I own a '66 Toronado but enjoy all years of production for various reasons. My first encounter with a Toronado was with a '69 model in 1976. He was a local body shop owners personal everyday car. It was a dark plum color with white interior and white vinyl roof. The wide stance, exaggerated wheel wells, small tail lights and a bold front end all inspired me. I started attending car shows in 1977 and continue to this day. For me, I will walk by the dozens of Mustangs, Novas and Challengers to look for the unusual cars like the "personal luxury coupes". What has changed almost fifty years later? The car shows are dominated by modern era muscle cars. I will still attend with one of my "eclectic" cars and give a new generation exposure to something they never seen before.
I must say 1969 full sized sedans of all the American makes were stunning sculptures of moving road art. As we look at the beautifully laid out lines of this Toronado from the Oldsmobile division we can see the Mitchell influence that was omni present in the GM design rooms. Simply beautiful and elegant. I really miss that creative design. Our cars all had a face and a personality then. Not like today.
My dad was an Oldsmobile Division service rep at the time. The day the '66 Toronado was introduced to the dealers in the Portland Oregon area at a dealer show he drove the stunning bright blue Toro home. As a 15 year old car enthusiast I was shocked by what Oldsmobile had produced. It was an amazing automobile in many respects. The '67 models, with their new grille and headlamp covers flush with the body, were, in my opinion, the culmination of the original design.
That icy "Marseilles blue" is the most shocking US new-car color I've ever seen. It glows. If I thought I could preserve that two-tone shading effect at the creases, I'd have my Aurora done in a copy of that blue. Someday, I may anyway.
I know the folks in Lansing were under pressure to freshen up the Toronado, but in my opinion the ’68 and ’69 marred the original cleanliness of the ’66 and ’67. The new grille in 1968-‘69 always looked added on, like a pair of oversized glasses placed on a beauty queen, and did not integrated well with car’s total design. And the hot water bottle-like back view profile of the original was eradicated by the redesign. The 1970 at least did a far better job of integrating the grille and bumper, but the innovative look of the original still was lost.
I’ve always wondered whether the Studebaker Avanti had an influence on the Toronado’s front fender design. I suspect the Toronado’s design was well along when the Avanti was introduced in 1962, but there is a similarity between the two.
When I was a kid in Portland, the owner of the swimming pool service company occasionally came by to visit. He had a '66 or '67 Toronado, light metallic green if I remember correctly. That was the coolest car ever, with those pop-up headlights. So big, and yet sleek at the same time. Never forgot it.
Here's one you seldom hear about GM luxury cars: the 66 Toro got surprisingly good mileage! I bought one two states away, and hoped to limp home. When I gassed up, I found I was getting 18 MPG! Stoplight to stoplight, of course, shouldn't even have been metered, but in mixed use and highway trips, for a big car it did very well.
They were wonderful cars up until General Motors emasculated the cars with the Trofeo. I had a '66, loved every minute of it, needed a gas station welded to the filler pipe to keep it going, never mind, handling was wonderful for such a big car and grunt from the green light was not too shabby either. Mine was Moss Green or something and I don't remember the Interior color. It was A Deluxe Model, which besides having all the toys one would expect had two door handles fitted to its long doors, so rear passengers could egress apparently with the front seat folded flat. When I get more room I'll buy a '70 if I can find a decent car. Thank you Thomas.
My father was a car distributor for the Oldsmobile Division of GM. Always had new company cars for a few weeks at a time. He told a story of the new '66 Toro as he was driving it in Chicago (late '65, I would guess) He said people would stare at it as if it were from Mars. I now have just a 1970 Riviera after regrettably selling my '69 442 convertible.
Love them all too, at least thru 1978. I have a 67, 78 XS and an 85 Caliente. None is a show car, but all look good and run nicely. Liked the comment about welding a gas station to the filler neck. Seems like 15 mpg is it. Anyway, gas is the smallest expense of keeping everything running right. Parts are getting scarcer and more costly these days, even on ebay.
The Toronado! The top of the top “want one” list. A friend’s family owned two I remember vividly. The first was a baby-blue ‘69 (my favorite) and a light green ‘71. I loved the look of both, even though they were so dissimilar. Unfortunately, by the time I could buy a Toronado, the ones in my price range were salvage cars, and the decent ones were out of my price range (not to mention $1.65 gas on a $3.25/hour wage). Maybe someday...