1967 Oldsmobile Toronado Deluxe
Serial: 396877M604294 Engine: 425 cu. in. Rocket V-8 Horsepower: 385HP Transmission: Automatic
In 1929, E.L. Cord introduced the front wheel drive L-29 and later in 1936 and 1937 the 810 and 812 front wheel drive cars. After the demise of the Cord, front wheel drive cars with engines larger than 2 liters were deemed impractical in the United States. However, in 1966 Oldsmobile took on the challenge of creating such a car. Initially in 1961 Ford almost took the first plunge into the post war American front wheel drive design for the Thunderbird, but Ford president, Robert McNamara, vetoed the design claiming it was too costly for production. The design created by contract engineer Frederick Hooven was picked up by General Motors and adopted for the new 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. The problem with designing a front wheel drive car was the placement of the transmission, either in front or to the rear of the engine. However, with Hoovens design the transmission was placed to the side of the engine making a much more compact package. Powered by a 425 cubic inch version of Oldsmobiles Rocket V8 paired with the 3 speed turbo hydramatic automatic transmission, the Toronado developed 385 bhp, far surpassing the old two-liter wisdom by 350 percent. The car's practicality and success are undeniable: more than 40,000 were built in the first year. In 1967, the front-drive configuration was even extended to Cadillac's new Eldorado.