Junkyard Find: 1990 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1990 oldsmobile toronado trofeo

The pre-1990 Troféo had a shorter trunk than today’s Junkyard Find, but the same Buick V6 engine and not-so-great 1980s GM build quality. The General hoped to steal away some buyers of German luxury cars with the Troféo, but (as with so many of GM’s plans of the era) sales were on the disappointing side.

I found this ’90 Troféo in a Northern California self-service junkyard. My cousin from Minnesota was with me, and he said these things were once status symbols in his state (Minnesotans also loved the Buick Reatta)… but they’ve all rusted away by now.

The 3800 was quite reliable and fairly powerful, but not quite up to the smoothness level that earlier generations expected from their Rocket V8s.

This one doesn’t have the very cool touchscreen instrument display, which is disappointing— I might have pulled it for my collection of weird instrument clusters.

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  • Darkhorse Darkhorse on Apr 20, 2012

    I worked with a guy who bought one of these new in 1989. I did not think it was a bad car. It had a lot of front seat leg room (not so much in the back) and was quite comfortable for two 6 foot plus 200 pounders. But I often thought what has happened to GM? I remember the first gen Toronado. How could it have morphed into the Trefeo?

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Apr 21, 2012

    A few years back I considered one of these to replace my 87 T-Bird. I have always been a personal luxury coupe fan having once owned a 80 Toronado so I figured I'd consider the newer model. Liked the styling and comfort, they handled great but the build quality, mainly electronic issues and cheap Roger Smith era plastics made me leary. So I just bought another T-Bird a 95 LX 4.6 and have been content with it. It's too bad GM never offered these with the 3800 SC which was 200-240 HP vs the 165 HP 3800 to differnate these from the pack since they were Olds halo car and the Toronado was always perceived as cutting edge.

  • Lou_BC Once again, Mustang is the last pony car standing. Camaro RIP, Challenger RIP.
  • FreedMike Next up should DEFINITELY be the Cadillac Eldorado. On the subject of Caddies, I saw a Lyriq in person for the first time a couple of days ago, and I'm changing my tune on its' styling. In person, it works quite well, and the interior is very nicely executed.
  • Probert Sorry to disappoint: https://robbreport.com/motors/cars/tesla-model-y-worlds-best-selling-vehicle-1234848318/and any list. of articles with a 1 second google search. It's a tough world out there - but you can do it!!!!!!
  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.