1968 – 1976 Ford Torino Muscle cars

1968 – 1976 Ford Torino Muscle cars

Ford_Torino_GT
Ford_Torino_GT

The Ford Torino is one of the earliest Muscle cars manufactured by Ford Motors for the North American market from 1968 to 1976. The car was named after the city of Torino, Italy. Torino is an important cultural and financial center in northern Italy. Itis home to automotive legends like Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat.

Torino was initially planned to become an upscale iteration of the Ford Fairlane, and only the upscale variants of the Fairlane were branded as Torino. However, by 1970, Torino became a primary name for Ford’s medium size automobiles and by 1971 the Fairlane was dropped in favor of it.  

Most Torino cars were conventional cars and most of them came with either four-door sedan or two-door coupe body styles. 

But some Torino cars came fitted with larger 7.0-liter (428 cubic-inch) V8 engines of 7.0-liter (429 cubic-inch) Cobra jet engines, these earning the right to be classified as muscle cars. 

Ford also chose Torino as the basis for NASCAR racing. 

1968 Torino and Fairlane 500

For the 1968 model year, Ford restyled the entire Fairlane line and introduced a new premium trim variant called Torino. Torino was classified as a sub-series model. 

Ford used the same wheelbase as it used before in the previous year for the 2 doors and 4 door models. 

A brand-new addition for 1968 was the two-door fastback coupe. It was known as the SportsRoof at the time. This car was similar to the Mustang fastback cars and featured a sloped roofline that extended to the edge of the trunk lid and a unique concave tail lamp panel to give a more distinctive look.

1968 ford Torino
1968 ford Torino

This new two-door fastback coupe proved to be more aerodynamically efficient and therefore gave the Fairlane 500 and Torino cars a better advantage in the race tracks. 

 The Torino GT, an upscale performance-oriented version of the Fairlane 500 series came in three configurations. A two-door convertible, two doors hardtop, and a two-door fastback coupe. 

The 1968 Torino and Fiarlane cars were constructed with unit construction using the same platform they used for the 1966 and 1967 model years. 

The front suspension came with short/long control arms with coil springs mounted on an upper control arm and a strut stabilized lower control arm. 

The rear suspension was a long semi-elliptical leaf spring on a solid axle. 

An optional heavy-duty suspension system with extra heavy-duty springs and socks were available for V8-powered cars. 

A recirculating ball steering system came as standard and power steering was available as an extra paid option. 

All the cars came with all-wheel drum brakes, but front disc brakes and power assist were also available for extra money. 

The interior was redesigned to a level that it was considered as all new. The all-new dashboard featured four equal-sized pods centered around the steering wheel to make it a more driver-oriented interior. 

The first pod contained fuel gauge and temperature warning lights, the second pod came with a speedometer, alternator, and oil pressure warning lights in the third, and the fourth pod was blank. Ford offered to install a clock on that pod for extra money. 

Upholstery options were ranging from several unique vinyl options to fabric and leather. One of the unique vinyl options was the comfort weave, a vinyl developed specifically to absorb heat and moisture to provide comfort in hot climatic conditions. 

All Torino cars came with color-keyed carpeting and additional exterior and interior trim to make it feel unique and more comfortable over the Fairlane 500.

1968_Ford_Torino_GT_Fastback
1968_Ford_Torino_GT_Fastback
1968_Ford_Torino_Squire
1968_Ford_Torino_Squire

 

The Torino GT came with unique interior trim and badging. It also had GT emblem on wheel covers and courtesy lights on the inside door panels. 

Bucket seats were also offered as standard for the Ford Torino GT.  Due to a UAW strike, Ford had to offer bench seats as standard instead of bucket seats. 

Torino GT was available with a GT handling suspension package, which also came with the heavy-duty suspension package and a heavy-duty front anti-sway bar. 

The cars equipped with the 428 CJ engine, the suspensions used the stiffest springs and largest front sway bar compared to other Torino cars with heavy-duty suspension. 

The cars equipped with four-speed transmission came with staggered rear shocks to improve resist axle hop.

Torino GT was available with a stripe option as well. 

All the Torino cars and Fairlane cars came with a standard 3.3 liter (200 cubic-inch) six-cylinder engine except the Torino GT. Torino GT came with a 4.9 liter (392 cubic-inch) small-block V8 as standard while this engine was an option for several other Torino and Fairlane 500 models. 

Several other powertrain options were also available including a 6.4-liter (390 cubic-inch) FE V8 engine, and a 7.0-liter (427 cubic-inch) FE V8 engine. The original plan was to provide a 6.4-liter FE V8 engine as the standard engine option for the Torino GT, but due to the UAW strikes, Ford had to offer the 4.9-liter small-block V8 to reduce cost. 

Though the 7.0-liter FE V8 engine was officially available as an option for Torino and Fairlane cars, none were produced with this engine in 1968. 

On April 1, 1968, a 7.0-liter (428 cubic-inch) 4V Cobra Jet FE engine became available as an option but being a mid-year introduction, only a few were made with this engine fitted. This engine produced 335 horsepower and the cars that were equipped with this engine came with red and chrome 428 badges mounted on the fenders behind the parking lamps. This was a $306 option. 

All the models came with a standard three-speed manual transmission unit. A C4 Cruise 0 Matic automatic and four-speed manual transmissions were also available for extra money. 

Car and Life Magazine tested a 1968 Torino GT fastback with a 4.9-liter small-block V8 and a C6 Cruise O Matic gearbox, 3.25:1 limited-slip differential. It achieved 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 15.8 seconds with a top speed of 90mph. 

