My Car Quest

June 19, 2019

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado – A Rare Classic Car

by Mike –

There are several cars I do not see on the road often anymore, or at all, and the Oldsmobile Toronado is one along with two cars my parents once owned – the 1970 Ford Thunderbird and 1975 Mercury Cougar.

All three of these models, along with the ’60s Buick Riviera, are big two door coupes with room for four people and powered by a big V8. They are fun and comfortable to drive but I suspect most were used up and sent to the crusher in the end.

I remember when the 1966 Oldsmobile Toranado first came out. I really liked it and was impressed that it was a front wheel drive. It certainly is a great looking car. When Guido Maniscalco sent in these photos and his story I knew this had to be shared.

I also saw Jay Leno’s Toronado on television. He installed a 700 hp engine and converted it to rear wheel drive. Now he can do real burn outs.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

Text and photos by Guido Maniscalco

I first learned about the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado after watching the movie, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

During the filming of the movie, Taylor purchased Burton a brand new 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado (I believe it was white). My curiosity got the best of me and I began to research this “movie star car”. The first thing that grabbed my attention were the sequential taillights.

I already have a 1964 Thunderbird which I have restored and knew that it was just one year shy of the sequential taillights which were introduced in 1965. A YouTube video clearly showed how the taillights on the Toronado functioned. Then, I watched a video on Jay Leno’s Trumpet Gold metallic 1966 Toronado.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

At this point I knew I had to acquire it. Front wheel drive, 385 horsepower Rocket V8, great personal luxury sports car appearance, grand American construction of the 1960’s, meter/gauge style speedometer, and pop up headlights are just a few of the cool features. After searching for two years, even passing up a Trumpet Gold metallic model, I found a Tropic Turquoise Toronado near where I live and quickly made the purchase.

The vehicle was an hour away and I took my classic car expert friend with me for the ride. We arrived and got out to inspect the Toronado. We found a great vehicle in great condition. The owner explained he had just replaced the tires with new ones, new brakes, and engine overhaul. It started, ran, and drove like a dream. The front wheel drive was impressive and comfortable.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

The transmission shifted up and down with no issues. The brakes functioned perfectly. We found no major issues and went back to negotiate price. After some time haggling back and forth, we shook hands and I became the owner of a 1966 Toronado. It needs minor things to get it back to top shape, such as a new carpet and headliner and other minor things.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

Thanks to Glenn Krasner for suggesting this Post to his friend Guido Maniscalco and to me.

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Summary
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado - A Rare Classic Car
Article Name
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado - A Rare Classic Car
Description
The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado is a milestone American car.
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Comments

  1. ScuderaPacNW says

    Spent a lot of time driving in a Toronado in the 60s as our neighbor owned one and loved it, and he would drive us here and there.

    The car in the photos doesn’t look Turquoise in color, so is the car in the photos the same car as in the story? Or does Tropical Turquoise indeed appear to be dark blue in these photos?

  2. Best looking and best engineered American car of the period – I loved it.

  3. Bret Azzareli says

    My parents bought one new, dad was an Oldsmobile guy! I realize we had 4 kids aged 5 to 17 not super practical being a coupe. I later realized it was my dads mid life crisis car. He was 48 when he bought it. It was ahead of its time. I still remember how heads turned when we pulled up in it.

  4. This is an example of when america produced automobiles that the rest of the world lusted after and americans would buy nothing but american… with good reason. Spectacular, this and the Riviera.

  5. Roger Hirschland says

    My late father snatched up a “Lucerne Mist” light metallic blue ’66 Toronado off the lot as soon as it appeared from the factory. It was a huge hit on the street. He (and I) loved that car. I was 22 at the time, and when home, was able to drive it. The original is long gone to a destination unknown, but I’ve replaced it with miniatures made in Denmark (Tekno), Germany (Siku), Italy (Politoys), Great Britain (Corgi and Meccano Dinky), China (Spark), Japan, and many other locations and makers. Thanks for highlighting this very special car, Mike.

  6. JW Rosenberg says

    it was not the car I wanted, but it was what Mom and Dad wanted, so it became “my graduation” present. It was a great car, never failed and always got through the snow without difficulty. A very comfortable cruiser that would easily move along at 110 mph. until someone noticed the speedometer.

    I haven’t driven it since 1970 when my father put a dent in it and now it sits in the family barn untouched. Maybe one of these days I will go back and drive it again!

  7. Derek new zealand says

    Nice be nice to find that barn

  8. Meg Amendola says

    I’m selling a rare base model ’66 Toronado with power windows in good running condition and am in Colorado. Email me if interested in learning more.

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