oh did they go like a bat out of hell…….

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  18. Steve

    I dont understand WHY they cant clean them up, then want top dollar. “true Barn find” blah, blah, It is sitting on a curb totaly neglected. But I have original wheel caps for it, just no tires, to lazy to put them on before I took pictures.

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  19. Scott

    I see the guy tried to avoid picturing the drivers side post.. it looks rusted through.
    This car is rusty. I see also that there is substantial rust on cowl lip along the firewall.

    I agree… give it a bath before posting pictures!
    The box on the drivers side.. looks like a trailer brake to me, not an 8-track.

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    • Gary

      Your right, that is a trailer brake, the paper work is with the owners manual.

      Like 0
  20. twwokc

    “This 425 cui was rated at an impressive 385 horsepower and 470 pounds of torque when new, which is a lot of power going through the front wheels.”
    Think about that for a minute. 47 years ago!
    Too many nice ones ready to go than to mess with this one. These are still in th basement as far as pricing goes for some reason.

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  21. BillR

    Once I looked at an MG TD with the intention of buying it. There was “surface rust” on the body similar to this. I pushed on a spot and my finger went right through. I passed.

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  22. Anzu

    Patina Covered Beauty.

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  23. Moparman R.L. Elliott Member

    Just curious..how does a “barn find” end up out in the open w/ two flat tires, and two missing wheels? If they had to be put on to move it, why not leave them on?

    Like 0
  24. BillR

    @ Elliot
    They moved the barn.

    Like 1
  25. Scarecrow

    Leaves me wondering if this is actually the strongest FWD car ever made.. ?

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  26. KE100

    Hurst used the transaxle out of a 66 tornado for the hurst hairy olds exhibition drag car

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  27. ConservativesDefeated

    Well.as Horse Radish above made reference to, the paint is heavily oxidized.BUT………the level of rust this car has in the engine can only come from exposure to humidity. Southeast San Diego suggest along the Bay and that would comport with the heavy heavy surface rust in the engine compartment.

    The surface mold in the interior also indicates a proximity to the bay. So……theres lot going on here.

    Kudos to the seller for saving it. But its going to take a complete dismantling and rotisserie to restore this. Maybe someone wants to do it.

    His other cars in the yrs are also interesting from the 2002 to the C-10 and the the rivs or other Tornanados.

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  28. braktrcr

    Relisted with no reserve, and now he has another parts car listed that makes this one look beautiful.

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  29. chad

    concern re: rear end sittin on the grnd…
    Still, many Right Coasters would appreciate all that IS there.
    Thnx 4 listing!

    Like 0
  30. Robert

    A quick vacuum ( engine compartment not the interior). Marvel’s Mystery Oil in each spark plug hole. Change the fluids n filters. A fresh Battery n some quick start down the carb. These things are tanks. Put some air in the tires and drive it back to New York. If I could spare $800. Figure $400 for the car and the rest for gas. Lay odds on the whole trip in Vegas with 24/7 live feed. Could be fun

    Like 1
  31. Dave S.

    If I were interested in buying this car ( and I’m not ) I would want to lift the back end up off the ground and have a look , how long has that back end been in contact with the ground ? California or not that can’t be good !

    Like 0

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