One Family Owned: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

Update 1/29/20 – After more than six months since we listed it last, this Toronado is back on the market. It’s listed here on eBay with new photos and less than a day of bidding left. Do you think it’ll find a new home this time around?

From 6/2/19 – After belonging to the same family since it was new, the time has come for this 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado to hit the road, and to see if it can find another family who will hold onto it for another 53-years. It appears to be an honest and clean car that is very original. Located in Kirkland, Washington, it is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting at $5,300, but the reserve hasn’t been met. Given the fact that there are also 35 people currently watching the listing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more bids submitted before the listing ends.

The owner says that the Toronado is solid and rust-free. It also wears its original Dubonnet paint. It has a few marks, scratches, and dings, but it has survived remarkably well. Looking over the car, it appears that all of the badges and trim are present, and all appear to be in good condition. I won’t hide the fact that this car is not finished in one of my favorite Toronado colors, but then again, how can I not respect the fact that what the Toronado is wearing has survived so well?

Opening the hood of the Toronado revealed what this car was really all about. Finding a 425ci V8 under the bonnet of a car from this era really was no big deal. The fact that it sent its power through a TH-425 automatic transmission to the front wheels was pretty big news. The Toronado represented the first attempt by an American manufacturer to build a front-wheel drive car since Cord in 1937, and while there were many specialist motoring journalists that questioned whether the car would be durable, with 1.5 million test miles under the power-train’s belt, Oldsmobile was extremely confident. The fact that this particular Toronado has now survived 53-years and 98,000 miles is a testament to this. The car last ran about 6-months-ago, but it currently has a leaking fuel line that will need to be replaced before it can actually be driven. Otherwise, the owner claims that it has been well maintained. One standard feature of the Toronado is power steering. This would almost certainly have been a necessity. With the 425ci V8 trying to push 385hp through the front wheels, the resultant torque-steer would have been enough to tear the steering wheel out of the driver’s hands. Power steering would definitely have isolated this problem somewhat.

The interior of the Toronado also doesn’t present too badly for an original car of this age. The damage you can see on the driver’s seat appears to be about the only issue inside the car. The rest of the seats and the carpet look good, while the headliner looks brand new. The dash and pad also look nice and clean, and for your comfort and convenience, the Toronado is fitted with air conditioning, power windows, and power locks.

The Oldsmobile Toronado was a bit of a game-changer in the American large car sector because it allowed Oldsmobile to achieve better interior packaging in the car, and the lack of a transmission tunnel improved passenger comfort. The UPP power-train that Oldsmobile developed for the Toronado was no short-term solution, with this system seeing service in one form or another across a broad range of GM products. This car is a nice, original example, and I think that it has the potential to be a pretty decent classic car to own.

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    That’s a remarkable car-saw too many of them get chopped up with the drivetrain used for sand rails and hot off-road rear drive racers..
    Fix the gas line, fix the seat then leave it alone and drive it a lot!

    Like 41
  2. ccrvtt

    My Boy Scout troop had the opportunity to meet with some of the Oldsmobile engineers just prior to the introduction of the Toronado. A lot of what they shared with us was PR pablum but they definitely knew their stuff. One of the features designed into the front frame ends was an L-shaped kickout behind the bumper. It was meant to be a crush zone to protect all that expensive machinery in the front end. I asked the guy if they had to crash any cars to see if it worked. He smiled and said, “A few…”

    Toronados from the first generation were well-built from high quality materials in the context of the 1960’s. Plus they were different, if not borderline revolutionary. I agree with Nevadahalfrack – drive it and enjoy it.

    Like 23
  3. Kevin L

    I should go take a look as it’s in my town of Kirkland. Very cool car.

    Like 15
    • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

      Love the first generation Toronados (and Cadillac Eldorados) but have never owned one. I have pillaged a few for some or their cool parts-like this one’s stratoback bench seat and tilt and telescope steering column. My elderly next door neighbor had a white ’66 Toronados behind his barn, I was interested in it, but when he couldn’t find the keys, l noticed the rear window looked loose so I took a paint stir stick and gently pried the window loose. I climbed in the opening and stepped through the rear floor. The more we looked the more rust we found. Not long after his family made him auction off all his cars, tools and equipment. Most went for scrap price, but most of them were scrap. Lesson learned, don’t hoard them until there’s nothing left. I’ve been trying to thin out my collection, selling stuff l thought I’d never sell and setting up some of my nephews up with projects. Easier than I thought it would be, hopefully some will be back on the road.

