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The Oldsmobile Toronado boasts jet-age style and affordable prices

The front-wheel-drive Oldsmobile Toronado was a landmark in automotive engineering, but you wouldn’t know from looking at it. That’s because when you see an early 1966–70 Toronado, the only thing you can think about is the awesome jet-age sheet metal. It’s an affordable, stylish alternative to the Ford Thunderbird or Pontiac Grand Prix and has a fascinating history.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/28/oldsmobile-toronado-jet-age-style-affordable-prices

1988 ended the era of conventional front-engine, rear-drive passenger cars at GM? Have you ever heard of the Corvette, Camaro, Firebird, Caprice, Roadmaster etc.?

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My 1966 ‘Desperado Toronado’ is survivor that looks as cool as it is.

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In all honesty, I think part of the reason why the Toronado does not get a lot of attention is it really is not a super attractive car, sure it can grow on you, but the styling is a bit odd. The Riviera from 66-67 had superior lines and was way more attractive, but like its cousin the Toronado, really does not get any attention either.

Agreed, it was a good-looking new car in a time of great-looking new cars. The early/mid 60’s were an amazing time to be a young boy who loved cars. The Corvette, T-Bird, Toronado, Riviera, Eldorado, Mustang, Camaro/Firebird, Avanti, even the Corvair and others. It was a time where new and vastly different from each other cars screamed in competition for attention, from the auto shows to the NY World’s Fair. I liked the “new” Toronado, but I loved the Riviera. A lot of really nice cars got perhaps less oohs and ahhs than they may have merited, simply because of the huge amount of really sharp new cars they were sharing the stage with.

I like the looks of the front end of the 1966 Toronado. Was the Toronado ever offered as a convertible? Seems like with the top down it would look like a pretty cool car.

So glad this article just came out because it finally helped me identify the villan’s car in “series of unfortunate events”.

Bought a 1967 in 1992. Beautiful car, drove big and floaty above 70. I remember reviews at the time about the front drive imparting a loose, pulling effect the higher the speed. Parts were readily available. A gorgeous boat!

Early 1970s, there was a Sci Fi TV show called UFO, a British production, I recall. All the characters drove gull wing doored futuristic cars, but the lead character drove a 1966 Toronado.

UFO UFO_20

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I am fortunate enough to have a large collection featuring at least 15 different brands from a dozen different countries.I try to drive as many as I can.My black on red 66 Toro generates a greater response than any other.Young and old worship the rarely seen beast.They are probably the smoothest car you can drive and mine will stick right with a stock 440 Mopar (GTX and Cuda ) from a stoplight.I highly recommend one.

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I’d like to get one to transplant the drivetrain into my Corvair. Mid engine 455 , that would make your butt pucker.

I never found the first Toronados to be attractive; as one car mag writer put it, they looked a bit like a malevolent toad squatting on the roadway. By 1968, the front-end had change to the point where I found them somewhat attractive - although not as attractive as the Riviera, or the beautiful Eldorado. Still, they were quite an engineering achievement. They somehow put huge torque thru the front wheels, apparently without significant torque-steer; torque-steer is a problem that still plagues powerful FWD cars today.

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Just a few years ago, my brother-in-law traded a motorcycle for a 1966 Toronado that had fire damage under the hood. I hadn’t thought about them in years so I had to do some reading. I was so enthused! Unfortunately, he could never afford to restore such a beast and it disappeared in another trade. I started to watch Jay Leno’s episode on his until he said he had converted it to rear wheel drive and I lost all respect for him. No one has mentioned the problems maintaining tires and the overheating I’ve heard so much about elsewhere.

I’ve had a 66 Toro for about 15 years now. Wonderful car. Have not had a problem with tires or brakes but have had transmission seal problems. It is a marvelous highway performer and will creep up to 100 + mph without the driver noticing. The driver will notice the 12 mpg, tho.

I remember the '66 Toronado on the cover of Mechanics Illustrated with Jim Dunne in the drivers seat looking at a highly detailed chassis next to him. It took me forty plus years to get the right one. Mine has 47k miles and was purchased in West Bend WI. It is Doubonet in color inside and out.100_0402

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Never offered as a convertible on the first generation 1966-70

My dad’s autumn bronze 1966 Toronado, which he took delivery of in 1965, two weeks before official show date, was the car responsible for my life- long love of cars. For months, it would draw a crowd wherever we parked it. He traded it in 1971 for a new Monte Carlo… it seemed like a big step down, from exciting futuristic innovation back to mundane transportation. My search for “the right” ‘66 finally ended in 2011, when I found a frame-off restored, autumn bronze ‘66, which had been in our hometown all those years. There was only ever two ‘66 Toronados in town that color. This one was the other one. Purchasing it was almost as cool as when we got the first one in ‘65. Of the 130 cars I have owned, the Toronado has remained my absolute favorite.

In 1982 ,I worked for a tranny shop. It was when front wheel drive cars just came in. We all learned how to replace c/v joints on most Jap cars and American cars.We could replace c/v joints in less then an hour. Some cars you had to , pop the tie rods, some cars put a jack under the engine and drop the sub frame.Then we had a Olds Toronado , needed c/v joints. took 3 guys and 12 hours to replace them. (P/S the gm 125 trans from the 80s, we never put the bell housing bolt back behind the the starter)lol

Michaelankerberg,
I.M.H.O., no matter how many c/v jobs you have done, and how quickly you have done them, the “oops, bolt left over”, ESPECIALLY knowing where it came from, somehow tarnishes your other stellar achievements. Always has been and will be, a no-no for me!