1970 Ford Torino GT Is a SoCal Muscle Car, Is It Original Enough To Be Worth Its Price?

1970 Ford Torino GT 33 photos
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Ford Motor Company drew a two-edged sword in 1964 when the Mustang rolled out and grabbed everyone else's attention, robbing the Plymouth Barracuda of the title of the first ‘pony’ car ever. By the end of the decade, the stallion was so wildly above all other Ford passenger car products in fame that it made its siblings look like leftovers after a company party.
But in the heated atmosphere of 1970, with an all-time high level of arming noted throughout all of Detroit, Ford didn’t sit on the side and watch everyone else trying to cut a slice of the market. By that year, the muscle car was waning out of fashion, but automakers were still trying to play that card to get customer’s attention.

Ford tasked the Torino to do battle in the muscle arena with the Torino GT and the Torino Cobra as the main guns in the horsepower wars. (The Boss twins from Mustang were demonically apt to fight, but they don’t fall in the ‘per se’ muscle car category, despite their indubitable performance specs).

The Torino nameplate emerged in 1968 as a trim level on the Fairlane. In 1970, the two monikers switched roles: the Fairlane became a line in the Torino model series. That year, the Ford Torino moved 230,411 units (all body styles combined), with the GT fastback at the forefront of sales. Out of 60,758 GT examples assembled, only 3,939 were convertibles, the rest being 56,819 SportsRoof hardtops.

1970 Ford Torino GT
By comparison, the all-out performance version, the Cobra, sold 7,675 copies, a small fraction of the total model sales. However, the Torino was built in several body styles, from humble wagons to luxurious Brougham hardtops (two- and four-doors) and plain pillarless two-door or four-door vehicles. Hence, the roll call sits far above competing nameplates with muscle car ID badges.

Even so, the GT and the Cobra still moved a hefty volume by themselves that year, which is fairly common even nowadays. But survivors are not just the usual around-the-corner finds, even If they’re not through-and-through examples that have never been touched aesthetically or mechanically. Take the following car as an example – a 1970 Ford Torino GT with an M-code 351 Cleveland V8 and a three-speed SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission.

The car is allegedly a California original that spent its life in the desert, spared from metal biodegradability, but bakes mercilessly in the sun. The current owner says it is an original paint and interior car, with mechanical adjustments performed over the year under prior caretakers.

1970 Ford Torino GT
According to a Marti Report put together for it, this Torino GT was ordered with several seldom-installed options like the AM/FM Stereo with rear speakers, air conditioning, power windows, steering, and brakes, hideaway headlights, or a shaker hood scoop.

The climate-control unit is currently removed, but still with the car, and a more reliable electric system replaced the vacuum pump for the headlights doors. The power windows all work, and the vehicle is drivable – its present proprietor bought it as is and has enjoyed taking it for cruises in Southern California.

The odometer shows 14,626 miles (23,538 metric clicks), but the owner mentions a total road experience of 100k miles (161,000 kilometers), so the dial has rolled over. Thanks to a new camshaft, assorted set of lifters, and accompanying timing gears and chain, the car is mechanically sound.

1970 Ford Torino GT
Also, the factory-installed four-barrel 600 CFM carburetor atop the 5.8-liter V8 is no longer there – an Edelbrock unit is now in charge of mixing gasoline and air. The new carb is mounted on a spacer, so the shaker hood sits taller than on regular Torino GTs of its era.

Given the mods made to the 351 V8, it’s anyone’s guess what the performance specs would be today. Fifty-four years ago, when the car rolled off the assembly line, the Cleveland motor fired 300 hp and 380 lb-ft (304 PS, 515 Nm), making it an affordable performer for budget-minded buyers.

The engine was released for the 1970 model year cars, just one year after Ford’s other 351 cubic-inch plant, the Windsor. However, the two V8s had so little in common that they were practically completely different power units.

1970 Ford Torino GT
The tranny was rebuilt with a shift kit added and a 2,000 RPM stall converter, and the original 3.0:1 open differential was replaced with a 3.5:1 gearing. The brakes were rebuilt completely, so this 54 year-young rough Torino GT should be good to go at a moment’s notice.

It isn’t the most hospitable interiors in the world, with a missing headliner, saggy seats, a cracked dash, and a damaged center console. Also, the steering wheel is not the original piece, but the original one is still with this Ford muscle.

The car is for sale, and the good news is that the original air conditioning and hideaway headlamps vacuum actuators are still with it. However, the seller warns potential tire-kickers to stay put, as he will consider only serious bidders. The owner probably had some unpleasant past experiences selling cars, as he prefers cash or wire transfers over eBay payment, with a $500 non-refundable deposit due as soon as the auction closes.

1970 Ford Torino GT
The seller warns about the contrasting shade on the upper half of the driver’s door, which is a previous repaint. He can’t guarantee the hood's originality (he believes it’s NOS). The hinges are weak, and the engine bay cover won’t stay open, but he has replacement parts that he never got to put on the car.

This aging Torino GT could become a project for an enthusiastic gearhead, or it could simply stay as it is (it’s not the greatest-appearing of 1970 muscle cars, though). The Buy It Now asking price is $18,000; the highest bid is still $4,000 under that limit.
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About the author: Razvan Calin
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After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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