Here’s Why The Oldsmobile Toronado Was A Dangerous Luxury Car


The Oldsmobile brand lies somewhere between the greatest cars General Motors ever built and those they wish they never made. The Oldsmobile brand spanned over 108 years before being shut down in 2004. One of the Cars that led to the demise of Oldsmobile is the Toronado. The Oldsmobile Toronado started as a premium luxury 2-door coupe but was later morphed into a 2-door deathtrap.

The Oldsmobile Toronado was a luxury vehicle first released in 1966. The car was an attempt by Oldsmobile to maintain its place at the top of General Motors’ lineup. Oldsmobile wanted to create a luxury coupe to rival Pontiac and Buick Riviera and that is where the Toronado came in. The Oldsmobile Toronado was very successful when it was first released, it even went as far as claiming a few cars of the year accolades in its first year of production.

The Oldsmobile Toronado was a combination of luxury and innovation and if it wasn’t for Oldsmobile’s complacency it could have been a truly legendary car. Towards the end of its time, Oldsmobile lacked identity and General Motors did not know where the brand would fit, so they stopped making it. Oldsmobile did not do themselves any favors by consistently making a series of truly terrible cars that overshadowed its former glory.

Oldsmobile Toronado In Its Early Years 

In the beginning, the Oldsmobile Toronado was stylish, luxurious, and powerful. It was America’s first front-wheel-drive car since the Cord 812 of the 1930s. The original Toronado first began as a painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962 the car was then chosen to go into production in 1966.

The Toronado was the result of Oldsmobile’s lengthy research into front-wheel-drive cars. Oldsmobile recognized that front-wheel drive reduces weight, improves fuel economy, and reduces production costs. They also noted that the traction control on a front-wheel-driven car is usually better because the weight of the engine and transmission are directly over the driven wheels.

The front-wheel-drive was not the only piece of innovation introduced by the original Toronado. The Toronado introduced a three-speed TurboHydramatic automatic transmission. Oldsmobile was able to place the transmission alongside the engine of the Toronado because at the time Americans were pretty massive.

Oldsmobile Toronado Was American Muscle With Lux-Appeal

The original Oldsmobile Toronado was powered by a 425-cubic inch rocket V8 engine that produced 385 horsepower. The Toronado was capable of going from 0-60 ph in 7.5 seconds and had a top speed of 135 mph. For a premium luxury car, the original Toronado could hold its own against some of the best sports cars of the ’60s.

Oldsmobile Toronado Packs A Laudable Chassis

The Oldsmobile Toronado was built using the same General Motors E-body chassis that was used in the Buick Riviera, and it is reported that engineers tested the original Toronado one million times before it was released.

Oldsmobile took pride in its engineering and its innovative ideas were the hallmark of the company. The Oldsmobile Toronado was so innovative that many people believe that it was the car that inspired the Cadillac Eldorado which was built a year after the Toronado was first released.

Oldsmobile Toronado’s Major Problems

The Oldsmobile Toronado was a dangerous luxury car. Many of these cars had to be recalled because of a wide variety of safety concerns. Over the years the car became increasingly unreliable and unsafe to drive, this eventually led to the car being discontinued in 1992.

Despite Its Letdowns, The Oldsmobile Toronado Is A Mover In The Used Car Space

The car and its automaker are long gone. And despite all the safety letdowns and problems, the Oldsmobile Toronado is a fairly decent sight on various used car websites. A well-kept 1970 Toronoda recently sold for $41,500 via Bring a Trailer. And there is a handful of Toronados up for auction and sale via Hemmings too. But it should be noted that the Oldsmobile Toronados of the period 1960 to 1980 are the ones that are sought after.

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