The Ford Torino was an intermediate vehicle built from 1968 through 1976 and named after the city of Turin (Torino in Italian), considered 'the Italian Detroit.' A major styling revision occurred in 1972 but continued to incorporate the previous coke bottle styling and long-hood, short deck, and aggressive look. Sales were strong in 1972 and 1973 and outsold archrival Chevrolet's Chevelle for the first time in 1972, and remain virtually unchanged as America's best-selling midsize cars for 1973. The changes that were applied in 1973 increased safety and decreased the likelihood of vandalism or theft. Larger 5 mph impact-absorbing bumpers were added to the front, and the hood release mechanism was relocated to the interior.
The 1973 Ford Torino lineup included the 'Torino', 'Grand Torino' and 'Gran Torino Sport.' In the front was a large eggcrate grille in an oval opening flanked by chrome bezels surrounding the headlamps. Base Torinos had a full-width argent eggcrate grille that surrounded the headlights. They also had a unique front bumper and hood that distinguished it from the Gran Torino models.
As the 1970s progressed, performance continued to give way to practicality and luxury as the market shifted to more fuel-friendly vehicles with lower insurance premiums. Increasing government safety regulations meant that all 1974 models must meet the 5 mph standard at the rear (in 1973, it was 5 mph at the front and 2.5 mph at the rear). Additionally, all 1974 Ford Torinos had a seat belt-interlock system per U.S. government mandate but would be removed after the 1974 model year.
The 1974 Torino models received a new grille, front bumpers, and some styling changes to the roof pillars. The rear bumpers were much larger than before, had a square shape, and were positioned lower on the body. The valance panel located below the bumper on the 1972 and 1973 models was removed to accommodate the new bumper. There were no rear side marker lights as its duties were taken over by beveled rectangular wrap-around tail lights. Behind an access door in the center of the taillight panel, above the bumper, was the fuel filler. Trim levels continued to include the base Torino - available as a sedan, hardtop coupe, and station wagon - the Gran Torino with the same body styles, Gran Torino Sport, Brougham, and Elite. The Elite was available only as a hardtop coupe. The Brougham was offered as a sedan and hardtop coupe, while the Sport included a squire station wagon and a hardtop sport coupe. The Squires no longer had lower body moldings, the Gran Torino Sport was no longer available with the 'SportsRoof' fastback roofline, and the Elite was Ford's response to Chevrolet's popular low-priced luxury coupe, the Monte Carlo.
The four-door sedan was priced at $3,175, the hardtop coupe at $3,300, and the station wagon at $3,750. The most popular was the sedan with 31,161 examples built, followed by 22,738 of the hardtop coupe, and 15,393 of the wagon.
Standard equipment included windshield, rear window, and rain gutter moldings. The interior included vinyl upholstery and trim, floor mats, and highback bench seats. There were hubcaps, a three-speed manual transmission, HR78-14 tires, and a 302 cubic-inch 'Windsor' V8 engine with a Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor delivering 140 horsepower at 3,800 RPM. Station wagons added power front disc brakes and a three-way tailgate. A four-speed manual and three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic were optional. The previous (standard) 250 CID six-cylinder engine was no longer available due to the vehicle's increased weight and length caused in part to the safety bumpers. Although not listed in the sales literature, it is believed that a small number of 1974 Torinos were equipped with the 6-cylinder engine.
The optional 351 CID 'Windsor' V8 had a cast-iron block, overhead valves, five main bearings, an 8.2:1 compression ratio, and delivered 163 (net) horsepower at 4,200 RPM. The 351 CID 'Cleveland' V8 had 8.0:1 compression, a two-barrel carburetor, overhead valves, and delivered 162 (net) horsepower at 4,000 RPM. The four-barrel version with 7.9:1 compression was rated at 255 (net) hp at 5,600 RPM. The 400 CID '335 Series' V8 with 6.0:1 compression, five main bearings, a two-barrel carb, delivered 170 (net) hp at 3,400 RPM. The 460 CD '385 Series' V8 produced 215 hp at 4,000 RPM.
The Gran Torino Elite trim level used the Mercury Cougar and Montego body shell built with styling that resembled the Thunderbird. It had full-length side trim with vinyl inserts, single headlamps in square bezels, parking lamps located into the corners of the front fenders, and a chrome center molding across the grille. Standard amenities included the 351 CID V8, an automatic transmission, a vinyl roof with twin opera windows, split-bench seat, woodgrain trim, complete instrumentation, and radial tires. Built as a hardtop coupe priced at $4,375, a total of 96,604 examples were sold.
The Grand Torino Sport was the performance version and came with a color-keyed dual outside racing mirrors, a unique grille, and pleated, all-vinyl trim. Bucket seats remained an option. The hardtop coupe was priced at $3,760 and the squire station wagon at $4,235. Production was very similar between the two, with 23,142 of the coupe and 22,837 of the wagon.
The top-of-the-line Torino was the Gran Torino and came with manual front disc brakes, and additional brightwork around the wheel well, dick lid, and lower bodyside. Inside was a deluxe two-spoke steering wheel, chrome foot pedal trim, cloth and vinyl seat trims, carpeting, dual-note horn, and trunk mat. The Gran Torino Squire station wagon also included Deluxe pleated vinyl interior trim, woodgrain bodyside appliques, woodgrain tailgate trim, woodgrain dashboard inserts, and wheel covers. The sedan was priced at $3,390, the hardtop coupe at $3,485, and the station wagon at $3,950. 72,728 examples were sedans, 76,290 were hardtop coupes, and 29,866 were the station wagon.
New optional equipment was added to the list including an electric sunroof, rear fender skirts, a split-bench seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and speed control with steering wheel controls. The two-door body styles could be optioned with opera windows but were standard on Brougham models. Both the Sport and Brougham models had extra chrome molding that traversed the lower fender edge between the bumper and the front wheelwell. The previous competition suspension was no longer offered, leaving a revised heavy-duty suspension package optional on all Torinos except the Elite, adding a larger front sway bar and heavy-duty front and rear springs. On two- and four-door sedan body styles, additional heavy-duty shocks and a rear sway bar were added.
Sales of the Torino continued to be strong, with sales reaching 428,625, lower than the 496,581 units produced the previous year, but very respectable nonetheless.
by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2020
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|1979||Chevrolet (2,284,749)||Ford (1,835,937)||Renault (1,405,330)||1,835,937|
|1978||Chevrolet (2,375,436)||Ford (1,923,655)||Renault (1,240,941)||1,923,655|
|1977||Chevrolet (2,543,153)||Toyota (1,884,260)||Ford (1,840,427)||1,840,427|
|1976||Chevrolet (2,103,862)||Toyota (1,884,260)||Ford (1,861,537)||1,861,537|
|1975||Chevrolet (1,755,773)||Toyota (1,714,836)||Ford (1,569,608)||1,569,608|
|1974||Chevrolet (2,333,839)||Ford (2,179,791)||Renault (1,355,799)||2,179,791|
|1973||Chevrolet (2,579,509)||Ford (2,349,815)||Fiat (1,390,251)||2,349,815|
|1972||Chevrolet (2,420,564)||Ford (2,246,563)||Fiat (1,390,251)||2,246,563|
|1971||Ford (2,054,351)||Chevrolet (1,830,319)||Volkswagen (1,128,784)||2,054,351|
|1970||Ford (2,096,184)||Chevrolet (1,451,305)||Volkswagen (1,193,853)||2,096,184|
|1969||Chevrolet (2,092,947)||Ford (1,826,777)||Volkswagen (1,241,580)||1,826,777|