The Ford Elite was produced from 1974 through 1976. It was a two-door coupe based on the Ford Torino and powered by an eight-cylinder engine in various sizes. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a three-speed automatic gearbox. Disc brakes were in the front and drums in the rear. Power steering, cloth bench seat, and a 351 cubic-inch V8 engine was standard. A 402 and 460 cubic-inch V8 engine were optional, as was the power glass moonroof and power steel sunroof. Air conditioning, cruise control and Metallic Glow paint were also optional.
The cost to own was around $4720 in 1975; production reached 123,372 in 1975. The year prior, 96,604 were produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2007
Introduced in 1974, the Ford Elite was produced for the North American market until 1976. Based on Ford's Torino, the Elite was a two-door coupe that was a much more affordable personal luxury vehicle in comparison to the Thunderbird. It was intended to compete with the Chrysler Cordoba and the Chevy Monte Carlo. Basically, the Elite was a concurrent Mercury Cougar XR-7 with just a minor front end restyle. The Elite was offered during the beginning of the 'personal luxury' car craze that began during this time period.
A sub-model of the Torino, the Elite was advertised on its own with the side script saying 'Gran Torino Elite' and model would be both titled and registered as a Gran Torino. From 1975 through 1976 the Elite was finally its own full model and it featured the 'Elite' side script. The Elite was a very popular car in its own right and sold very well in all three production years.
The Gran Torino Elite featured all of the requisite features like the stand-up hood ornament, rear quarter opera windows, landau vinyl roof and many other period features. The standard engine in the vehicle was the 5.8L V8, and the 6.6L and 7.5L V8's engines as optional. The only transmission available was a 3-speed and a column-shift with a front bench seat or a console-mounted shift with buckets could be purchased as optional. On all models including the base was full instrumentation that included a tachometer.
There were basically no changes for 1976 other than a few colors and the catalytic converter becoming standard on a few models, depending on where the model was sold. The Ford range was completely restructured and downsized and the Elite name was dropped from the line after 1976. Unfortunately the Elite was a short-lived model and the Thunderbird was reduced in size and price drastically for the 1977 model year, and moved to the old Torino platform. The Torino was replaced by the LTD II. Continuing under the more-popular Thunderbird name, the larger Elite was discontinued.By Jessica Donaldson