brad w 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado Deluxe 2dr Sport Coupe

Too good to come true

I had my heart set on buying a "must sell" 1960's car for a fun project and found a 1969 Buick Riviera on craigslist. The ad stated "it doesn't run, but it only needs a battery and plug wires" to get it going again [Sounds plausible, right? Especially seeing a picture with the distributor cap and rotor off as well as the engine hood removed]. We had an appointment set for me to see it 1-1-16 but he didn't call. Surprised and disappointed I looked on CL again, out of curiosity I typed Oldsmobile and up popped a 1966 Toronado Deluxe from New Mexico with a picture of an engine that couldn't be possible. There's no way a 50 year old car can have an engine bay that clean. The car too had almost no rust, new tires on the original all chrome wheels with all 4 center caps. The ad also mentioned the interior is pretty bad and the brakes are soft. I called and asked if it would be safe to drive home 2 hours away, he replied "I wouldn't drive a car I don't know 2 hours away" you should have it towed. After driving it I'm not that pessimistic. I called a friend and asked if he would join me on a road trip to look at a car I want to buy. This is where true friendship shines, he said yes, I warned him that if I do buy it we might end up on the side of the road waiting hours for a wrecker, he said I understand. Thanks John A.!

We arrived just an hour before dusk armed with a big flashlight and all the cash I was willing to spend on this "too good to be true car" and then, there it was. I just got a body rush of goosebumps reliving the moment I saw this car. We get out of our warm car, I slip into my insulated coveralls and start to skeptically examine the car. The body was as good the pictures, so were the tires and the gorgeous original all chrome wheels with their center caps, wow. The interior was as bad as described and as bad as I expected, accompanied by the smell one would expect in a car that looked like that inside. We tested the lights and all of them worked except one high beam. Now it's time to look under the bonnet. There it is, exactly as pictured on CL and purring a little rough as one might expect, but it runs [the Riviera didn't, it needs a battery and plug wires]. At this point I'm ready to drop $2k, full asking price but I hold back and play the moment like cool hand Luke. I asked if he would follow me for a few miles so I can get a feel for the car, he agreed [I forgot to mention his ad stated no heat, and he was right, it was 12 degrees outside and one window didn't close]. I tested it a little and quickly agreed the brakes are soft but I believe I can make it home because it's almost all highway miles. We met back at his home I was convinced I would not and could not spend more cash than I brought $1,750. His price was $2k, I offered $1,200, he said "What!" No $1,800 I said I can go $1,400 he said $1,700 I said I something he said no $1,700! I believed that was the best I could do so I extended my hand and asked to see the title and his ID. He produced both we confirmed the VIN, I gave him the cash and we drove to the nearest gas station I got 20 bucks worth of mid grade and headed home. I was PUMPED, absolutely STOKED! I can't believe I just scored this Toronado from New Mexico in Wisconsin [ a registration slip in the working glove box showed it registered in NM good through 6-2015. It was a bitter cold 2+ hour drive home, so cold my body was tense from the cold, at least I had my insulated gear and gloves to help. The car made it all the way home without incident, I proudly backed it up my driveway, got out looked at this beautiful car then quickly went inside to warm up. BONUS, I noticed John's wife [Lisa] getting out of her car just as we arrived, WOW. John, as it turns out knows me well enough to have called his wife Lisa, anticipating my pain after driving over 2 hours in a car with no heat. Lisa came to pick him up. He was right, I was aching. They stayed for a while we ate, enjoyed conversation and a movie. That was a great way to top off an exciting road trip with a good friend. Thanks again John and Lisa.

It turns out the car was even better than I thought, I found out the next day when I took the car to Monroe Auto that the master cylinder was very low, they topped it off and instantly I had a full brake pedal it didn't even need bleeding. The mechanic pointed out the car has all new drums I thought "NICE" and he allowed me to shoot some video from under the car showing off how clean it is.

I've included my youtube videos of this incredible car {in my humble opinion}. I did get to drive some more and test it a little after the brakes were safe and I'm amazed that this car has power at almost any RPM. Wow what a car, and to think I almost bought that Riviera that just needs a battery and plug wires. That was God's intervention in His full glory, Thank you God.


Brad Wilkins

Waukesha WI

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