A personal coupe must have presence– that indomitable combination of style and physicality. Today's contestant is endowed with the presence of a UPS truck, and, like that service, asks what can brown do for you?
Yesterday's tidy, tiny, and oh-so blue Datsun found favor with 57% of you voting it Nice Price. A further 80% lamented the loss of the Datsun name to history. Geez people, move on. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe brings you something from a brand you get to miss for a whole ‘nother reason.
Not since the Cord of the 1930s had there been a full-sized Yankee Clipper in which the front wheels did all the yanking. The Oldsmobile Toronado debuted in 1966 with knife-edge catamaran fenders, hidden headlamps, and 385bhp pumping through to the front wheels from its 425cid V8 engine via a chain-drive and three-speed transmission. It exemplified the personal coupe style, and was the first American two-door to eschew the delineation between roof and quarter panel, hence frustrating the vinyl top industry.
But oh what a difference ten years can make. In that time, the Toro kept it's front wheel drive layout, but continued to grow and add ostentatious styling and dubious luxury fittings. The 425 was dumped in '68 for the behemoth 455; the wheelbase grew by three inches to 122; and the weight increased from an already hefty 4,366 lbs its debutant year, to a cetacea-like 4,731 lbs a decade later. Most egregiously, the styling became more GM-generic, and there was the constant fear of F-4s landing on the hood.
So here is a 1976 Toronado, with only 28,000 miles on the clock. The Brougham had an MSRP of $6,766 in the bicentennial year, and the seller is currently asking $7,900. As noted, a personal coupe must express its owner's personality, and this Olds' size and brown color are contrasts in expression. The metallic-turd hue continues inside, and onto the crushed velour seats. That, along with excessive brightwork, and faux wood trim give the interior the impression of the world's dullest brothel. You could take a quintet of ladies of the evening out for a romp due to the double bench seats and flat floor afforded by the lack of a transmission tunnel. However you and your matronly concubines might get a little sea sick, as the ride of these monster-big Toronados could best be described as "root beer float" despite the semi-automatic air shocks introduced this model year. Fortunately, this particular car lacks GMs early attempt at airbag integration, which at this advanced age would probably add to the injuries incurred rather than prevent them.
So, does 28,000 miles and $7,900 price mean you're down with the brown? Or does that make you want to avoid this hershey highway cruiser?
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