Westrand Car Show - 1976 Oldsmobile Toronado

Oldsmobile Toronado

The Oldsmobile Toronado was a personal luxury car manufactured and marketed by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1966 to 1992 over four generations. The Toronado was noted for being the first American front wheel drive since the Cord of 1937

In 1966 the Toronado was placed third in the 1966 European Car of the Year competition. The Toronado also won the 1966” Motor Trend” Car of the Year award in the U.S. The 1963 Buick Riviera and the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado shared the same GM E platform with the Toronado and that platform was used for most of its 26-year history.

The name “Toronado” had no prior meaning and was originally selected for a 1963 Chevrolet show car.

First generation from 1966–1970
The Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His “Flame Red Car” was a compact sports/personal car never intended for production. A few weeks after the design was finished, however, Oldsmobile division was informed it would be permitted to build a personal car in the Riviera/Thunderbird class for the 1966 model year, and North’s design was selected

The first Toronado featured such GM innovations as:
Heavy-duty Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission (named THM425 in FWD form)
Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburettor.
Spherical shaped exhaust-manifold flange gaskets, which provided freedom of movement in the exhaust system and prevented leaks.
“Draft-Free” ventilation system, which reduced wind noise considerably by eliminating conventional front-door triangular window vents.
Firestone designed an 8.85″ x 15″ tire especially for the Toronado called the TFD (Toronado-Front-Drive) tire. It had a stiffer sidewall than normal, and the tread and stylishly thin white pin-stripe were also unique.

Second generation 1971–1978.
With heavily revised styling from the first generation, the Toronado transitioned from a “GT”-style car into a more traditional luxury car. It was now more similar to the Cadillac Eldorado than the Buick Riviera, with styling taking several cues from the 1967–70 Eldorado. Sales increased dramatically. Front disc brakes became standard.

This generation was probably helped in the sales race by the radical and controversial “boat-tail” design of the contemporary Buick Riviera, since during this period the Toronado outsold its Buick cousin for the first time. However, the higher-priced Cadillac Eldorado managed to outsell the Toronado in most of these years.

Third generation 1979–1985
The third generation Toronado was substantially downsized, losing nearly 1,000 lb (450 kg) and more than 20 in (510 mm) in length.

Westrand Car Show - 1984 Oldsmobile Toronado
1984 Oldsmobile Toronado

Independent rear suspension (designed by Cadillac engineers) was adopted for the new car, which helped to increase usable rear-seat and boot space in the smaller body, as well as improved handling over previous Toronados with no sacrifice in ride quality. Rear disc brakes were optional.

Fourth generation 1986–1992
The final generation Toronado made its debut in 1985 for the 1986 model year. It was even smaller on the outside, lost its body-on-frame construction in favour of a unibody platform, and was the first Toronado since 1969 to feature hidden headlights. For the first time ever V8 engines were gone, with the fuel-injected version of the Buick 231 cu in (3.8 L) V6 now the only power IMAGE plant available. The new Toronado also came with a nearly 16% price increase over the 1985 model.

Westrand Car Show - 1991 Oldsmobile Tornado
1991 Oldsmobile Tornado

Inside, a new digital instrument panel and optional voice alert system were employed and the same luxury features were offered as standard equipment and options as before. Standard seating was a cloth 60/40 bench with centre armrest. For the first time since 1970, Strato bucket seats were offered as an option, and they included a full-length centre console with a horseshoe-like “basket handle” gear shift similar to that found in some 1960s and 1970s Buicks and Chevrolets.

Jetway 707 Limousine

During the late 1960’s (1968–70), the only Oldsmobile professionally made into a limousine was the Toronado, known as the AQC Jetway 707. The 707 rode on six wheels. Between 52 and 150 were believed to have been built.

Westrand Car Show - Oldsmobile Toronado AQC Jetway 1968
Oldsmobile Toronado AQC Jetway 1968
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1966 Oldsmobile Toronado – Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA [CC BY 2.0]
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado – Doug Fawley [CC BY 3.0]
1976 Oldsmobile Toronado – Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA [CC BY 2.0]
1984 Oldsmobile Toronado – Hyline79 [CC BY-SA 3.0]
1991 Oldsmobile Tornado – dave7 from Lethbridge, Canada [CC BY 2.0]
1968 Oldsmobile Jetway – Buch-t [CC BY 3.0]