Automotive Mileposts  

1966 Toronado
Production Numbers/Specifications

October 7, 1965
9487 Toronado Standard $4,585 Intro/$4,617 Late
Weight: 4,366 lbs., Built: 6,333
9687 Toronado Deluxe $4,779 Intro/$4,812 Late
Weight: 4,410 lbs., Built: 34,630
NT Toronado Rocket V-8
Cubic inches: 425
Horsepower: 385
Torque: 475 lb.-ft. at 3200 rpm
Bore and stroke: 4.125 x 3.975 inches
Compression ratio: 10.5
Carburetor: Rochester 4GC 4 bbl.
Turbo Hydra-Matic with variable-vane torque converter
N/A (Front wheel drive) 3.21-to-1
Size: 8.85 x 15
Low profile
Brand: Firestone (OEM)
Finned drums
Front: 11" x 2-3/4"
Rear: 11" x 2"
119 inches
Front Tread: 63.5"
Rear Tread: 63"
Length: 211.0"
Width: 78.5"
Height: 52.8"
Headroom: 62.2" front/37.3" rear
Legroom: 41.8" front/35.5" rear
Hiproom: 62.2" front/55.6" rear
Front: Ball-joint with torsion bar springs, direct-acting shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Rear: Single-leaf with 2 horizontal and 2 vertical shock absorbers.
Steering ratio: 17.8-to-1
Fuel Tank: 24 gallons
Cooling System: 18.0 quarts
Passenger capacity: 6 (3 front/3 rear)
Trunk: 14.5 cu. ft.
Motor Trend Magazine's 1966 Car of the Year

100-millionth General Motors vehicle built worldwide: 1966 Toronado built on March 16, 1966
- First American production front wheel drive automobile built since the 1937 Cord
- First new car introduction to exceed 50% factory air conditioning installation rate. 30,313 were so equipped.
Image: 1966 Toronado drive train

Above: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado drive train was unique in that its front wheel drive meant that the front wheels propelled the car, pulling it down the road instead of pushing it. The difference in traction and handling was incredible. Constant velocity joints allowed the front wheels to perform their duties. The Toronado was the first American production car to feature front wheel drive since the demise of the Cord automobile in 1937.

1966 Toronado:
Common Issues

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado on highway at nightLike all cars, the first generation Toronados have their fair share of issues. Knowing what specifically to look for makes it easier to find the right car, and avoid surprises down the road. Probably one of the most notable issues on these cars are the brakes. Really, they should have been better. With finned drums all the way around, the heavy Toronado can push them to the limit fairly quickly, if not driven properly. One thing that helps is to have the brake shoes arced to fit the drums. While new shoes may be pre-arced, they do not match up with the drums on any specific car. Doing this greatly improves the braking effectiveness of these large cars, makes your new brakes last longer, and evens out the wear pattern of the drums.

You've likely noticed the series of vents under the rear window. They are part of an interior ventilation feature, and allow air inside the car to be refreshed without lowering the windows. In order to allow air out, water must also be allowed to enter. To drain the water, rubber tubes are incorporated to drain the water out under the car. After years of exposure, the tubes fail and can allow water to get into areas where it shouldn't, and that means rust. Replacements are available, but check the luggage compartment and the area under/behind the back seat carefully for rust. While you're at it, check for rust in all the usual places, and look closely at the A pillars as well.

Toronado hoods are heavy, and the hinges can wear out causing the hood to not stay fully open when raised. After banging your head a few times, you will want to get this fixed. The hoods can also stick, due also in part to the hinges. And while under the hood, check that Rochester Quadrajet carburetor to make sure it isn't leaking gas, it's a common problem. Oh, and if you find it's hard to start a Toronado after it's been sitting for a few days, chances are the fuel well plugs are leaking. They can be sealed up with epoxy, and most carb rebuilders are aware of these issues.

The bezel around the ignition switch is often scratched up pretty badly, and you might discover that the glove box door sticks. Toronado aficionados are always searching for good door trim parts, including a piece they call the "S-strap," named due to its shape. It's easy to spot because it's usually broken. And don't be surprised to find that the sun visors are missing their rubber tips that secure them to the mirror bracket, and keep them from rattling.

If equipped with power windows that don't always work, or only work if the door is partially open, it's likely that the wiring harness has split between the door and the car body. The wiring is in a rubber sleeve, and after years of flexing when the door is moved, wires can break.

If you hear a clicking noise while accelerating on a turn, chances are your constant velocity joints are bad. They're protected by rubber boots, which with age and wear can split and expose the joint inside.

The good news is that the engine is rock solid Oldsmobile, which means it's a powerful and dependable source of motivation. The transmission is GM's Turbo Hydra-Matic, also a rock solid design.

Early Production Differences

Early production 1966 Toronados differ from later cars in several areas. The first ones off the assembly line didn't include a provision for shoulder belts. By February 1, 1966 a threaded plate was mounted behind the sheet metal above the rear quarter windows, allowing for easy installation of shoulder belts. Cars with this provision can be identified by a small 1/8-inch hole stamped into the bottom edge of the cowl tag.

A very few early Toronados sported a crease on the hood and deck lid. The hood crease is very subtle, and often difficult to spot unless you're looking for it. The 12-14 inch ridge on the deck lid is more obvious, but is still somewhat elusive. It's not known when the stampings for these parts changed, but cars with the crease are certainly the exception.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado early door panel detailEarly Toronado Deluxe cars had the door assist strap mounted below the chrome trim band on the door panels (shown, left; click for larger image). It was later relocated and placed in line with the chrome band. Early cars also lacked several screw holes to affix the door trim panel to the door, and the easily broken S-strap didn't have any mounting holes at all at the front edge of the door. The headliners were also different in the early cars, and can be spotted by the almost random placement of the pattern of holes.

Deluxe Models ordered with optional power windows, seat, and door locks included the controls for these items in the driver's door armrest control panel. On early cars, the door lock control was placed at the forward edge of the panel, followed by the power seat controls and then the power window controls. This placed the window controls almost under the door latch, and drew complaints from early owners. By January 1966 production, the door lock control had been moved to the trim panel under the assist strap, and the power seat and window switches were moved forward on the control panel to provide easier access.