Rebuilt 400 V8: 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport

We are glad that Matt R bought this 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport to our attention. It is for sale here on craigslist and is said to be complete just like it came from the factory. The paint looks to be a little thinner but that happens with age! The Torino is located in Chehalis, Washington which is near Seattle. The asking price for this car is $11,000.

The engine compartment looks great and a lot of time has bee spent to detail the engine compartment and rebuild the original 400 cubic inch V8 engine. Both the engine and transmission were rebuilt professionally. During the rebuilding process, a new radiator, braking system, and fuel tank were replaced. The car is said to run and drive well.

The interior looks better than the exterior. The seams are coming apart in the bucket seats but the dash and door panels look pretty good. The seller states that the headliner needs to be replaced on the inside and the tires, paint, and vinyl top need to be replaced on the outside. The trunk is rusted through and there look to be some problems with the roof.

The 400 cubic inch V8  engine with 2 barrel carburetor was not comparable to the performance of the larger 429 cubic inch V8 engine. It was a new engine for the Gran Torino and provided to produce a lot of nice low-end torque and was fun to drive within the city limits. The base engine for the Gran Torino was the 250 cubic inch incline six-cylinder and there were six engine options for 1972.

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  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    I’ve always liked the 1972 Gran Torino Sport, the fastbacks specifically, especially if they have the laser stripes. So it’s not hard for me to visualize this one back in its former glory. Some rust issues but doesn’t look like a rust bucket. Needs interior work. But sounds like quite a bit of mechanical work has been done.

    I would prefer the Sports Instrumentation. Also would prefer a 4-speed but don’t see them often. I’d go with Magnum 500’s for the period-correct look.

    The 1972 one-year styling, before the arrival of the big bumpers, has always been striking to me. I hope someone finishes this one, it would be quite the looker.

    Like 25
  2. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Fix the passenger seat, swap the wheel covers for a set of Magnum 500s, leave the exterior as-is and cruise

    Like 7
  3. Ray

    Why waste so much money on such a crappy engine? It is a 335 series, but no performance potential.

    Like 3
    • Patrick Farmer

      Are you kidding? Famed dragster engine builder, Jon Kaase, has won Popular Hot Rodding’s Engine Masters Challenge so many times with a Ford 400 that he has been forbidden from entering another 400. His 400 was belting out 650hp with Diesel like torque above 700 lb/ft all with a single carb and pump gas. It has gobs of performance potential.

      Like 6
  4. Classic Steel

    The 351 “Cleveland rocked this model…..
    A shame the 400 was selected 😟

    Like 12
    • Patrick Farmer

      It is not a shame. The Ford 400 V8 can be built into a mind searing missile. The 400 has the same architecture as the 351 Cleveland. You can build a 400 into an over 500 hp nightmare. The 351M/400 block has a 1 inch taller deck that the 351C. If you increase the 400’s compression and use aftermarket TFS Trick Flow Specialties heads and matching intake you better hold on. Jon Kaase dominated the Engine Masters Challenge with a Ford 400. Look on his website or Popular Hot Rodding’s website, who host the Challenge.

      Like 4
  5. sparkster

    No mention of the missing A/C compressor ? ? ? Funny ad, no TEXTS and NO EMAILS. Calls only. Holes in roofs are not easy to repair / replace. Still coming off the showroom floor with the blue paint and white vinyl roof it must have been a great looking Grand Torino.

    Like 3
  6. Bob C.

    Every time I see a Torino this year, I remember a 1972 movie called Fear Is The Key. Barry Newman beat the &@%! Out of one during a long police chase.

    Like 3
    • JoeNYWF64

      Starsky & Hutch should have been drivin this year instead.
      But that sure as hell would have been bad for Ford sales, tryin to promote their ungainly big bumper ’75 & later Torinos.
      My neighbor had a blue ’72 fastback with the S&H stripe.

      Like 3
  7. Hound59

    My parents bought a 72 Torino with the 6 banger…. manual steering and brakes. No AC, roll up windows etc. I absolutely loved the style of it. I drove it in H.S. It was THEE slowest car on Earth! Felt like driving a CTA Bus which is what my Dad did. That car had a hard time going up a hill!!

    Like 5
    • FishBowelBus

      Which depot did your Dad drive out of?
      Mine drove out of Lawndale in the 60’s and 70’s

  8. John

    Loved my 72 Ranchero!
    Had a 351 Cleveland 2 bbl in it, packing 163hp
    Was beaten by a Suzuki Swift at a red light.
    I was so ashamed until I realized I could load the Suzuki in the bed of my truck. That made me feel a little better..

    Like 11
    • Patrick Farmer

      You can build the Cleveland into a running MOFO. To hell with a Suzuki.

      Like 1
  9. David G

    Ad claims “complete as it came from the factory”. In reality, it came from the factory with an A/C compressor that is missing now. It also came without rust holes in the roof, which will be expensive to fix. High price for having roof rust. Figure another 7K in body and paint work to make it right.

    Like 11
    • Raymond Smith

      I’m also sure it didn’t come from the factory with an open vacuum line where the AC compressor should be.

      Like 1
  10. Vance

    The 400 could be brought to life with a different intake, mild cam, heads, and a carburetor. You know the bottom end has been redone, so just improve the upper half. Love this year of Torino, but I do agree that its a bit pricey for what your getting. Its a ” Get off my lawn ) car for sure.

    Like 8
  11. Keith Knox Member

    We bought a new on in 72. 351 automatic. White with a black vinyl top. Good car.