Car and Driver magazine tested a Ford Torino GT with a 428 Cobra Jet with Ram Air Induction, C6 Cruise O Matic gearbox, and 3.91:1 gear ratio. This car ran the quarter-mile in 14.2 seconds with a top speed of 98.9mph. 

The 1968 Torino GT was well received by the public and media. Motor Trend magazine complimented the cars handling and cornering capabilities. 

A Torino Gt convertible was selected as the 1968 Indianapolis 500 pace car. 

1968 Torino race car
1968 Torino race car

1969 Ford Torino and Fairlane 500

The Fairlane and Torino went through some exterior changes and only a few mechanical changes were made. 

The front grille was restyled mildly, the taillights were restyled on non-fastback models to look similar to 1969 Ford full-size cars. The C stripes were also revised and now ran straight lines. 

Fastback coupe still retained the 1968 style unique taillights and rear panels. All the Torino models now had an aluminum dividing bar that ran across the rear panel in between the taillights and in line with the reverse lights on fastback models.  

1969 Ford_Torino
1969 Ford_Torino

Ford Cobra.

Until the 1969 model year, Ford offered only 14 models for the intermediate lineup. Now they have introduced another two. The Cobra two-door hardtop and the Cobra two-door SportsRoof (fastback). The Cobra was Ford’s attempt at making a muscle car package focusing on performance features to offer a sportier experience. 

Ford Cobra was targeted at Plymouth Road Runner, a high-performance car at a low budget. 

Early Cobras came with large “Cobra” decals on the front fenders but these were later replaced with a more decent metal emblem. 

1969 Torino GT Convertible
1969 Torino GT Convertible

Ford Cobra was called the Torino Cobra though it was officially a separate model that came in either a two-door hardtop or two-door fastback variants. The reason for this was that Ford created the Cobra using the Torino as the base for it with little to no exterior changes.  

Torino Cobra had the same body as the Fairlane 500 so some people used the name Fairlane Cobra. 

To keep the cost down to make it less expensive than the Plymouth Road Runner, the Cobra was also available with the base trim level of the Fairlane 500. 

The Cobra never carried the Fairlane or Torino brand names and was simply called the Cobra. It never had any nameplates in exterior or interior claiming to be a Torino or Fairlane either.

1969_Ford_Torino_GT_351_Sportsroof
1969_Ford_Torino_GT_351_Sportsroof

But, in 1969 NASCAR rally entrant cars were called Torino Cobras due to being based on the Torino. 

 Now all the cars except Torino GTs and Cobras came with a 4.1-liter (250cu) V6 engine as standard. 

4.9-liter (302cu) V8 came as the standard engine option for the Torino GT. 

Several new engine options such as the 5.8-liter (351cu) 2V Windsor V8, 5.8-liter 4V Windsor V8, 6.4-liter (390cu) 4V. 

The 7.0-liter (428 cu) 4V Cobra Jet engine was also available as an extra paid option for all Fairlane 500 and Torino models. This engine came as standard for the Cobra models. It was available with or without the Ram Air Induction package. It had a 735 cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor. 

The 428 CJ without Ram Air Induction came with a 3.25:1 open slip differential, heavy-duty cooling package, 80amp heavy-duty battery, 55amp alternator, chrome valve covers, and dual exhaust. 

The 428 CJ with Ram Air Induction came with all those mechanical components except the 3.25:1 open differential, this package came with a 3.50:1 open differential and a functional hood scoop. 

A new engine option was also offered. The 428 4V Super Cobra Jet engine. This engine was specifically developed for drag racing and it was included with the optional Drag Pack package. This package could be ordered with the Q code 428-4V or R code Ram Air induction equipped 428-4V cars. 

The 428 Super Cobra Jet package included cast pistons, and engine oil cooling system, a nodular controlled cast iron crankshaft with an external weight on the snout behind the balancer, LeMans cap screw connecting rods, a 9-inch rear axle with a 3.91:1 gear ratio, and a traction lock limited-slip differential or 4.30:1 gear with a Detroit locker.  

The 1969 Ford Cobra Jet with Ram Air Induction was tested by the Road Test magazine. This car came with a four-speed manual transmission and a 3.50 gear ratio.  This car ran the quarter-mile in 15.07 seconds with a top speed of 95.47mph. However, they pointed out the not so easy to use factory-fitted gear shifter and the lack of a tachometer as disadvantages. A tachometer and a Hurst shifter instead of the stock would have improved the times even more, according to them. 

 Torino Talladega

Reproduction_of_the_1969_Ford_Talladega_Race_Car
Reproduction_of_the_1969_Ford_Talladega_Race_Car

For the 1969 model year, Ford added another high-performance model to its lineup. The Torino Talladega, a NASCAR-inspired Torino variant.

Ford Torino Talladega
Ford Torino Talladega

A total of 129,054 Torino and 366,911 cars including the Fairlane cars were sold in 1969. 

81,822 Torino GT were produced and the exact number of the production of Cobra is not known as Ford never did provide a separate production number for it. 

Second Generation Ford Torino and Ford Fairlane

1970 Ford Torino and Fairlane

1970_ford_torino_cobra_sportsroof
1970_ford_torino_cobra_sportsroof

From 1970 onwards, Torino became the primary model and the Fairlane became a sub-model of the Torino. 

The boxy lines of the full-size Ford influenced the previous generations’ car, but this time Ford offered a completely redesigned all-new Torino/Fairlane with coke bottle styling. The Ford designer, Bill Shenk, the lead designer of the second-generation Torino, was inspired by supersonic aircraft with narrow waists and bulging forward and rear fuselages to reach maximum supersonic speeds. 

