1971 Oldsmobile Toronado: There’s Style, and Then There’s STYLE


This is the 1971 Oldsmobile Toronado. As much as I love old Lincolns. I think I like this better than the comparable Mark III. It’s miles ahead of the IV in style. It’s not as hamfistedly swoopy weird as the Riviera.

The front end is what sells it:

the knife blade fenders drop into the doors, like massive flares, then resume at the C-pillar to make a haunch. I used to hate it, as a non-wedge styling affectation, but on reflection, it seems harmonious.

  • The bumpers are huge, but snug to the fenders like an accent, rather than a battering ram.

But now it gets weird. Good weird.

  • Instead of a grille between the light buckets, there is just the leading edge of a central obelisk spine thing running through the car and is half of its width.
  • The grille is more correctly identified as “the grilles.” You may recognize the texture from such cars as the 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass – except upside down. Who does that? (It looks like there is another air intake around the built in license plate holder).
  • It has a hero framed front license spot. Ordinarily, I hate front plates. In this case, it breaks up the flat panel of chrome.

My only comments on the side – period styling, and the front and rear marker lights don’t correspond. That is a recurring theme from front to rear, though.

  • The fender blades go vertically angular.
  • The center rise adds a vertical slope to the horizontal angle.
  • The tail light shapes and orientation don’t really correspond to the front. They have a different charm. Half encroaches on the trunk lid and the other on the bumper. I think vertical bars over the lenses mimicking the front grilles would be more harmonious.
  • OTOH, horizontal works to tie in the upper brake lights. Those things -hmmm. They do fill the space next to the raised trunklid.

I would love this car with a modern drivetrain. Don’t need 455 cubic inches to get 350 hp. Alos 9 mpg just sucks. Keep the column shift and the bench seat, though.

2 Replies to “1971 Oldsmobile Toronado: There’s Style, and Then There’s STYLE”

  1. The old land yachts now becoming classics i.e. Eldo’s Riv’s & the Toroando’s need the upgrades like a small block (LS) 400-500hp GM modern engine, F.I. and state of the art accessories, gauges etc. Resto mod a car like this and you have a great looking cruiser. I see many in great condition but need updating, you just can’t find these from the selection of modern day cars.

    1. I’m a little torn on the gauges part. I really like the old style dashboards as they are. Otherwise, suspension, brakes and engine upgrades with that inimitable styling would be awesome. I wonder if a modern Cadillac FWD powertrain would fit in there.

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