Oldsmobile Toronado, produced between 1965 and 1992, is already an interesting car in itself. In those days, Americans simply did not produce front-wheel drive cars, and toronado is just that, although it has some characteristics of a sports car. In addition, an exclusive limousine Jetway 707 was created on its basis.
As a rule, long limousines are more often made from sedans – the Lincoln Town Car became the basis of many limousines. They can be 8 meters long or even longer – much longer than the longest sedan of serial production, cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five. The Jetway 707 is interesting in that it is not a sedan, is even longer and has six wheels.
Oldsmobile is a U.S. automaker with a very long history. Ransom E. Olds founded this company back in 1897. In 1908, General Motors bought oldsmobile and incorporated it into its corporate structure. For decades, Oldsmobile has found a place in the luxury hierarchy of General Motors, above Chevrolet and Pontiac, but below Buick and Cadillac. The history of the Oldsmobile brand was completed in 2004 and there is probably little who misses it, because the last Oldsmobile cars were not so memorable.
And once upon a time it was different. The Oldsmobile company had a lot of creative people. They have been developing the technology of a front-wheel drive car since 1958. Of course, there were also front-wheel drive cars before, but at that time in the USA such were no longer produced. In 1962, car designer David North painted a small sports car. It was just a drawing without any production ambitions. However, soon Oldsmobile learned that he could take up the production of a new model and decided to combine the North design with the technology of its front-wheel drive.
That’s how oldsmobile Toronado was born in 1965 – a front-wheel drive sporty GT. Toronado became the first American front-wheel drive car after World War II. Although under the hood of Toronado there is a 7.0 or 7.5-liter V8, developing a power of 287 or 302 kW, respectively, this car was not even fast in its time. It runs up to 100 km/h for almost 10 seconds, as it weighs more than two tons and has a slow 3-speed automatic transmission. But it wasn’t even that important, because Toronado looks beautiful, has a cabin with quality materials with a flat floor (since it’s front-wheel drive, the cabin isn’t split by a transmission tunnel) and is a good companion for long journeys. For these reasons, the first generation of Toronado was a fairly profitable product. So why not turn it into a limousine?
In 1967, the American Quality Coach company was founded in Arkansas. Its intended field of activity is the production of limousines, catafalques and other specialized cars on the basis of other cars. The Oldsmobile, which has a framed construction, soon became a limousine in the garage of this company in Toronado.
In 1968, American Quality Coach introduced the Jetway 707, a six-wheeled limousine with a length of more than 8.5 meters. It doesn’t really resemble a sporty GT Toronado because it’s just a very long station wagon.
It is impossible to deny the fact that jetway 707 really attracts the eye. True, he does not resemble elegantly luxurious limousines – it looks more like a stretched family station wagon with an additional rear axle. This impression is enhanced both by the style of the raised roof, and by the installation of a large luggage holder on it. Oldsmobile Toronado, by the way, was chosen for this project not by chance.
The Toronado is driven by the front axle and has a large and heavy V8 engine in front, while its rear wheels are much less loaded. Meanwhile, both rear axles of the Jetway 707 limousine are depressed by a huge bodywork, which makes it quite well balanced. In addition, since the engineers who developed jetway did not have to worry about the long shaft connecting the engine and the rear wheels, the limousine saved the flat floor in the cabin and was quite easy to make. Especially because of that frame structure.
The jetway 707’s name was inspired by the Boeing 707 plane, but there are few aviation-style attributes in this limousine. As one of them, separate seats are mentioned instead of the long softball characteristic of limousines. For the convenience of seating in those seats, the Jetway 707 has as many as four doors on each side. Those seats turned the cabin of the Jetway 707 into a similar cabin to that of a bus and not so suitable for parties. Depending on the configuration, the cabin of the Jetway 707 holds as many as 10 passengers and a driver.
The Jetway 707 was actually designed for long journeys – like the Boeing 707. Perhaps in an ordinary limousine it is fun to communicate while sitting sideways, but on a long trip it is better to sit straight, facing the front of the car. In addition, the Jetway 707 has simply a giant luggage compartment that holds suitcases not only for a short weekend outing.
Jetway 707 didn’t become a hit. Limousine buyers looked for classic elegance. The exact numbers are not known, but in a couple of years, American Quality Coach produced just over half a dozen Jetway 707 limousines. In 1970, the second generation of the Oldsmobile toronado was introduced and was no longer translated into a limousine by anyone. Soon the American Quality Coach company closed.
By the way, the American Quality Coach Jetway 707 limousine played in 1976’s “The Entire President’s Warfare”, a film about the Watergate scandal. There he looks quite exotic, because few have seen him. But for sales, of course, this could no longer help, since the production of the Jetway 707 was discontinued even 6 years before the premiere of this film.
Well, the Oldsmobile toronado was produced further. In total, as many as four generations of Toronado have seen the world. Enthusiasts prefer the first one most of all, because the early Toronado resemble classic American sports cars. Only, of course, with front-wheel drive.