[[trackingImage]] No Limits Magazine from the Automotive History Preservation Society
No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
Automotive History Preservation Society - We Bring Automotive History to Life!
We are a Resource for the Museum Curator, Restorer, Historian, Researcher, and the Enthusiast!
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Tech Info - News - Period Ads - Brochures
Period Road Tests - Magazines - More!

News and Feature Articles
My Dashboard Technical Materials AHPS Library of Factory Info, Magazines, Ads, Brochures & Photos

We Take Front-wheel Drive for Granted - But Back In the 1960s - NOT!

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

This 1965 Olds PR Photo was designed to impress the viewer with the futuristic nature of front wheel drive.

By Society Staff -
reprint with permission only

The Tradition-Shattering 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

About 85% of the new cars you might jump into today are front-wheel drive (FWD), and whether it is FWD or rear-wheel drive (RWD), you don't notice the difference in daily driving. They steer the same, act pretty much the same, with the only real noticeable difference being there is no large transmission "hump" between the left and right side passengers.

But back in 1965 and before, Americans and most Europeans saw FWD as either impractical, dangerous, or only viable in small (read "tiny") cars. When polled, most Americans would have told you they'd never buy a front wheel drive car.

There were also some legitimate reasons for this perception. First, the major experiments with FWD had occurred prior to WWII, and the major manufacturer of FWD cars had been Cord, a very expensive and hard to maintain luxury car. Cord was a distant memory by the mid-60s, and we're betting that few people either remembered that car or had even heard of it.

But the engineers at Oldsmobile had done many studies in the early 60's and believed that FWD was the future, but they were first thinking of it as something for the new F-85 and they put together one, mostly from Corvair parts. They saw the advantages from a people packaging, ride, handling, and even an eventual cost reduction point of view. Of course, they were eventually smart enough to recognize that the idea had to be tried out on a high level car, for the simple reasons that they could pay off their investment faster, and they would find more "early adopters" in this market segment, which marketing surveys had validated.

The opportunity came with the decision to create a personal luxury car, to be named the Toronado. Of course, when you are a major manufacturer like GM was back then, fitting a car like this into the process was driven by utilizing as many off-the-shelf components as possible. Second was fitting the package into a chassis that was either on the shelf or contemplated. Last was durability and serviceability.

One thing that helped Olds engineers was that, at the time, GM was stressing engineering and driveline innovation – consider the Corvair, 1961-63 Pontiac Tempest , BOP aluminum 215 cu in V8s, and even the 1963-67 Corvette, with its IRS. All these were pretty radical approaches that were successfully put into production. Thus, when proposed, the go ahead was given to test the front-wheel drive approach.

Engineers first looked at large 1930s cars like the Cord and deduced that placing the transmission in front of the engine (essentially merely turning the engine/trans/differential 180 degrees in orientation) presented a packaging problem as it had to be pretty compact, and this led to smaller, fragile driveline issues. Even if this were feasible by installing current engines and transmissions, the engine compartment would need to be very long, something accepted in the '20s and '30s but not in the '60s.

Next, they studied then-current European FWD cars and also recognized that the engines were low HP/Torque-output 4 cylinders which could be turned transversely and once again packaged tightly. Again, while possible, this type of packaging was just not possible with the chassis GM had available . . . .To Read The Rest - Click HERE!

Also - Check out this list of great articles we have detailing the Toronado's ground-breaking engineering, styling, and durability.

2021-02 Collections Report:
Student Scanning Project to Kick Off Soon!

Student Scanning Project

Every item that Students can scan lowers our acquisitions costs by a huge margin!

Please Note:

A Resource for Researchers and Writers:
If you write/research about classic, muscle or even new cars - we have resources you can use! We have print ads, brochures, and technical info that spans the 1930s - to the present! If you are looking for copy, stories, specifications and period road tests to add spice to your articles - we are your source!

Please consider us when looking for reference material or even photos, artwork and period press materials!

We Are Looking for 1950s Magazines:
We are actively seeking donations of pre-1961 magazines from all publishers
 If you have magazines from this period, we will be pleased to accept them. Please contact
Librarian@ahpsoc.org with a list of your magazines. We will inform you as to whether we may already have that issue.

We Need 1975-1992 Print Ad Copy:
We are actively seeking donations of 1975-1992 Print Ad copy. A scanned image at 300 dpi is sufficient, though you may send us the paper image that we will return to you if you desire.

Contact Kurt.shubert@ahpsoc.org if you wish to donate items from this time period.


Collections Activity

The Student Scanning Project Will Kick Off Soon -

The Student Scanning Project Will Kick Off Soon With the 800 Brochures Donated in January. Once acqired and catalogged, our students will direct their energy to getting these added to our collections.

We can use your help in this project. Please help by donating! The Click the "Donate" button located on almost every page on the website.

Continuing with Significant Adds to the Pontiac Brochures Section -

This is part of a massive project to continue the work of the late Eric White, past Society President, and are being accomplished to honor his efforts at the Society and for the GTO Owners Association and the Pontiac-Oakland Club. Adds have started with 1960 and will continue through 2009.

1900s through 1960s Orphaned Brands and Luxury Vehicles Print Ads -

We're continuing to add print ads by year and make during this month. We estimate we will load more than 300 print ads before year-end 2020.

1950s - Early 60s Road Tests -

We are scanning an entire magazine and extracting the road tests first, so as to populate, by brand, our Test area in the Technical Section. This is an ongoing project for 2020.

Progress Reports -

To see our 2019 activities, please check our 2019 Latest Uploads pages for our exact results.

To keep up to date on our progress, please check our 2020 Latest Uploads pages for our exact results.

For all of our 2019 Monthly Project Reports click HERE.


The Society's Collections Team


The Society Store

AHPS Store

We have redone our store's main page to fully illustrate all the great items we have for sale. Click on the image above or the store link below and have fun shopping!

All purchases help the Society defray the cost of acquisition and operations. Everything ships FREE!

To Visit the Store - click HERE

The GM Club Apparel store is a proud sponsor of the Society.
For the very best in GM wear, visit their store.

GM Club Apparel

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