Leading the field; CLASSIC CARS This week: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado.Byline: IAN JOHNSON Ian Johnson may refer to:
BACK in 1966, the great American manufacturer Oldsmobile - famed for being a showcase of American technical prowess - unveiled a sensation. The word 'wow' echoed around the car lots when the wraps came off the sweepingly-styled Toronado.
This was not just a coupe restyle on an established theme, but a transport of delight into the future.
The Toronado was so special because it allied a whopping seven-litre V8 with front-wheel drive. It was the first attempt to apply front-wheel-drive to a full-size American car since the mid 1930s Cord, and remains one of the most desirable Oldsmobiles ever produced.
The Toronado was a true muscle car and became a coveted model. It was the largest front-wheel-drive car for its time and with a 119 inch wheelbase wheel·base
The distance from the center of the front wheel to that of the rear wheel in a motor vehicle, usually expressed in inches.
Noun and weight of 4,366 pounds, it was no sports car. But with a V8 rated at 385bhp and aggressive styling, the Toronado could really perform .
Leading the field At the time it was the most powerful and least economical car Motor magazine had ever road tested. The tester proved conclusively that seven-litres could work effectively with front-wheel-drive .
However, there was the inevitable wheel-spin when getting away smartly and the Toronado was not exactly of the highest order in the all-drum servo-assisted braking department.
One driver who had experienced its 1 30mph top speed on a race track said that he thought it would be a good idea if this car was fitted with a jet fighter-style parachute to stop it. Braking apart, the Toronado was seriously advanced for the 1960s. The drive system featured a split transmission with the torque converter behind the V8 engine and the gearbox located remotely under its left cylinder bank.
This arrangement allowed the heavy engine to sit over the front wheels, which resulted in a favourable weight distribution - 54%:46% front: rear - for such a large car.
Styling was by GM design chief William L Mitchell and was breathtaking for those who love American cars. Design features included jutting jut
v. jut·ted, jut·ting, juts
To extend outward or upward beyond the limits of the main body; project: front fenders, hidden headlamps, muscularly flared wheel arches, and a cropped tail trailing a fastback roofline roof·line
The profile of or silhouette made by a roof or series of roofs. . All this combined to make the Toronado the winner of the US Motor Trend Car of the Year Motor Trend magazine was the first to give a Car of the Year award, doing so to a Chrysler in 1949. It has since expanded the award category to include the Truck and SUV of the Year, awarding these separately from the Car of the Year. Award.
Engine volume was raised to 7,456cc in 1 968 and a special one-off was built by Ghia in Turin to the design of the then young Giorgetto Giugiaro.
You don't see many Toronados sweeping past on UK roads these days, but the fact remains that this model was a true pacemaker in automotive technology.
COVETED MODEL - the front-wheel drive Oldsmobile Toronado was well ahead of it's time in 1966