Nineteen seventy-three was the year federal bumper protection standards went into effect. To meet those standards, the 1973 Oldsmobile Toronado got a new hydraulic front-bumper system. It was comprised of a chrome bumper bar attached to hydraulic rams that could move rearward to absorb impact and provide better protection in impacts up to five mph.
The absence of a transmission tunnel in the
Toronado added leg room for passengers.
A meatier rear bumper was also introduced, but since rear-bumper standards weren't as stringent -- yet -- the expensive hydraulic mounts weren't needed there. Front and rear bumper guards were standard.
Along with the new bumpers came a host of styling revisions. Out back, the decklid was restyled because the taillights were changed to vertical lenses set into the trailing edge of the quarter panels. A full-width filler panel incorporating reflectors and back-up lamps ran between the decklid and the bumper. To balance the taillight design, front park and signal lamps came in a new vertical style in the ends of the front fenders. Grilles were also reworked to fit in the hydraulic bumper.
Steel-belted radial tires were now available at extra cost -- as were the bright bodyside moldings that previously had been standard. The vinyl top no longer had the halo effect, instead covering the whole roof surface.
In a record-setting year for the industry as a whole, Oldsmobile wholesaled more than 900,000 cars for 1973. Of them, 55,921 were Toronados, the all-time high for the big coupe. Detroit wouldn't be able to celebrate for very long, however.
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