Due to this, the new Torino came with a prominent long hood, short deck styling. It was longer, lower, and wider than the previous generation models. All the new Torino and Fairlane models feature a lower and less formal roofline and the windshield rake was increased. The SportsRoof (fastback) variant came with an even flatter fastback roofline. 

The overall body shape, body proportions, and coke bottle styling made the Torino more aerodynamic than before. 

The front fascia was covered with the grille and surrounded by quad headlights. The front fender line extended to the front door and sloped downwards gradually disappearing in the quarter panel. 

1970_ford_torino_cobra_sportsroof
1970_ford_torino_cobra_sportsroof

Both rear and front bumpers were slim tight fitting chromed ones that followed the body lines. 

The taillights were located in the rear panel above the bumper and were long rectangular ones with rounded edges. 

1970_Ford_Torino_GT_Sportsroof
1970_Ford_Torino_GT_Sportsroof

1970 Ford intermediate model line featured 13 models. The base model was the Fairlane 500 and was available in a two-door hardtop, four-door sedan, and four-door station wagon variants. 

The mid-level Torino was available as a two-door hardtop, four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, and a four-door station wagon. Another four-door pillarless hardtop was added as a new body variant for the 1970 model year. 

Torino Brougham was the top-of-the-line trim and was available as a two-door or four-door hardtops, and a four-door station wagon. 

Performance-oriented Ford Torino GT was available as either a two-door SportsRoof (fastback) or a two-door convertible. 

High-performance-oriented Torino Cobra was available as a two-door SportsRoof only. 

Ford Falcon

A new Ford Falcon model was added mid-year as a new entry-level for the intermediate lineup. It was discontinued in the same year for not being able to meet the new federal safety standards. Therefore, the Falcon name was used as the new economical option for the intermediate lineup. Falcon was the only intermediate model that offered a pillared two-door sedan and rubber mats instead of carpeting. 

The mid-1970 Falcon was available as either a two-door, a four-door sedan, and a four-door station wagon. These were the cheapest intermediate models with fewer standard features than the Fairlane 500 lineup. 

Torino two-door SportsRoof

Torino’s two-door SportsRoof model was introduced in the mid-year and was marketed as a low-price alternative to the Torino GT. 

All these add up eventually resulted in a total of 17 intermediate-level models. 

The wide track and increased length resulted in a weight increase of a minimum of 45kg. 

The width of the car now standard at 60.5 inches in the front and 60 inches in the rear while the length was increased by 5 inches. Widened track resulted in better traction and cornering properties, 

The extra width in between the spring towers increased the engine compartment size, allowing Ford engineers to install a larger 385 V8. 

The suspension remained the same. Optional suspension packages were the competition suspension package and the heavy-duty suspension package. 

The competition suspension package included extra heavy-duty front and rear springs and Gabriel shocks and a large 0.95-inch front sway bar. The four-speed cars came with staggered rear shocks instead of the Gabriel shocks. 

This competition suspension package was well received by the Automotive product testers and the Motor Trend described it as very smooth and unusual from the stock suspension package as it provides much better cornering and handling capabilities. 

The 1970 Torino came with a completely new interior. The dashboard now included a linear style speedometer centered on the driver ad a new ribbon-style tachometer was available as an extra paid option for the cars with V8 engines. 

The only other gauge available was the temperature gauge. The electronics and the oil pressure were monitored with warning lights. 

High back bucket seats were available as standard for all two-door cars. 

All two-door hardtop, SportsRoof, and convertible models had Direct Air ventilation system as standard, thus eliminating the need for side vent windows, 

The two-door sedan and four-door sedan and station wagon came with side vent doors but the Direct Air ventilation system was available as an option. 

The steering wheel and column-mounted shifter locked when the key was removed to comply with new federal safety regulations. 

 The powertrain options received many changes and only the 4.1-liter (250 cubic-inch) V6 engine, 4.9-liter (302 cu) 2V small block V8 engine, and the 5.7-liter (351 cu) W-2V engines were carried over from the 1969 powertrain options. 

Most models had the 4.1-liter V6 engine as standard, but the 4.9-liter small-block V8 (the standard engine option for the GT and Brougham models) was available as an option. The 5.7-liter (351 cu) Cleveland engine was available with a two- or a four-barrel carburetor and the all-new 7.0-liter (429 cu) 4V 385 series V8 engine (the standard engine on the Cobra models) was also available as an option. 

The 7.0-liter 4V 385 series V8 engine was available within three different variations. The first was the 429 Thunder Jet, the standard engine for the Cobra models and delivered 360 horsepower.

The 429 Cobra Jet came with a two-bolt main block, hydraulic lifters, a 700 cfm Holley, or 715 cfm Rochester quadrajet carburetor. This setup delivered 370 horsepower. It was available with and without Ram Air Induction.

The third variant, 429 Super Cobra Jet delivered 375 horsepower. The Super Cobra Jet engine was included with the Drag Pack option.

The Drag Pack option converted the Cobra Jet into a Super Cobra Jet. It also required either a 3.91:1 or 4.30:1 axle ratio and a four-bolt main engine block, forged pistons, 780 cfm Holley carburetor, engine oil cooler, and a solid lifter camshaft. Ram Air Induction was also available as an option. 

The Ram Air option included a shaker hood, where the scoop was attached to the top of the air cleaner assembly and protruded through a hole in the hood. 

All models came with a standard three-speed transmission system, but the Cobra models came with a four-speed system instead of the three-speed unit. 

Cruise O Matic transmission was available for all engine options. Four-speed transmission was available as an option for all powertrains except the base V6 and the 302 2V small-block V8 engine.  

