M-Code 351 Equipped: 1970 Ford Torino GT

Do you know what’s great about this ’70 Ford Torino GT? It’s not a ’70 Chevelle SS or Roadrunner. OK, OK, before all of the poison darts start coming my way, I’m more a Chevy/Plymouth/Dodge guy, (as domestics go) then I am of the Blue Oval persuasion but Fords from this era deserve their due as well and this is a nice find! It is located in Eagle, Wisconsin and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $12,100, two bids tendered so far.

The ’70 Ford Torino was a bit of a departure, styling-wise, from its 1969 predecessor. While possessing the same basic suspension layout, the wheelbase was stretched one inch over the previous year but the sheet metal was where the most radical change occurred. While Chevrolet, Plymouth and Dodge stayed the course, mostly, with a continuation of their ’69 exterior designs, Ford went bold with more of a “fuselage “design. The consuming public liked it as north of 400K copies rolled off of Ford’s assembly lines all told, including the Fairlane and Falcon trim levels.

First up is the obvious and that’s the appearance. The seller states that the finish and the laser stripe are original though the front right fender doesn’t match the hue of the door, so something has been repainted. I like the color though the C pillar primer is indicative of something going on, probably an attempt to contain rust. The side bump strips are falling off, leaving the attaching glue residue behind – a minor issue. I’ll admit, I was never a fan of the laser stripe but I do like the way they reflect light at night. As is evidenced by the hood, the finish is in the process of degrading but that’s no surprise on a car that is a half-century-old. There have been various versions of the Magnum 500 style wheels employed by the Big Three and a Half, they all used their own interpretation. But the Ford variant, as displayed here, I’d conjure, is one of the best. And the rim portion of the wheels look to be rust free. I have scoured the exterior of this Torino, looking for rust and I’m not finding any obvious evidence.

This Ford is an “M” code which means the new for ’70 351 CI “Cleveland” V8 engine, good for 300 gross HP. But wait, there’s more as the powerplant has undergone a complete rebuild just 3,000 miles ago. Among the mechanical upgrades are, “…bored .030 over with forged flat top pistons, rings, stainless valves, new cam lifters and springs, retainers, oil pump, bearings, and timing chain”. The flat-top piston reference caught my attention, perhaps an attempt to knock a bit off of the compression ratio as a nod to modern, lower octane fuel. There is a working shaker hood scope in place, I’d be curious to know from our Ford enthusiasts how effective these actually were at enhancing performance. The genuineness of this Torino’s equipment is documented by the accompanying Marti report. For a deeper mechanical dive, the new cam specs are even included. In spite of this car not being registered since 1987, the seller sums up all of its mechanical goodness by claiming, “It runs and drives great and can be driven anywhere”. What’s in a license plate, right? Gear changing is courtesy of an FMX, three-speed, automatic transmission.

The interior is equipped with bucket seats and a center console, though the instrument panel appears to be the standard, non instrumented, Torino version. The driver’s seat obviously needs help, as does the dash pad, armrest cushion, and the carpet too, but it is all usable, just dull overall from age and wears. I’m seeing what looks like an original radio!

As stated at the outset, finding a Ford of this era is refreshing – there were huge numbers of this vintage (’70-’71) Torino produced, they just didn’t hang in there for the long run the way some of their competitors did. This example is pretty original, I know the engine modifications detract somewhat from that “born-with” originality but everything wears out eventually and will need refurbishment – I’d suggest this car was done correctly. The nice thing is that this Torino can be driven as is and enjoyed, and over time, finances willing, improvements can slowly be made. This Torino could prove to be a pretty reasonable buy, especially compared to current Chevelle/GTO/Mopar values, would you agree?

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Comments

  1. Mark

    Nice car. Back in 1970 a neighbor worked for Ford Motor Credit. He had the twin to this car as his company car for 1970. He bought it after a year and his wife drove it another 4-5 years.

