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Reader Find: 1968 Ford Torino GT


Reader Steve L. recently found this 1968 Ford Torino GT in this Oklahoma City yard, where it had been parked for the past 33 years. The women who owned it had a fence put up around it to protect it and over the years it sunk into the ground. After buying it, he was able to drag it from its resting place and discovered how solid it really was.


There is rust along the bottom of the car, but nothing too serious. There is some rust under the driver’s side seat, but considering that it was nearly sitting on the ground, it is in good shape. While moving it into to his shop, he discovered the glove box was unlocked and full of documentation. Even though mice had made themselves at home, the original paperwork was still intact and showed that it was a true one owner car.


The 390 cui V8 engine was covered in dirt and debris, but after a good cleaning it looks good. He is still trying to find out why it was parked in the first place, before he tries to start it. With any luck, he will be able to get it running without a rebuild.


The interior was extremely dirty from sitting and while it’s complete, much of it is rotted away. Hopefully, the major components, such as the dash and seat frames can be salvaged.


Steve is still trying to decide what exactly to do with his Torino field find. He has been encouraged by a friend to get it running and leave it as is, with surface rust and all. What would you recommend he does? Should he restore it or do as his friend recommends?


  1. Lemble

    Why would you let it keep rusting. Sure drive it and enjoy it, but only while you fix it up.

    • Steve

      Except for the drivers floor pan(easily replaceable) it is all surface rust that can be arrested with clearcoat and driven with the (as found) patina, it wouldn’t keep rusting. As a friend has told me”it’s only origonal once” which is true…..a lot of the rods are being fixed up and driven with the patina left alone. I would fix the floor, put new seatcovers on it, new carpet and headliner, and the rest of the interior should clean up pretty fair. We’ll see…..

      • John

        Good luck with it, Steve! I had a ’70 Torino as a teenager. Still miss that car more than the ’86 Mustang GT that came later on…

      • Kent

        Steve, I agree – arrest/fix the structural rust; clearcoat the patina and drive it!! What a joy that would be to drive that Torino as if it was still 1968!

      • Derek

        Clearcoat will not stop the rust. Chances are what you’re seeing is 3 times worse on the inside and if you don’t fix that it will continue to bubble through and rot further, as long as it has access to oxygen & moisture. POR15 (Paint over rust) might stop the cancer but you’re going to have to cut out the cancer and patch in solid metal to do it right.

  2. jeff

    As long as there’s no rot, drive it as is for awhile!

  3. anthony

    Fix it up, but surely get it running first. I bet some MM oil down the cylinders and new plugs and a carb rebuild and she fires right up

    • Steve

      I’ve used about 3 cans of PB Blaster since it is pressurized and easy to get in the cylinders. It a good rust buster(as is MM) and thin enough toget in all the crevices. Still locked up so far.

      • Gary Fogg

        Ever used Kroil ? I had a 413 that would not give up one cylinder even with the heads off. A friend free=ed up a Studebaker 4 with Kroil and let me use some, took about a week but it worked really well. They sell direct, their own website.

      • scot

        ~ good tip. –
        ” Kroil creeps into millionth inch spaces, breaks bonds due to rust, corrosion, contamination, or compression and lubricates to loosen frozen metal parts.”

      • Steve

        I’ve used Kroil around my airplane, good stuff and it smells good too!

  4. FourDoorBoris

    Im not into this whole new “weathered look” thing. I want my car to be presentable and look new! Exactly, why let it keep rusting?

    • scot

      ~ i have the feeling ‘patina’ is not the right answer.

  5. Dick

    I would restore it. I am NOT a fan of rust and worn looking old cars. I hate that patina look.

  6. Gary Fogg

    There are enough rusty buckets running around, fix it up as you go and make it a nice driver semi show car.

  7. David G

    He’ll have plenty to do just to get it reliably & safely driveable as is. I’d do that first for some satisfaction, then go for the beauty once you’ve replenished the budget. Can’t be many of these left in original finish 7 decals, wow!

  8. David Reeves

    Creepy, my uncle has one the same color and model. He bought it new in 1968 and still has it

  9. Russquatch

    yeah needs to at least do a small restoration. lose the rust and new paint is most likely needed. factory paint is nice if one can keep it but that rust has damaged too much IMO

  10. FRED


    • Larry W. Blum, Jr.

      The largest regular production engine available in the Fairlane/Torino for ’68 was the 428 CJ (Cobra Jet.)

  11. Lon Lofgren

    I’ve never understood the trend of leaving a car’s ‘patina’. Rust is RUST! It looks awful! This car would look awesome restored!

  12. John Shields Jr.

    He’s got to get it road worthy and safe to drive and maybe fix up the interior but that’s it. It took this long to look like it does it would be wrong to change it now.

