By on May 20, 2015

Tony writes:

I have a 1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo with a built-in cell phone (analog) that doesn’t work. Could you help me convert it? That would be amazing.

Sajeev answers:

Well I can help, as I mentioned before, but making a car phone upgrade happen? Oh, it’s gonna be a huge pain requiring creativity, electronic knowledge and wiring diagrams on your end. But the end result on this video? Worth it!

No car must live on with its factory stereo intact more than a Toronado! The amount of gee-whiz tech GM loaded into the Toronado (and the Riviera/Reatta) means it’s your duty to keep everything period correct and/or 100 percent functional. And that Motorola 2700 certainly looks the part.

To help make it happen, here’s the above YouTuber’s write up on LincolnsOnline.

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We don’t need no Google Maps! (photo courtesy: saabsho @photobucket.com)

Oh yes!  Someone needs to make this display work with a car phone once more!

Who will make it happen? And will they take us along for the journey?

 

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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44 Comments on “Piston Slap: New Tricks for an Old Car Phone? (Part II)...”


  • avatar
    cwallace

    Sweet, it looks like you can play Battlezone on there too!

  • avatar

    +1 on Battlezone. I thought it was the nav console for Airwolf.

  • avatar
    sproc

    Holy crap that screen is awesome! I’m going to have trouble getting the Airwolf theme out my head all day.

  • avatar

    I remember when Buick put touchscreen CRTs in the Riviera. The interface was done in the alien/computer green and reminded me of a DOS menu for the IBM PC and Radio Shack/Tandy computers of the day. Kind of makes me want to pick up a late 80’s Toronado Trofeo just for the nostalgia factor.

    • 0 avatar

      The touch-enabled CRT system in the Oldsmobile Toronado was significantly different from that of the Buick Reatta and Riviera. The one in the Riviera was the first-generation Graphic Control Center (GCC), and that was offered from the debut year of the sixth-gen E-bodies, 1986, through 1989. GCC was the monolithic DOS green you mentioned, true to that era. In 1990, the E-bodies were all face-lifted, and the Buicks dropped the GCC, but did retain a (newer) digital instrument cluster. Meanwhile, the Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo got the second-generation touch-enabled CRT system, called Visual Information Center (VIC). VIC was notably better in that it used a color interface and had physical hard buttons beside the screen for some of the more frequent functions, unlike the GCC…appropriate since Oldsmobile was the “technology” brand. The Troféo kept VIC past the face-lift transition and all the way to its last model year, 1992.

      Interestingly, GM never offered the touch-screen technology at all on the flagship E-bodies, which were the Cadillac Eldorado and the related Cadillac Allanté.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I wonder if the Seville STS got any touch screen love. I’ve never seen one with it, if so. I’m thinking not, which is a missed opportunity for such a modern “sporty” Cadillac offering.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I saw one pre 92 K-body Seville “STS” in my career and it did not contain any kind of touch screen system. Nice interior though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That K-STS had lots of wood block in it.

            Did you ever see a pre-92 ETC?! That’s the most rare! (And good looking in red.)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve seen several pre 92 Eldos with the Touring Coupe package although I’m not sure it was called “ETC” on the deck lid (whereas Seville STS did have “STS” on the trunk deck). The Eldo TC had special sail panel emblems, true bucket seats and a floor shifter, better leather/wood interior, dual exhaust, different tail lamps and grille but was otherwise the same (I think they may have tweaked the suspension too). I almost bought one once but premium over a conventional Eldo was about double at the time and out of my cash-only price range.

            Here is an MY91 for sale.
            youtube.com/watch?v=LdDxTA3nMd8

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, that Cereal Marshmallows guy is crazy, but always does good pics in his Ebay listings. I’m also interested in the very “fenced off” nature of that neighborhood, wherever that is in the desert.

            Dem wheels gotta get off there immediately. There are many suitable Cadillac designs available.

            I have seen ETC applied as lettering to this model, but I think you’re right it was never factory.

        • 0 avatar

          Neither the 1986-1991 Seville (which was really a very stodgy car) that was actually part of that era nor the 1992-1997 Seville STS/SLS received the touch-screen technology. A standard-fare navigation system that may or may not have been touch-enabled was offered on the Seville for the first time in the “G-body” 1998-2004 version, probably around MY2000 or so.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Allanté should have offered it but I could understand why, especially since it was never really “refreshed” just received two engine upgrades. But Eldo/Seville there was no excuse, it should have been offered.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Sweet car, I’m jealous!

