Posted at the Cohort, by Nathan Williams.
More on the Toronado:
Curbside Classic: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado – Personal Luxury, Oldsmobile Style
Just another front wheel drive car like all the others… 🙂
Noooooooooo! “all the others” don’t have big block V8’s mounted north/south (with the exception of the Eldorado). I do get what you mean though LOL!
AND this drive system was robust enough for a 12,000 pound motorhome.
Yes, EXACTLY as I was thinking. Thanks for accurately challenging the original poster’s hamfisted dismissal of GM front wheel drive vehicles. The GMC Motorhome was a work of art, and of course the Toronado led the path.
These look so much better without the vinyl roof.
In ’67, the Toro nose beginning that devolution away, from the gorgeous original ’66 front view.
This pic (below), being one of the prettiest early Toronado photos, I’ve found on the web.
It is a “Odsoble” according to the hood label.
Headlight doors were brought flush with the header panel in 67 to alleviate issues with ice buildup. the crosshatch replacing the horizontal lines on the grille and taillights was just due to having to make changes year to year. The vinyl roof covering was unnecessary, but offered simply because vinyl roofs were a popular item at the time.
Overall I prefer the ’67’s styling due to the cleaner headlamp doors. But the real reason to choose the ’67 over a ’66 is front disk brakes finally being available, albeit still on the options list.
I was always fascinated with the Toronado and Eldorado. They debuted GM’s first implementation of FWD, which was a longitude-FWD layout known as the Unified Powerplant Package (UPP). Basically, the engine sat beside the transmission, and the transmission sort of bent around it and routed power forward, with (I believe) a reversed gearset. They also had a sort of semi-length frame that truncated prior to the rear wheels.
Ironically, the Riviera shared the E-body platform, but retained a longitude-RWD platform and the X frame (otherwise retired within GM after 1964) through 1970. After that, it was a B/E-body hybrid through 1976 and a B-body for 1977-1978…before finally adopting the UPP in 1979-1985, the last generation of that layout.
(Also, Rich, I’ve submitted a new article in the WordPress portal; feel free to email me if you have any questions!)
The Toronado was one of those rare cars that got worse-looking every year.
Agreed! The original 1966 one was gorgeous; subsequent years, iteratively less so. I wasn’t a fan of the 70s generations at all, and didn’t start liking it again until the downsized, squared-off 1979-1985.
Yes, so true. The original ’66 was such as stunner. And the ’67 wasn’t too much different, but you could get the disk brakes.
Love the pictured blue (called Marina Blue on Chevys, don’t recall what Olds called it).
The Riviera was another one. Both were home runs the first year and all future, yearly, mandatory efforts to “freshen” them made them worse.
I would submit the ’70 bucked that trend, I always liked it, anyway.
CC Effect? Two weekends ago, I was returning home after dark when I passed the unmistakable silhouette of a first generation Toronado on a busy urban interstate. Only a fleeting glimpse, but quite satisfying as it’s been decades since I’ve seen one of these in the wild. Sadly, traffic prevented me from maneuvering to get a closer look.
I really like the blue on the featured Toronado. Amazing that it’s so far from home and in such great condition.
That color was popular on the “Vega” later “in time”. Chevette used a different hue/tone. (pretty close though)
GM’s Bill Mitchell commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro, working for Ghia at the time, to design the 1967 Oldsmobile Thor concept. You can see the clear Italian influence.
Sadly, I suspect the split-grille nose of the Thor may have been an inspiration for the heavy-handed/garish Toronado nose for 1968.
That probably explains it!
This is why implementation matters. A car should, whenever possible, be viewed as a cohesive design. That’s because a particular styling element can either be beautiful or horrendous, depending on its application.
It’s the same thing I tell people who liken the BMW X6 to a Pontiac Aztek, and can’t understand why the Aztek failed while the X6 is in its third generation. (I don’t even think they’re really the same *shape*).
Design departments are accountable to marketing and sales, in company hierarchies. Why it takes strong art directors/design managers, to push back. Ensuring, the best calls are made, in situations like this. Toronado styling was never the same, after the first year.
1968 Olds Toronado. This thing is a beast. (Not in a good way. lol)
That bumper-grille was awful, the way it was plastered on and obliterated the knife-edge fenders.
Also, in the recent “A Series of Unfortunate Events” Netflix series, Count Olaf (the main villain) and his henchmen drive a beat-up, matte grey Toronado. Unfortunately, it’s the 1968 one with the ugly wraparound bumper, and not the far-prettier 1967 pictured here.
It’s been a long time since I read the books when our kids were young, but I thought Count Olaf drove a van. And in the movies, an Imperial.
In the books, Lemony Snickett mentions the Baudelaires being trapped in Count Olaf’s caravan with the carnival “Freaks,” but he’s referring to a trailer attached to a vehicle, not a Dodge Caravan.
As far as the movie, yes. But the ASOUE Netflix series more or less ignores the 2004 movie with Jim Carey and establishes its own cannon that better matches that of the books.
I used to prefer the 1967 to the 1966 in its entirety, but now think that the 1966 header panel with 1967’s grille and tail lamp texture would be my fave. I especially like the way the grid is laid out on the rear lamps, with each group of 12 cubes being divided into its own subsection.
That owner is a true classic car lover!
Earlier the better, as is usually the case.
The vinyl roof changes the look of this car completely. But not in a good way. I am not reflexively anti-vinyl roof, as I think some cars look quite good with them (in the way many 1950’s cars carried off two-tone paint schemes quite well). Vinyl roofs just don’t work on these.
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