Monday, July 9, 2012

Car Of The Day: July 9, 2012

Today's car of the day comes from Firehawk73's collection and is Johnny Lightning's 1970 Ford Torino Cobra.

The Ford Torino is an intermediate automobile produced by the Ford Motor Company for the North American market between 1968 and 1976. The car was named after the city of Turin (Torino, in Italian), which is considered the Detroit (primary automobile production city) of Italy. The Torino was initially an upscale version of the intermediate sized Ford Fairlane, which Ford produced between 1962 and 1970. After 1968, the Fairlane name was retained for the base models with lower levels of trim than those models which wore the Torino name. During this time, the Torino was considered a subseries to the Fairlane. By 1970 Torino had become the primary name for Ford's intermediate, and the Fairlane was now a subseries of the Torino. In 1971 the Fairlane name was dropped altogether and all Ford intermediates were called Torino. This name was one of several originally proposed for the Mustang while in development. The Torino was essentially a twin to the Mercury Montego line.

Most Torinos were conventional cars, and generally the most popular models were the 4-door sedans and 4-door hardtops. However, Ford produced some high-performance versions of the Torino by fitting them with large powerful engines, such as the 428 cu in (7.0 L) and 429 cu in (7.0 L) "Cobra-Jet" engines. These cars are classified as muscle cars. Ford also chose the Torino as the base for its NASCAR entrants, and it has a successful racing heritage.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Ford Torino

For 1970, the Torino now became the primary model and the Fairlane was a sub-series of Torino. Ford moved away from emulating the boxy lines of the full-size Fords to a completely new body for the 1970 Torino/Fairlane line influenced by coke bottle styling. Just as tailfins were influenced by jet aircraft of the 1950s, stylists such as Ford stylist Bill Shenk who designed the 1970 Ford Torino were inspired by supersonic aircraft with narrow waists and bulging forward and rear fuselages needed to reach supersonic speeds.

The new car featured a more prominent long hood short deck styling, and was longer lower and wider than the 1969 models. The roofline was lower, while all models now featured a much less formal roof line than previous years. The windshield rake was increased, and the SportsRoof models had an even flatter fastback roofline. The overall styling appeared much more aerodynamic than years previous, and featured a pointed front end. The grille covered the full width of the front fascia, and surrounded the quad headlights. The front fender line extended to front door, sloping downward and gradually disappearing in the quarter panel. Both front and rear bumpers were slim tight fitting chromed units, that carefully followed the body lines. The taillights were situated in the rear panel above the bumper, and were now long rectangular units with rounded outer edges.

The model line-up for 1970 initially featured 13 models. The base model was the "Fairlane 500", which was available in a 2-door hardtop, 4-door sedan, and 4-door wagon. Next was the mid-level "Torino", which was available as a 2-door and 4-door hardtop, and a 4-door sedan and station wagon. The 4-door hardtop was a new body style for the 1970 model year. The "Torino Brougham" was the top trim level, and was available as a 2-door and 4-door hardtop, and a 4-door station wagon. The sporty "Torino GT" was available as a 2-door SportsRoof and convertible. Finally, the top performance model, the "Torino Cobra" was available as a 2-door SportsRoof only.

To add to this extensive line-up, the Falcon name was adopted mid-year for a new entry-level intermediate. The Ford Falcon compact model continued for the first half of the 1970 model year, but was discontinued as it could not meet new federal standards that came into effect on January 1, 1970. At this time, the name was applied to the base trim level in the intermediate line. The 1970 1⁄2 Falcon was available as a 2-door and 4-door sedan, and 4-door station wagon. This was the lowest priced intermediate, and had even less standard features than the Fairlane 500. The Falcon was the only intermediate that featured a rubber floor instead of carpet, and was the only series that featured a pillared 2-door sedan. Also introduced mid-year was a Torino 2-door Sportsroof model, which was marketed as a low price alternative to the GT. With the above mid-year additions, the Ford intermediate line-up consisted of 17 separate models.

