1966 - 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado
The Toronado was unlike anything else available when it debuted in late 1965. This “personal luxury car” featured a long, sleek profile, concealed headlamps, and big V-8 power. But the biggest news was what was underneath. The Toronado was front-wheel drive.
The Toronado was in fact the first American build FWD car, save only for the ill-fated Cord and Ruxton brands from the late 1920. Oldsmobile carried the Toronado name for 26 years, spanning four generations. It was the first generation car that bucked tradition, however, moving past the typical front engine, rear-drive architecture so prevalent in that day.
According to General Motors, the Toronado name has no real meaning. It was originally used for a Chevrolet concept car in 1963, but was later adopted by Olds. Of course, the Oldsmobile division had its eye set on Ford, specifically the Thunderbird. The Blue Oval’s two-door grand tourer had garnered quite the reputation since its inception in 1955. By this time, the Thunderbird was well into its fourth generation.
The Toronado’s first generation lasted from 1996 to 1970. Annual facelifts give each model year a distinctive look, especially up front. Interior treatments also changed, giving drivers something new to sit behind.
The introduction of the second generation in 1971 brought a longer, squared-off, more Cadillac look to the Toronado, robbing the car of its sleek fenders and rounded edges. Oldsmobile kept the FWD architecture, of course.
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