Groundbreaking Classic: 1970 Toronado


Fifty years ago, Oldsmobile released a brand new car that would change the world forever. The car itself wasn’t the game changer, but a critical part of its design did! Front wheel drive had been around for many years, but the Toronado reintroduced the concept of having the engine turning the front wheels back to the American market and most importantly, it did it well. The unitized power plant (or UPP as GM) put it is found in nearly every car on the market, well at least if it’s front wheel drive. If you would like to celebrate the anniversary by adding a Toronado to your collection, you can find this ’70 here on craigslist in West Salem, Wisconsin for $4,500.

This fwd classic is said to have 82,000 original miles and is a driver. A barn find that was stored for 24 years. Recent maintenance has been done on the brake lines and the plug wires were replaced. The the gauges are said to work but there is lots of other work to be done. The owner hopes someone will make them an offer for this big driver! So who here remembers when the Toronado was introduced and how did you feel about these cars when they were new?



  1. DENIS

    I bought on new….wonderful road car….wouldn’t mind buying this car but needs to be cheaper…not much value after it’s done.

  2. JW454

    My uncle bought a ’66 or ’67. The only thing I remember about it was the speedometer was a barrel shape that rolled around instead of a dial shape with a needle and the floor didn’t have the customary hump going through the middle.

  3. ClassicCarFan

    I do like the Toronados. They were very stylish and desirable high-performance cars.

    Having said that, your write-up is going a little over-the-top with the hyperbole. The Toronado was hardly a “brand new car that would change the world forever…”. The concept of front-wheel drive was hardly new when Oldsmobile brought out the Toronado . The dominant concept that really changed the automotive landscape and is now found under the hood of 99% of all small/medium cars – was compact transverse engine FWD as pioneered by BMC (the Mini and others variations) years before. To credit the Toronado with creating this trend is a bit of a stretch.

    Where the Toronado can be considered unique is by marrying FWD to a high-performance big-block mounted North-South. It was certainly different to any other FWD car and full credit to the GM engineers for making it work pretty well.
    However, if you wanted to be cruel you could say that it was an magnificent (if over-complicated) answer to a question hardly anyone had asked. They never sold in any significant numbers when new compared to their equivalent RWD peers and the idea of this style of FWD never really took off with other manufacturers. When Detroit did eventually move over to FWD for most of its cars it typically adopted the example of the established import cars with the transverse-engined layout which allows compact and efficient packaging.

    I do understand why many classic car fans, including myself, respect the Toronado and appreciate it as an cool engineering curiosity – but to hail it as a great trend-setter and forebear of the modern FWD car? hmmm, hardly.

  4. Alan (Michigan)

    Although I prefer the front styling of the earlier versions, this still speaks to me.
    That is a BIG motor sitting in front of the transaxle!

  5. A.J.

    The best part of any hi-po Olds was the exhaust cut outs which I don’t see on this 70? Also, styling was going down hill along with the Eldo by this point. The early cars are better looking.

    • DENIS

      AJ, only the GT had cutouts on the 70. ’66/67 all had em..

  6. Jeff S.

    The asking price is down to $2600. I prefer the front-end styling on this model year compared to earlier and later years.

  7. gunningbar

    I d like to have this beast in europe just for the novelty… but i cd never afford to feed it fuel…. here its still kinda cool.

  8. Chuck hills

    A buddy of mine ,s dad had a 70 toronado . great car loved ridding in it miss the cars of yesterday year we all have to drive turds.

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