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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Auto World 1967 Cadillac Eldorado and Johnny Lightning 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado



One of GM's most interesting, if yet odd, take is to make a new E-body platform, in which two out of the three cars are front-wheel drive, and move the transmission to the left side of the engine to make more room in yet still a big car.  That would be the case with the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado.



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Front-wheel drive land yachts

The new E-body platform started with the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, which was originally conceived by the original designer as the "Flame Red Car" as a compact personal coupe for GM that ultimately failed to make it through, but when Oldsmobile needed a daring shape for their new front-wheel drive sports car, they brought back the shape of the Flame Red Car.  The shape is a sleek wedge-shape with flared fenders, razor grille with headlights that pop up above the grille, while the back has a rounded rear that would be recalled on the second-generation Pontiac Firebird.  The interior is really interesting with a large passenger floorboard area just like the safety area of the 1948 Tucker Torpedo, while the steering wheel has hourglass horn buttons and behind the steering wheel is a speedometer that moves like a rolling slot machine.  The front and rear bench seats have lots of room for six people.




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The Cadillac Eldorado shifted from the large finned rear-wheel drive car of the 1950's to a slimmer, sharp-edged style of the 1960's with edgy bodywork that not only foreshadowed some future Cadillac models but also would make the current Cadillac Art & Science design proud.  The front grille also hides the headlights, the fender is nice and sharp, the hood is just as long as a typical Cadillac.  The rear fenders have a edgy take on the coke bottle approach, the rear window arcs out, and the rear taillights are edgy and are just mere running lights; the actual brake lights are on the bumper.  The interior has the same driver-oriented approach as the Toronado, but with a typical horizontal speedometer and cushy seats of a typical Cadillac.  Both cars use steel wheels that wrap around the hubs with hubcaps that go over it; the Oldsmobile has a more bulging wheelcover than the Cadillac.


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Now to the platform:  The V8 engine is mated to a transmission that is to the left of the engine, connected to the torque converter by a chain.  From the hood it looks like a typical rear-wheel drive engine layout, but it's not.  The half-shafts are equal-shape to eliminate torque steer and the front subframe is larger to support the heavy combo, and goes almost all the way to the rear axle, which is now just a beam axle with leaf springs.  The front suspension uses compact control arms with torsion bars as springs to accommidate the larger engine setup.  The Oldsmobile uses the 425 CID Rocket V8 producing 385 hp. though a 3-speed automatic, while the Cadillac uses the 429 CID Cadillac V8.  Both cars would continue the same setup for the next two decades, with the same E-body Buick Riviera finally switching to front-wheel drive in 1978.



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The fantastic Eldorado by AutoWorld

Coated in Ember Firemist, this Eldorado is gorgeous as AutoWorld took the time to get the details right and make the most out of this casting.  The eggcrate grille is nicely done, the sharp lines flow smoothly, wrap-around rear window, and the excellent trim details.  The interior also does a good job showing the detail bench seats, dashboard, and even the door panels.  Pop open the hood to show the detailed Cadillac V8 in all its glory.  Then check out the wheels with the new tires that, while still small, has much better grip that the previous Auto World vehicles.  Then to the metal base that shows the correct front-wheel drive layout (and a spare tire that would be a pain to get out of the trunk as it sits angled ahead of the front axle.).  It is one beautiful casting!!!



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...against the Toronado by Johnny Lightning

Coated in Spanish Red, this is by far one of the finest Toronado's done in 1:64 diecast, and this is the second run for Johnny Lightning; the first was the custom Toronado in the 1969 and rereleased in 1994.  The Toronado is narrower than the Cadillac, but has the same amount of details, from the detailed grille, bumpers, and lights, flared fenders, and chrome hubcap wheels.  It's a nice color, and the interior matches the exterior color with the same level of details from the seats to the dashboard.  The metal base is coated in black and features excellent details, including one feature the Cadillac does not offer: dual exhaust.  Open the hood to show off the Rocket V8 with all details intact.  While i'm not a big fan of the Toronado's shape, I like the color and level of details that this Johnny Lightning casting has to offer.



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