Oldsmobile W-Powered Muscle Cars: The W-34s

The Toronados in 1966 had a low-profile intake manifold and spherical exhaust-manifold flange gaskets, which supposedly made leaks less likely to occur. They also had a TH425 three-speed automatic gearbox.


W-34s made in ’68 offered a Tornado performance option, but only around 100 were built. The most popular Toronado was the W-34 model of 1968–1970, which featured a hotter cam and Oldsmobile’s trademark under-bumper cold-air scoops.


1969 W-34s had cutouts in the rear bumper for dual exhaust in addition to a squared off front grille design and rear fenders.


The year following carried an identical motor to its ’69 counterpart yet had the highest horsepower rating Oldsmobile has put in any of its production cars ever: 400 hp! Furthermore, it was known as the GT, and its 455 was the only Olds engine ever rated as having 400 horsepower. Earlier Toronados were powered by 425-inch V-8s with either 385 (1966-1967), 375 (1968-1969), or 385 hp (1968-1969).


Subframes had not been in use until the introduction of the Toronado, which enabled the vehicle to maintain its protection from the road. This was not the only unique addition to the Toronados, though—they also had specialty tires designed by Firestone with white stripes and stiffer sidewalls.


Its Car of the Year award in 1966 was due to not only the previously mentioned features but also its ability to accelerate to a high speed in a short amount of time.


When Cadillac copied the Toronado’s front-drive system with their Eldorado, there was a sharp decrease in Toronado sales.


Once the W-34 option was administered to the public in 1968 with larger intake valves, a special performance camshaft, and a unique cold air induction system, people again began to see the value in the Toronados. Few were built in this first year of presenting the W-34 option, but they made a comeback in the following years with thousands of Toronados being made instead of the hundred or so produced in 1968.


Second-gen Toronados had less power with an increase in size and weight. They were considered to have a style and look similar to a luxury vehicle.


There were third and fourth gens as well, in 1979 and 1986, which actually shrunk in body size.


Production of the Toronado lasted until 1992.

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