The standard configuration for American cars in the 50s and the 60s was a front engine, mounted longitudinally, driving a shaft for rear-wheel drive propulsion. The idea of having a front-wheel drive V8 car was so fraught with problems and issues that most people thought it couldn’t be done. The 1965 Oldsmobile Toronado put a lid on all the nay-sayers when it was introduced; it was truly a revolutionary car, with the dramatic styling required by such a technological feat. As a front wheel drive car, it was also considerable roomier, and the difference was most seen in the back seat.
Powered by a 385 horsepower, 7-liter big block V8, the Oldsmobile Toronado could tear down the highway at a maximum speed of 135 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 in 8.5 seconds. Incredibly, it could also handle better than any of its rear-wheel drive competition, and certainly better than any car of this size could expect to do. The only dark spot on its peerless pedigree was its drum brakes, which were really not up to the task.
Like most good things Detroit produced in those years, it started out as a beautiful, clean car and was progressively ruined by layers upon layers of “luxury styling”. When the Oldsmobile Toronado was cancelled in 1970, in was but a shadow of its former self, and withdrawing it from production must have been akin to putting down a beloved mount who’s gone lame.