This Rare 1970 Olds Toronado GT Is a Painful Disgrace So Cheap It's Basically a Giveaway

1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT 16 photos
1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT
Again, we revolve around 1970. Can somebody please explain the astrological configuration for that year? That way, we can better understand what happened with Detroit and when we will experience another gathering of fortunes of the same magnitude. The Piston Marvels list is so long that if you’d start reading it to newborns today, they’d be old enough to vote by the time you finish.
Alas, among the car galore of that year sits a remarkable yet massively overlooked and cruelly underrated Oldsmobile masterpiece. It’s the Toronado, of course, but not just any Old(s) Toro. I’m talking about the GT, the one-year-only package that was, in fact, the W34 option introduced in 1968 and retired at the end of the GT production in 1970.

Among the power-lifting heavyweights of the day, Oldsmobile deserves a special place. Because it was a full-size personal luxury car, the Toronado was exempt from the General Motors ban on maximum engine displacement for intermediates. Thus, the front-wheel-drive Toronado elegantly ignored the 400-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) upper limit and came about with a 425 big-block (7.0 liters).

In 1968, the engine’s stroke was increased, and the displacement grew to 455 cubes (7.5 liters), but that wasn’t the big news. The real drama unfolded from the V8’s specs – 400 hp and 500 lb-ft (406 PS, 6578 Nm), all sent to the front wheels via the same three-speed Turbo HydraMatic 425 transmission. The powerplant remained unchanged until the end of the first generation in 1970.

1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT
Had it not been slated into the full-size class and were it not for its ‘personal luxury car’ duties, the Toronado GT would have made for one heck of a muscle car, right alongside the Chevelle SS 454 and the Buick GSX. But the Toronado yielded to its ‘executive’s hotrod’ fate, so the muscle car pantheon of greats doesn’t include its reverberating name. Its production numbers from 1970 don’t make it a resounding voice, either.

A total of 25,433 Toronados were produced in 1970, and 5,341 were GTs – that’s 21% of the production run. One in five Toronado automobiles was ordered with the W34 option, which bid its final farewell to the performance scene with the redesigned model. Strangely, Oldsmobile chose to alter the front of the car in the final year of the first generation, ditching the hidden headlights in favor of round dual exposed ones.

Finding one today – a 1970 Toronado GT, I mean – isn’t exactly a day-to-day occurrence, and finding one in good condition is downright lottery-wining luck. However, a rough example is somewhat of a heartbreak, and I’ve got one for you if you’re into this type of nostalgic drama.

1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT
It’s also for sale and could easily be considered a money pit just by its asking price of $2,500. No, I haven’t omitted any zeroes, but once you look at the photos, you might be tempted to say there’s one too many. Allegedly, this Toronado GT has been sitting since 2002 (and Im not the only one who wants to know where that resting place was).

Why that happened is not disclosed in the Craigslist ad and the seller makes it clear that the car needs a lot of work. No word on the engine, transmission, brakes, suspensions, and whatever else might be of interest to someone planning to rescue the car for a rebuild.

So, we don’t know if the engine is seized or if it turns, nor do we have any information regarding the transmission assembly status. Call the seller, if you will, and poke around, but note that the price is non-negotiable (or so the ad leads us to believe). The one thing we do know is that the four-barrel Quadrajet carburetor is not on the car but is included in the sale (I ask myself the same question: ‘Why was it removed?’).

1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT
The natural order of things is to scroll through the gallery and weep. This former luxury car is nervous meltdown material. In theory, this clean and straight California car has enough potential to become someone’s next great project. The unknowns are too many, however - the interior is halfway to the Pearly Gates of hell, and the missing thermostat housing and alternator raise yet another question about the engine’s vitality.

Also, what in the name of internal combustion is that in the tailpipes – river bed mud? Did this luxo-boat of an Olds take itself too seriously and go diving at some point? Regardless of that, the seller assures a potential kind-hearted, deep-pocketed gearhead that this majestic Olds relic comes with a clean California title.

Still, you’ll need to pay a visit to the closest ATM before handing over the money for this Littlerock, California, junkyard candidate. This highly probable ‘Why did I buy it?’ money furnace could hide some very expensive headaches, but it just as well become a fabulous restoration. Is it a hard pass, or does it have even the tiniest chance of coming back to life?
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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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