Feel The Thunder: 1970 Ford Torino GT

1970 Ford Torino GT 429

I have to admit, I had never heard of a Thunder Jet until I came across this Torino GT. So for those of you who are like me and never heard the thunder of one of these 429s, here’s a bit of history. In ’68 Ford introduced their new big block, the 385 series. This new engine would take the place of the 428, but was still offered in several performance variants like the outgoing FE series. They kept the Cobra names for the top performers and add the Thunder Jet to the line up as well. This beautiful Torino is packing one of these TJ engines and can be found here on eBay in Springfield, Missouri with bidding to $13k already.

1970 Ford 429 Thunder Jet

So how much power did the new 385 Series offer? Well the CJ and SCJ were rated at 370 and 375 hp respectively. Ford decided to offer a lower output version of the 429 though, which they decided to call the Thunder Jet. It was rated at just 360 horsepower. It might not have the get up and go of a Cobra, but I’m sure it shakes the ground all the same!

1970 Ford Torino GT

I know I would love to cruise around in this Torino! Just the thought of driving a big block equipped classic like this put a smile on my face. So do you think you could live with just 360 hp or would you need all 375 hp offered by the SCJ to really be happy?


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  1. GeeBee

    The first & second generation Torino’s, to me, are some of the best looking cars Ford ever built.

  2. Van

    I heard a Thunder Jet
    Every time our Scout master served beens

    • DrinkinGasoline

      You were in Scouting….I’ll give You that. And BTW…they were,umm, “beans”. In My Troop, the Patrol Leader served the “beans” while the Scout Master was fast asleep, sawing logs in his tent.

  3. Dairymen

    I had a 71 torino with a 351 in it, and that car would go! I traded it off in a deal, but I should of kept it. So this thunder jet should have enough power for some serious fun.

    Like 1
    • Jack

      I had a ‘69 390 4 bbl 4 speed screamer. Last new car I ever had. Tire smoking beast.

  4. J Paul Member

    Shame that side stripe is so mis-aligned.

    Like 1
    • DrinkinGasoline

      Buy it, then take the pain-painstaking time to heat them, and then re-align them….problem solved. :)

  5. boxdin

    ” Quality is job number one” remember that?
    This is a beautiful car.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I certainly do remeber that, as well as :
      Have You Driven a Ford….Lately ?
      I would cruise it with pride.

  6. DrinkinGasoline

    The Thunder Jet was a in-vain attempt by FoMoCo, to carry on the famed Cobra Jet Era during the start of the EPA’s
    “squash campaign”. The “Emissions Standards”, as well as the so called “R-22 Freon” scares were just that……scares, designed to fill government coffers. When the American public decides to realize that the EPA is simply a cash cow….then, and only then, will justice be served. We take Our vehicles to a testing station, stressing that they will pass so We can get Our registration….meanwhile, the diesel belching trucks and school buses continue to pollute every aspect of Our daily lives because big industry and mass transportation has the cash and lobbyists to sway and buy the EPA off. WAKE UP AMERICA !! Diesel burning, smoke belching fuel,
    drives America !

    • Ed B

      Let’s follow the rules: No political rants on this site.

      • Texas Tea

        I’m not taking any side here Ed B, but are you saying no one can have an opinion? Grow up……………..

        Like 1
  7. piper62j

    So the stripe is crooked.. Get another one..
    Sweet car and a great find.. I like it..

  8. Frenchbuff Member

    Dgas, you may think the EPA rules are a PITA, but having gone to my 50th college reunion near Pomona Ca. in April, in spite of probably 3x the traffic/people that existed in 1966, I could see over the LA region for miles on a weekday. In 1962 when I started college out there, my first run around the track to try out for basketball made me think I was gonna die, my lungs hurt so bad from the smog! And often in early afternoon on a sunny day, we’d see a wall of darkness move up the valley from LA to Riverside and shut off Mount Baldy, the highest peak around yet only about 2-3 miles away from campus. If you hadn’t lived out there back then, you have no concept of how bad the smog pollution was and it was going to get worse, if the EPA hadn’t started pushing emissions controls in ’67. Now we can breathe most everywhere, in spite of millions more cars than existed back then. For comparison you ought to go to China and check out their air – I’m a longtime car guy, and worked inside the industry for 30 yrs, but I am damn glad the emissions controls were required – they saved a lot of us from lung disease, asthma and other breathing problems and the fact that the auto industry screamed bloody murder over the requirements but actually met them says a lot of their talk was just bluster and selfserving bitching. The whole emissions picture pushed them to get smarter and do something. Without that pressure, we’d be really messed up today, and we still got our horsepower back. Think about it man –

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Like You, I was in the auto/truck industry for 30+ years and I agree but, if they are going to put a “band-aid on a severed arm”,
      they are only scratching the surface of the problem. They need to deal with the commercial vehicles. I grew up in Cleveland when the steel mills were at full capacity as well as the Standard Oil Company’s refinery so I know true pollution. Heck, the river caught fire (more than once!) And BTW, I am an asthmatic.

  9. grant

    Ohmygodiwantthiscar. Picture it white on white, no stripe, blacked out grille. I have no idea what motor, I was 5! That was the Torino dad traded for that red Pinto wagon. Damn. I’m going to lay awake at night thinking about this car. Wonder if she’d leave me if I took out a loan…

  10. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Best Torino body style ever and those hidden headlights. So cool!

