Ford Econoline "Starsky & Hutch" Is a Digital Muscle Van Out for GMC Vandura Blood

Originally broadcast from 1975 to 1979, "Starsky & Hutch" became a popular TV series a few good years before I was born. But the 2003 video game and the 2004 film brought the show to my attention and I was hooked ever since. And, of course, I also became a fan of Starsky's red Ford Gran Torino.
1979 Ford Econoline "Starsky & Hutch" rendering 8 photos
Photo: jlord8/Instagram
1979 Ford Econoline "Starsky & Hutch" rendering1979 Ford Econoline "Starsky & Hutch" rendering1979 Ford Econoline "Starsky & Hutch" rendering1979 Ford Econoline "Starsky & Hutch" rendering"The A-Team" GMC Vandura1976 Ford Gran Torino "Starsky & Hutch""The A-Team" GMC Vandura
Granted, the 1976 version used in the TV series isn't as hot-looking and powerful as the first- and second-generation models from the golden muscle car era, but I'm a sucker for the car's white-striped red livery and five-slot mag wheels. Not to mention that the movie version was actually different from the limited-edition production model, sporting a 429-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 with Super Cobra Jet heads and an Edelbrock intake among other performance upgrades.

Not familiar with the aforementioned production model? Well, with most of the show's popularity centered on the Gran Torino used by the two detectives, Ford saw a business opportunity and put together a tribute series in the spring of 1976. The "Starsky & Hutch" replica was essentially a special paint option. While the livery was identical to that used on the movie car, the production model didn't get the mag wheels, the fatter rear tires, or the beefed-up 429 V8.

Powertrain options were similar to the regular Torino available at the time, so customers had to choose between the 351-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) Windsor, the 335-series 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter), and the 385-series 460-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) V8s. While the 351 delivered 152 horsepower, the 400 version came with 180 horses on tap. Finally, the massive 460 V8 was good for 202 horsepower. Far from outstanding, I know, but we need to keep in mind that the Malaise Era was in full swing by 1976.

It's a bit too late to say that I'm not here to talk about the "Starsky & Hutch" Gran Torino, but I'm going to do it anyway. Simply because this blurb is actually about a very cool rendering that puts the show's main characters in... wait for it... a van. Yup, the hauler you see here is a third-generation Ford Econoline with a bright red paint job and white vector-shaped stripes on the sides.

It also rides on the already iconic five-slot mag wheels and I bet you already noticed the thicker-than-usual rear tires and the red beacon light on the roof. I know, no cop wants to rush to a crime scene or chase villains in a heavy, boxy van, but I would find it entertaining, nonetheless.

Come to think of it, it wouldn't be entirely strange to see such a thing happen since "The A-Team," a popular TV series from the 1980s, included high-speed stunts of a GMC Vandura. Yup, I'm talking about the red-striped black van driven by B.A. Baracus, portrayed by Mr. T. Needless to say, it would be great to see both vans involved in a "Bullitt"-like chase, burnouts and jumps included.

Sadly enough, though, this "Starsky & Hutch" Econoline, rendered by Instagram's "jlord8," will never leave imagination land. So I guess the only way to see it come to life is to buy myself a 1979 Econoline and get to work. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go van hunting.
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Editor's note: For illustrative purposes, the photo gallery also includes pictures of the Ford Gran Torino "Starsky & Hutch" movie car and the A-Team GMC Vandura.

About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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