Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Riding the Toronado Again


The following is a re-posting of a vignette from the "Loonville" series which I shared over a period of several weeks in 2010.  Patience, please.  I may come up with something new eventually.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my ride again.

Wilbur was the local auctioneer and real estate agent. One might say he had his finger on the pulse of the community. Well, except that he was using his fingers to count the money that flowed into his coffers. In short, he engaged in many enterprises.

Wilbur, known by all as "WT" always wore a white felt Stetson, always, winter and summer, spring and fall. Notwithstanding that he might be described as "portly" he dressed meticulously, was never wrinkled or spotted, and the wide ties he chose were first-cousin to the ascot.

In 1966, Oldsmobile Division of General Motors introduced a huge, heavy but sporty vehicle called "Toronado". This 5000 pound behemoth was powered by a 425 ci quadrijet carbed V-8. It was the first American-built front-wheel drive automobile produced since the demise of the Cord in 1937. WT was one of the first proud owners of a Toronado.

One sultry evening, humidity-laden air hanging heavily over the village as WT and I were standing at the curb following a Lions' meeting, I remarked that that was a beautiful wheel he was tooling around in these days. As he lovingly caressed a front fender, he went into a rhapsody of superlatives, praising his machine to the heavens. "Oh, man!" he said, "Get in; you gotta feel it." I got into the passenger seat, not really expecting to get the ride of my life. But I did. We had a seldom-used airport a mile west of town, fully equipped with a thousand-yard concrete runway. We were there in a minute and I was already semi-terrified. WT wheeled onto the runway and ripped off about a quarter mile, hit the brakes and spun a 180, hitting the accelerator again, we were seven seconds later in dead decelerating mode as he stood on the brake pedal to avoid flying through the fence onto the highway. Back down the runway at about 40, he spun the wheel to the left and shot onto the access apron. As he stopped he enthused, "Oh, man. How d'ya like that military turn?" Not so much, but I didn't say so.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

To read all the Loonville Vignette posts, click here, then scroll down to July 5 post.  This is the first in the series.  Scroll up the page sequentially to read all twenty clips.


Shelly said...

What a great story- your wonderful descriptions had me right there with you all. Glad you survived to tell of it~

Jim said...

What's the point of owning a powerful car if you don't drive it hard sometimes?

(I'm so glad my almost-16-year-old son doesn't know I comment here and therefore won't read that.)

Secondary Roads said...

That was a fine vehicle. A former pastor and mentor of mine drove one, but I never saw him do anything like WT.

Anonymous said...

I would have loved that ride when I was young - nowadays it would have scared the bejabbers out of me.

vanilla said...

Shelly, thank you. I have gotten more careful over the years. ;-)

Jim, exactly. And also the reason I decided I did not need a Cadillac CTS-V. That, and the price.

Chuck, it was a very impressive vehicle.

Grace, I've had some scary rides, but I recently declined a ride with son in an unecessarily powerful Dodge Magnum. BBBH went, though, and it scared the bejabbers out of her. Which is what I knew would happen.

Sharkbytes said...

I actually know what that car looks like. I thought they were ugly. Now I know what they were good for. Better at the airport than in a road. I remember when my mother's cousin Jimmy drove 110 down a back road with two kids in the back seat. (I was one of them). My great love for cars was born that day (can you feel the sarcasm dripping)

vanilla said...

Sharkey, I can feel the sarcasm; and I daresay the memory alone is a frightening experience!