Torino GT

The Torino GT came standard with a simulated nonfunctional hood scoop molded into the hood.

Dual color-keyed sport mirrors, full-width tail lights with a honeycomb effect, black decklid appliques, GT emblem in the center of the grille, hub caps with wheel trim rings to make it look and feel more unique. 

E70 14 fiberglass belted tires came as standard for the GT but the convertibles came with F70 17 tires. 

Bucket seats and consoles were available as options on the GT.

Hidden headlamps, a reflective laser stripe that ran down the middle of the side from the front fender to the door were also available for the first time as options. 

Motor Trend magazine tested a 1970 Torino GT SportsRoof with a 429 Cobra jet engine, C6 Cruise O Matic automatic transmission, and 3.50:1 gear ratio. This car achieved 0-60mph in 6 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds with a top speed of 100.2mph. 

Torino Cobra

Torino Cobra was the top-performing model in the range but was offered as a lower-level trim than the Torino GT. 

The Cobra was only available only as a two-door SportsRoof coupe. It came with a standard four-speed close-ratio transmission unit with a Hurst shifter, competition suspension, 7-inch-wide wheels, F70-14 tires with raised white letters. 

Twist-style exposed hood latches, Cobra emblems, a flat black hood, and a grille were included to give it a more distinctive look.

New wheel options included a 15-inch Magnum 500 wheels with F60-15 tires and flat black Sport Slats for the rear window. These options were also available for the Ford Torino GT. 

 The 1970 Ford Torino performed well despite the increased weight. 

Motor Trend tested a 1970 Torino Cobra with a 429 Cobra jet engine, Ram Air induction, C6 automatic transmission, and 3.50:1 rear axle. This car achieved 0-60mph in 6 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds with a top speed of 100mph. They further concluded that the added weight improved traction. 

They also tested a 1970 Cobra with a 429 Super Cobra Jet engine, a four-speed transmission unit, and a 3.91:1 gear ratio. This car ran the quarter-mile in 13.99 seconds with a top speed of 101mph. This achieved 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds. 

The 1970 model year was a successful one for the Torino. It was well embraced by the public and journalists. Motor Trend selected it as the car of the year for 1970. 

Ford made 230,411 Torino cars for 1970, 110,029 Fairlane cars, and 67,053 Falcons. 

1971 Ford Torino

For the 1971 model year, Ford gave the intermediate lineup only minor changes. 

However, Ford decided to drop the Fairlane and Falcon model names. 

1971_Ford_Torino_Coupe_Front
1971_Ford_Torino_Coupe_Front
1971_Ford_Torino_Coupe_Rear
1971_Ford_Torino_Coupe_Rear

Torino’s lineup now consisted of 14 models. The base model was available as either a two-door hardtop, four-door sedan, or a four-door station wagon. 

The mid-level Torino 500 was available as either a two-door hardtop, a two-door SportsRoof (fastback), a four-door sedan, and a four-door station wagon. 

Top of the line Torino Brougham was available as a two-door and a four-door hardtop. Torino Squire was the station wagon option equivalent to the Brougham.

The mechanical features and powertrain options were similar to the 1970 model year with only minor changes. However, most of the engines came with lower compression to comply with new federal safety regulations. 

Torino Cobra

The Cobra was available only as a two-door SportsRoof. These cars were equipped with a 351 4V engine as standard. This engine delivered 285 horsepower and it came with a four-speed manual transmission unit with a Hurst shifter. F70-14 tires with Cobra emblems, competition suspension, hub caps, and a blacked grill were also included in the package. 

All the engines other than the top of the line 429 came with slightly lower compression, resulting in a significant performance decrease. 

The reflective laser stripe was now available as an option for the Cobra, 

The high-performance 429 Cobra Jet powertrains still delivered the same maximum power output as the 1970 units did. 

Super Stock and Drag Illustrated tested a Torino Cobra with a 429 Cobra Jet engine, C6 automatic transmission, 3.50:1 gear ratio. This car delivered 370 horsepower. This car achieved the quarter-mile in 15 seconds with a top speed of 97mph.

Car Magazine tested a Torino Cobra equipped with a 429 Cobra Jet engine with Ram Air induction, C 6 automatic transmission, and 3.50:1 gear ratio. This car also delivered 370 horsepower. They were able to run the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds with a top speed of 102mph. 

Torino GT

1971_Ford_Torino_GT
1971_Ford_Torino_GT

Torino GT was offered as a two-door SportsRoof and a convertible. These cars were powered with a 302 2V small block V8 engine as standard. 

The Torino GT was the Torino’s sports-oriented higher trim variant. It came with dual color-keyed racing mirrors, GT identification, a non-functional hood scoop, hub caps, and trim, rings, chrome trim on the door pedals, full-width tail lights with honeycomb effect, and E70-14 tires and F70-14 tires on convertibles. 

Torino GT was given a shaker scoop when equipped with Ram Air induction. 

The total number of Torino cars built was 326,463. Only 1613 out of these were Torino GT convertibles and 3054 Torino Cobra cars were made. 

1971 429 Super Cobra Jet Ford Torino Cobra

Though the Ford muscle cars were winners in both track and high banked ovals at the NASCAR racing, they were not that victorious when it comes to street racing. The Fords usually ended up getting beaten by the Pontiac GTOs, Chevrolet Camaros, etc. But with the introduction of the 428 Cobra jet Mustang, they managed to build up some self-esteem as capable road machines. Though the Ford product designers knew about this, they were more interested in winning track racing events rather than providing a serious street racing machine to a niche market. Besides that, developing a product for a niche market was always a risk.