  13. jeffry

    Are those Pantera Wheels?

    • Steve

      LOL!!! Good eye….yes they are!!!!!

  14. Tom

    I hope this Torino is still intact after the hurricane.

    • David

      Do you mean tornado?

    • Steve

      Dhesure is Tom, I have it ant the Econoline Pivk u in the garage. the Tornado was headed straight towards my place then lifted about 3 miles away….I wasm’t so lucky 3 years ago. got a lot of damage.

  15. geomechs geomechs Member

    I think that dealing with the rust is going to be something that needs attention in the future but cleaning/tuning and driving it would be just fine while getting ready to do the major bodywork.

    I agree with Lon about ‘patina.’ I’ve been around too many farm vehicles with that and that’s what I think of whenever I see a car/truck that someone has gone overboard to get that look. However, I am aware that there are many who would disagree with me, and that’s just fine. This world is still big enough for both classes.

  16. Matt

    They do look like Campagnolo wheels…

    • Steve


  17. William Robinson

    If I found this car sitting here it would.have came out in peices. My brother and I pulled.a.69-70 suburban from its resting place of more than thirty years and it came out in three pieces. Seeing cars likethis here in a salty aera that are so far beyond saving and seeing ones like this that sit and are still decent makes me think they should be restored to have they drove off the line. Or how the first owner had it when he bought it.

  18. Steve

    I was lucky in the fact that the wheels were sunk into the dirt but the floor pan was about 4″ away. Otherwise it would have been a real rustbucket. I blasted and painted the GT wheels but they are really heavily pitted where they were sunk into the ground. Such a shame the owner didn’t put it under cover…..

  19. Dolphin Member

    Rust isn’t ‘patina’.

    If you have ever looked into a ’50s Jaguar roadster and seen Connolly leather on the seats that looks lightly used but still soft and comfortable, but without the dye worn off and without tears or other damage—that’s patina. It’s all the little signs that a car has been used but nor abused, and that it has been taken care of… the case of leather, that it’s been kept clean and has been treated to keep it soft and healthy.

    For most car guys, rust on a car is oxidized steel that contributes nothing to a car but a need for some work to get rid of it.

    • scot

      ~ concisely explained.

    • paul

      But the generation x, y, or z, have a different meaning to patina, to you & me it’s rust bucket that needs attention now or it’s gone.

  20. Rhett

    People go nuts over the barn finds, I mean even we are following a website dedicated to it.
    I have a barn-find 73 GS Stage1, and people seem to find it more interesting in it’s current state than a fully restored car. I race it, show it, drive it to work and get groceries in it and I never have to worry about door dings or people’s interest ( I can leave my standoffish Please DO NOT TOUCH! sign at home!)

    Unless you plan to keep this car forever, it’s unlikely you’ll recoup your restoration costs. My advice is get it running (I mean Running!) and beat the hell out of it., Shore up the rust, get it mechanically sound, clean it the best you can but dont paint anything! (I made that mistake on some engine brackets i had off, they stick out like a sore thumb) – leave it exactly as found and drive those gorgeous wheels right off it! It’s got a better back story now than “it spent 5 years in a shop and cost me 30k to restore”

    BTW – the wheels make that car. In all my years, I’ve never seen Campagnolos as an aftermarket accessory. People will crowd that car just on that alone.

    Cool find! Enjoy it!

    • Steve

      I had a friend loan me some torque thrust wheels to see how they looked on my Econoline Pick-up and fitted them on the Torino for a shot while it was on blocks……looked REALLY good! Hard to decide which ones for it now!!!!

      • Rhett

        Torque thrusts are a dime a dozen. Good looking, but not rare.

    • expert on everything

      perfect response…thank you!

  21. expert on everything

    leave it the way it is… so many old cars were ruined by idiots who over restored it.. if they want a new car tell them to buy a new car and leave the old ars for people who appreciate that cars do get old like everything else in life…stupid idiots also crush cars and the cash for klunkers program was for idiots

  22. Troy

    Good for you. My opinion is make it safe to drive. Then fix it up as you can a.fford it.
    In 2000 I found a 1970 Ford Cobra Torino 429. 4-speed 3:90 gears.
    I still enjoy today.

  23. Norman Borders

    Steve a friend of mine showed me that putting a bottle of pepsi in the cylinders, he used a 2 liter to do all 8 cylinder, frees them up pretty well. I didn’t believe it till I tried it and it worked great.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I’ve heard that Pepsi/Coke are excellent degreasers and some have said that they are good penetrants as well. In my experience it’s hard to beat Nut Kracker (I use that as a first step in unsticking a cylinder) but I’m told that a mixture of ATF and acetone works the best.

      • paul

        Ha, the Pepsi / Coke challenge well at least you can drink what’s ever left.

