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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1968-73 Ford Torino

What does Ford have to do with Italy today you may wonder?  Nothing.  So then what did Ford have to do with Italy in 1968?  Well, still more or less nothing.  Except, of course, for one thing: the new for 1968 Ford Torino was in fact named after the Italian city of Turin.  Who new?  Likely, the same people that cared…few to none.  Ford did pick that name, and did build the car as an upscale version of the popular Ford Fairlane.  In fact, it was rumored that Torino was slated as a possible name for the Mustang, which debuted just 4 years earlier.  The Torino is a sad story that follows closely with many of the stories we hear about amazing muscle cars that lived into the 70’s; their power and inevitably their nameplate died.  The Torino pictured above is a very cool looking Torino Cobra with a sports roof.  However, believe it or not, the most popular Torino’s were in fact the 4 door sedan variants of the car.  I say believe it or not because Ford built some extremely tough looking Torinos, and even competed with them in NASCAR.  Fitted with a 428cid Cobra Jet motor producing 335hp, this car was a rocket.  The common motor in this car (also borrowed from the Mustang) was the 289cid V8 and 305cid.  Sounds like the drag car of the era for Ford right?  Well Ford thought so too.  But the 428 wouldn’t do (gasp) and Ford decided to throw in a 429 Super Cobra Jet complete with 370 neck-snapping horsepower.    This was Fords answer to the Mopar dragster, the Plymouth Road Runner.  In 1969, Road Test magazine absolutely raved about the power and control this Cobra boasted.  1970 to ’72 brought about minimal changes, and then, in the opinion of many, sadly, the muscle of the car was more or less lost in 1972 when the Torino changed into the Gran Torino.  The 429 lost much of its power (albeit retained its torque) and this was largely due, in part, to the emission laws and oil crises that were beginning to hit home.  Still though , Car and Driver reported this car to have accomplished 0 to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds!  As you can see, to my personal tastes, by 1973 the car had lost much of its cosmetic appeal (pictured below), and so dies yet another iconic muscle car. 

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