Mike & Jean Frederick's 1966 Toronado Deluxe

This is the last image of my 66 Toronado Deluxe before it disappeared into my garage for "The Great Toronado Overhaul". As you can see, the rear quarter panels are starting to get a little rough... and this is the good side. As I was going over the car, surveying the damage, I started to think about all the things I had read about the days when the car was still in development...


The team responsible for the engineering the of the XP-784 (as the project was designated) was headed by Harold Metzel and later by John Beltz. The original style design of the Toronado was overseen by William L Mitchell and based on the drawings of "that flame-red car" of Stan Wilen and others.

I have begun to toy with the idea of what Mitchell, Metzel, and Beltz would do with the XP-784 if they were beginning the design of the car today -- almost 40 years later. In the late fifties and sixties, car designers were limited by many things we take for granted today. All headlamps were round, electronics was minimal, and automobile computers were simply unheard of.

While I totally agree the concept and design of the car were excellent, I have begun to question how many of the "finish details" were simply dictated by the available technology of the time. Would the headlights have been round if another type were available? Would the dashboard have been analog? Would drum brakes still have been the order of the day?

Then there is a few things I've just never been fond of. The pop-up headlamps for one. The car looks great during the day but at night it takes on the characteristics of a four-eyed Sprite -- totally at odds with the lines of the car. And I never liked the phony scoops over the headlight doors.

"The Heretic"

So with all of the above in mind, the plan has become:

Paint: As envisioned by Stan Wilen on "that flame-red car", the car will be red. Since the early prototypes did not include bumpers and IMHO the chrome of the production bumpers detracts from the lines of the car, the bumpers will be painted to match. Paint side drip gutters red. Grille, wiper blades, front & rear window moldings, and chrome strips on quarter windows will be blacked out. Body seams will be filled where appropriate. Undecided: Flames. ;-)

Front Exterior: Air Scoops (Eyebrows): Remove existing metal inserts, replace with fiberglass replicas, add ventilation ducts to the carburetor aircleaner.

Headlights: Replace pop-up headlamps with quad rectangular halogens relocated and hidden behind the grille. Remove old headlamp doors and fill holes.

Bumper: Enlarge existing center bumper inlet. Remove left and right rubber inserts and enlarge holes. Addition of an airdam and ducts to provide additional cooling to the front brakes. Maybe driving/fog lamps.

Rear Exterior: Undecided: relocation of license plate and installation of a full width facia panel and lamp bezel (though relocating the gas filler would present a problem).

Side Exterior: Remove chrome door guards and fender trim, update side mirror(s). Remove chrome rocker panel moulding and replace with airdams.

Interior: Conversion of analog gauges to digital (though the thought of replacing the drum speedo and the Wonderbar is a sticking point). The idea of a Heads Up Display is an interesting idea. Dark tint windows IAW Florida motor vehicle code. Undecided: replacement of Stratobench with buckets.

Mechanicals: Port, polish, balance the motor, addition of a somewhat "streetable" cam.

Conversion of break system to a dual master cylinder with adjustable proportioning, replace drums with four wheel disk brakes. Addition of air shocks to rear suspension, possibly with active adjustment.

Undecided: final compression ratio and installation of a gas bottle or a supercharger (if I don't go broke first), and maybe even the replacement of the rear suspension with an independent suspension.




After some spirited discussion with other Toroheads, it became apparent that what I was setting out to do was nothing short of heresy to our purists. So the car has come to be called "The Heretic". I think I'll add an "XP" next to the Toronado logo or maybe a "784" (Hey, if they can have 442s, I can have a 7 liter V8 with a 4 barrel!)

So when it emerges from the garage in a year (more or less), it'll be one very mean (and NON cushy!) red Toronado with black trim. This won't be no Lexus, baby!

You can read about how I came to be a Torohead and the story of how I came to own this particular Toronado in Thirty Years Remembered at the Toro web site.

PS: Much thanks to the Brycemeister, Greg B, and Dave V for their support and for putting up with the likes of me and the those other Greg(gggg)s.

Mike Frederick Edison3
7502 Armand Circle
Tampa, FL 33634
Send flames to: edison3@cpeq.com