In 1970, the 429 Cobra Jet engine was provided as an option along with the 429 Super Cobra Jet engine option. Plentiful 429 Cobra Jet-powered cars were made but very few solid-lifter 429 Super Cobra Jet cars were made.

1972 Ford_Gran_Torino_
1972 Ford_Gran_Torino_

When it comes to the 1971 Ford Torino, not much was changed from the 1970 Torino except for a slightly different grille and new badges.

The Super Cobra Jet performance package came along with the 429 cubic inches V8 engine, solid lifter camshaft, higher 11.3 to 1 compression forged pistons, a high-rise aluminum manifold, a larger 780 cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor, a modified custom-made ignition, and several other hardware. This engine package made 375 horsepower at 5600 rpm and a torque rating of 450 lb-ft at 3400rpm. This powerful V8 engine was mated with a three-speed Select-Shift C6 automatic transmission and 3.91 gears with a limited-slip differential. It was possible to order a 4.30 axle ration as an extra option.

Though the muscle cars were already going through a process of detuning their engines by 1971, thanks to the Washington legislators and insurance companies, the Super Cobra Jet Ford Torino was a wickedly fast car with a wicked amount of power at its disposal. This car was capable of running the quarter-mile in the lower than 13 seconds. Joe Oldham of Magnum publications managed to run the quarter-mile in 13.70 seconds with a top speed of 106 mph on a wet day with slight rain. Though the car was an extremely fast car, Joe Oldham pointed out poor low-end torque and the weird ignition system as the low points.

According to the Ford enthusiasts, Ford only made 37,500 Torino two-door coupes for 1971. Out of those cars, only 3054 came with the Cobra Jet option. Less than 200 out of those 3054 cars, came with the R code 429 Super Cobra Jet solid lifter engines.

Ford Super Cobra Jet Tornio by any means not a lightweight car. The total weight of the car was around 3800 pounds. This car was a good handling car due to the fact that Ford’s competition suspension package came as a standard. A stabilizer bar in the back improved the body roll in the corners while stiffer springs and the staggered rear shocks also did improve the cornering. The weight made the ride feel heavier but it improved the stability at speed. Joe Oldham managed to cruise the Canadian Highway 401 for hours at speeds over 100mph without feeling unsafe, unstable, or uncomfortable.

When it comes to aesthetics, the 429 Super Cobra Jet Ford Torino came with stripes, rear window slats, and special emblems all over the car.

Third Generation Ford Torino

1972 Ford Torino. 

The 1972 Torino was redesigned but it carried over many characteristics from the second generation. It also came with the long hood, shorter deck body proportions, and coke bottle styling. 

The biggest change being the body-on-frame construction of the 1972 cars instead of the previous model years unit construction. 

1972 Ford_Gran_Torino_Front
1972 Ford_Gran_Torino_Front
1972_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport_coupe
1972_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport_coupe

From 1972 model year onwards, GM decided to use a shorter wheelbase for its two-door intermediate models. This resulted in the use of a separate wheelbase for two-door and four-door variants of the Torino. This helped the designers to make fewer compromises when turning a two-door car into a four-door variant.  The short wheelbase came with a 114-inch wheelbase. The long-wheelbase was having a length of 118 inches. 

The Torino short wheelbase and long-wheelbase shared many body panels. 

Now the Torino model was revamped with three models. The Torino, Gran Torino, and Gran Torino Sport. 

Base Torino came with a unique hood and front bumpers to make them look different from the Gran Torino and Gran Torino Sport models. 

Torino’s front fenders were flared around the wheel opening and the rear quarter panel had a strong character line extending to the rear bumper. 

The windshield rake was increased to a 60-degree angle while the A-pillars and roof were thinner. 

Despite these changes, the structural integrity remained the same as the 1971 models. 

Direct Air ventilation was now available as standard for all Torino models, thus eliminating vent windows. 

Torino came with flush-mounted door handles and side door guard rails as new safety equipment. 

Now the intermediate model line consisted of only 9 models instead of the previous model year’s 14 models. 

The convertibles and four-door hardtops were discontinued due to lower demand. The four-door sedans and hardtops were replaced with four-door pillared hardtops. 

These four-door sedans came with frameless door glass and a thin B pillar. The station wagons also came with this configuration. 

 Torino and Gran Torino were available in two-door hardtop, four-door station wagon, and four-door sedan variants.

1972_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport_SportsRoof_rear
1972_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport_SportsRoof_rear
1972_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport_SportsRoof
1972_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport_SportsRoof

Gran Torino Sport was available as a two-door hardtop or a SportsRoof. A station wagon called Gran Torino Squire was also available with the highest trim. 

The Cobra model was discontinued in favor of the Gran Torino Sport line. The Torino line-up was now restructured to focus on luxury and de-emphasized performance. 

The new body-on-frame construction and the perimeter design chassis made the Torino capable of having a more isolated and quieter ride. 

It also featured an energy-absorbing S-shaped front end, torque boxes to isolate road shocks, fourteen rubber body mounts, and five cross members. 

The front suspension used a short/long control arm design, with computer-selected coil springs mounted on the strut stabilized lower control arm. This suspension setup was similar to the systems used in full-size Ford cars. 

The rear used a four-link suspension with a computer-selected coil spring mounted on a solid axle. 

Motor Trend magazine concluded that the road isolation and vibrational dampening is superb when they tested a four-door Gran Torino Brougham. 

Ford offered two suspension options. The competition suspension and a heavy-duty suspension system including larger front sway bars, heavy-duty springs, and shocks. 