The new body for 1970 added inches and pounds to the Torino. All cars grew by about 5-inch (127 mm) in length, and now rode on a 117-inch (2,972 mm) wheelbase (station wagons used a 114-inch (2,900 mm) wheelbase). The wheel track was widened, to help the Torino improve its road holding abilities. Although the track was widened, the suspension remained unchanged from the 1969 models. Weight was up for most models by at least 100 lb (45 kg). The competition suspension and heavy-duty suspension packages remained as options. The competition suspension package featured extra-heavy-duty front and rear springs (500 pounds (226.8 kg) per inch front, and 210 pounds (95.3 kg) per inch rear), Gabriel shocks (rear shocks staggered on 4-speed cars), and a large 0.95" front sway bar (0.75" standard on other suspensions). In a 1970 Motor Trend test of a Torino Cobra, Motor Trend described the competition suspension as "completely different: The car goes through tight turns in a confidence-inspiring controlled slide. It's all very smooth and unusual."

The engine line-up received major changes, and only the 250 CID I-6, 302-2V and the 351W-2V were carried over from 1969. Most models continued to feature the 250 CID I-6 as the standard engine. Optional engines included the 302-2V (standard on GT and Brougham models), 351W-2V, the new 351 Cleveland available with a 2- or 4-barrel carburetor, and the new 429-4V 385 Series V8 (standard on the Cobra models). It should be noted that selecting the 351-2V on the option list could have resulted in the buyer receiving either the 351W-2V or the 351C-2V; both shared the same power rating and VIN code. The 429-4V was available in three different versions. The first was the 429 Thunder Jet, the standard engine for the Cobra, rated at 360 hp (270 kW). Next was the 429 CJ (Cobra Jet), rated at 370 hp (280 kW), which included a 2-bolt main block, hydraulic lifters, a 700 CFM Holly or 715 CFM Rochester Quadrajet carburetor, and was available with or without Ram Air. The top 429 option was the 429 SCJ (Super Cobra Jet), rated a 375 hp (280 kW), and was part of the "Drag Pack" option. Selecting the "Drag Pack" option turned a 429 CJ into a 429 SCJ. The drag pack required either the 3.91:1 or the 4.30:1 axle ratio, and included a 4-bolt main engine block, forged pistons, 780 CFM Holley carburetor, engine oil cooler, and a solid lifter cam. The "Detroit Locker" rear differential was included when the 4.30:1 axle was ordered while the "Traction-Lock" limited-slip differential was included with the 3.91:1 axle. The 429 SCJ was available with or without Ram Air induction both versions sharing the same power ratings. Ram Air Induction was also optional on the 351C-4V. The Ram Air option was revised to include a new "shaker hood" where the scoop was attached to the top of the air cleaner assembly, and protruded through a hole in the hood. The 'shaker' nickname came from the fact that it vibrated, or 'shook', when the engine was running. A 3-speed transmission was standard on all models except the Cobra. The Cruise-O-Matic and 4-speed transmissions remained options.

Interiors on the Torino were all new for 1970. The dashboard featured a linear style speedometer centered on the driver, and a new "ribbon" style tachometer was an option for V8 models. A temperature gauge was the only available gauge, oil pressure and electrics were monitored with warning lights only. High back bucket seats were available for all 2-door models, as was an optional console; the GT model no longer had the former as standard features. All 2-door hardtop, SportsRoof and convertible models featured "DirectAire" ventilation systems as a standard feature, which eliminated the need for side vent windows. The 2-door sedan, 4-doors and station wagons still had vent windows, and the "DirectAire" system was an option for these models. The ignition switch was moved from the instrument panel to the steering column, in compliance with Federal regulations. The steering wheel and column-mounted shifter now locked when the key was removed.

Torino Brougham models came standard with extra exterior and interior trim, finer upholsteries, wheel covers, unique emblems, extra sound insulation and "Hideaway" headlights. "Hideaway" headlights were headlight covers that were styled to look like the grille of the vehicle extended across the front end without any headlights at all. When the lights were turned on, vacuum actuators would flip the covers up and out of the way to expose the quad headlamps. Motor Trend wrote that "when you get into a Brougham, it's the same feeling as an LTD, or even, dare we say it, a Continental. But in a more manageable scale." Motor Trend gave accolades to the 1970 Torino Brougham 2-door for its quiet interior that only allowed "the muffled thump of freeway expansion-joints [to] intrude."