      Like 28
  4. Lindsey Johnstone

    I had a roomie that had one in college. It had one feature I had never seen (or heard) before. It had FM stereo!

    Like 9
  5. Marty

    I drove one back in the 70’s would do 135 mph on I-95, impressive power for the 60’s, but just a little rise in the road and it would go airborne. That part got a little scary.

    Like 14
    • Poppapork

      135mph without overdrive? What was the rpm like? These 7 liter engines don’t rev all that high. Also the chain drive must have loved it

      Like 5
      • Bill

        The super rocket 425 was a superb engine it would twist 4000 all day long

  6. Bob S

    I owned a 67 for 11 years and sold it in 1980. I put a lot of miles on the car, and the only reason I sold it, was because it needed a CVJ, and I got an offer to trade that I could not refuse.
    It drove beautifully, and handled well on the highway, I would own another one in a heartbeat. The only complaint my wife had, was that those doors were heavy.
    I hope it finds a great home.
    Bob

    Like 17
  7. Randy Mccumber

    I owned a 1972 and loved that big land yacht. I finally had to part it out because the frame just rusted out and my mechanic wouldn’t put it up on a hoist anymore. I was able to sell the engine to a guy that was building an air boat. That car was pretty fast but couldn’t pass a gas station.

    Like 16
  8. Cncbny

    Had one, great cat! Only mandatory change is to get eldorado front axles with disc brakes. Panic stops from 60 mph were colon tightening! You’ld slow to about 30 mph and brakes had faded completely away! She could run fast though. And smooth as the Nimitz in the Caribbean!

    Like 14
    • JoeNYWF64

      More fun going down very steep long mountain roads or through deep water. Before disc brakes, i guess there were a ton of accidents due to the latter situations?
      I do not see an a/c compressor – just some weird “bladder” on the engine’s passenger side. lol
      Astro ventilation 2 years before most other cars, excluding Riviera.
      Were a/c, p/w & p/b standard on ’66 toronado & riviera?

      Like 4
      • Pete Phillips

        Power brakes and power steering were standard. I recently sold a one-owner ’66 similar to this. It had manual crank windows, manual seat adjustment, and no A/C, which made it hard to sell in the Southwest.

        Like 4
      • local_sheriff

        Pete, personally I find PS and PB the only necessary power features to have in a classic. Your ‘stripper’ 66 sounds excactly like the car I’d look for had I been in the market for a Toronado – less extras = less hassle!

        Like 4
      • Ralph

        People knew they had bad brakes so they left more following distance and paid more attention since there weren’t any phones or nav screens.

        This car has a/c, the compressor sits on the lower right side of the motor.

        Disc brakes are a good upgrade for these or you could just get a 1968 Eldorado that has them already and is an Eldorado too…..

        Like 1
  9. 71FXSuperGlide

    Neat cars, and the FWD was certainly a precursor for ‘things to come’.

    I never liked the wheels on these however, they always seemed more at home on a semi, appearance wise.

    Like 1
    • BRAKTRCR

      The rims are basically modeled after the 1937 Cord, along with hideaway headlights and other stuff.

      Like 6
  10. Ed P

    These were new when I took drivers ed. The instructor said they handled bad because of the FWD. If he’d only known the future of cars.

    Like 4
    • Tom

      yeah – another one for the if only I’d known, had a little bit of cash, and a big barn. These cars could be had cheap by the mid-seventies.

      Like 3
      • BRAKTRCR

        I paid $200 for mine in 1980. It had a bad valve job done and barely ran. So, decided to rebuild the engine. Had it out in 4 hours, and it still runs today… with a little encouragement.

        Like 9
  11. A.J.

    From the mid 80’s up until the late 90’s I would buy the cheapest Toronado or Riviera I could find as a winter beater when I put my summer car away. Never paid more than $1500 for one. Sure they were rusty in the great white north but they never failed to start and would drive through the worst Chicago snowstorms Now I would love to add one of these to the fleet.