    Like 3
    • Hal

      I had a 71 Torino Cobra, loved that car. Ate up Road Runners with it!😊

  2. Vance

    I don’t know if I am alone, but I think Ford didn’t do these cars justice from the previous models. . I do like these equipped with the hidden headlights, but the 68 -69 front end was much more desirable, as well as the backend styling. I believe the dashboard layout was circular and not the bland LTD flat layout. These look like a Maverick on steroids, just my opinion.

    Like 4
    • Clement Feldman

      Agreed. Well said. 👍

  3. JBD

    I had a m code 351C-4V motored Torino. It was a great car and luckily an AZ car with no rust and solid body. These cars are still under- valued and are a good buy.

    Like 5
  4. Nick P

    Does the hood scope help you see whats coming at you better? Just kidding Jim. I’m not a Ford guy at all, but my brother is. He just fell into one of these last weekend. His is a numbers matching 429 Super Cobra Jet 4 speed with the drag pack. Pretty rare one I guess. 70kmi. Car barely needs a light resto-no rust. Is painted black. Originally looked just like this one. Been sitting 25 years, apparently in phenomenal storage based on how it looks. I haven’t even been down to see it in person yet. Cant wait to get a ride in it, thats for sure.

    Like 1
  5. Troy s

    Good lines, on the outside, but these are kinda big…like all Fords from the early seventies. The Maverick, Pinto, obviously the 71-73 Mustangs, the Torino, they all looked overweight or “big” in some way.
    Where these ’70-71 Torinos, the sporty versions, fail is inside the car. That has to be the most boring interior I’ve ever seen. It could fit right in with a dowdy station wagon package.
    Like the 351 Cleveland and the fact it’s been juiced a bit. I dont consider it real muscle though as that would be the 429 CJ and SCJ versions. Those are bad news.

    Like 1
    • Knightomite

      The 351 C IS still a Hoss street motor the 429 scj was a super speedway motor that could carry that torino 200 mph for 500 miles…a bit more than just a “muscle car” it was in the street version.. a detuned race engine..

      • Troy s

        The Boss 429 was the super speedway engine Ford designed off the 385 series 429 passenger car engine, although they look nothing alike at all, and was never available in the Torino unless, of course, you were a stock car racer driving for Ford.
        I like the 351 Cleveland, dont get me wrong. Boss “Hoss” 366! I’ve seen that engine before somewhere!

  6. jokacz

    I had forgotten all about those hideous “Laser” stripes. Thanks a lot for reminding me. Can’t unsee that :-(

  7. Racer-X

    When it came time for my daughter to choose a father-daughter project car, she chose a 1971 Torino 500 coupe.

    I wasn’t a Ford fan but its grown on me. The Torino gets tons of attention because its 100% stock. She didnt want to hot rod it and I’m glad we didnt.

    Like 4
  8. TRPIV

    Get off my lawn…

    Like 3
  9. Clement Feldman

    A great car for the Ford faithful but these really don’t compare to the GM products and some of the Mopars.

    Not particularly fast or sporty, they really didn’t make it on the street or the strip compared to GTO’s, 442’s, Chargers, etc.

    But, to each his own and if you dig it, it’s all good. 👍

  10. PairsNPaint

    My father purchased the twin to this car new in ’70. I liked it a lot. When he went out of town on a business trip, he gave me the keys. Big mistake. I wasn’t in a financial position at 19 to repair the body damage I did that week. He never let me forget it, either.

    Like 4
  11. Ten50boy

    Absolutely, by far, one of the coolest muscle cars built just prior to the smog years. I love all things American muscle from GM to Ford to Chrysler and AMC….. but the 70-71 Torinos have always held a special place in my heart. The first car I ever went fast in was my grandfather’s 71….. he was a designer for Grumman and a die hard Ford man. Think I broke his heart when I bought my first Camaro! But, the first car I ever did a burn out in was a 71 Torino with a warmed up 351. Fond memories. My own 71 was a silver spring edition with the black interior featuring a prominent red stripe around the mid section. God, I wish I still had it. Would give my left n-t for that car or a 701/2 Falcon…. another car with a great nose and a true “sleeper” look. If I didn’t have a 35 year old Z car foreign project (i know) hiding in my work space now, I would be hunting one of these…… unfortunately for the muscle car purists…. my heart is with my ttop stick Z for now. Not much on power, but the handling is great and ttops are awesome in the fall and winter here in north central Florida.