      • David

        ATF will come around and do that for you? Very cool! Its about time a government agency did something useful for us car guys!

      • William Robinson

        If cola can unstick a cylinder imagine what it can do for your guts!!!! And to think I drink my fair share if it everyday. At least nothing is seized, I guess.

  24. Dan Parker

    Can’t believe no one commented on the Pantera Wheels!

    • Steve

      Several did! I may leave them on there….

  25. Steve

    “Machinists Workshop” recently published information on various penetrating oils. The magazine reports they tested these products for “breakout torque” on rusted nuts and bolts. A subjective test was made of popular penetrating oils, with the unit of merit being the torque required to remove the nut from a “scientifically rusted” bolt.

    Averaged torque load to loosen nuts:
    No oil used………… 516 foot-pounds
    WD – 40………………… 238 foot-pounds
    PB Blaster……………… 214 foot-pounds
    Liquid Wrench……….. 128 foot-pounds
    Kano Kroil……………. 106 foot-pounds
    ATF/Acetone Mix……. 53 foot-pounds – 50/50

    • paul

      Very good info, thanks.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Thanks for posting that, Steve. We had a copy of that circulating through our car club E-mails but I seemed to have lost mine. I’m going to get our webmaster to get it onto our club website.

  26. Steve

    Here’s the link for “Ed’s Red” that a lot of people use on their guns….

  27. David

    Steve, I think a few of us are wondering: how much did you have to pay to rescue your GT?

    • Steve

      I almost hate to say….$500 for the car and a little over $500 for the back tags, penaltys, and to get it in my name….I got a very good deal.

      • David

        That’s fantastic! It just shows you never know until you ask if a car is for sale and for what price. Any idea why the former owner was keeping the car? What was that hopeless little fence protecting it from?

      • Kent

        Steve – Holy Cow!!! O.K. You better go to church this Sunday and either ask forgiveness or thank the Big Guy for such a good deal!!! Maybe both???
        Have a great time with that car!!

  28. rancho bella

    These are rather un-remarkable cars. Now, if it was a formal roof ’69 Cobra….that would be a good thing. I would just drive the thing until someone made me a decent offer.

    • Rhett

      @rancho bella – It’s not like Steve is cursed with this thing!

      I think it’s a very remarkable and fairly rare car – bucket/console, big block fastback GT with air? And Campagnolos? Round here, I see alot more 70-71 cars than these, and IMO these are far more interesting. And I’m by no means a Ford fanatic.

      OK, there’s a little rust, and more than just “Patina”. But it’s got a cool backstory, it was a steal and we just spent two days talking about it. Ol’ Steve might just want to hang on to it for a while.

    • Gary Fogg

      @Rancho bella , Gheesh, throw cold water on a fellow gear head much ? Like Rhett said, Steve can sell it if and when he feels like it, if you lived up here in the Northeast ANYTHING older than the 90’s still on the road is remarkable. The positives outweigh the negatives. Its a blank slate with some options, he can do anything he wants with it, got it for a great price, he can leave it as is, restore, resto mod [ my choice ], turbo, supercharge, cage it and drag race it, ANYTHING, and the best part is it will be HIS creation. Never dump on someone else’s hard work or ideas, no matter what model, body style or brand it may be.

  29. another torino owner

    nice car, good rescue ! My torino had been a driver, but the rear frame rails were rotted. In addition to dropping the fuel tank and welding plates on the rear frame, the area below the firewall needed attention too. [ask any torino owner] Hard to believe one that wasnt driven had a solid frame?

  30. Kenn

    I’d restore the car back to how it came from the factory. Restore it but keep it as original as possible.

  31. Steve

    Here’s a different page on “patina”….

  32. scot

    ~ outstanding discussion . these are the things i need to know.

  33. Lee

    A terrific save and find, Steve! I hope you can get her back on the road soon. Enjoy it!

  34. Badmotorfinger

    Good save! I think you rescued it just in time. Sharp car with the fastback and the Campy wheels. Whatever you decide to do with it hopefully you can free the engine and drive it!

  35. Donald laurie Thunder

    I had a ’68 fast back, went to work and it was gone along with the ’69 and ’70 Fairlanes. They were used as a base for a septic tank. Boy! was I ever pissed off. and they’re still under ground, even though the septic tanks gone. what a waste, especially my ’68 fast back with a 351 W. the other 2 had 302’s with a 2 bbl carb..

  36. Keith Runawaychair

    I think I’ve read all the comments about this Torino. As a man of modest means, I would pour my free labor on its inexpensive problems – brakes, fuel system, cooling system, grease the fittings, scrub and scrape the crud for at least a year. Seal the rust for another year while rechroming the front-end and so on. If I was rich, hah, I’d just hand the car to a top-notch Ford restorer along with my debit card…or call a master like Wayne Corini for advice.

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