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1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT
(W34 High Performance Package)

Separating the facts from the myths

Image: 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado

Above: 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado

Image: 1970 Toronado GT hood badge
1970 OLDSMOBILE TORONADO GT AT A GLANCE:


Production: 5,341
Option Price: $47.39
Engine: Oldsmobile Rocket 455 CID V-8
Engine Block Code: F
Heads Casting Code: E
Horsepower: 400 @ 4800 rpm
Final Drive: 3.07
Transmission: Special Turbo Hydra-Matic (TH-425)

The 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado had a GT designation available, which was a high performance option package offered by the factory that can be identified by the RPO code W34 on original build documents. RPO stands for "Regular Production Option" which means it was available without a special order, and cars built for dealer stock could have this option included. The GT/W34 option is highly sought after and adds a slight premium to the value of a 1970 Toronado. As such, there has been a lot of misinformation about them over the years, so this page was created to help clarify just exactly what a Toronado GT is—and isn't.

INCLUDED WITH THE 1970 TORONADO GT PACKAGE:

1. Rocket 455 CID V-8 Engine with 400 Horsepower, Larger Intake Valves, and Performance Cam (Oldsmobile Part #400165)

2. Special Turbo Hydra-Matic 425 Automatic Transmission with a Higher Stall Speed Torque Converter (identified by code "OM")

3. Rear Bumper Cut-Outs for Standard Dual Exhaust System

4. "GT" Badge on Hood to Right of Standard "TORONADO" Emblem

5. Color-Keyed Dual Wide/Narrow Stripes Outlining the Rectilinear Wheel Openings

The GT option provides an additional 25 horsepower boost over the standard Rocket 455 CID V-8 engine (400 on GT vs. stock 375). This was accomplished by using larger intake valves, a high performance cam, and a higher stall speed torque converter. That's it. The 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado W34 High Performance Package [link opens in new window] included cold air induction, but that item was used only in 1968, and wasn't included on the 1969 or 1970 Toronados with the W34 option.

For 1970, the Toronado GT came with a new torque converter in the Special Turbo Hydra-Matic that reportedly improved the force of acceleration by 1500 lbs. at 5 mph, and held the engine speed at or near the peak torque speed for a greater period of time.

1970 OLDSMOBILE TORONADO GT MYTHS:

Myth #1: The 1970 Toronado GT option was only available on the Custom (9687) model.

Fact: The GT/W34 option was available on all Toronados, regardless of model (base 9487 Toronado, or Custom 9687 Toronado). ANY Toronado could be ordered with the RPO W34 option, regardless of model.

Myth #2: The 1970 Toronado GTs were all painted Nugget Gold Metallic.

Fact: The Toronado GT was available with all standard and optional exterior colors offered on the 1970 Toronado, and a handful were ordered with special paint, so the color of the car was not a consideration.

Myth #3: The Toronado GT required a vinyl roof and/or bucket seats.

Fact: The Toronado GT option could be ordered regardless of whether or not the car was equipped with a bare (painted) metal roof or the optional vinyl roof, a standard bench front seat or optional front bucket seats, and as we mentioned earlier, the GT option could be ordered on the base or Custom Toronado models.

Myth #4: The Toronado GT came with an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, heavy-duty radiator, and/or heavy-duty suspension.

Fact: The 1970 Toronado GT option did not include any heavy duty components, but these parts were available as separate options, and may have been ordered more frequently on cars with the GT option, which is likely the basis for the confusion. However, remember the cost of the GT option was just $47.39, so you can't really expect that to include a lot of additional components. The Heavy-Duty Radiator (RPO Y72 was just $5.27 with air conditioning, or $57.93 extra without it. Heavy-Duty Suspension was $21.06 (RPO F41), and a (RPO M55) Auxiliary Automatic Transmission Oil Cooler was even offered for a mere $15.80. All were separate options not included with the W34 package.

Myth #5: The GT cars came with a special final drive designed for improved performance.

Fact: The standard Toronado final drive was provided on Toronado GTs.

A few statistics that 1970 Toronado GT devotees should be aware of:

1. The 1970 Toronado GT provided more horsepower per pound than any other production car built until the Cadillac Allanté.

2. 0-60 times of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 135 mph were reported by contemporary road test articles.

3. More Oldsmobile Toronados in 1970 were equipped with the GT/W34 option than in 1968 and 1969 combined.

HOW TO DOCUMENT AND VERIFY A 1970 OLDSMOBILE TORONADO:

The most obvious items are the GT badge on the hood and the stripes around the wheel openings, but if the car was repainted at some point in the past, the stripes may be gone, and of course the GT badge on the hood could have been added as well. The rear bumper cut outs are a good indication as well, but the bumper could have been replaced with a stock 1970 Toro bumper after an accident or possibly due to rust issues, or placed on a non-GT car by a previous owner. The most dependable way to authenticate an original GT is by checking the transmission code, which should be "OM" on factory Toronado GT vehicles. Standard Toronados will have a "OJ" transmission code.

The transmission plate is mounted on the left side of the transmission, where it has been riveted to the case. Check it for the letters "OM" and if you see them, that identifies the correct transmission code for a GT car. Near this tag, the VIN should be stamped into the transmission. That number should match the car VIN. Another step to verify is the VIN stamped on the engine block itself. To view this number, you have to remove the power steering pump bracket on the left side of the engine. Once this bracket is removed, you will be able to view the VIN, and it should match the number on the transmission.

Of course, the transmission and engine VINs should match the VIN on the car mounted on the dash panel on the driver's side, visible from outside the car. The VIN stamped into the frame should also match, but if the other numbers are all a match, you're probably pretty safe, and have verified a factory original 1970 Toronado GT. Remember that engines and transmissions may have been replaced or exchanged over the years, especially when the cars were newer and such things as matching numbers weren't as important. A numbers matching car will always be preferred over one that isn't.