Luxe Muscle: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

In the 1960s, General Motors brands were outselling every other car maker by a long shot. Performance this strong emboldens: the company decided to introduce a groundbreaking car to move the industry ahead. That arrived in the form of the Oldsmobile Toronado in 1966. The first American front-wheel drive luxury car since the Cord in the 1930s, the Toronado was penned by David North, originally as a small luxury sports car on an intermediate platform. But Olds had been developing front-wheel drive configurations for years and was determined to place such a car on its largest platform; the Toronado, Riviera, and Cadillac Eldorado all shared the E platform over the years. Here on craigslist is a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado with an asking price of $11,500, located in Blairstown, New Jersey. This car has always been garaged; it is being sold because the seller has too many projects. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

The Toronado was fully 211 inches long from tip to tail. It weighed over 4600 lbs. To propel all that metal, Oldsmobile installed its 425 cu. in. Rocket V8 motor, good for 385 bhp. A torque converter transfers power via a chain and sprocket to the three-speed automatic transmission, allowing the Toronado to jump from zero to sixty in 7.5 seconds. Keeping all that mass steady on the ground is an extra beefy suspension with dual shocks on either side in the rear, and torsion bars up front. Unfortunately, buyers had to wait a year for safe brakes; in 1966 it was drums all around. Someone forgot the maxim about matching the “go” with the “whoa”. This car runs and drives well according to the seller, who mentions that the “motor work is done”.

With no transmission tunnel, and given the dimensions of the platform, the interior is remarkably spacious. Gauges and switches were placed central to the driver and arranged around a drum-type speedometer. There were no vent windows, which helped reduce road noise. The massive doors were so long that each door had two handles – one placed rearward for the passenger’s use. This car has air conditioning, cruise control, and power steering. Most of the interior requires refurbishment.

The car’s lines give very little hint of its front-wheel drive architecture. The hood is high to accommodate the transmission, but the height is concealed by its length, the arched fender wells, and the sloping nose. Hidden headlights echo the Cord’s approach thirty years before, but were becoming more popular in the 1960s anyway. The Cougar, the Corvette, the Riviera – these and others incorporated the feature, which occasionally failed to actually produce light. Like many cars of decades past that didn’t ignite sales figures, the Toronado has gained affection from the marketplace as collectors come to appreciate its place in automotive history. Here is a nice example that sold for three times the ask on our subject car, leaving considerable headroom to clean this one up. What do you think of the price here?

Comments

  1. Harvey Member

    Nice one. I would respectfully disagree that the brakes weren’t safe.I haven’t had a 66 Toronado yet but have had numerous 60s full-size Olds and have had no problems stopping. Drum brakes can become a problem when making repeated hard stops or riding the brakes. I would put in a split master cylinder, because losing a brake line with a single is a real safety issue.

    Like 11
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    I like the custom duct tape seat.
    Another really nice looking car.

    Like 10
  3. James Martin

    He is reaching for 11500. These cars are just now getting a little love from the car world. But finer examples are out there for less. Duck tape and wrong rattle can color on the engine. These are easy fix but shouldn’t have to be down on a 11000 plus car. Body does look pretty good. But with no ameties like power windows bucket seats power seats console shift. These car is about as plain as they come. Most I think to be worth around 5-6 thousand.

    Like 1
    • EricN

      I agree this car is not worth 11,500 and with all the interior work that needs to be done and who know what else 5-6k seems about right. I don’t think bucket seats were offered in 1966 as I have never seen one with them and a full console with floor shifter wasn’t offered until the 68-70 models in the first gen vehicles and that option was rarely chosen.

      Like 4
  4. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    It may have always been garaged, but I’m not paying extra for all the dust and dirt.
    What is wrong with sellers? Wash it before photographing. It’s really simple

    Like 10
  5. Miguel - Mexican Spec

    I had this exact car and I hope it is still around somewhere.

    This car will sleep 4 comfortably if needed.

    As me how I know.

    Like 2
    • Glen

      How do you know this car will sleep four comfortably?

      There, I asked.

      Like 2
      • Miguel - Mexican Spec

        @Glen I drove my 1967 Eldorado, which is the same platform, from LA to Santa Barbara, on a Sunday of course, and on the way back the water pump gave out.

        3 friends were with me so we had to sleep in the car until I could get something done the next day.

        Two sleep on the seats and the other two on the floor front and back.

        The floors are completely flat and the car is wide enough for it to be comfortable.

        Like 1
  6. mooseandsquirrel

    Drum brakes are not unsafe. Until the late 60s that is what everybody had.

    Like 3
  7. George Mattar

    Yes, drum brakes are not unsafe, in fact, if you drive unlike 95 percent of the stupid population today, they are better, last longer because they cool better and do not rust as bad as today’s junk rotors, etc. This car is a bit overpriced, but far better built than today’s garbage that costs $50,000. The chain inside the TH 425 transmission is built like an anvil. You can attach it to a lift, hook it to that monster engine and pick it up. It will not break. A lifelong friend’s mom had one of these new in 1966, when we were 10 years old. Her’s was gold. She took us to school in it. What a ride.

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