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Fixer Upper: 1966 Olds Toronado Part 2

With a quick hose off of the dirt the old girl shows some promise.
With a quick hose off of the dirt the old girl shows some promise.

First Inspection

Our Project 1966 Oldsmobile Torodado Fixer Upper arrived recently but it would not start. It had to be pushed off of the multi-car hauler. However, as soon as we got it in the driveway, shot a spray of raw gas into the carb and hooked up a jumper battery it fired right up. It ran poorly but did start and did drive up the road and into our garage.

The old Olds was pretty dirty when it arrived but the body is straight and solid with some minor flaws.
The old Olds was pretty dirty when it arrived but the body is straight and solid with some minor flaws.

It was very dirty from sitting outside for what appeared to be a rather long time. It also appears that the previous owner had done some work on the car to get it to run. The fluids all looked fresh and the carb looked as if it had been cleaned and gone through. The plug wires and distributor cap also looked clean and fresh. We did not pull and spark plugs or remove the distributor cap. However, the radiator was dry, not a good sign. It is also an expensive sign.

 

The 425 CI V8 runs and should need little work.
The 425 CI V8 runs and should need little work.

This was a concern so I filled it with water only even with the cold temperatures; no sense wasting good antifreeze. I wanted to see if there was a leak and sure enough, immediately there was a puddle under the radiator. A few choice words from me and I shut the hood and moved on.

When I cooled down, I came back with a screw driver and tightened the lower radiator hose clamp a quarter turn and the leak stopped. It never returned! Now, if the rest of the repairs will be that easy this will be fun.

The dash pad is cracked and some of the gauges don't work and there is a crack in the steering wheel.
The dash pad is cracked and some of the gauges don’t work and there is a crack in the steering wheel.

Here is a list of what else I found:

  1. The hood latch handle under the front bumper is a vice grip!
  2. Of the four wheels only one has a hub cap and trim ring and they are in an unusable condition.
  3. The windshield wipers are unacceptable with no rubber on them.
  4. The door and trunk seals are terrible.
  5. Chrome on the rear bumper is very poor and the front bumper is marginal.
  6. The exhaust has some minor leaks.
  7. The rear seat back will need repairs.
  8. The headliner will need to be replaced.
  9. The carpet will need to be replaced.
  10. Steering Wheel has a crack but the horn works!
  11. The body though sound does have some minor rust in:
    • driver door lower corner
    • LR quarter around wheel well lip
    • RR quarter around wheel well lip
    • rear lip of trunk

      The trunk lid rear edge does have some rust but should be salvageable.
      The trunk lid rear edge does have some rust but should be salvageable.
    • small area under the back seat in the floor

      Another typical rust blemish.
      Another typical rust blemish.
  12. The opening headlights don’t open or close.
  13. RR power quarter window does not work.
  14. Dash pad is cracked.
  15. Gas gauge is broken, no needle.
  16. None of the rear lights work and other electrical issues appear to be a problem.
  17. The exterior paint is fair but will need lots of touch up.
  18. The tires are acceptable.

    This is typical of the rust found in the body.
    This is typical of the rust found in the body.
  19. The brakes are terrible making the car unsafe to drive.
  20. The air conditioning system will need attention.
I always liked the looks of these cars. When they were new you either hated the design or loved it. Their main competition was the Buick Riviera and Ford Thunderbird.
I always liked the looks of these cars. When they were new you either hated the design or loved it. Their main competition was the Buick Riviera and Ford Thunderbird.

In Part 3 we will take on some of the repairs. First things first, we have to be able to drive the car and be safe. Once it is safe and fun to drive we will move on to cosmetics and dressing her up.

Continued in Part 3

To Start with Part 1, Click Here.

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Richard

I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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2 Comments

  1. Very interested in the progress of this resto, is it still ongoing or has it been completed? Thanks! – Jack (NW Indiana)

  2. We didn’t get too far into the project when we had the opportunity to trade it even up for a Corvette. That we did and then swapped the Corvette off for another car.

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