While the Mustang is undoubtedly the best and most popular Ford muscle car, the Torino is another classic counterpart that made a name for itself for its sweet looks and unwavering drivetrain, like the Thunderbird or the Falcon. When it was first released in the US market, the Torino nameplate was a subseries of the famous Fairlane. Later in the early 1970s it became its own model.
Following the second generation line, produced from 1970 to 1971, the third generation of the midsize muscle car rolled off assembly for the 1972 model year. This model year introduced many changes to the Torino range, including a redesigned grille, more chrome moldings and an abundance of standard equipment for all Torino models. At the center of its astonishing achievements were multiple power stations. These ranged from a six-in-line engine to a top-of-the-range 429 ci V8 engine. During the third generation, Ford offered the Torino in station wagon, four-door sedan, two-door fastback and two-door coupe body styles. On the premium side, customers could have the Gran Torino Brougham, or its sportiest variant, the Gran Torino Sport. The Torino saw annual updates to its styling and equipment.
For the 1974 model year, the Torino line had many revisions. It introduced new grille styling, new taillights and rear panel, and new bumpers. Responding to Chevrolet’s Monte Carlo, the Gran Torino Elite arrived in 1974, featuring Thunderbird-inspired styling in a mid-sized configuration. The 1974 Torino used only V8 engines, offered with one of three transmission choices. Despite its discontinuation after 1976, the Ford Torino is still one of the most desirable muscle cars.
We dive into the features that make the classic Ford Torino so legendary.
The 1974 model year brought updated styling
The 1974 Ford Torino took on a sporty and “road-hugger” appeal. It had an overall length of 211.4 inches for the 2-door coupe and up to 222.0 inches for the station wagon. On the dash, the 1974 Ford Torino had a one-piece, corrosion-resistant plastic grille. Unlike the 1973 Torino front, the new low-series grille came with a wide egg crate theme in bright and dark louvers, with an eye-catching center ornament. That grille was divided into 8 vertical rectangular segments and given a more pointed overall style. The Torino line also came with twin horizontal headlamps enclosed in chrome trim. Depending on the trim level, the front side panel was marked “Torino” or “Gran Torino”.
Apart from a new bumper, the rear got extension moldings and new taillights. Ford placed the reversing lights in the center of the traffic lights.
Under the then-new safety regulations, bumpers had to meet the impact standard of 5 mph. To comply with regulations, the Ford Torino received new energy-absorbing bumpers at the front and rear.
The interior of the classic Ford Torino is practical and comfortable
The Ford Torino had a striking interior with full vinyl door panels and seats with color keys. It also had matching loop pile interior carpet for the front and rear occupants. The seats of the vehicles came in a bench configuration, with adjustable headrests for the front seats and locks on the folding backrests. The interior was surprisingly spacious thanks to the coupe’s 114 inch wheelbase. On the sedan and station wagon model, the wheelbase grew to 118 inches, creating more interior space for the 6 occupants.
The dashboard had a beautiful appearance, with large instruments and a driver-oriented theme. Options included an electric sunroof, a two-piece front bench seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Unique opera windows were standard on Brougham’s coupé models. The Brougham also had a folding front center armrest and a nicer door trim.
The 1974 Ford Torino was only available with V8s
The Ford Torino dropped the previous model year’s 4.1-liter inline-6 engine. From 1974, people could only have the Torino with one of five V8 powertrains: a 139-hp 5.0-liter, a 162-hp 5.8-liter, a 170-hp 6.6-liter, a 215-hp 7 .5-liter and a 255-horsepower 5.8-liter “Cleveland” engine. These engines sent power to the rear wheels through a three-speed manual, four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission.
With its wide variety of body styles, trim levels and powertrains, it’s no wonder that Ford’s Torino was a popular car in the 1970s. Today it’s a stylish, high-performing collector’s car that stands out from the more common Chevelles, GTOs and Road Runners you see at your local Cars and Coffee gatherings.
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