The Torino GT came standard with non-functional hood scoop molded into the hood, GT emblems (including the centre of the grille), dual colour-keyed sport mirrors, full width tail lights with a honeycomb effect (the centre portion was non-functional but reflective), black decklid appliques (SportsRoof only), and hub caps with wheel trim rings. Standard tires for the GT were E70-14 fibreglass belted tires, while convertibles wore F70-14s. New options for the Torino GT were a reflective laser stripe, which ran down the middle of the side of the Torino from the front fender to the door, and Hideaway headlamps. Motor Trend magazine tested a 1970 Torino GT SportsRoof with a 429 CJ, C-6 Automatic, and 3.50:1 gears, and obtained a 0 - 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 6.0 seconds, while the quarter mile took 14.4 seconds at 100.2 mph (161.3 km/h).

The Torino Cobra remained the no-nonsense pure performance model, and had a lower level of trim than the Torino GT. The Cobra was only available as a SportsRoof model, and came standard with a 4-speed close ratio transmission, Hurst shifter, competition suspension, flat black hood and grille, 7-inch-wide wheels, F70-14 tires with raised white letters, twist style exposed hood latches, and "Cobra" emblems. New options included 15-inch (380 mm) Magnum 500 wheels with F60-15 tires and flat black "Sport Slats" for the rear window. Both of these options were also available on the Torino GT. Performance was excellent with the new 429 engine even though the Torino was heavier for 1970. Motor trend tested a 1970 Torino Cobra equipped with the Ram Air 370 horsepower (280 kW) 429 CJ, C-6 automatic and 3.50:1 rear axle, and it went 0 - 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.0 seconds while taking 14.5 seconds at 100 mph (160 km/h) to go through the quarter mile. Motor Trend wrote "The weight obviously helped traction, as it was fairly easy to accelerate away from a standing start with only a modicum of wheelspin." Motor Trend also tested a 1970 Cobra with a 429 SCJ, 4-speed and 3.91:1 gears, and resulted in a 5.8 second 0 - 60 mph (97 km/h) time, with a 13.99 second quarter mile at 101.0 mph (162.5 km/h). Super Stock and Drag Illustrated bested that time, in their test of a Torino Cobra equipped with the 375 hp 429 SCJ, C-6 automatic, and 3.91:1 rear gears. They were able to run the quarter mile in 13.63 seconds at 105.95 mph (170.51 km/h), however, this was after the carburetor had been modified (improved power valve, larger primary and secondary jets). Super Stock and Drag Illustrated then fitted a pair of slicks to the same Torino and ran a super quick 13.39 seconds at 106.96 mph (172.14 km/h).

Station wagon models for 1970 were offered initially in three different levels: the Fairlane 500 wagon, the Torino wagon, and the Torino Squire wagon. Mid-year 1970, the Falcon wagon became the new base station wagon. The sheetmetal on the station wagons was not changed as drastically as 2-door and 4-door models. The majority of the sheetmetal behind the front doors was carried over from the 1968-69 body style. As a result the wagons appeared more upright and square than the sedans and coupes. The Torino Squire was the top level wagon and it featured simulated woodgrain sides, headlamp covers and a trim level similar to the Torino Brougham sedan. The Squire came standard with a 302-2V V8 engine, as well as power front disc brakes; other wagons had 4-wheel drums and the 250 CID I-6. All wagons still featured Ford's "Magic Doorgate" three-way tailgate, while the power rear window, rear-facing third seat and roof rack remained options. Ford offered a trailering towing package for all Torinos that would allow Torino to have a Class II tow rating (3,500 lb (1,588 kg)). This package included heavy-duty suspension, heavy-duty battery and alternator, extra cooling package, and power front disc brakes. The 351 cu in (5.8 L) or 429 cu in (7.0 L) engine, power steering and the Cruise-O-Matic transmission were required options.

Overall, 1970 was a successful year for Torino. It was a well received car by the automotive press and was selected as the Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1970. Motor Trend said the Torino was "Not really a car line in the old sense, but a system of specialty cars, each for a different use ... from luxury to performance." Ford produced 230,411 Torinos for 1970, along with 110,029 Fairlanes and 67,053 Falcons, for a total production of 407,493 units.

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