    Hey, Barnfinds…… keep the stories coming.

    Like 3
    • Mark

      70 1/2 Falcon. I actually knew a guy that owned one.

      Like 2
    • Ten50boy

      Yeah, loved the front on the Falcon. Very simple and clean design

  12. Patrick J. Flynn

    A very close friend whose Dad worked for Ford in the procurement of prototypes had a hand made prototype of this car with what I think was a GT package(?). The car was lipstick red with the reflectorized stripe, a deep maroon interior, 302 automatic, 4 wheel power disc brakes, hidden headlights and we drove it alot after it was sold to my friend’s Dad ( a quid pro-quo no doubt) from the company that built it by hand, Dearborn Steel Tubing. As a Motor City kid, we saw prototypes from Ford parked across the street at home when Mr. Herr brought them home from the Glass House. Friends own 3 of these today. This car was beautiful, not particularly fast but very smooth, comfortable and the fastest stopping car of it’s size in the world I believe. Not really a Ford guy even though the neighborhood Dads were about 67% Ford executives. This car, in that trim was one of Ford’s best looking Torinos.

    Like 2
  13. Desert Rat

    I’ve owned four of these Torinos 70/71 even built a 70 gt into full blown drag race car. I love these cars there different from the other midsize cars from Chrysler and GM not as good looking as say a 69 GTO but still you never hardly see a torino GT or Cobra at the car shows so you would turn heads. To day I’m much more a chevy guy thanks to all the problems I had with that drag car trying to keep it’s big block together, still I will always have a soft spot for torinos.

    Like 1
    • Troy s

      Hey Desert Rat, you didn’t by chance race that Torino at Carlsbad raceway in San Diego did you? There was one at that outlawish track back in the nineties, the only one come to think of it, absolutely the fastest stock bodied car there at the time. Had nitrous and all that but the low 9 second ET’s at 140 plus dont begin to tell the drama of the car accomplishing it. Could have won money in the stands as most dudes chuckled at the big Toino GT, but once in the water heating the slicks the chuckles went silent, out and hammering it hard to dry them you’d of thought it would launch to the moon, ha, the incredible noise coming out of the monster motor Ford was to die for and once it managed to hold a straight line the acceleration was insane. Figured any kind of successful holeshot and that thing would have been in the eights or high sevens. Sorry to bore you but I just had to ask.

      • Desert Rat

        Yea that was me, ran 9s all day long, just kidding, Only raced in El Paso T.X. and Alamogordo N.M.I never could keep that thing together. First time out ran an easy pass just to check things out it went 12.2, so next pass I.m going to give it all it had it had a 3500 stall converter in it It left so hard I thought it lifted the front tires off the ground, go to shift to second and it doesn’t come out of first. It over revved the 460 and puts a rod through the side. I never went that fast again. I could not for the life of me keep that thing together always braking in time trials, should have dropped a BBC in it problem solved!

        Like 1
  14. Woody

    In 1980 my late father bought the ‘70 Cobra 429 “shaker” from the original owner and my brother is still in possession of it today. The paint is close to this one with peeling around the lead filler on upper rear quarters.The Torino was MotorTrends car of the year in 1970.The Cobra that my dad purchased is a California car and loaded with options including power seats and windows,a/c,rim-blow steering wheel, and that awesome “shaker”hood!

    Like 2
  15. David Ulrey

    Nothing but memories here. I absolutely love these and this drivetrain and color combination just really work for me. Part of it stems from the fact that a girl I had a massive crush on for years got one in 1977 when she turned 16. Pure memories here. ❤ :) Oddly enough all that took place in Northern Wisconsin.

  16. Steve Bush Member

    Winning bid of $12,991.00 put in with under five minutes remaining. There were 5 bids submitted in the auction which ended at 7:05 cdt.

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