Unearthed: 1972 Ford Gran Torino

Classic Cars / 39 Comments

This restored 1972 Ford Gran Torino will turn heads just as easily as it did when it was brand new.

Launched back in 1968, the Ford Gran Torino has recently had a new claim to fame in the Clint Eastwood film 'Gran Torino.' And just like the car itself, the film has become an instant classic, drawing in a huge fan base consisting of car and film enthusiasts alike. And for those who love both, then it's a perfect match. The first generation Torino ('Gran' wasn't added until 1972) was originally an upscale version of the Ford Fairlane, but the names were later reversed before the Fairlane name was dropped entirely.

Along with the infamous coupe fastback, Torinos/Fairlanes were also standard coupes and convertibles, four-door sedans and hardtops, and even a station wagon. Power originally came from a 3.3-liter six-cylinder and GT models came with a 4.9-liter small block V8. Customers could also upgrade to a 4.7 or 4.9-liter small block as well as a 6.4 and 7.0 (427)-liter V8s. But the real treasure was the 428 cu in 7.0-liter Cobra V8 with 335hp. These Cobra Jets were recognized by a red and chrome '428' badge. By 1969, the top engine was the 428-4V Super Cobra Jet that was designed specifically for drag racing and was referred to as the 'Drag Pack.'

In 1970, however, the model was redesigned and featured the famous coke bottle styling, which was a major departure away from the boxy lines of the previous model. This new styling was influenced by the latest supersonic jet aircraft at the time, specifically with the narrow waists and larger front and rear ends. Also new that year was the addition of the 351 5.8-liter Cleveland V8 but the Drag Pack remained the top option. Revisions to this generation continued until 1972 when Ford redesigned the Torino and gave it its most distinctive styling yet.

The coke bottle with the long hood/short deck shape continued, but the most dramatic change was the large egg crate grille on the newly renamed Gran Torino. The difference between this and the standard Torino was that the former had chrome bezels surrounding the headlamps. Power for the Gran Torino came from either a standard 302 small block V8 or the optional Cleveland V8 engine series. The 1972 Gran Torino featured here was bought by the owner after he helped a friend restore a '72 Gran Torino Sport. He fell in love with the car and decided he wanted his own. After finding a decent one online, he transported it to his home.

Soon after, he began the ground-up restoration. Doing a complete tear down, he went ahead and found a 460 cu in Ford 7.5-liter V8 out of an old Lincoln. This was soon cleaned, painted, and installed in the car which itself was sent to the body shop where it received a fresh coat of paint and a custom side stripe. After several months of hard work the job was completed. Calling his Gran Torino his "other woman", the finished product is nothing short of gorgeous. Just imagine driving this down Woodward Avenue in Detroit on a sunny day; life's problems will suddenly seem to filter away. Photos courtesy of badbadge

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