By on August 26, 2008

American automotive design creativity and imagination in Detroit died with the 1977 wrap-around rear-window Oldsmobile Toronado XSR Coupe , but it's alive and well in the Nevada desert. At the annual Burning Man gathering, mobile imaginations/hallucinations incarnated run amok and are celebrated. It's a fitting (if extreme) reaction to the ever-more predictable and imitative automotive styling rut of the times. GM Styling guru Harley Earl would have felt (and looked) right at home tooling around the sand flats in his gas-turbine powered Firebird dream-car .

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10 Comments on “And Now For Something Totally Different…...”


  • avatar
    N85523

    My favorite was the Segway-based telephone booth. Why couldn’t there have been some sort of warning about naked old-guy fannie? Well, with any video concerning Burning Man, I suppose that is to be expected.

  • avatar
    Orian

    I’d love to go at least once – just to see in person all the WTF moments that occur.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    It truly is amazing to see the vehicles abstract creativity combined with willfull ingnorance of engineering and safety mixed with pyrotechnics and LSD can yield, especially when decorated with boobies. Ahh I wish I were there.

  • avatar
    blautens

    I’m not sure that Burning Man is for me. But my ex-wife’s family loved Toronados (as did I), and had one just like that picture. They even bought an 1981 with a diesel.

    And that was the end…

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Do any of these people have jobs, or are they all lawyers, architects, etc? Seriously, I wonder where does one get the time to set all this up to wander around the desert surrounded by old, naked people.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    jkross22 : A few of my friends have been going for a while. They’re a random assortment of people. BM lasts about a week, and not everyone goes naked. The alkalai salt dries out your skin.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Interesting note about the XSR: The XS had the wrap-around rear window with t-tops. The XSR was a one-off by ASC that had power operated t-tops…they would slide over each other.

    There is only 1 in existence and 1 produced by GM and ASC, and for a long time it was in Louisiana where my dad had met the owner (that’s how I found out about it). As is typical of many Louisianians, the guy lost the car to the IRS after doing some embezzling. Now it resides somewhere in the northeast.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    The fat and skinny penguins made me laugh, as did the giant-crawling-baby vehicle. Well, until that wrinkly old butt showed up. Eeeew.

    I wonder if the big solar bike was actually solar powered, or if it was just fake panels.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    My big samoan lawyer and I will be heading down there next year to cover the story!

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    Don’t stop there!

    That’s bat country!

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