My Classic Car: Mark’s 1978 Oldsmobile Toronado

Low-VIN car now needs a lot of TLC
Low-VIN car now needs a lot of TLC
Low-VIN car now needs a lot of TLC

I worked at Clark Oldsmobile in West Palm Beach, Florida, right after graduating high school in 1978. This (formerly) beautiful but still rare and unusual Oldsmobile Toronado came in for service and oil changes.

I gave the owner my name and number and told him to call if he ever wanted to sell it. In 1980 he did, and my dad purchased it. They drove it very little.

I purchased it in 1994 from them. In 2003, I went thru it as far as tune-up, tires, exhaust and other cosmetics. Other than that it was gorgeous and like new.

I made a move out of state and stored the car and other things at my parents. Unfortunately, my father and I had a “falling out” and he refused to let me get my cars (and four antique wood boats).

After he passed away several months ago, I went to get the car and it was in pretty sad shape. Instead of being worth $8-10K, I have sold it for $2,450 to a man in New Mexico. It has surface rust on the whole top part of all the panels. It still is original paint but will have to be brought down to the metal and resprayed.

Here’s the wild part: I really never looked at the VIN until selling it to the new owner. The last five digits are: 00005. It was the fifth Toronado made that year. Incredible.

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— Mark Houseman, Hahira GA

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