California “Dreamin” in a Torino

A bright orange 1970 Torino GT would pass you on the steep I-5 Grapevine north of Los Angeles in the early 1970s. So, depending on what kind of vehicle you were driving at the time, such an event might not be very surprising. Many six-cylinder cars of that era would have been hard at work even in the best of conditions, let alone when it was hot outside. There would be no surprise if a Torino GT climbed quickly because they had a sporty suspension, and many had 351 Cleveland‘s for power. But now imagine that the brightly colored Ford was also pulling a two-axle Airstream trailer as it sped past you. “Say what?” Well, this isn’t just a story, because the car in this picture was bought by its original owner because it could tow. A truck or station wagon isn’t something the man liked.

As far as the current owner can figure out, his Torino GT was bought by a Bay Area Ford dealer as a show car. It’s no surprise that people who came into the busy high-performance dealership would be drawn to the car if it had almost every available option. This Torino, on the other hand, has a lot of options. The first person who bought the car was interested in its 375-horse 429 Super Cobra Jet with the Drag Pack option, which came with 4.30 gears and a Detroit Locker diff. Drag Pack: You could get 3.91s or 4.30s and an engine oil cooler if you bought the package. This made your 429 Cobra Jet into a Super Cobra Jet with solid lifters, forged pistons, four-bolt mains, and a 780-cfm Holley. For pulling the family’s RV, this is just what you need.

The first owner of this Torino sold it in 1981. After that, it changed hands a few more times and went through a lot of owners in Oregon, where it still lives today. Each time the car was sold, it lost more and more of the parts that made it unique, like the original engine and shaker scoop and hood. One of the previous owners said that he paid a small amount of money for the car in 1987, when it had no working parts or much of the interior. However, one of the benefits of owning a Ford muscle car is that you can find out where it came from. One of the first things to look for is the engine code in the VIN. Because of this, the car’s Ram Air/big-block name was never lost. The second thing you can do to figure out the true identity of many Ford muscle cars is to get the Marti Report, which lists all of the options.

The previous owner had a Marti Report. When the car was put up for auction in 2008, one could see that it had been a fully loaded GT with the 429 SCJ, close-ratio four-speed, 4.30/Detroit Locker, Calypso Coral paint with Laser stripe, hideaway headlights, 15-inch Magnum 500s, buckets, console, tachometer, and more.

This Torino’s previous owners knew that it’s one thing to own a rare project car, but another to spend the time, effort, and money needed to find the parts and fix it. Yet, it had been on this road before with a similar-sized 1969 Torino and knew what to expect. A friend and expert on Torino cars, helped get the parts together over four years.

To bring the GT back to life, a friend was asked to lead the project. After he stripped the car down to the bone, he did a great job of getting it ready and painting it with DuPont single-stage urethane in the original Calypso Coral color. It was found that the car had a trailer hitch that was welded on. The hitch was removed during the unibody refinishing. Then they did the upholstery, and an original-spec engine rebuild. The details were worked out to the nut and bolt, including the often-forgotten evaporative emissions system that came on 1970 models that were sold in California.

They were able to take pictures of this loud and proud Torino on the rough streets of Seattle in the summer of 2016, when it was ready to be sold. It’s hard not to be impressed by the size and brightness of the big, bright Ford muscle car. It’s probably the best example of a regular-production Ford muscle car.

Only a very few other cars could have been a little faster, but none have the combination of hard-core hardware and cutting-edge looks like a loaded 1970 Torino GT. You can compare it to other supercars made by other companies, too. I don’t know. Well, even if you didn’t like the way it looked, a SCJ Torino was a great player. They looked through a lot of old muscle car tests to find one that looked like this Torino GT.

Tests were done on a 1970 Torino Cobra that had a 429 SCJ and C6 and was thought to have 3.91s in the pumpkin. They were very impressed, and they made a 13.63 at 106 with a great tune that only changed the stock 780 Holley and dual-point distributor. Four-speed and 4.30s would have been even faster. It’s not clear. One thing we can say for certain: This Torino was built to pull like a freight train, no matter where it was.

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