Ford Torino

When Korean War vet Walt Kowalski reformed his teenage neighbor, who tried to steal his 1972 Gran Torino, most of the oldtimer community wasn't just enjoying only the impressive movie of Clint Eastwood but also the attention this vintage Ford model got among the general public.

The car was named after the Italian city Torino, an old centre of the Italian automotive industry. The Torino model history started in 1968 as an upscale version of Ford Fairlane. In the beginning the name was considered a subseries of Fairlane model.

In 1971 the Torino brand prevailed and became a separate series. The introduction of the 1972 whole new design for the Torino marks the critical era of iconic design of Gran Torino.

A cool grill design combined greater safety and more metal than ever before. The model eliminated the convertible models and maintained the two door formal roof and fastback models, as well as the four door and station wagons.

The most powerful engine offered was the 351 four barrel "Cobra Jet" engine with four bolt main and available with optional 4 speed Hurst transmission. The distinctive lines and new design earned the new Gran Torino great reviews form the press and raised significant interest from potential buyers. Torino has kind of pleasing, no-nonsense styling.

The total number of models was reduced from 14 models to 9 in 1972. Gran Torinos had chrome surrounding the headlamps, while ordinary Torinos had a full width argent eggcrate grille. Basic Torinos also used a unique hood and front bumper. Model front fenders were aggressively flared, the rear fender line swept up towards the roof, and the windshield had a 60-degree rake. Window glass was frameless for all models and vent windows vanished from four-door and station wagon models.

All Torinos had "DirectAire" ventilation as standard equipment. The model kept special safety equipment such as new flush mount door handles and side door guard rails. Most Torinos were conventional cars, and generally the most popular models were the 4-door sedans and 4-door hardtops. Ford also chose the Torino as the base for its NASCAR entrants, and it has a successful racing heritage.

The major change was the body-on-frame construction of the model. The modern chassis provided a quieter and more isolated ride experience. It incorporated an energy absorbing front end, torque boxes intended to isolate road shock, fourteen rubber body mounts and five solid cross members. Front disc brakes now became standard, while power brakes remained an option for sedans and coupes. In general Torino models were perfectly tuned in the longer, lower, wider car trend of the era.

The base engine was the 250 cu in (4.1 L) I-6 in all models except station wagons and the Gran Torino Sport which had a 302-2V small-block V8 as standard. Emissions, low lead requirements and fuel requirements which started to become vital components in the decision to buy a vehicle were clearly visible in the performance.

The compression ratios on all Torino engines were dropped to at least 8.5:1, and all engines ran on regular gasoline. Performance engine 351-4V CJ was capable of higher levels, equipped with dual exhaust and was the only engine appropriate for four-speed transmission system. In 1972 a total of 496,645 units of Ford Torino were produced and sold with a staggering success on the market, soon becoming the best-selling intermediate car for 1972. The automotive press over the years published many positive reviews on the design and performance.

In addition, Consumer Guide selected the Torino as a "Best Buy" for 1972. As an interesting fact, later 1975 Gran Torino was used in the very popular TV series of the time called "Starsky and Hutch". A few bright red sport models with signature white body stripe were produced for the television show. The 1976 Torino was the last model which was afterwards replaced by the LTD name and separate product line. Ford Torino and Grand Torino are cherished today as stylish and luxurious vehicles by numerous collectors.

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