Competition suspension package was available for two-door models only. This package came with the most heavy-duty rear upper control arms and bushings, a large front sway bar, and a rear sway bar. 

Front disc brakes were available on all Torino cars as standard. The power brakes were available on a 7.0-liter V8 engine-powered car as standard. 

The power steering system was completely revised to be integral in the steering vox instead of the external booster style used in the previous year. 

All the Torino cars came with 14-inch wheels. However, 15-inch wheels were used only by Police and taxi variants. 

Interiors were all new and featured an improved instrument panel with ABS plastic construction, with five equally sized round pods containing a speedometer, fuel gauge, and various warning lights. The leftmost pod was a vent for the Direct Aire ventilation system. 

An instrument package was provided for all V8 engine-equipped cars. 

A clock was available as an option with the standard instrument package. This featured two large round pods centered on the steering wheels, containing the speedometer and a tachometer. The third pod on the left housed a Direct Aire vent. The instrument cluster featured an ammeter, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, and a clock set in a smaller stack of pods near the center of the instrument panel. 

High back bucket seats were available as an option for all the two-door models.

The base engine was the 4.1-liter (250 cubic-inch) V6 in all models except the Gran Torino Squire station wagon and the Gran Torino Sport lineup. Both Gran Torino Sport lineup and Gran Torino Squire came with a 302 2V small-block V8 as standard. 

Engine options available were the 302 2V, a 351 2V Windsor or a Cleveland, a 351 C 4V Cobra Jet, a 400 2V, and a 429 4V. 

the 429 4V engine was different than the previous year’s Cobra Jet engines and came with high torque and low revving. 

To meet new emission control regulations and low lead fuel requirements, compression ratios on all the available powertrains were dropped to at least 8.5:1 to make them all run on regular gasoline. This resulted in lower power output. 

The three-speed manual transmission was the standard for all models. The Cruise O Matic gearbox was available as an option for 351 2V, 400 2V, and 429 4V. 

The 351 4V Cobra Jet required either a four-speed manual or a Cruise O Matic transmission as mandatory options. 

Gran Torino Sport was offered as either a two-door hardtop or a two-door SportsRood, 

The Gran Torino sport included an integrated hood scoop with twin color-keyed racing mirrors, molded plastic door panels, bodyside, and wheel lip moldings. F70-14 tires came as standard while the E70-14 was standard for hardtop models. 

1973 Ford Torino 

1973_Ford_Torino_2-dr_Hardtop
1973_Ford_Torino_2-dr_Hardtop

The new Torino came with a new front fascia to comply with new safety regulations to make them able to absorb an impact at 5mph to the front without damaging or deforming safety-related components such as headlamps and the fuel system. The rear bumper has a 2.5mph requirement. 

The model lineup for 1973 increased to 11 from 9 models in 1972. In 1972 only Tornio, Gran Torino, and Gran Torino Sport models were available. 

Now a new model lineup called Gran Torino Brougham was available as a two-door hardtop or a four-door sedan.

1973_Ford_Gran_Torino_LDO
1973_Ford_Gran_Torino_LDO
1973_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport
1973_Ford_Gran_Torino_Sport

All the other models were offered in the same body styles as in 1972. 

Bench seats for 1973 reverted to low backs with separate headrests to increase rear visibility. High-back bucket seats were still available on the two-door models. 

Hood release was moved to inside for increased security. All models used larger 11-inch rear drum brakes to cope with the extra weight. Radial tires were offered as an option to provide a more comfortable ride and longer tread life.

The standard engine option was the 250 V6 engine for all models except the station wagons and Gran Torino Sport models, which were equipped with a 302 2V small block V8. 

All the other engine options were the same as the 1972 engine options, but all of them had their compression ratio dropped to 8.0:1. This resulted in further decreased power output,

The 351 Cobra Jet was the only high-performance engine option and it had two horsepower drop from 1972.  

A high-performance 460 4V engine was available exclusively for police use as a part of the interceptor package. 

Gran Torino Sport now had its own unique emblem in the grille and on the trunk lock cover. 

The hood scoop and the Ram Air induction option were not available for the 1973 model year. 

Gran Torino Sport was available as a two-door SportsRoof or a two-door hardtop. 

Car and Driver magazine tested a 1973 Gran Torino Sport SportsRoof equipped with a 351 Cobra Jet, C6 Automatic transmission, and a 3.25:1 gear ratio. This car reached 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 16 seconds with a top speed of 88.1mph. They concluded that the car offered a quiet, comfortable ride even with competition suspension. They also complimented better handling qualities of the car. 

The extra 0.9 seconds it took to reach 0-60mph and was largely due to the added curb weight from 1799kg in 1972 to 1954kg in 1973. The weight increase was largely due to the addition of new safety equipment and mechanical components.  

The 1973 model year was a successful one for the Torino lineup with 491,581 cars sold. It outsold its archenemy, the Chevrolet Chevelle by more than 168,000 cars. 

1974 Ford Torino 

The 1974 model year went through even more restyling and re-engineering to comply with new government safety regulations. The front and rear bumpers were now required to absorb impacts at 5mph without damaging any safety-related components such as headlights or rear tail lamps. To accomplish this, all Torino models were received a redesigned rear bumper and tail light panel. 

The rear bumper unit was much larger and square-shaped and sat lower on the body. the fuel filler was repositioned above the bumper, hidden behind an access door in the center of the tailgate panel. 

1974-Ford_Gran_Torino_Brougham
1974-Ford_Gran_Torino_Brougham

 the model lineup was similar to the 1973 model line up with the only exception being the lack of a Gran Torino Sport SportsRoof variant and the addition of a new Gran Torino Elite. 

