Ford Torino - USA muscle car alternatives pt.1

By: Dave Morley, Photography by: Unique Cars archives

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With the prices of Aussie muscle cars at peak levels, Dave Morley looks at the value their American siblings represent

 

Ford Torino

The best Torinos are the ones that look remarkably like our own XA/XB Falcon hardtops (or should that be the other way around?). These are seriously cool coupes, none more so than the dark green example that starred in the Clint Eastwood flick, unashamedly titled `Gran Torino’. Earlier cars borrowed heavily from the US-market Fairlane of the day and while they had coupe bodies, they’re a bit tail-heavy and kind of miss the styling boat a little. That said, some people love `em and we have to admit, they look like old-school Nascars.

Read next: Ford Torino GT review

ford-torino.jpgMatching the XB GT coupe for presence and street cred, a Torino, if you’re lucky, might feature big-block power

By 1970, however, the Torino coupe was a fabulous looking thing and it’s easy to see where the XA hardtop designers took their cues. Ford’s 302 and 351 small-blocks are the most common engines out there but if you’re lucky, you might stumble across a 429 big-block equipped car, although you’ll pay a fair bit extra for the privilege of owning it. Stick with a 351 and use the change for petrol, would be our advice. Trannies were mostly three-speed autos, but you do see the occasional four-speed manual.

| Read next: 1968-72 Ford Torino GT review

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Like many of the cars we’re talking about here, bench front seats are common and so are column-shifters. But don’t be put off; you can always add a set of sports seats and a floor-shifter if that’s your thing because you won’t be altering a super-collectible variant. Or you could simply cruise around on the big split-bench perfecting your gutter-grip.

By 1973, ever-tougher US crash laws had crashed the party and the Torino was descending into middle-aged flab. The final insult was the 1974 Torino copping that big, goofy white stripe and becoming the transport for the camp-as-a-folding-chair cop `drama’ Starsky and Hutch.

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But a 70, 71 or 72 Torino? Wow, what a great looking thing. Don’t forget the Mercury Montego or Comet which were more or less badge-engineered Torinos and are a bit harder to find here but can actually be even better value (they were never as cool looking from the front, though).

What’s it replace from the Oz market?

This is an easy question and the answer is the big local Falcon hardtops from the early 1970s. The XA and XB were big, tough looking cars, but the Torino was pretty much their visual equal.

| Read next: Ford XA Falcon GT & Ford Torino 429 SCJ review

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Strangely, though, the Yankee is not the financial equal of the Aussies and while pretty much any half-decent XA or XB coupe is worth upwards of $80,000 and a GT is closer to $130,000 or even $150,000, the humble Torino is much more wallet friendly at closer to $45,000 in good nick. Shop around for something that might need a quick tidy up and you could be spending closer to $30,000.

 

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