Automotive Mileposts  

1970 Oldsmobile Toronado
Production Numbers/Specifications

Image: 1970 Toronado GT emblem
September 18, 1969
9487 Toronado (Base model) $5,023
Weight: 4,459 Built: 2,351
9687 Toronado Custom $5,216
Weight: 4,498 Built: 23,082

455 CID Rocket V-8
Horsepower: 375 @ 4600 rpm
Torque: 510 lb.-ft. @ 3000 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.25:1
Bore and Stroke: 4.125 x 4.250 inches
Carburetor: Rochester 4GC

455 CID Rocket V-8
Horsepower: 400 @ 4800 rpm
Torque: 500 lb.-ft @ 3200 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.25:1
Bore and Stroke: 4.125 x 4.250 inches
Carburetor: Rochester 4GC
OM (W34 option only)
Turbo Hydra-matic 425
Special Turbo Hydra-Matic 425
N/A (Front wheel drive) 2.73:1
J78 x 15 Fiberglass-belted
Wheels: 15" x 6" steel safety rims
Tandem Power Front Disc, Rear Drum
Diameter: 11 inches
119 inches
Front Tread: 63.5 inches
Rear Tread: 63 inches
Turning diameter: 42.9 feet
Length: 214.3 inches
Width: 78.8 inches
Height: 52.8 inches
Headroom, front/rear (in.): 37.7/37.2
Legroom, front/rear (in.): 41.3/35.5
Shoulderroom, front/rear (in.): 58.8/59.6
Hiproom, front/rear (in.): 62.3/55.6
Fuel Tank: 24.0 gallons
Cooling System: 18.0 quarts
Oil: 5 quarts (6 with filter)
Trunk: 14.6 (cu. ft.)
1970 was the year of the Oldsmobile "Wouldn't it be nice to have an Escape Machine?" ads 1970 final year for:
- First generation body style
- GT option (W34)
- Exhaust cut outs in rear bumper
1970 first year for:
- Positive Valve Rotators
- Power Front Disc Brakes (standard)
- Exposed stationary headlamps
- New, one year only dashboard

1970: The Year of the Great Escape (Machine)

Image: 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado

Oldsmobile's advertising campaign for 1970 promoted the new Olds' cars as "Escape Machines." In these ads, doctors, business men, stay at home mothers, gas station attendants, waiters, secretaries, and other ordinary, typical people were shown toiling away at their daily duties, burned out and ready to escape. Parked front and center, of course, was their new 1970 Oldsmobile Escape Machine. Be it a Ninety Eight, Delta 88, Vista Cruiser, Cutlass, or Toronado, their new escape machine was ready to whisk them away from the doldrums their lives had become.

While most 1970 Oldsmobiles hit the streets with mild revisions to their new for 1969 styling, the top of the line Toronado received more than just a face-lift. By most outward appearances, it was a very much changed car. New styling appeared from every vantage point...up front, a massive new grille and front bumper arrangement did away with the hidden headlights of previous years. In profile, the rounded wheel housings became rectilinear, with more of a flare than in years past. From behind, the the Toronado script was replaced with block lettering on the deck lid, and the trim on the deck lid was revised. Inside, all new upholstery patterns and a new instrument panel gave the Toro a fresh new look.

The changes for 1970 weren't limited just to appearance. For instance, Toronado's suspension was retuned to provide a smoother, quieter ride. New power brakes with discs up front were made standard. Fiberglass-belted tires provided a significant increase in tread wear, as well as improved wet road traction, handling, and braking.

None of this seemed to matter much, though. Sales slumped again to just 25,433 cars. The Toronado was always intended to be a limited production car, but the fact was the Ford Thunderbird was outselling the Toro by more than 2 to 1. Change would be coming, but the final year of the first generation Toronado would have to pass first.

The W34 high performance option, introduced in 1968, was given new visibility for 1970 with the addition of "GT" lettering on the hood immediately to the right of the TORONADO block lettering. The Rocket 455 V-8 engine put out a massive 400 horses in this version, and the rear bumper was once again cut out to allow the exhaust pipes to pass through. This was also done on the 1968 models, but was dropped for some reason for 1969. The GT option was popular, as a reported 5,341 were built. Contrasting striping appeared around the flared wheel openings on units ordered with the GT option, and some sources suggest only specified colors were available for the GT, but our records indicate all factory colors were available, as well as standard or Custom interiors.

Some insist the 1966 cars were the best of the first generation due to their "first of the model" status. Others say the 1967 cars are the best due to their improved braking and handling characteristics. Some prefer the 1968 cars, especially those equipped with the W34 option which featured cold ram air intake, the only Toronado to ever offer this. Then there is the 1969 fan club, who argue the rear quarter styling looks better than the fastback styling of the earlier cars. And last but not least are the 1970 Toronado lovers, who think the final year of this generation is the most refined, with styling more befitting a luxury car which the Toronado indeed was. They will usually cite the GT option as part of their reasoning, as well as the preference for the exposed headlamps, which prior Toros kept hidden.

Sales figures and resale prices often tend to support the first year cars as the ones to own, but rarity means a lot in the classic car world, and the fact is the later first generation models are all more rare than the ones that rolled down the assembly line first. You can't go wrong with any of them, really...but there is something about a Regency Rose 1970 Toronado GT that really catches your eye.