Gran Torino Elite was Ford’s entry in the mid-sized luxury car market and was targeted at the bestselling Chevrolet Monte Carlo. 

Gran Torino Elite was a two-door hardtop with many unique features.  It used the Mercury Montego and Mercury Cougar body shell with unique front-end styling resembling the sixth generation Ford Thunderbird. The standard powertrain was the 351 2v V8 engine with automatic transmission. It also came with radial tires to improve ride quality as standard. 

The other standard luxury features were the vinyl roof with twin opera windows split-bench seat, Westminster cloth upholstery, woodgrain trim, and complete gauge instruments. 

All Torino cars now came with a seat belt interlock system to comply with US safety regulations. This was discontinued after the 1974 model year as the regulations were revised later the same year.

Competition suspension was no longer available and the only suspension option was a revised heavy-duty suspension which was available for all Torino cars except the Gran Torino Elite. This package included a larger front sway bar and heavy-duty front and rear springs, Heavy-duty shocks and a rear sway bar were included in this package on the two-door and four-door sedan models only. 

All the Torino cars were now even heavier due to the revised larger front and rear bumpers and new safety equipment. 

The base 250 CID inline-six engine which was used to power the previous model year Torino cars were no longer available, but few Torino cars were built in 1974 with this V6 engine. One of these V6 engines equipped Torino cars became the main car in Starsky and Hutch. 

The 429 4V engine was replaced with a 460-4V engine. The new engine delivered more power and torque than the 429 4V and came equipped with a dual exhaust system. 

All the engines received a slight power increase when comparing to the 1973 cars. 

All Torino cars and Gran Torino cars were powered with a 302 2V engine as the standard base engine, though few were made with 250 V6 engines. The standard transmission for all Torino cars was a 3-speed manual. Larger V8 engines except 351 Cobra Jet required a Cruise O Matic as a standard transmission option. 

The most powerful powertrain option, the 351 Cobra Jet delivered 9 horsepower more at a loss of 22 lb-ft of torque. It was the only engine that came with a four-speed transmission as standard. Cruise O Matic was also available for extra money. 1974 model year marked as the last year for the 351 Cobra Jet and the four-speed transmission unit.

1974_Ford_Torino_from_Starsky__Hutch
1974_Ford_Torino_from_Starsky__Hutch

Sportsroof body style discontinued due to lack of demand and due to this, the Gran Torino Sport was now difficult to distinguish from other Gran Torino two-door cars. But it came with special emblems and higher profile radial-ply tires as standard. 

The interior was now more unique from the other Torino cars as it featured instrument package as standard. Bucket seats were available as an option. 

Ford made 426,086 Torino cars in 1974, including 96,604 Gran Torino Elites. 

1975 Ford Torino

 The 1975 Ford Torino received some minor improvements and the Gran Torino Elite was dropped from the lineup. 

Due to the high demand, the Gran Torino Elite received last year, Ford decided to make it an independent model and marketed it as Ford Elite. 

All Torino cars came with a solid-state ignition system to improve starting performance and fuel economy with lower maintenance costs. 

Power steering and power brakes were now available as standard. Radial tires were added as standard to improve fuel efficiency, ride quality, and overall handling.

1975_Ford_Gran_Torino
1975_Ford_Gran_Torino

The 1975 Torino cars received a new steering wheel design and a Fuel Sentry vacuum gauge was added to the options list. 

All the cars came with catalytic converters installed to comply with new emission regulations. This resulted in a significant performance reduction of the engines due to increased exhaust backpressure. 

To address this issue, Ford decided to use the 351 2V engine as the standard powertrain option for all the Torino’s. The 400 2V and the 460 4V engine options were the only powertrains available. A new 351 M/ 351 W engine was added to replace the 351 Cleveland. 

Cruise O Matic transmission also became the standard. No manual gearbox options were available from here on.  

Due to the added weight and the catalytic converter fiasco, the fuel economy and performance decrease were inevitable.

Gran Torino Sport

Gran Torino Sport was carried over from 1975 with no significant change in the exterior or performance. It wasn’t standing out from the normal Torino due to the lack of any unique exterior features. 

The Elite now being a separate model, wasn’t included in the total sales of the Torino model lineup. 

Ford made 123,372 Elites for 1975. 

The total production of the Torino lineup was 195,110 units. 

The combined output of 318,482 was still significantly lower than in 1974. 

The lack of consumer interest was largely due to the demand for more fuel-efficient smaller compact cars. Manya Japanese automotive companies including Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Nissan were slowly capturing the market with well-made, reliable yet inexpensive cars. To compete with these new foreign competitors, Ford introduced the Granada, a compact two-door car, which also likely to steal sales from the Torino lineup. 

1976 Torino

1976_Ford_Gran_Torino_Crop
1976_Ford_Gran_Torino_Crop

The Torino lineup for the 1976 model year saw no major mechanical or style changes. 

The Gran Torino Sport was discontinued due to the lack of demand. 

Now the Torino lineup had 9 separate models. 2 and 4 door variants of the Torino, Gran Torino, Gran Torino Brougham, and three station wagons.

 Engine options remained unchanged for 1976 but the fuel economy was increased thanks to the revisions to the engine spark advance and the EGR valve operation. This resulted in a power and torque increase in 351 2V and 400 2V engines. 460 4V engine received a power increase only. 

1976_Ford_Gran_Torino_Squire
1976_Ford_Gran_Torino_Squire

To improve fuel economy, now all the models came with a 2.75:1 rear axle ratio.  

The production total for the Torino in 1976 was 193,096 units, slightly less than the 1975 model year. 

