The Ford Elite began life as a sub-make of the Ford Torino. It was the top-of-the-line for Ford’s intermediate cars. Ford created the Elite after seeing the success that GM was having with their intermediate personal luxury coupes the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and the Pontiac Grand Prix. The Elite was advertised as a “mid-size car in the Thunderbird tradition”. In 1974, the Ford Thunderbird was a large car the size of the Lincoln Mark IV and Cadillac Eldorado. For 1975 and 1976, the Elite would become it’s own make. However Ford would shake up it’s intermediate line in 1977 and the Elite did not return.
1974 Ford Grand Torino Elite
The first year of the Elite, it was officially called the “Gran Torino Elite” and the car would be titled and registered as a Gran Torino. The Elite was a corporate twin of the Mercury Cougar with a different front end.
1975 and 1976 Ford Elite
The Elite became an independent model in 1975. The 1975 model was a carry over of the 1974 model. As the 1974 model sold very well, Ford did not want to mess with success. The 1976 model would carry on the Elite tradition with minor changes. All of Ford’s intermediates would be redone in 1977. The Torino would become the LTD II and the Thunderbird would be downsized and replace the slot occupied by the Elite. The Thunderbird would occupy this slot until it was discontinued in 1997.
For information on other Ford’s see the post on the 1964 1/2 -1966 Ford Mustang or the 1968-1969 Ford Torino. To find your own Classic Car or to sell your Classic Car, see the listings in Classics for Sale.