1974 Oldsmobile Toronado
Water color on 15 X 20 Canson paper
A front wheel drive Toronado was the car to drive especially during the winter months in MN. One of my business associates, Floyd Nolan from French Lake Auto Parts otherwise known as “Junk Town U.S.A.” specialized in Toronado’s. This is the second one I bought from him. I was the only independent garage in Wright County that had the tools and ability to fix those front wheel drives.
I don’t remember what happened with my second of three Toronados I owned as I must have sold it. Needing another one, I called Floyd up to see if he had one. He said,” We just brought one in from Minneapolis and it’s still on the flatbed”. Within fifteen minutes I was there to look at it. The car interior was in mint condition except the paint was in poor shape. The left cylinder head was in the trunk. With a little work, I thought this car would be a good one. I went in the office to see Floyd and said, “Leave it on the truck and bring it over to my garage in Cokato. It only cost me a few hundred dollars.
The cars had sewn in like couch cushions comfortable to sit and drive all day long that was standard for that year. The eight track stereo system sounded like Carnegie Hall. The car would go through ice and snow anywhere you aimed the front wheels. One time I was in Minneapolis with Hank Koivukangas during a blizzard. We were heading south on 494 and running about 70 miles per hour. We came over a hill and about 100 yards ahead, there were thirty or more cars all jammed up blocking both lanes of traffic. This car was not going to stop in time and become part of the pile up. I quickly noticed the left ditch as clear and mine. The snow was about three feet deep there so I told Hank, “I’m going to try something, so you can lie down on the floor if you want to. I entered the ditch gradually just enough to miss the nearest car and turned the wheels slight to the right to compensate the natural pull by the left wheel in deep snow. Immediately the windshield was covered with snow from the spinning front wheels. I reached forward to turn on the wipers. Before the windshield was clear, I felt the car get back on the roadway and clear of all the tangled cars. Hank never did lie down; I guess he wanted to see if I could pull it off. We looked at each other without saying anything and kept cruising, but a little slower now.
There’s another funny story about that car, but I’ll continue with it on my web site (andersoncarart.com) when I have time.