Ford decided to cancel the production of the Torino lineup to focus on more fuel-efficient economical compact cars as the market demanded just that. 

Torino chassis were used for the production of Ford Thunderbird, Ranchero, LTD 11, and Mercury Cougar.

Ford Torino Special variants 

Torino King Cobra

Ford_Torino_King_Cobra
Ford_Torino_King_Cobra

Ford planned to introduce a limited-edition Torino to dominate NASCAR tracks. The specifically designed car was named the Torino King Cobra and it looked very different from a normal 1970 Torino. It had a sloped front with Datsun 240Z type headlamps. 

The font was specifically designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency and this resulted in creating too much downforce. The rear end received no modifications to improve downforce. This resulted in the car becoming hard to handle in the corners. 

The original plan was to build 500 cars to be sold to the public to comply with NASCAR homologation rules. But, at the last minute, the minimum number of cars produced for the public was changed from 500 to 3000.  Due to this, Lee Iacocca decided to abandon the project with only three prototypes ever created. It never saw the lights of the showroom or the daylight of a NASCAR track. 

Two of the prototypes came equipped with a 429 Super Cobra Jet package and the other came equipped with a Boss 429 engine. 

One of these prototypes was available for sale on eBay for a $600,000 price tag, back in 2014.  

Ford Torino Talladega

Ford Torino Talladegas
Ford Torino Talladegas

This is a proper muscle car and was produced by Ford only during the first few weeks of 1969. The name was a reference to the Talladega Superspeedway, which opened the same year. 

It was a more aerodynamic variant of the Torino/ Fairlane Cobra. This variant was specifically developed to compete in NASCAR racing and to comply with NASCAR homologation rules, 500 cars were produced and were sold to the public. 

It was based on the Ford Cobra SportsRood (fastback). To make the car more aerodynamically efficient, a sleeker front section was added.

The regular Ford Cobra was based on the Torino or Fairlane 500 two-door variants. These came with a regular inset grille and headlights. This design wasn’t aerodynamically efficient. 

Torino Talladega replaced the nose section with a one that extended the car’s length by almost six inches. This featured a flush-mounted grille and a close-fitting bumper that was actually a rear bumper that had been cut, narrowed, and shaped in the center, and filled on the ends to create a crude lip spoiler, further improving the aerodynamics of the car at higher speeds. 

The rocker panels of the Talladega were reshaped and rolled to lower the suspension by one inch, therefore improving top speed and handling by lowering the center of gravity and reducing resistance.  

These cars came with much standard equipment such as an engine oil cooler, a power steering oil cooler, staggered shocks, a 3.25:1 Ford 9-inch 31 spline nodular open rear end. A cast-iron tail shaft heavy-duty C6 automatic transmission column shifted was also added to the package. 

Most of these special performance parts were available with the drag pack performance package, with the only difference being the C6 automatic transmission instead of the standard four-speed and a limited-slip rear differential. 

All the Talladega cars came with competition black hoods and rear tail panels on all production cars. 

the interior was done in black vinyl and cloth with front bench seats as standard.  

  Racing variants were initially fitted with FE 427 side oiler engine, the main powertrain that Ford has used for racing since 1963. 

Later in the season, the Boss 429 engine was officially homologated, and after that, it was also used by many other teams. 

All the production Talladega cars came equipped with a 428 Cobra Jet engine as it was powerful enough and reliable for everyday use. It was developed for street usage, unlike the FE 427 side oiler engines that were developed specifically for endurance racing. 

The main difference being the FE 427 side oiler is a high revving engine while the 428 Cobra Jet developed high torque at low rpm. 

Production cars were equipped with the same C6 heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission unit and 3.25:1 ration conventional rear axle without any other options. 

Production cars were offered with only a few options.

The color option allowed customers to choose either of the three-color choices, Wimbledon White, Royal Maroon, and a Presidential Blue.

Other options were power steering, power brakes, color-keyed racing mirrors, AM radio, and argent-styled steel wheels with F70x14 wide oval tires. 

Torino Talladega was successful at the racing track, with 29 Grand National wins during 1969 and 1970 NASCAR season. This was recorded as the most wins by a single model ever at the time. 

It also won the 1969 ARCA Manufacturer’s Championship with Ford team driver Benny Pearson winning the Driver’s Championship. 

After studying the success of Ford Torino Talladega, Dodge decided to redesign their aerodynamically inferior Charger 500 to create the Dodge Charger Daytona. Daytona managed to win six races during the 1969 and 1970 NASCAR seasons.  

 1969 was Ford’s last year of factory-backed involvement in racing for several years to come. This was due to the congressional hearing regarding research and development costs of racing versus fuel efficiency and safety. 

Ford decided to abandon all their racing programs starting with the 1970 season to comply with the new legislation. 

But many NASCAR racing teams still ran their Talladega cars without any factory support due to the aerodynamic superiority it had over other competitors. 

After the 1970 NASCAR season, the NASCAR racing committee decided to ban aero cars with larger than 305 cu of displacement. This eventually resulted at the end of the Talladega racing involvement. 

It is believed that the total production of Talladega’s was just 754 including prototypes, pilot cars, and production cars. 

Semon Bunkie Knudsen also ordered a special post-production Talladega for himself. It was different from all the homologation cars when it comes to trim and color options. 

Bunkie Knudsen Ford Talladega
Bunkie Knudsen Ford Talladega

Ford Torino Talladega is one of the most sought-after muscle cars nowadays. This was largely due to the limited production figures as well as the successful racing involvement which resulted in the wear and tear of many cars. 

 

 
 
 

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