Parked For 40 Years! 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado

Many people didn’t realize it then, but the First Generation Oldsmobile Toronado was one of the most important vehicles developed by any American manufacturer. It wasn’t its styling that set it apart, but its groundbreaking drivetrain configuration. The Toronado spent years largely ignored, but their popularity shows growth in the classic market. This Toronado recently emerged after forty years in storage. It is a solid classic that needs a new owner willing to revive it and return it to active service. With its lack of rust or panel damage, the work seems confined mainly to a mechanical revival. Located in Fall City, Washington, you will find the Olds listed for sale here on Craigslist. The seller has set their price at $7,500 for this gentle giant. I must thank Barn Finder Matt H. for spotting this beauty for us.

This Toronado rolled off the line wearing Provincial White with a Black vinyl top. The paint sports a few marks and imperfections, but nothing demands immediate attention. After decades of garage storage, the first port of call may be treating the car to a buff and polish. It could produce surprising results, meaning the vehicle might benefit from minor touch-up work rather than a complete repaint. The vinyl top looks good, and the panels are straight. There is no visible rust, and the seller mentions no problems in the listing. An in-person inspection would confirm its rust-free status, but the lack of significant surface corrosion suggests that this classic has led a fortunate life. The chrome is in good condition for its age, while the glass is flawless.

Oldsmobile marketed the Toronado as a personal luxury car to compete with Ford’s Thunderbird and the Buick Riviera. That means it features a spacious interior with ample room to accommodate six people comfortably. This Toronado’s interior presents well in a combination of black vinyl and cloth. It shows no evidence of wear or abuse and has no immediate needs. I believe that a deep clean would have it shining like a new penny. It isn’t loaded with optional extras, although a tilt wheel and an AM radio would make life on the move quite pleasant.

At first glance, the Tornado’s mechanical configuration may not seem groundbreaking, with a 455ci V8, a three-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, and power assistance for the steering and brakes. However, that only tells a small part of the story. It was the first American car to feature front-wheel-drive since the production of the Cord 812 ended in 1937. The engine bay is no larger than those seen on many similar vehicles from the 1960s, but the company shoehorned that V8 and automatic transmission in there utilizing their Unitized Power Package (UPP). Oldsmobile had spent an intense seven years developing this package. While the First Generation Toronado’s styling didn’t make the best use of the space-efficient design, later models changed that significantly. The UPP concept eventually found a home in such General Motors models as the Cadillac Eldorado. At 4,280lbs, the Toronado is no lightweight, but with that V8 pumping out 375hp, its ability to cover the ¼ mile in 15.4 seconds remains impressive for a luxury FWD vehicle. The seller indicates that this classic hasn’t fired a shot in anger in more than four decades, so it will need some work before it is mechanically roadworthy. They state that the engine turns freely, but the brakes are inoperative. Many perishable items will have deteriorated, so the buyer must budget for new hoses, belts, seals, and brakes before the car sees the road again. If the engine coughs into life easily, the buyer may be able to undertake most of the work themselves to minimize costs and maximize satisfaction.

After decades of inactivity, returning this 1968 Toronado to its rightful place on our roads will take some effort, but the work would seem confined to breathing new life into the drivetrain. With the engine turning freely, some essential maintenance may see it roar back to life without breaking the bank. The First Generation Toronado spent years in the classic wilderness, but it has become more desirable recently. It isn’t the type of car that will attract everyone, but it is a practical classic for an enthusiast with a family. Reviving it could be a task involving the entire clan, allowing them to build a bond with the vehicle that would help them appreciate it. If a family project is on your Wish List, this affordable Toronado could be a prime candidate.


  1. alphasud Member

    Looks really solid and you would be hard pressed to find another one with a good body for the price. Most of the Toronado’s have a good amount of options. This is pretty poverty spec with crank windows and no A/C. Wrong color for me and I prefer the 67 bumper over the 68.

    Like 4
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Poor man’s version as prior comment no power or air. Car has traveled over 100K engine looks too dirty to be less. Maybe just a bit high in the price at least in my thoughts. Needs quite a bit of work to travel the road again.

    Like 4
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Nice car. Lots of potential.

    Like 3
  4. Bob McK Member

    I am very impressed with the description written by the owner. They appear to be honest. Even state that the mileage is 113K miles. After sitting for 40 years, it will need to be gone through and will cost several thousands of dollars, but the price is low and there is room to spend what it needs to go back on the road. Best of luck to the new owner.

    Like 4

    I had to chuckle when I noticed the Oldsmobile emblem missing from the front end. My sister had a blue ’68 and the first time I parked it in the garage I accidentally ran that long hood into the sheetrock on the back wall. As long as we lived there a hole looking exactly like an Oldsmobile emblem lived there with us. I loved driving that car and the ’72 Eldorado I bought for myself later.

    Like 2
  6. John Oliveri

    I’ve never understood, buying a top of the line car, with no options, no a/c, no power windows, should have bought a Delmont 88, not even a Delta

  7. Allen L

    I stand corrected!
    Thanks Kendude, Bick Banter

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