Curbside Classic Capsule: 1985 Toronado

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
curbside classic capsule 1985 toronado

Rest assured, I have found a genuine 1966 Toro for an upcoming full CC. And I’ve seen a fairly rare ’77 XS with the wrap-around rear window in someone’s yard that I will hunt down. In the meantime, let’s content ourselves with this somewhat mundane ’85.

And I say ’85 with a fair degree of certainty, because it took me awhile to pin it down. But I could be wrong. Nerd alert! The difference between some of the years are about as subtle as it gets for yank tanks. I suppose I shouldn’t be using that derogatory word, since this was the substantially down-sized third generation, and the last year of that series, at that. Too bad it wasn’t a diesel, then it would have been a real find. Not one Olds-powered diesel left in the whole town, so far.

With some trepidation, I will say that this Toronado is powered by a genuine Oldsmobile 307 V8 (he ducks for cover). The ’81 through ’84s came standard with the Buick 4.1 L V6, but that was discontinued for ’85. Not surprisingly, since with 125 hp and weighing just shy of 4,000 lbs, the V6 was a poky pig. Still beat the pig in a poke diesel option by a light-year.

The 140 hp V8 didn’t exactly set the front wheels on fire either. But Toronado buyers by this time were looking for something other than excitement. What exactly was it they were looking for? Style, comfort, a long hood? Some 42k buyers found it with the ’85, but for the last time, as Toronado sales crashed with the new micro-Toro that appeared for ’86. So could we say that in a way, this is really the last true Toronado? Or is that stretching things?

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  • Johninfla Johninfla on Mar 31, 2016

    I've personally owned 1967, 1974 and 1984 Toronados and driven all three of the versions (Eldorado, and Riviera as well) and I must say the generation of Toronado mentioned here felt very much like the original as far as road manners although severely lacking in power. The Eldorado and Riviera had different feel to them, hard to describe but if you drove all three you would know what I mean. My friends parents had an Eldorado and someone I worked for at that time had the Turbo charged V-6 Riviera and they all had a unique brand feel. Funny how with most of the online articles the cars pictured are pretty sad looking. Curious as there are still many examples out there that are quite respectable condition wise. I have to wonder if that is just to lend credence to the degrading comments that follow. Enough said on that. At one time in my life I would buy and sell cars many times, an average of 3 per year. Cadillacs were always my favorite car, but I've owned just about everything else. The eighties were pathetic for performance in MANY brands. I was in my twenties in the eighties and there wasn't a make of automobile I didn't test drive and if I liked it enough I bought it. I buried myself in some of them, but always found a way out. The experience was worth every penny! I was amazed at how the German car makers could get so much power out of their 6 cylinder engines let alone their V-8s and our engines were so pathetic in power output. Then there were the turbo-charged 4 cylinders from Europe. But then again we weren't interested in that, or were we? Back to the 3rd generation Toronado, it was the last of an era, the last of that open long stretch of road cruising machine. Well mannered, not upsetting, not exciting, but comfortable. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and apart from the original generation Toronado they have never been exciting to look at, but there is a following for all of the years they were built.


    I just purchased a 1985 Oldsmobile Toronado from Copart in San Jose, in the exact same color combination as this one featured here. It has 68,000 miles and starts and runs like new. Just another car passed on from a family with no idea of the quality vehicle they just let go. Bought it for only $625. My last 1985 Toronado was the Caliente version that I bought in 1997 for $1700. It was traded in for a new 1997 Eighty-Eight LSS like mine. The owner was happy to get $1,700, the same he had received for his 1974 Ninety-Eight when he had bought this Toronado in 1985. I now have four Toronados! 1984 and 1985 Toronados have the same grille. The Caliente grilles are different from the standard one but also the same both years.

  • TheEndlessEnigma GM, Ford and Stellantis have significant oversupply of product sitting on dealer lots and banked up in holding yards across the country. Big 3 management is taking advantage of UAW's action to bring their inventories inline to what they deem reasonable. When you have models pushing 6 months of supply having your productions lines shut down by a strike is not something that's going to worry you. UAW does not have any advantages here, but they are directly impacting the financial well being of their membership. Who will be the first to blink? Those UAW members waving the signs around and receiving "strike pay" that is, what, 20% of their wages? UAW is screwing up this time around.
  • CEastwood Seven mil nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight for oil changes and such and the thicker heavy duty gripper gloves from Wally World for most everything else . Hell we used to use no gloves for any of that and when we did it was usually the white cloth gloves bought by the dozen or the gray striped cuff ones for heavy duty use . Old man rant over , but I laugh when I see these types of gloves in a bargain bin at Home Cheapo for 15 bucks a pair !
  • Not Previous Used Car of the Day entries that spent decades in the weeds would still be a better purchase than this car. The sucker who takes on this depreciated machine will learn the hard way that a cheap German car is actually a very expensive way to drive around.
  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks