Cheap 1976 Ford Gran Torino Pillared Hardtop

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A pillared hardtop?! Da*uk is that, Scotty G? Well, it’s Ford’s way of having a four-door sedan look like a hardtop by having frameless side glass that meets in the middle of a thin B-pillar. It works pretty well,  even if it does sound like a marketing gimmick. The seller has this one posted here on craigslist in Sacramento, California with an asking price of just $1,800. Here is the original listing, and thanks to Rocco B. for sending in this tip!

The term pillared hardtop sort of reminds me of a “four-door coupe”, as a lot of companies say today. It makes sense if you can see this car from the side with the windows closed, but the seller hasn’t provided any of those photos in the mix. Also, I have to mention that price, $1,800 for a car that looks as nice as the opening photo does?! When was the last time that we’ve seen a car looking this great for under two thousand bucks? Years? Never?

The third-generation Ford Torino was made from 1972 through 1976 and that was it, they disappeared after that other than showing up in Starsky and Hutch reruns forever. I like the later cars with the wider grille compared to the ’72 small grilles, but that’s just me. You can see a few issues with the back bumper and some trim, but man, I’m in for $1,800 if the interior looks this good. Yes, even a four-door version. Hey, it’s a pillared hardtop, for cryin’ out loud.

Ok, the first inkling that something may be awry inside is that there are no photos showing the front seats at all, at least from the front. The seller mentions a few mechanical issues that need work, such as a new battery, which is easy. They also say it needs a new “float fuel tank” and I’m not sure if that means a new carb bowl float and a fuel tank, like a comma was missing there? Also, the hydraulic system has a leak, which I’m assuming is the brake system.

They included two of the same photos showing the left rear door panel and part of the rear seat and the back of the driver’s side front seat as shown above, but that’s about it for interior photos showing the seating area. You can see the nice, patterned brocade seat fabric on the back seat and a part of the famous pillared hardtop setup in that photo. Ford offered three trim levels: a Torino, a Gran Torino as seen here, and a Gran Torino Brougham – plus three wagon models.

The headliner is toast, which is what most of us assume is the case with the front seating compartment since there are no photos really at all of that whole area. Also, the odometer isn’t working, hence the accessory odometer shown in the last photo. The seller says that it needs work on the headliner and flooring, and they show an underside photo and it seems to look solid underneath, so hopefully it’s just the carpet that needs to be replaced.

The base engine in the ’76 Gran Torino was a OHV V8 with 154 horsepower and 286 lb-ft of torque. This one runs well and has a new “starter, new fuel pump, new valve gasket, new air filter, new oil filter.” Would any of you take a chance on this good-looking “pillared hardtop” Gran Torino for $1,800?

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  1. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Wow. That’s a lot of…sumfin…for a little of…sumfin else…

    Like 10
    • Rw

      Make a 4dr striped tomato and let people get over it.

      Like 6
  2. Connecticut mark

    Cheap and you get an accessory odometer, how does that work? With your fingers adding miles up?

    Like 7
    • Tiberius1701

      Those were used as a reminder for the vehicle’s next service…yes I am old.. LOL

      Like 1
  3. Rw

    Make a 4dr striped tomato and let people get over it.

    Like 2
  4. BoatmanMember

    351C. Or 400? Nobody ever says if it’s a Cleveland or Winsor ugh. This one you can tell (C) but often times you can’t.

    Like 3
  5. Todd Zuercher

    I had an aunt and uncle that had one of these in the mid ’70s. I think theirs was a ’74. The only reason I remember it was because when it was only about two years old, the pass side front door was all rusted out – thanks Ohio!

    Like 3
  6. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Cheap, and not really all that bad. Bask in the vibes from our Bicentennial year with this Torino. Would make for something different to run around town, could even use it as a commuter if your commute was short. What does a “normal” cheap commuter car (like a Corolla with 200k miles) cost nowadays? Fix a few more things and you would be good to go.

    Like 10
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      I agree, Bob. It would be a fun and easy-to-work-on car that a person could use as a commuter once it gets dialed in and it sure would draw some looks.

      Like 3
  7. nlpnt

    This has a “state motor pool” vibe to it, even though those would’ve been non-Gran base Torinos (same grille by this time, though),

    All Torinos of this generation were “Pillared Hardtops” – I think they used that designation on 2-doors even though those were structurally true hardtops but the tiny quarter window was fixed for cost reasons, and maybe they didn’t call the wagons that but they had the same frameless door glass.

    Like 2
  8. Doughboy

    I learned to drive in a 1975 Torino, same color and engine, only it was a wagon. Hood for days!

    Like 4
  9. Bakes

    Base model, you can tell by the dog dish hubcaps. Got to figure on a full interior re-trim unless photos show otherwise. I can still feel the vinyl and remember sitting in the cave like back seat of these because of the way the rear door window openings were scooped upwards. Got to admit, I didn’t mind the fact that my girlfriend had one of those at the time. Lol! Given that, it’s probably got a chance of being a fun little restoration.

    Like 1
    • Anonymous1

      It’s a mid-level. Torino was the base, Gran Torino was the mid-level.

      This one has the rocker and wheel lip mouldings, plus the chrome strips between the taillights, and the Gran Torino-only chrome trim around the taillights.

      Dog dishes may have been standard on the Gran Torino though or swapped at a later time.

      Like 2
      • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

        You are correct, Anonymous1. There’s a “Gran Torino” badge on the dash above the glove box door so it’s not a base model.

        Like 1
  10. K. R. V.

    We had a similar car in our family. Only ours was a Montego Wagon MX. That was loaded, including a 351M/400, that was an absolute dog with an appetite for gas.

    Like 0
  11. T. MannMember

    it does sound like a marketing gimmick

    Like 1
  12. wjtinfwb

    The Dude would approve. Swap the Philco AM radio for an Audiovox 8-track and slip in come Credence.

    Like 4
    • Bob C.

      My thought exactly, The Big Lebowski!

      Like 1
  13. Billy

    My Grandmother had one of these – same color, but with a vinyl top. Getting in after it sat in the California sun for a few hours and the smell of hot plastic was overwhelming.

    Like 1
  14. Troy

    $1800 bucks for a demolition derby car you can probably drive home outside of California of course you can then sell off the grill and other parts to get your money back and have fun building your derby car

    Like 1
  15. John D

    This is not my favorite Torino body style but for a seemingly rust free decent running car this would make a decent driver for the money if it were closer I’d grab it fix what it needs and drive it. I did notice in the add it said non-op in California I’m not sure what that’s involved with that. Likely nothing good.

    Like 1
    • Christopher Gentry

      I thinks it’s a heck of a deal. Not my favorite either. But for that money , it’s just neat. Wish to goodness it was in Tennessee. I’m poor but I could swing that. Be worth it to drive my wife and teenage daughter nuts just being in the garage

      Like 1
  16. Craig

    My grandfather had one it was white with a blue vynl top and fender skirts. Beautiful car and a nice ride.

    Like 1

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