And Now For Something Totally Different…

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

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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  • IDANECK IDANECK on Aug 26, 2008

    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.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Aug 26, 2008

    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.

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Aug 26, 2008

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

  • Blunozer Blunozer on Aug 26, 2008

    Don't stop there! That's bat country!