1971-1978 Oldsmobile Toronado

Five years after its debut as General Motors’ first production front-wheel-drive car, the 1971 Oldsmobile Toronado was ready for a complete remake. It borrowed a few admired styling touches from GM’s second front-drive car but still maintained plenty of its own identity.
I was there when the “big” Toronado had its final run. In fact, I sold the last one we had at the large Oldsmobile dealership where I worked as a new-car salesman. The big Toros of the Seventies were certainly handsome machines, but by their final year, many people viewed them as anachronisms in a world of costlier fuel and rapidly downsizing automobiles. Still, it was sad to see them fade away. After all, things had started out so well.
Classic Cars Image Gallery
In the Toro?nado, America’s oldest existing car brand had yet another of the engineering marvels for which the marque had become known through the years. The original Toronado also sported striking styling, which was facelifted and freshened over the next four years. Engine and chassis upgrades were made along the way, too.
For the 1971 model year, however, the time had come for a complete redesign. Engineers settled on a 122.3-inch wheelbase, 3.3 inches longer than before, and both the full-frame chassis and Fisher “E” body would be all-new. Toronado would continue to offer just one body style — a hardtop coupe — and marketing chiefs decided to reduce the number of models to just one, rather than offer base and premium models as in prior years. The consolidation made sense; buyers had always chosen the better model over the budget version by a wide margin.
Styling of the second-generation Toro?nado was squared up and more formal looking than before. Overall length was increased by 5.6 inches to 219.9 inches. While Oldsmobile acknowledged that there were other luxury coupes on the market, it dubbed Toronado “The Unmis?tak?able One.”
The imposing profile featured long blade-type fenders that flowed back to the doors, the upper fender line continuing into the doors before terminating in a pronounced dip. The theme then resumed just aft of the door with a well-defined character line that shot straight up for a few inches before turning rearward to the back of the car, where the rear quarters ended in bladelike extensions that complemented the front fenders. New slim handles were recessed into the doors.
A formal, upright roof?line left only enough room for narrow vertical rear-quarter windows and gave the cabin a close-coupled look. The Toro?’s optional padded vinyl top was of the “halo” style, with a strip of sheet

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?metal showing between the windows and the roof covering. The combination of roof profile, side glass, and sharp kick-up line bore a deliberate resemblance to another front-drive personal coupe, the 1967-70 Cadil?lac Eldo?rado.
Up front, Toronado featured what might best be described as grilleless styling. Quad headlamps flanked a raised and projected center section of the broad hood, all set above a massive bumper. Air intake was accomplished via twin grilles set into the outer thirds of the bumper, a very distinctive touch. In back, one found a trunklid with a raised and extended center portion that, in plan view, would have appeared to be a continuation of the jutting hood. Recessed rectan?gu?lar taillamps sat low in niches created by the trunklid and rear bumper.
Toronado’s interior came in for special attention with cut-pile carpeting and elegant fabrics and trim. Even the accelerator and brake pedals were color coordinated! Olds contended that the front seat, made of solid foam, was “simple and sag proof.”
The handsome instrument panel was composed of three sections. A central rectangle held speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, and gearshift indicator. Flanking this were two larger rectangles. The one on the left contained climate-control levers, lighting and wiper/washer controls, and an air vent; the left one held the radio, cigar lighter, and another air vent. Shoulder room in this sumptuous interior measured more than five feet, and the floor was virtually flat, thanks to the front-wheel drive.
Though still quite rare in America in 1971, front-wheel drive wasn’t the only trump card the new Toro held. One particularly innovative feature: The taillights were supplemented by a pair of eye-level stop and signal lamps set in slots just below the rear window, a preview of today’s high-mounted brake lights. A sophisticated new flow-through ventilation system exhausted interior air through louvers on the decklid. An optional “True-Track” antilock braking system, which operated on the rear brakes only, was available.

Does the video game industry really lack career stability?

