Ford Motor Company hit a admirable bang with its Gran Torino models in 1972 and 1973. Over the two archetypal years, Ford awash about one actor Torinos, including this ’73 Gran Torino Sport, spotted at the Old Autos car actualization in Bothwell in August 2013. Its endemic by Robert Bobier of Iona Station. Peter Epp photo
To those not absorbed in the old car culture, the abutting they’ve apparently appear to the Gran Torino is the Clint Eastwood cine by the aforementioned name.
The blur tells the adventure of a retired Ford Motor Company artisan in Highland Park, Mich., afresh widowed, who has adversity adjusting to the indigenous changes in his dejected collar neighbourhood. Eastwood’s sons appetite him to move, but he refuses. Besides, in his barn sits a admired 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport that Eastwood’s actualization claims he helped anatomy at the bounded Ford plant.
To be sure, the movie’s Gran Torino is a candied set of wheels. It’s tricked out with the alternative laser band on the side, and is able with Magnum 500 wheels. Beneath the awning lurks a 429-cubic-inch V8 engine, frequently accepted as the Cobra Jet.
The ’72 Gran Torino represented the aboriginal year of a new bearing of Torinos, alien in 1968.
Torino was alleged for the Italian burghal of Turin, and was initially an flush adaptation of the Ford Fairlane. By 1970, however, the Fairlane name was retired and Torino became the primary name for Ford’s intermediate-sized car. That acumen was continued to accommodate the 1976 archetypal year, afterwards which the Torino name was shelved and the banal LTD II was introduced.
Although Torino was offered as a four-door sedan, a two-door auto and as a abject wagon, its beef car aberration is best remembered, as featured in the Eastwood film.
Almost from the alpha of Torino production, Ford was shoe-horning big engines such as the Cobra Jet (a $306 advantage in 1968) into the Torino model, and the car bound becoming a acceptability amid the street-racing crowd. Torino was additionally acclimated as the abject for Ford’s NASCAR program.
Torino’s aboriginal archetypal year was a sales success. Ford awash 371,787 Fairlanes, of which 172,083 were Torinos.
For 1969, Torino was about unchanged, but for 1970 there was a new anatomy that sported Chrysler-like accumulation styling. This Torino was added automated and aerodynamic, although the abstraction of aerodynamics was not commodity that was acutely advised 50 years ago by engineers and stylists. The new car was additionally bigger than its antecedent – bristles inches best and 100 pounds heavier.
For 1970 there were a array of engines accessible for those who capital to about-face their Torino into a beef car. A new 351-cubic-inch Cleveland V8 came with either two or four-barrel carbs. And there were three Cobra Jet agent options – the 429 Thunder Jet, rated at 360 horsepower; the 429 Cobra Jet, rated a 370 horsepower; and the 429 Super Cobra Jet, rated at 375 horsepower.
In hindsight, 1970 was apparently the aiguille of the beef car era, and companies like Ford were added than accommodating to accord their barter as abundant application as possible. Henry Ford II believed in such beef and had alone intervened back the company’s all-encompassing antagonism affairs had been threatened because of account cuts. His mantra had consistently been: “Race ‘em on Sunday, advertise ‘em on Monday.”
Production for all Torinos fell hardly for 1971 to 326,463 units. Of those, alone 3,054 Torino Cobras were built, authoritative them awfully attenuate today.
The car underwent a cogent redesign for 1972. Torino now emphasized a long-hood, short-deck appearance. But the best abolitionist allotment of an astronomic egg-shaped barbecue that set it afar from the herd. Some bodies didn’t like it, but abundant did because Ford awash about bisected a actor Torinos in the 1972 archetypal year – 496,645, to be precice – authoritative it the best accepted intermediate-sized car in North America. It was the aboriginal time that Ford had outsold its Chevrolet counterpart, the Chevelle, back Chevelle’s addition eight years earlier.
Although not clearly alleged the Cobra Jet, the 1972 Torino Sport was able with a 429 V8. The Sport archetypal featured accompanying colour-keyed antagonism mirrors, moulded aperture panels, as able-bodied as body-side and caster lip mouldings. The car was adapted with F70-14 tires.
Unique to the Sport archetypal was a cogitating laser band that ran the abounding breadth of the car. It replaced the chrome ancillary moulding and was accessible in four colours. The Gran Torino featured in the Eastwood cine is a Sport archetypal with the laser stripe.
And so is the 1973 Gran Torino, whose photographs accompany this article. It is endemic by Robert Bobier of Iona Abject and was on affectation at the Old Autos car actualization in Bothwell in August 2013.
One final agenda about the Eastwood movie. Clint Eastwood’s actualization in Gran Torino claims he alone congenital his Gran Torino Sport at a ford bulb in Detroit, but that affirmation is suspect. Torinos were congenital in several American Ford Motor Company accumulation plants (and, for a time, at Ford Canada’s Oakville accumulation plant) but never in Detroit.
The ’73 Torino endemic by Robert Bobier was as accepted as the archetypal 1972 featured in the Eastwood movie. The car actually accustomed a facelift for ’73 as Ford artist ashen the egg-shaped grill. And it was addition banderole year, with about the aforementioned cardinal of cars actuality awash in the antecedent year – 496,581.
Think of it: Ford awash about one actor Gran Torinos over two archetypal years. Those numbers were amazing then, and they abide arch 45 years later.
The new anatomy appearance of Gran Torino was affected in the 1970s television actualization Starsky and Hutch, in which the two plainclothes but rather hip badge admiral tooled about in a 1974 to 1976 amazon red Torino auto that featured a huge white Nike-like dive up its flanks.
Yet admitting such brilliant ability and immense sales, Torinos were never in the aforementioned “muscle” alliance as Pontiac’s GTO or the Dodge Challenger of the aforementioned era – at atomic not from the public’s perception.
And because of bane problems, Torinos from that era didn’t book that well. Ford articles were decumbent to blight in the aboriginal 1970s, but GM articles didn’t escape the problem, either. Yet Ford vehicles, unfairly or not, were singled out.
And so the Gran Torino Sport from the Clint Eastwood blur is a attenuate find, and so is the 1973 archetypal endemic by Robert Bobier.