Hot Wire: 1978 Oldsmobile Toronado XS

GM was the only manufacturer to really embrace full size FWD luxury cars. Ford and Chrysler dabbled with the idea in the 90s, and Ford is still giving it a half-hearted go today, but the General has continually kept at the idea that they started since 1966. Flat floor, V8, cushy suspension, and better traction makes 1970s Eldorados and Toronados a great road vehicle for any climate. Find this rare 1978 Oldsmobile Toronado XS for $3750 in Las Vegas, NV here on Craigslist.

Can definitely picture this Toronado cruising the Vegas strip in 1978. Mafia boss and his fur-coated lady pulling up to the Tangiers for a night of gambling, crime, and a show, Casino style. But I bet the Godfather would have picked a color other than cream. If a clean old car isn’t green, it is fondue hued. Green I love, but cream, ugh. I have passed up many a dream car due to this color and yet still own a two-tone cream colored car today because so many clean old cars survived this way. Something about that paint choice means the car will be low miles, running, and original.

If you can get past the pigment, you’ll find this Toro has the desirable XS package. Using the hot wire method, the glass for the rear window was ‘bent’ to give it three sides without the need for pillars or structure. Though the view from the rear view mirror might be a bit distorted, you can’t mistake a XS for anything else on the road. Wish the sunroof wasn’t standard with the package, but it helped in 1977-78 in justifying the $2700 option. Standard vinyl roof helped cover up the surgery performed by losing the c-pillar and cutting a hole in the roof. And how about four tailights to really grab everyone’s attention? The hood on this example has some fit issues, the wipers aren’t parking below the hood, and the rear filler panels look cracked, but for the price, the exterior is better than average and complete.

Inside you’ll find full-sized width combined with compact length, perfect room for the short and plump Mafia boss. No one could make a full sized car with room for Hobbits better than Detroit. Was hoping to see the vibrant striped upholstery from 1977, but the toned down, indestructible checkered velour for ‘78 still looks comfortable and inviting. Leather was a rare option (my friend Steven K. has a triple burgundy XS with leather that is to die for), but sadly a wrapped wheel is far too commonly seen. Too many gold rings scarred it up?! Come on people, lose the wrap and restore the wheel. The dash board looks crack free, the courtesy lights still work, factory floor mats are present, and everything looks stain free and only slightly faded. Whether all the gadgets work or not remains to be seen, but the 403 V8 is said to run well and the car looks better than the asking price. 1970s personal luxury cars were once the SUVs of their time, with every manufacturer taking a swing at it. And for this 1978 Oldsmobile Toronado, you won’t have to swing at anyone’s knees caps to be able to afford to pilot this FWD behemoth.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Lindsey Johnstone

    I had a 1974 Olds Toronado. Red vinyl and pin striping over white with velour red interior and red mohair carpeting. Had it until 1980 when my 5ft tall wife didn’t want anything with a door wider than she was tall. Miss that boat!

  2. Dave

    U.G.L.Y., Sorry but these things weren’t stylish til 1979 on, they just look awkward. The first couple years were nice as well but this body style was just awful.

  3. Davey

    Love it. Especially the rear glass and tail lamps molded into bumpers. Beautiful.

    • Christopher Wenz

      I’ve never seen this Olds model. That rear glass is amazing. A diamond in the rough and a good obscure 70s GM design. Get ready to see these monstrosities at Pebble Beach in the near future. I see plenty of Caddy Eldos from that period. Same goes for 95 Olds wagons. That rear glass!

    • Chuck Simons

      Studebaker had this concept in 50-52

  4. Coventrycat

    Totally forgot about this car, love that rear window.

  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    What a cruisemobile. I love it.

  6. David Zornig

    Gone.

  7. Bob

    I had a 67 Toronado, and I loved the car, the style, and the performance. I kept the car for over 10 years. The later model years didn’t appeal to me, but this looks like a nice older land yacht.
    Bob

  8. Lawyer George

    Frankly I was happy to see it was not green. I much prefer this color. I was not please to see it unavailable before I could even get a look at it. The dash/steering wheel make it near identical to a Cadillac, as does the rear bumper/taillights. I am better off having it gone so I won’t have to anguish whether I will bid on it.. Whether I need it or not doesn’t enter the equation, so that is no “fail safe” deterrent.

  9. Buick Fan

    Corey, “wish the sunroof wasn’t included in the option” are you kidding? Sunroofs on 70’s-80’s cars are the ultimate COOL option in my opinion. I don’t see how it’s absence would have any effect on the c-pillar, unless you are referring to the non XS equipped cars. Having owned all flavors of Toronado’s, it’s counter intuitive that the XS option is less desirable, but sadly, that seems to be true…for all their hype (and cost), they seem to take longer to sell, and seldom attract much of a premium in price due to their oddball looks…but the sunroof is certainly a plus…if you like air and sun.

  10. Blueprint

    Always funny to see how little rear legroom these land yachts had! Very elegant still, in a Malaise-era kind of way.

  11. Metoo

    Is it just me or are there a lot of overstuffed land barges being showcased here lately?

  12. ccrvtt

    This car makes me embarrassed to be from Lansing.

  13. steve jesus

    There’s enough stseel in this beast to build forty Beetles.

  14. carsofchaos

    That was a steal at $3750 someone got a bargain. The styling may not be for everyone, but again think of the price point. To get into the old car hobby with something in this clean of shape, and that rare, for under $4k…..not bad.

  15. David Miraglia

    Another cool 1970’s barge. Better turn on Aerosmith

  16. PETER P BAUSYS

    Love the XS but years ago I once passed on a good deal on a new Caddy because it was cream colored.

  17. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    Copied the “is it coming or is it going” Studebakers.

  18. duaney Member

    In that condition seller should have asked $6500

  19. Miguel

    These had the third brake lights before the government mandated them.

    Forward thinking.

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