No Reserve: 1974 Ford Gran Torino Elite

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Time for some car education: while the Gran Torino is well known from its role in Hollywood, there was also a limited edition “Elite” model that cashed in on the country’s fascination with big-bodied personal luxury coupes. Although the name shifted between simply the “Elite” and “Gran Torino Elite”, the recipe remained the same: acres of metal and chrome paired with Ford’s familiar 351 Windsor mill under the hood. 

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In the case of this example here, it’s recently been unearthed from the garage after the seller’s father decided it was time to move the car along. It has under 80,000 original miles and looks to be in great shape. While that 351 Windsor looks like one mother of an engine, by the time it found a home in the Gran Torino Elite, it was seriously down on power compared to the late 60’s. By this point, it’s estimated to have only been churning out a paltry 156 b.h.p.

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The interior is quite similar to that of a Cougar XR-7 and remains in great shape, with uncracked seating surfaces and dash pad. It’s hard to get a clear view of the carpets but I’d assume they’ll at least need a cleaning. The wood trim looks presentable as well, and overall, it looks like a comfortable place to loaf down the road. The C4 transmission should provide all the lazy shifting you can possibly handle.

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Here you can see some of the Elite’s additional features, such as the unique center reflector and the opera windows adjacent to the rear glass. Other than noting the good chrome trim and OEM mudflaps, this one’s a fairly honest specimen that should provide plenty of miles of cheap cruising. You can find it here on eBay with no reserve and bidding just over $1,000. If it goes cheap enough, this looks like an easy path to classic ownership, in my opinion, if you can get over the notion of living with a depleted 351.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. piper62j

    My father in-law bought one of these brand new in 75.. Put well over 100k on it.. Ran well and was very smooth on the road.. Sold it to his nephew who promptly drove it over a high curb, damaged the oil pan and blew the engine..
    This is a nice car and a great find for Ford lovers.

  2. Patrick

    AMAZING! The rear bumper was standard equipment on these! After seeing multiple examples that it was missing from, I began to question whether or not it actually came with one ;)

  3. Elliott Member

    I had an elderly co-worker who purchased a car IIRC, identical to this one. I was secretly amused at the fact that it sported a full complement of gauges…but the owner stated specifically that “he could not care less” about them!! There was also the fact that he was dwarfed by the exterior size of this beast!! :-)

  4. Clutchartist

    Yes Patrick, they ALL came with factory equipped bumpers. But if you look closely, some, including this one, also came with optional “grab handles” to carry the bumpers after they fell off. (Most people referred to that option as bumper guards) Has anyone else noticed the striking similarities between this Gran Torino and the LTD II ??? (Although the rear end was different)

    • Patrick

      AHHHHH….now I understand. Always wondered what those were used for :))

  5. Dan10

    It may be sacrilege but I can’t help but think how much fun this car would be with a built 460 in the 400+ hp range.

  6. piper62j

    Dan.. It would be a sleeper and no one would know that you could blow their doors off in one easy run.. LOL

  7. AMC STEVE

    Turd brown, how lovely. This is a typical old mans car of the 70’s

  8. Stang1968

    There is a reserve on this car.

  9. The Chucker

    I recall riding out of the Ford dealership as a little kid in a then brand-spanking-new 1972 Torino my dad had just purchased. Sadly, Dad never was a car guy and that thing had rusted into oblivion by the time I was 14.

  10. fordfan

    Saw these new on my way to school outside the ford dealership . Looking at it now it looks like a giant granada

  11. c hafrles

    WHOA!!! You might want to avoid this car! Those of you old enough to remember, this is the year EPA standards was applied to cars resulting in decreases in HP and MPG, hose leaks, etc…..

  12. piper62j

    I’m not 100% positive, but I believe the EPA standards on these cars began in 1975 with the advent of catalytic converters.. I bought a new 74 plain Jane Torino w/ 300 ci 6 cyl and it did not have a catalytic converter.. Someone correct me..

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    • Charles

      I owned a 1973 Ford Gran Torino which had very minimal if any EPA junk on it. However, a friend bought a 1974 Gran Torino and it was loaded with EPA hoses, valves, etc…..resulting in decrease of MPG and HP. Terrible car, he only kept it a couple of years.

  13. Allan

    I had the twin to this car, when I was a kid in High School. A ’74 Mercury Cougar XR7. The hood ornament on the XR7 was an interesting piece. Almost identical to this one. Good times…

    • Charles

      Back in the day some friends of ours owned an XR7 similar to yours. I can’t remember the exact year. It was around a 72-74 model. Their car came equipped with a 460 and with a floor shifted C6 automatic. The car was geared for cruising, and was not exceptionally fast in the quarter mile. It was one heck of a road car.

  14. Jim Marshall

    Sold these back then. Basically a fancy Grand Torino with a fancy snout. Watched the Movie last night Grand Torino with Clint Eastwood and wondered about that car. It was purchased restored on ebay by the movie studio and they tweaked it and rechromed the bumpers. Clint purchased the car for his private collection after the film was released.

  15. Paul Duca

    I feel the Elite was to test the waters for a smaller Thunderbird at a lower price point–targeting Monte Carlo and Cordoba rather than those cross shopping Riviera and Toronado. And it worked brilliantly–the ’77-79 generation sold far more than either the first four generations or the following two 5-year cycles–combined.

  16. Keith

    You could get an Elite with a 460 in it…I almost bought one a couple years ago and it was a numbers matching car. Of course, it didn’t put out much HP but….what did at that point?

  17. Harold Wood

    Bought a Blue one of these 74 Elite with white top and white Interior For my First EX WIFE and I bought me a Spirit of America 74 ElCamino White on white with Red and blue strips, with the 454 Back in those days I bought new car and truck every year Lot of the time I got my money back almost every year cause I always bought something Unique and generally only put 10 or 11 thousand miles on them and usually someone would want them rather than me trade them in cause they would be pretty much Immaculate, If i lost money at all it was no more than $500. Not bad for a years worth of driving on a brand new car. LOL People couldn’t wait for me to get ready to trade or buy and new car.

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