    They are tough to find in nice shape these days (I’ve tried) and the phone was a very rare option.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Why not restore a brickphone while you’re at it? But wasn’t the whole reason for the car phone, because cellphones were big briefcases you had to lug around? Once the Motorola Flip Phone came out, why go back in time?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “I have a 1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo”

    I am inspired already.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m not sure “Tropical Locale with Minorities” was the best way to sell Toronados to rich white people.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Trofeo > Caliente or Trofeo < Caliente? Discuss.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Trofeo is greater than. It had more additional styling changes, and greater option availability than when the Caliente was available. In fairness it’s not a direct comparison because we’re talking different time periods; the Caliente couldn’t really have THAT much tech, to the extent of the Trofeo.

        The Trofeo name is also superior, as it sounds European and Italian, which is desirable to old white people. Caliente is something their gardener might say, and that’s less so.

        • 0 avatar

          As usual, you are spot-on. It is interesting to see GM’s, in particular, reaction to the European imports that suddenly became desirable. GM started coming up with special medallions and badges for every single car that had even the remotest amount of luxury, which were supposed to invoke some sense of heritage, deliberation and exclusivity apart from the often-unremarkable brands they were sold by. They started using that Euro-chic Century Gothic typeface for Oldsmobile. And then, yes, there were names like Troféo, which were meant to make the cars appear more world-class. They even resorted to shamelessly making trans-Atlantic comparisons with the Chevy Celebrity “Eurosport”.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Why thank you.

            If Geozinger comes round he can tell us the exact typeface name for Olds, as that’s the industry he’s in (or was).

            I think it was an Avante Garde though!

            (I like fonts.)

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Was their a Caliente package offered after MY85?

          I thought Trofeo replaced it.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I was being a smart ass. Caliente was offered on the 1979 to 1985 body style while Trofeo replaced it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought it was a legit discussion point. But I can have lots of tangents on a PLC or old GM product.

            Speaking of which, there was a Toronado special edition after the name of some designer – which had a crazy interior and price to match, and had a TV and stuff (IIRC) in the back.

            What was that one called? Early 80s I think.

            EDIT: Twas the Pierre Cardin Eldorado. Mira!

            http://jalopnik.com/for-17-500-the-devil-wears-eldorado-456309352

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s what I thought.

          • 0 avatar
            JEFFSHADOW

            Caliente was offered ONLY for 1984 and 1985. 1980 saw the XSC edition.
            TROFEO is Spanish, not Italian.
            The Aurora’s working name was Toronado. You can see the script on the early body designs, on the rear doors.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So owning a MY92 Toro and wanting to repurpose the awesome analog phone?

    Tony you are my new hero.

  • avatar

    I think I should be praised for not mentioning LS4-FTW at any point in the reply.

    In the comments section? Yes…but not in the reply.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “The interface was done in the alien/computer green and reminded me of a DOS menu for the IBM PC and Radio Shack/Tandy computers of the day.”

    Where’s my old Radio Shack TRS-80 (Trash-80) when I need it?

  • avatar
    red60r

    My 2004 Volvo S60R came with a built-in analog cell phone, complete with a wired handset on a coiled cable that lived in the console lid between the front seats. When the analog service was discontinued, Volvo’s free solution was to remove the old phone hardware, except for that handset, from the dash and substitute an open cubbyhole. There was no Bluetooth option available at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That just reminded me of the car phone in my 00 A8L, which was on the most elaborate fold out stand thing from the arm rest that I’ve ever seen. It was a very well-built stand.

      (Cannot find pic)

  • avatar

    I would watch that commercial a million more times on repeat before sitting through another vacuous Acura spot for the TLX.

    Also, stop making me want to go blow my washout on a Trofeo.

  • avatar
    Joe Oliphant

    Rather than getting the phone to work, an option is updating it to Bluetooth. I’ve seen quite a few inovative ways that people have made Bluetooth adapters work with stereo systems that originally had cell phone interfaces. In my case, I discoverd that Jaguar put out a bulletin to adapt later model BlueTooth modules to work on models as far back as 2003. A description of what you need for that is here:
    http://www.jaguarforums.com/forum/xk8-xkr-x100-17/bluetooth-capability-123196/#post1035419

  • avatar
    Grant404

    I thought “Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo FE3” was one of the more pretentiously wordy model names ever pinned to the side of a motor vehicle.

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