HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1983 Olds Toronado well-kept low-mileage example

Pick of the Day: 1983 Olds Toronado well-kept low-mileage example

The front-wheel-drive personal luxury car appears to be in original condition


According to a study by the London-based automotive business intelligence firm JATO Dynamics, as of April 2020, about half of new vehicles sold in the United States are all-wheel drive.  This may not come as a surprise given the American affinity for crossovers and SUVs in recent years. 

But not far behind, front-drivers comprise about 40 percent of new vehicles sold.  Rear-wheel-drive vehicles now make up fewer than 10 percent.   Those numbers looked vastly different 55 years ago, when Oldsmobile pioneered the first post-WWII American front-wheel-drive vehicle in the form of a two-door “personal luxury car” called the Toronado. 

The Pick of the Day is a third-generation 1983 Oldsmobile Toronado with only 46,000 miles on it, listed for sale by a dealer in Jefferson, Wisconsin on ClassicCars.com

This example in Dark Maple Metallic could be one of the best-kept left in existence, and the seller describes in detail the merits of its condition.

 “The car starts, runs and drives wonderfully,” the ad states.  “The car has certainly been garage kept its entire life.  This is a car to be proud of.  It will be well-received at any car show.” 


Aside from an inoperative power antenna, everything is said to be in working order, and the seller is including a replacement antenna along with the sale of the car. 

Mechanically, it sounds like a turn-key collector car.  The seller states that the Michelin tires are new, the belts and battery have been changed recently, and the air conditioning works. 

“It should be driven and enjoyed,” the seller concludes.


The Toronado lost size – and weight, to the tune of about 1,000 pounds – as it went into its third generation for the 1979 model year, its platform shared with the Buick Riviera and Cadillac Eldorado.  Most Toronados, including this one, came equipped with the 350cid V8. 

But the innovations that went into the Toronado extended beyond its drivetrain configuration; an independent rear suspension was adopted at the same time to improve handling and increase cabin and trunk space. 

The Toronado name has been gone since 1992, and the Oldsmobile brand was wiped out entirely by General Motors in 2004.  But the Toronado’s innovative drivetrain set the wheels in motion – literally – for a new way of thinking about automotive engineering.  The seller is asking $8,995 for this example.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie is a Phoenix-based automotive enthusiast who has been writing for The Journal since 2016. His favorite automotive niche is 1980s and 1990s Japanese cars, and he is a self-diagnosed “Acura addict” since he owns a collection of Honda and Acura cars from that era. Tyson can usually be found on weekends tinkering on restoration projects, attending car shows, or enjoying the open road. He publishes videos each week to his YouTube channel and is also a contributing author to Arizona Driver Magazine, KSLCars.com, NSX Driver Magazine, and other automotive publications. His pride and joy is a 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe with nearly 600,000 miles on the odometer, but he loves anything on four wheels and would someday like to own a 1950 Buick Special like his late grandfather’s.


  1. Well, I wonder who installed a 350 in it? 1980 was the last use of aal olds 350, after that, the 307 (olds engine) took over as the only available V-8.

    Gert, welcome to the 70’s-80’s carbureted vehicles! 🤗

    • It was standard for 79-80. You could still get it but it was a special order from 81-85. Same went for the Riviera and Eldorado’s. Just like the sunroof and vinyl 1/2 tops. I miss these days where you can build them to your spec’s not just buy off lot and roll lol.

  2. I may be wrong, but I believe the Auburn-Cord was the first American made front wheel drive vehicle, and it was several decades ahead of the GM Toranado.

    • That is totally true. Cord built FWD cars in the 20s and 30s. Please pardon our dumb error. ‘Post WWII’ was added to that reference.

  3. Who ya think installed a 350 in it you morons ?
    Most were made by General Motors with 5.7.
    That’s the problem with classic cars now every other guy is a dealer or an expert

  4. Scott was right,1979-1980 had 350 v8 engines.1981-1985 had the 307 olds engine.I owned a1982 with the 307 and it had farely good pickup and go,with respectable gas mileage.I’ve also owned a1978 Toronado with the 403 cid and it wasn’t quite as quick as the 1982 off the line but faster at the higher end speeds.1981-? also could be had with the 3.8 Ltd v-6,and a neighbor of ours had one which he said got 25+ mpg on the highway.Not bad for the times as these were still relatively heavy although downsized.Nice hearing everybody’s comments!

    • Then there was something wrong with your 403, as a 403 would wax a 307 in all aspects, and should have fried the front tires off of the car. There would be no comparison between the two.

  5. That was my blunder on the Cord oversight – and thanks Bob for making a clarifying correction in the piece. Thanks all for the constructive commentary! Glad to see an old Olds getting some attention.

  6. Yes, this would be an Olds 5.0 liter, 307c.i. and NOT a 5.7 liter, 350c.i. engine, if it is the stock motor under the hood. Oldsmobile never factory installed a 350 into this year car.

  7. Then there was something wrong with your 403, as a 403 would wax a 307 in all aspects, and should have fried the front tires off of the car. There would be no comparison between the two.

  8. A real challenge to work on. My dad pulled the engine on an older model – not sure what year, or reason for engine removal. Somebody who worked on the car previously (or on the assembly line) left a message on the front of the torque converter. Printed in bright yellow marking paint was “You Poor F*cker”!


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