    Like 7
  12. Pete Kaczmarski

    I personally like the dark colors vs light colors because it sows the beautiful body lines. I love the Doubonet color enough to find mine here in WI. about five years ago. It took me many decades to find the right one. I would post a picture but for some reason Barn Finds don’t off that option anymore.

    Like 5
  13. Clay Bryant

    I could put the engine in one of those GM motorhomes as they picked them to be the power train and the axles are an identical fit to replace a 37 Cords old ones which is a popular swap but what do I do with the rest of the car until I get my motorhome and Cord….?

    Like 2
  14. Ken Carney

    Mine was a lemon. Since I’ve already told
    that story here, I won’t bore you with the
    details. I’ll just say I traded a gorgeous ’66 Cadillac Calais 4-door HT for that POS. That soured me on anything FWD.
    Even wrote my congressman to see if the
    Feds could ban them due to all the problems I had with mine. I’ve mellowed
    out since then, but every time I see one
    reminds me of why I hate ’em.

    Like 7
    • Tom

      Thank you for your restraint Ken, I was cautiously scrolling down looking for the haters…I will therefore reciprocate and refrain from gushing about these wonderful cars! Gave you a thumbs up :)

      Like 11
  15. TimM

    The Toronado always seemed like a car that crossed over first from luxury to luxury/sports car!! I think these cars were way ahead of there time!! My older brother had one of these car it was always in that ugly brown primer!! However that car moved!!! It was fast but I could never get use to the car not kicking out in the ass end when I stepped on the gas!! It was always a learning experience when I got behind the wheel of that car!! I would love to drive the heck out of one now that I have three times the experience driving then I did then!! Oh and let’s face it there is no front wheel drive car built today with the power the Toronado had in its day!!

    Like 8
  16. TimM

    Forgot to click comment button

    Like 1
  17. Jarvis Sheridan

    I’ve owned a few Toronados. The 66 was the most awe inspiring. And I must say, these cars had no torque steer.

    Like 5
  18. ctmphrs

    These are not K cars. They don’t torque steer. It will smoke the tires in a straight line.

    Like 4
  19. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I was in the army in 66. A friends parents bought one new. We were overseas so we never saw it, but he said his really liked, and they were the type of people who bought a new car every 2 years. He was from upper state New York and I was from Northern California so we never saw each other again. Now a nice one like this should be carefully attended too. I expect bidding to get quite high, perhaps B-J high.
    God bless America

    Like 2
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      SOLD-$8000!!!!!
      That was $10k less than its value thru Hagerty, & $15000 less than NADA.
      Either someone got a screamin’ deal, or…..?

      Like 3
      • BRAKTRCR

        I don’t think it sold then… and it didn’t sell this time either bid to $10,900 I think that would be a good number for this car, but, apparently the seller didn’t agree.

        Like 2
  20. George Mattar

    Slamming deal. This beautiful plum color is rare. Saw an original 9,000 mile one at Carlisle about 10 years ago. But it was priced accordingly. My college roommate’s mom had a 66 Toro new. Beautiful. Loved riding in it. These great cars were designed by David North, who I believe is still alive and well. These cars were very well made and mechanics have told me the chain used in the 425H transmissions was do string it coume hold the entire emgine by itself. These cars do need front suspension work frequently due to all the weight. Very hard on shocks. I would trade my 73 Corvette for this, but someone already got a great deal.

    Like 2
    • LAR

      I agree. Beautiful color. If you look closely at the pictures you can tell that chrome wheel rims were added at some point. A bit disappointing that there are not a couple of dash pictures. The wrinkle finish paint tends to peel as it ages. According to the VIN it is indeed a deluxe (39600 series). A bit suprising that a deluxe doesn’t have the lower front fender turn lights.

      Like 2
  21. Andrew Franks

    One of my favorite colors. If I had room I would look at it seriously.

    Like 1
  22. Jack

    The 68 my parents had required leaded fuel. Remember them taking the car in because of a carbon build-up because my mother drove it like a old lady. Mechanic advised running the car hard once in a while. That seemed to stop the issue. Wiring in the car eventually went bad and my parent sold it. Such a bummer.

    Like 2
  23. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Want. Bad. Why are they always so far away?

    Like 3

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