Oldsmobile Toronado

Bill Mitchell introduced Oldsmobile Toronado in 1966, in an attempt to create compact sport car according to David North design painting made four year earlier. Since the Oldsmobile management wanted it to compete with Buick Riviera and Ford Thunderbird, Toronado was ended up a full size vehicle.

There was one innovation that set it apart from all other models of the time. Oldsmobile Toronado was equipped with a front wheel drive which wasn't used on full size American models for at least thirty years.

Toronado model was a rather large vehicle that weighed 4,400 pounds and used a 119 inch wheelbase. Such heavy beauty needed something equally powerful to guarantee quality road performance. To balance the power, Oldsmobile engineers installed a 425 cu in engine capable of generating 385 horsepower.

Official tests showed it was reaching 0-60 mph between 8.5 and 9 seconds, with a top quarter mile speed of 135 mph. The Oldsmobile front wheel drive creation started back in 1958, designed originally for much smaller models.

Main reason why it ended up as a part of Toronado was overall development costs. Simply put, an expensive car could easily achieve additional profit that compensated for higher costs. Front wheel drive proved strong and reliable, leaving the average American customer in awe.

Oldsmobile Toronado was in development for almost seven years. Even the naming became a big deal, because the management wanted everything to be perfect. Several names such as Magnum or Raven were initially considered, but Toronado came out on top.

Other notable innovations were also produced during the development such as Turbo Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission, Quadrajet four barrel carburetor, more efficient exhaust system, Draft Free ventilation system, curved side glass, torsion bar front suspension and many more. Testing showed one real weakness in the drum brakes that were heating up when it came time to quickly stop this very heavy vehicle.

The following year Oldsmobile engineers installed vented disk brakes on the front, which solved the problem entirely. Another interesting aspect was somewhat extraordinary Unitized Power Package which combined the engine and transmission into the same sized bay. This required a modification of transmission system which was split with the torque converter in back of the engine and the gear box under the left cylinder bank.

Toronado interior design didn't have any special details. The model had elongated doors which secured easy entrance and door handles were mounted in the rear making them possible to open without reaching. Oldsmobile Toronado sales soared in 1966 with over 40,000 units delivered to eager American buyers. But public responded positively to competition models like Chevrolet Camaro as well, making the sales fall in half the following year.

Oldsmobile Toronado is definitely a highly desirable collector car. Capable of providing an unforgettable driving experience, prices for this classic model range greatly depending on age and condition of the vehicle. Still, this amazing Motor Trend Car of the Year 1966 winner remains an important piece of American automotive history.

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