With my first instalment in this series notching up so many page-views you’d think it featured Amber Heard getting up to shenanigans while wearing the wispiest of garments, it’s time for another slice of glossily laminated nostalgia.
I want to keep things relatively level in terms of Pan-Atlantic balance, so this week I offer you the publicity material supplied, in 1990, for a US chariot that I have admired since reading about it in the Observers Book of Cars, when I was seven. Whether I was right or wrong to have admired it so, I’ll leave up to you.
The Oldsmobile Troféo.
The brochure launches to a promising start, opening with a rear view of the car and its full-width tail-lamps, a feature that came and went in the eighties and nineties and which I wish would return post haste. It then leaps straight into the superlatives:
“…Slip behind the leather wrapped steering wheel of the totally restyled Toronado Troféo and prepare your driver instincts for an emotional rush”.
Are you ready? Well are you? I am. And I can still control myself despite this spread being overleaf:
Next panorama is one of the interior and dashboard, about which much hyperbole is piled on:
“…Slip into the Trofeo cockpit” (a lot of slipping going on here…) “…and you surround yourself with the latest user-friendly sophistication- electronic communication that would do a corporate jet proud”.
Well, no. It wouldn’t really, unless said aircraft aims to fly at extremely low altitudes and no faster than a 110mph speedometer will allow, but nevertheless they go on:
“…This is, after all, the age of information. And Toronado Troféo graciously provides it.”
“…With the available Visual Information Centre (VIC), you soar into tomorrow. With its cathode ray tube screen on the instrument panel, you can view up to 51 useful full-color displays“
And it was the above that really captured my imagination. When I was 9 and this brochure was produced, Knight-Rider was being re-run on ITV. With both KITT and these mysterious American cars both having dashboard mounted CRTs I just knew that I was hurtling towards a fantastic sci-fi future. In actual fact dashboard CRTs would disappear in a few years forever, and cars featuring them would never be officially sold in the UK at all. I was sad.
VIC aside, the Toronado Troféo was and still is a very handsome beast. The personal luxury coupe as a concept never really found success in the UK but I reckon I’d turn serious heads if I rocked up outside The Hippodrome in one of these.
And if I never own one, well, at least I have the brochure.
<Disclaimer:- All photos taken by the author are of genuine original manufacturer publicity material, resting on the bonnet of a 1998 Audi A4. All copyright rights remain in the possession of the manufacturer, In this case Oldsmobile, who probably don’t really care any more>