    Like 2
  12. Geoff

    “I don’t respond to text or emails”…Really means you might catch me telling the truth and I don’t want to miss an opportunity to play head games. Intriguing car but unless you have a sentimental reason the math is never going to add up.

    Like 2
  13. Robert May

    My uncle ordered a dark green w/ Lazer Stripes and matching green interior new. I recall hearing 351 Cobra Jet mentioned as the engine in his car. It had a bench seat, manual windows, and column shift automatic transmission. He kept that car for 20 years or so.

    Like 2
  14. Rick

    We had a beautiful red one with black interior and a 351 Cobra Jet. Parents actually drove all five kids to Florida from Ohio for vacation one year!

    Like 1
  15. Jeffrey M Jancarek

    I always loved the 1972 Torinos! I had an Uncle back in the day that had one brand new, same color as this one, but his was a 4-door Grand Torino Brougham. 351V/8, White full vinyl top, blue brocade interior, A/C, and Power Windows! It was very comfortable to travel in and living in NJ at the time, he took us to Warner Brother’s “Jungle Habitat” amusement park in it. “Jungle Habitat” was one of those drive-through “view the animals in their natural surroundings type parks where the animals roamed free and you stayed in your car…It was a particularly hot July day when we visited, and I remember viewing the glorious animals in luxurious, air conditioned comfort!

  16. gerardfrederick

    Another car which inexplicably was bought by someone when it was new. What an utterly boring vehicle, exactly right to use for the trips to the grocery store. Of all the Fords, this next to the bare bones Pinto has got to be the worst. Old Henry was turning in his grave when they came to market with this.

    • Patrick Farmer

      Aw, Bullfeathers. I have seen a guy put BOSS 429 in this car. Vanguard Motors sold an 1974 ultra low mile Torino with a 460 for over 50k this year. This is not a boring car. A 1975 LTD or Granada is a boring car and the Granada has a floor pan of a 1970 Mustang. The Big Lebowski drove a notch back 1974 or 1975 Gran Torino. The 1972 Ford Torino is the platform that is shared with the 1974 Cougar, Thunderbird, Ranchero, Gran Torino, Gran Torino Elite, Elite, LTD II and a later Lincoln Mark, the Mark V or the Mark VI. The factory dashboard and instruments are the same across the lineups with minor differences between models, except for the Lincolns. The platform was very successful and was produced until 1979. It’s- legacy and heritage continued on to this very day, with the platforms front suspension design. The engine bay frame rail measurement is 58 inches across which is an 1/8 of an inch narrower than the 2003 Panther platforms measurement. A continuation of the 1972 platform, that has been refined until it is the perfection that it is today. 2003 Crown Vic front suspensions are being installed in early F-100 as well as a replacement for 1990 and up Thunderbirds and Cougars. You can increase the handling ability of a 72 Torino exponentially with the up to date shocks, springs, steering and brakes. In a car that had engines in it from the I-6, 302, 351C-2V/4V, 351W-2V/4V, 351M, 400, 429 and 460, not to mention the Ford Modular engines. The grill opening alone in not boring. It pay homage to the 1965 Shelby Cobra 427. In fact if you were to paint the car Shelby Blue w/ white stripes, including the front bumper and replace the quad headlights with oval Cibie lights from the GT40 you would see a car that looks a lot like the 1965 Shelby Cobra. The grill opening is on the late model Mustang. Not so boring I should think.

  17. Michael J Walter

    Clint Eastwood, your Gran Torino is ready…

    Like 1
  18. Troy s

    The 400 Ford along with Chevy’s small block 400 were never high performance engines from the factory, that actually makes a difference on how an engine is judged, perceived, or in many cases remembered first hand. It’s like this guy I hung around with who thought the 318 LA engine was the beginning and end of everything automotive. Could do no wrong and drove that 318 ’71 Charger with a vengeance he swore…..yea, big deal.
    Only thing I dont like about this ’72 are the wheels and tires look all wrong on this sporty old Ford. Looked fine to whomever bought it new, now it needs Magnums, Cragars, Keystones, something for Pete’s sake! A built 400 sounds interesting and would justify this dog’s existence. Like the Fords and Mercury’s here lately.

  19. Patrick Farmer

    1972 was the second to the last year before the nanny state law (5 miles per hour impact) kicked in and ruined the look of all of the US cars for better than a decade. Chevrolet knocked the engineering out of the park with a spring placed behind the split bumper on the RS Camaro for 1973. So, Ford produced the form following bumpers for the last time in 1972 to comply with the upcoming law. Just take a look at the 1972 Cougar, Lincoln Mark IV, Montego GT, Torino, Maverick, Comet and Thunderbird, then compare them to the photos of the 1973 year models. Big difference, Bunkie Beak excluded.

  20. Patrick Farmer

    Here is a book for you guys to read, “Ford 351 Cleveland Engines.” by George Reid. It is a Car Tech manual ISBN: 9781613250488. This book covers it all, from the bare block looking almost identical to a bare Oldsmobile 350 block, to it’s origins, it’s US production numbers, it’s Australian production numbers, rare parts, NASCAR, parts interchange, top industry builders, power output information and all the rest, including the 351M/400. I can’t put the thing down.

    • Troy s

      Great comments, Patrick. Much knowledge you have on these 335 series engines, a great engine but also misunderstood when it comes to the 400/351M. I always considered those two later versions as a way Ford could use the larger C6 automatic transmission with a smaller, lighter V8 engine compared to the 385 series 429/460 with the FE gone. They came at a time when Ford was working hard to meet emissions, not pole positions. Always a sponge, I’ll have to check that book out sometime, a real book with pages!

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