Feb 26, 2015
Gary P. Garry
Comments Off on Personal Luxury: The Oldsmobile Toronado

Personal Luxury: The Oldsmobile Toronado


When I was approaching the age when I could get my drivers license for the first time, I spent a lot of time formulating my automotive dreams. Admittedly, some of the cars that caught my eye were going to be out of reach, but I definitely formulated a wish list.

My basketball coach drove a very sweet Cadillac Eldorado, and to me, the Eldorado from the 1970s was the quintessential cool ride. It had the luxurious, modern interior, the sleek, sporty body style, and the unmistakable Cadillac mystique.

The Eldorado was considered to be a personal luxury car. These vehicles were typically two-door coupes or convertibles, and they mixed sports car styling with luxury car amenities. It is said that the first personal luxury car was the Ford Thunderbird, a car that made its debut for the 1955 model year.

Since I had a thing for the Cadillac Eldorado early on, I noticed a look-alike on the roadways at some point, and it really got my attention. The car was the Oldsmobile Toronado, and I am still enamored with the look of this vehicle.

Oldsmobile was a division of General Motors. The company was originally founded by Ransom E. Olds all the way back in 1897, and it made a lot of history before GM put the division out of commission in 2004. They introduced the Toronado for the 1966 model year, and the similarity to the Eldorado was no coincidence; they were both built on the same platform.

The Oldsmobile Toronado was the brainchild of a designer named David North, who originally hatched the idea in an artistic rendering. It featured a three speed Turbo-Hydramatic tranny and a Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor.

As for power, the 1966 Toronado had a 385 horsepower, 425 cubic inch Super Rocket V8 under the hood. It produced some impressive performance given the weight of the car, with a zero to 60 time of 7.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 16.4 seconds.

The experts were duly impressed. Motor Trend gave the Toronado its prestigious Car of the Year award in 1966, and it also won an award for engineering excellence. Just under 41,000 units were sold during that initial model year.

The Oldsmobile Toronado lasted through the 1992 model year, but in my estimation, after 1985 the car was anything but sexy. At the same time, if I can get my hands on a Toronado from the glory years, I may have to pounce. A fully restored 1966 or 1967 Toronado would look pretty good in my driveway.

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