  11. Van

    I know this is a dumb question but how does a car that gets 12 mpg produce the same emissions as a car that gets 50 mpg. and I don´t mean hybrids. Your converting a liquid to a gas. I must have slept through that class in high school.

  12. Frenchbuff Member

    Van, it’s probably a matter of emissions as a percentage of the volume of exhaust. A car with low mpg but a good combustion process can probably produce low emissions as a percentage of its volume, even if it burns more gas per mile. And if the engine system is designed to extract more energy per unit of fuel, it’s more efficient than another engine which is clean burning, but less efficient in getting the energy content of the fuel to the road. Weight is part of the problem and drag, whether it be air or drag in the powertrain. I’m not an engineer, but there ought to be something on the web which explains how the emissions standards are arrived at. One might look at the SAE website – Society of Automotive Engineers.

  13. JW454

    Between the ’68~69 or the ’70~71 Torinos it would be hard to decide which design I like the best. I guess I’ll have one of each please.

  14. dj

    Let’s not talk about the stupid EPA and what good or bad they’ve done for who. I’m losing my job because of the EPA but I’m not on here ranting about it. This site is about cars. So let’s talk about cars, Shall We?

  15. Bob Semrad

    Here’s a picture of my 70 Torino GT. 351 Cleveland, automatic, a/c (that works)…great car and pretty hard to find.

    Like 1
  16. racer99

    Learned to drive in a 1970 Cobrajet Torino. Great car pointed in a straight line but the skinny tires, heavy weight, and rudimentary suspension (by today’s standards) meant you had to be on your game to actually drive it fast. And, BTW, the front end would actually lift once you got over 120 mph just to make life more exciting (guess Ford hadn’t quite figured out aerodynamics yet). This would be a great cruiser for today’s world and is nicely opted with the center console, a/c, etc.. Would be very wary of the paint job as it looks like an inexpensive job with rusty spots busting back through so you don’t know what it’s hiding (look at the picture of the GT emblem for a hint of the orange peel in the paint). The mis-applied stripes would also make me wonder about the quality of the work under the paint. Last few that I saw at Barrett-Jackson that were very nicely done didn’t quite make it to $20K.

  17. Ed B

    Hey Texas Tea, I’m not saying that at all. Please scroll down to the end of these comments and look below the “Leave a Comment” box. It states:

    Rules: No profanity, political rants, or personal attacks.

    That’s all I’m pointing out to DG. As dj said in his comment at 5:47 am today: “This site is about cars. So let’s talk about cars, Shall We?”

  18. piper62j

    We should just keep the dialog going about cars and our personal experiences, IMHO.. More fun that way. There are many that contribute here and the knowledge is incredible.. that knowledge should be passed on as information only and not condescending statements..

  19. Texas Tea

    Fair enough.

  20. DrinkinGasoline

    Diversity and differences of opinion make a community stronger if the dialog is honest and respectful. Thanks to all of the posters who responded to my comment, that’s what makes our passion great. And, I like that “DG”,
    I think I’m gonna use that :)

  21. Old geezer

    I just sold my torino with a 390 S code (335hp). It was an absolute blast to drive in a straight line, once it got traction but handled very poorly otherwise. They have regular leaf springs in the back. I traded it for a 66 galaxie which rides on a much better chassis. Galaxie Rear trailing arms and coils are much better in gaining traction and around corners. The torino would hop on a hard launch, and always felt loose compared to the galaxie.

  22. Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

    The 429 was available in the 1971 Mustang, which shouldbbe quite a monster. That would be the last year for a big block Mustang.

  23. Mark 'cuda man

    In 1980/81 I went to an elderly mans house to see his 1970 Cobra with 385 actual miles, yes, I said 385 miles. It was yellow with the flat black hood with locking pins, and black interior, 4-speed and 428 Cobra Jet shaker hood. I will never forget it. I was with my girlfriend (now my wife), had no money. He wanted what he paid for it when he bought it new. I think $2800.00. I went home and told my dad about it. He was an antique car guy. Wanted nothing to do with “muscle.” I often wonder what happened to that car. Again, I’ll never forget it.

  24. james burton

    it’s clear you guys don’t know how emish. work. there is a little thing added to vehicles that get emish. down and that thing is very costly. a cat. converter. you could put a cat. on an older car and the emish. would drop by almost 2/3s.

  25. Tom Driscoll

    My favorite is the one-year-only ’72, but I am biased….

  26. Tom Driscoll

    My ’72 GTS, CJ;

    Like 1
    • Texas Tea

      That’s a beauty Tom D. Also my favorite shade of green.

  27. JP

    Rookie (and expensive) mistake on the lazer stripes, they should line up with the side hash marks. I’ve seen at least 25 Torinos have this done to them. Funny they never bother to look at an original.

  28. PatrickM

    Whoever got this one got a good car at a good price. Nice car, setup.

  29. Lroy

    The Thunder Jet were made for the Thunderbird, and they ran great. I had 2 1969’s and a 68. They pushed those big birds 0-60 in 7 seconds and up to 140 + mph. Could smoke the tires all day. More than once I out ran vets camaros mustangs. The badest bird I drove was my buddys 1970. 460 with Thuderjet heads and shaker hood scoop. Out ran a 930 Turbo on I 95 one night.

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