The first Torino appeared in 1968. The first generation of the Torino was an upscale sub-series of the popular Ford Fairlane. The Torino (and Fairlane) used the same wheel base as the previous generation Fairlane and also continued with the body-on-frame construction of the previous model. But the models had all new body work. The Torino was the top-of-the-line intermediate for Ford from 1968-1969.
1968 Ford Torino
The new styling of the Torino was a drastic change from the 1967 Ford intermediates. The intermediate size car grew in size and weight. A new fastback model was also added to the model lineup. The front fascia of the Torino featured a full width recessed grille, with horizontal quad headlights placed at the outer edges. Some models had horizontal bars dividing the grille. Parking lights were placed at the outer edge of the front fenders and also acted as side marker lights. The body sides had one horizontal crease running just below the beltline from front to back. The taillights were rectangular and situated above the rear bumper. The backup lights were located in the middle of the taillights. Small side marker lights were located on the rear edge of the quarter panel. The new fastback model, called the “SportsRoof,” featured slightly concaved taillights that were unique to that body style. The SportsRoof had a gently sloped roof line that extended to the edge of the trunk lid and aided the aerodynamics of the Torino.
The interior on the Torino featured a dashboard with four equally sized round pods centered around the steering wheel. There were many upholstery choices, including a knitted vinyl option, called “comfortweave.” The comfortweave allowed the vinyl to “breathe” unlike conventional vinyl and offered more comfort in hot weather. The interior featured many padded surfaces and shoulder belts were added for front outboard passengers on all cars built after December 31, 1967. The Torino featured full colour-keyed carpeting, additional exterior and interior trim than the Fairlane, and Torino crests on the ‘C’ pillar. The Torino GT’s included bucket seats and a console, special name plaques and exterior trim, GT markings on wheel covers, and courtesy lights on the inside door panels.
The Torino was offered in 2-door hardtop, a 4-door sedan, and as a station wagon. The GT was available as a 2-door hardtop, SportsRoof, and a convertible. The 2-door and 4-door models used a 116 inch wheelbase while the station wagon used a 113 inch wheelbase. The Torino used the unit-construction that was used on the 1967 Fairlane. The Torino also carried over the Fairlane’s suspension, which was coil springs pivot mounted on an upper control arm and a strut stabilized lower control arms in front, with long semi-elliptical leaf springs on a solid axle in rear. Optional was a heavy-duty suspension for the V8 powered cars, which consisted of extra-heavy-duty springs and shocks. The Torino used a recirculating ball steering system, with power steering optional. All Torinos had standard four-wheel drum brakes, although front disc brakes and power assist were options. The Torino GT was available with a handling suspension package, which included extra-heavy-duty springs and shocks, and a heavy-duty front anti-sway bar. Four-speed equipped cars had staggered rear shocks which help resist axle hop. GTs were available with a stripe option, which started as a ‘C’ shape at the edge of the front fender, and two body stripes extended the length of the car.
The standard engine for the Torino was a 200 cubic inch six-cylinder engine. But the GT did come standard with a 302 cubic inch small block V8. Engine options included a 289 cubic inch small block V8, a 302 cubic inch v8, a 390 cubic inch V8, and a 390 cubic inch V8. In April 1, 1968, a 428 cubic inch Cobra-Jet engine became available as an engine option. The cars equipped with the 428 Cobra Jets had red-and-chrome emblems reading “428″ mounted on the fenders behind the parking lamps. All models came standard with a three-speed manual transmission, while the Cruise-O-Matic automatic and four-speed manual transmissions were options.
The Torino station wagon was called the “Torino Squire.” The wagon was equipped with Ford’s “Magic Doorgate” three-way tailgate, and was available with an optional rear-facing third seat which increased the car’s carrying capacity from 6 to 8 people. The Torino Squire came with simulated woodgrain side panels, and had the upscale interior of the Torino sedans. Unique to the Torino Squire was a chrome roof rack and a power rear window.
1969 Ford Torino
The 1969 Torino had a few cosmetic changes. Styling adjustments included a revised grille, with a prominent center dividing bar, taillights were more square in shape, and an aluminium dividing bar ran across the rear panel between the taillights and inline with the reverse lights on SportsRoof models.
Two new performance models were introduced: a “Cobra” 2-door SportsRoof and 2-door hardtop. These models became known as the “Torino Cobra”. The car did not have any Fairlane or Torino nameplates on its exterior or interior, but 1969 NASCAR entrants were labeled “Torino Cobras”. There were other performance oriented changes. All models, except Torino GTs and Cobras, came with a new standard engine, a 250 cubic inch inline 6. Optional engines included the 302 cubic inch, a new for 1969 351 cubic inch Windsor V8, a 390 cubic inch V8, a 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet, and a 428 Super Cobra Jet.
The 428 was available with or without a Ram Air Induction package. The 428 without Ram Air, came with the following items: 80-ampere heavy-duty battery, 3.25:1 open differential, heavy-duty cooling package, 55-ampere alternator, chrome valve covers and dual exhaust. Cobras with Ram Air included all of the above plus a 3.50:1 open differential, and the functional hood scoop. Ram Air Torinos had “428 Cobra Jet” emblems placed on each side of the hood scoop. Cobras without Ram Air had the “428″ emblems placed on the front fender. The 428 Super Cobra Jet was designed for drag racing and was referred to as the “Drag Pack.” The Super Cobra could be ordered with or without Ram Air and included cast pistons, a nodular controlled cast-iron crankshaft casting 1UA or 1UA B with an external weight on the snout behind the balancer, 427 capscrew connecting rods, an engine oil cooler, and either a 9 inches rear axle with 3.91:1 gears and a Traction-Lock limited slip or 4.30:1 gears with a Detroit Locker. The Detroit Locker and the oil cooler were exclusive to Ford.
With the additions of the Cobras, the Torino GT was relatively little changed. The grille received minor updates, including revised divider bars and the GT emblem moved to the lower left corner of the grille. The ‘C’ stripe was revised with straight lines. The GT came equipped a non-functioning fibreglass hood scoop with turn signal indicators at the rear of the scoop. This scoop became functional if the 428-4V with Ram Air induction was specified. The hood scoop could also be deleted.
The Torino would receive an all new body for 1970.
For more information on other Fords, see our post on the 1964 1/2-1973 Ford Mustang or the 1969-1970 Ford Galaxie. For information on the competitor for the Torino, see the post on the 1968-1972 Chevrolet Chevelle.
To find your own Classic Car or to sell your Classic Car, see the listings in Classics for Sale.