From Motorbooks International, "Illustrated Oldsmobile Buyer's Guide"

Oldsmobile Toronado 1966

HISTORY

It took a Cord owner to point this out, but there was a lot of the old Cord in the Toronado. Consider that front-wheel drive, combined with the latter's front end, hidden headlamps and big slotted wheels. It's doubtful the Toronado will ever reach the classic heights of the Cord, however. There were a lot more Tornados, for one thing. But it is certain that the 1966-67 models are among the most desirable Oldsmobiles ever built. Project engineer Andy Watt's goal was to combine traditional American big-car power with outstanding handling and traction. Toronado's 425 ci V-8 was shared with conventional full-size Olds models, but was teamed with a new "two-piece" transmission. The torque converter was mounted behind the engine, the gearbox was located remotely under the left cylinder bank, and both were connected by a chain drive and sprocket. The virtually unbreakable yet flexible chain drive was developed to save weight and cut costs. It also resulted in a very compact engine / drivetrain package, and a front / rear weight distribution of 54146-remarkable for a front-wheel-drive car. Toronado styling was as sophisticated as its mechanicals. The C-pillars fell gently from the roof, there was no obvious beltline aft of the rear windows and the roofline flowed downward smoothly, into a rakish fastback. The curved fuselage was set off by boldly flared wheel arches. The front and rear were clean and wrapped tightly underneath, as were the sides. The public responded enthusiastically, and over 40,000 Toronados were sold in the first model year. However, this was only an initial spurt, and sales were half that high in 1967. Gradually they worked their way back, and in banner year 1972, Oldsmobile produced nearly 50,000.

IDENTIFICATION

1966: Big, flared wheel arches connected by lower body crease mark the early Toronados. The '66 model's wide, horizontal bar grille, hidden headlamps and big, ventilated wheels strongly invoke the Cord image. 1967: A new, egg-crate grille; headlamp covers now flush with the hood.

PERFORMANCE AND UTILITY

One of the great American road cars, the Toronado runs effortlessly at 100 mph and can do 135 when pressed, even with a standard axle ratio and automatic transmission. Understeer is present, as in all front-wheel-drive cars, but is well controlled and never excessive. Rear compartment room is reStricted and visibility out the rear quarters is not good, nor is gas mileage. (But who cares, if you're driving one?)

PROBLEM AREAS

For such a revolutionary new design, the first Toronado was remarkably free of bugs, partly because it was built on exclusive, slower-moving assembly lines. The '66s do chew up tires, but tire technology has improved over the years. Doors were heavy to open and close, a built-in assist arrived on 1967 and later models. The engineldrivetrain was strong, but the combination of Quadrajet carb and high underhood temperatures caused a rash of engine fires. Carbs should be checked regularly. Exhaust systems wear out quickly and are expensive to replace. Bodies were not rust-prone, but bumpers were. Most early Toronados show bumper dings and rust, and replacement or rechroming is costly.

SUMMARY AND PROSPECTS

Clearly the outstanding Oldsmobile model of the 1960s, and very possibly the best Olds of all time, the Toronado was distinct and unimitated—especially in its original, clean form of 1966-67. Given these considerations, fine examples are underpriced, they can still be found for under $10,000. But like all cars of this class, they change hands rarely, and usually between friends. Ten years from now it is fairly safe to predict price tags in the $25,000 range or more. At present, a "best buy."

PRODUCTION

                    1966      1967
standard           6,333     1,770
deluxe            34,630    20,020
1966-67 TORONADO SPECIFICATIONS
ENGINE
Type ....90-deg V-8, water-cooled, cast-iron block and heads
Bore x stroke ..................................4.13x3.98 in.
Displacement .........................................425 ci
Valve operation ...................................hydraulic
Compression ratio ....................................10.5:1
Bhp ...................................385 gross at 4800 rpm
CHASSIS & DRIVETRAIN
Transmission ..............................Turbo Hydra-matic
Axle ratio ...........................................3.21:1
Front suspension ....................independent torsion bar
Rear suspension .......dead axle, longitudinal leaf springs.
 angled shocks
GENERAL
Wheelbase ...........................................119 in.
Overall length ......................................211 in.
Track .........................63.5 in. front, 63.0 in. rear
Tire size ...........................................8.85x15
Weight .......................................4,310-4,366 lb
PERFORMANCE
Acceleration ..................................0-60: 8.5 sec
Top speed ...........................................135 mph
Fuel mileage ......................................10-14 mpg