On the surface, there’s no way you’d think that working in the video game industry would be a “risky” career. We’re talking about an industry that generates $10.5 billion in revenue each year, one where the average game designer, artist or animator makes about $74,000 annually, while programmers bring in $93,000 [sources: ESRB, Gamasutra]

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. And that’s just the salary benefits: You also get to play video games at work, brag to people that your job involves playing video games at work, and generally luxuriate in the fact that everyone assumes you get paid to play video games at work. Which may or may not be true, but it does make you the subject of more envy than, say, your friend Chad who works at the bank.
However.
While having a job in the game industry might seem like living the high life, that’s only when you have the job. And while there are lots of jobs to be had, they lack the security you might expect. So let’s look at a couple of reasons that the game industry has a reputation for instability and inspect whether working in gaming is all it’s cracked up to be for the long haul.
One thing that’s important to keep in mind if you’re looking for a stable career in gaming is that it’s largely a feast or famine existence for the studio ! not necessarily in terms of revenue, but in terms of production. The “feast” part of the gaming industry includes a notorious “crunch.” That’s when the game is launching soon (although note that “soon” could still be months away), and the team responsible for the game is working insane hours to get the job done. The studio might staff up ! big time ! to make sure the deadline is met.
After a studio launches a game it’s been working for (probably) years, it’s left with a staff of people who might not be as useful in the preproduction stages of the next game. So what do the studios do? Lay those people off. And if they’re “lucky,” they might get rehired in a few months to work on the new project [source: Schreier]. Now don’t forget that’s the “happy” scenario: A game is completed, the company trims its bloated staff now that the deadline has passed and workers are left hoping they’ll get hired back soon. The alternative is the unhappy scenario: The game is just straight-up abandoned, and the studio has to let anyone go who’s dead weight post-cancellation.
In effect

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, it’s simply not uncommon for big publishers and smaller studios to have rounds of layoffs to slim down. And the constant employee burnout from this process of hiring and rehiring ! let alone from the deadline crunching ! might make the video game industry feel dangerously unstable to someone looking for employment security. So while you might be able to find lots of jobs in the video game industry, you might not be able to have the same job for a long period of time. But hey, we hear you get paid to play video games. Pretty sweet deal.

1936-1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30

The 1936-1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30 was the interim replacement for the 20/25 as the “small” R-R, with a larger engine and more modern late-prewar styling. As before, the 25/30 had solid-axle front suspension and a wide choice of coachbuilt body styles.
It was a tad quicker than the 20/25, though weights rose almost as quickly as horsepower in this period. Although the 25/30 was a “junior edition,” it was every inch a Rolls-Royce, and built with infinite care.
Pluses of the 1936-1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30:
Minuses of the 1936-1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30:
Production of the 1936-1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30: 1,201
Specifications of the 1936-1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30: Wheelbase, inches: 132

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.0 Length, inches: 180.0 Weight, pounds: approximately 4,000 Price, new: NA

Engines for the 1936-1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30:

* Not officially quoted Want more information about classic cars? See:

Sustainable Travel Quiz

Sustainable travel is good for the earth

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, good for local economies, and an all-around good time. So how green are your credentials? Take our quiz on sustainable travel and other related HowStuffWorks topics to find out.

Family Vacations: Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay Harbor lies along Maine’s mid-coast. It’s often called the Boating Capital of New England and hosts a summer festival called “Windjammer Days.” The harbor is a great place for watching whales and puffins, canoeing, kayaking

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, hiking, biking, mackerel fishing and camping. You can cruise to Monhegan Island or see sites such as the Maine Resources Aquarium, the Maine Maritime Museum or Burnt Island Light, a lighthouse built in 1821.
Boothbay Harbor was incorporated in 1764. Thereafter, the settlement became known for its saw and grist mills and for its shipbuilding industry–more than 500 boats and ships up to 180 feet long were built there. Over time, fishing became more important to the community, which helps explain why today the harbor’s symbol is a two-masted fishing schooner, or “pinky.” If you can handle some time away from modern luxuries, this rugged area remains one of Maine’s most beautiful destinations.
An hour’s drive from Brunswick, Boothbay Harbor is a village of about 2,300 with pleasant shops and boutiques. Its picturesque harbor is exactly how many people picture Maine: Fishers haul in lobster traps, and masts gently rock in the distance. The aroma of steamed mussels mixes with the salty ocean air. You can rent cove-side cottages, dine in fine restaurants, and browse quaint waterfront souvenir, antique and craft shops. It also pays to explore the neighborhoods inland from the harbor

