All photos credit GM via and the excellent

Truly life is an endless stream of garbage rolling through your living room, like a cement mixer pouring onto your feet and you can’t move because this is a dream. Also a dream: the Oldsmobile Toronado, and a brighter future.


The Toronado was a semi-unibody, front-wheel drive luxury coupe from the 1960s. And I don’t mean that it was some sissy little couplet that was wise to the terrors of our daily modernity, already being writ out half a century ago, like some godawful Simca putting on a smile while its executives worried about Algeria. No, the Toronado was a full-size V8 yacht, one that did not have a cigarette lighter. Nope, check this old road test in Autocar and you will note that the Toronado had a cigar lighter. Oh yes.

The difference was, as I just said, the Toronado had somewhat current subframe construction and front-wheel drive. It was, on one hand, a very practical realization that execs in Detroit didn’t want to fishtail through snowy winters and instead put the driven wheels right where the heavy and traction-giving engine sat.

Also it was a nod to a more rational, space efficient future, where products were smartly designed and rationally designed to maximize all of our utility so we could shave precious seconds off of our day to get more free thinking time to better imagine new ways to maximize our utility until we all became Star Trek space explorers.


Oh, how sweet you were Toronado. How little did your retractable headlights see.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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