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Address: Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce
192 Townsend Ave.
Boothbay Harbor, ME
Telephone: 207/633-2353

How Limousines Work

?When thinking about the various trappings of wealth

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, you probably imagine huge mansions, enormous swimming pools, fancy clothes and, of course, beautiful limousines stocked with expensive alcohol and state-of-the-art electronic gadgets. While limousines were once a luxury enjoyed mainly by the extremely rich, today they’re a staple of airport transportation and a favored way to arrive at formals, dances and weddings.
What exactly is a limousine? For many people, the word “limousine” conjures up the image of an incredibly long car with lots of dark-tinted windows. Actually, a limousine can be as simple as a nice Lincoln Town Car. There’s no standard limousine make or model — instead, the word refers to a vehicle that has a larger compartment in the back half of the car than your average automobile. To call a car a limousine, you really just need a nice car that has a lot of leg room in the rear compartment. It also helps if you have a driver, or chauffeur, driving the car for you while you relax in the back.
The word “limousine” comes from a town in France called Limousin. The original limousine wasn’t a vehicle at all — it was a piece of clothing. Shepherds in Limousin created a raincoat with a hood to protect them from the elements. They called this hooded cloak a limousine. Eventually, coach-builders in Paris began to call covered coaches limousines (some speculate the first coach-builder to do so was from Limousin). Wealthy passengers could sit under cover while a driver handled the horses [source: Lancashire Limos].
As the horseless carriage became popular, the term was applied to automobiles driven by a hired man to transport passengers, who sat comfortably in the back. Limousine services sprang up in places like New York City, where entrepreneurs foresaw a market for visitors who wanted to travel in luxury. As early as the 1920s, businessmen began to create limousine companies, some of which still exist today [source: Limo Broker].
In this article, we’ll look at some of the popular vehicles used as limousines straight off the factory line. We’ll also look at how independent companies convert standard vehicles into stretch limousines. We’ll sample some of the amenities you can find in most limousines, as well as a few more exotic options. Finally, we’ll look at some facts and figures regarding limousines and chauffers.
In the next section, we’ll learn about the common vehicles used as limousines

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.

How Limousines Work

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Viognier Grapes

The grape that defines hedonism, Viognier produces richly flavored, voluptuously textured wines that are all about pleasure.
While those who speak of Viognier as the next Chardonnay are being a tad optimistic, this is a grape whose day has come. Not so long ago, it was confined to the Rh?ne Valley. Today, it crops up in vineyards the world over.
Those in search of life after Chardonnay should try this luxurious grape. The Rh?ne Valley provides the role models, but sexy, peachy Viogniers are now found in several other countries as well.
Thirty years ago, Viognier was virtually unknown outside the northern Rh?ne. Even there, the wines it made – Condrieu and Chateau Grillet – were hardly famous

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, and they were waning in popularity. Salvation came from a handful of producers from other regions.
A few in southern France took up the Viognier cause, as did some wine enthusiasts in California looking for life beyond Chardonnay. Both regions now boast several fine versions in which the peachy, apricot kernel shines out. Australia soon followed, and now classy examples can be found in Chile, South Africa and even Italy.
Worldwide production of Viognier was less than 3,000 bottles in the 1960s.
A dollop of Viognier is sometimes added to which red variety to give it an aromatic lift?
Syrah or Shiraz.

Hybrid Car Pictures

One of the most recognized Hybrids on the road

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, the Toyota Prius is designed for fuel efficiency and ultra low emissions. Take a look under the hood of the Prius in the next picture.