Lightly Modified: 1971 Ford Torino 500

I really liked the ’66 and ’67 Ford Fairlane until I saw the ’68 and ’69 versions which I liked even better. I thought it interesting that Ford saw fit, as with the Mustang, to build both a notchback and a fastback version – NASCAR racing victories mattered then. And of course, the Fairlane trim got upstaged by, and ultimately became, the new Torino in those years. When the ’70, and its succeeding ’71 model, was introduced, I was more on the fence. And as a result of my fence-sitting, I have not looked closely at either a ’70 or a ’71 so it’s time to delve a little deeper. With that thought, found here on eBay is a 1971 Ford Torino 500, located in Tacoma, Washington and available for a current bid of $4,200, twelve bids tendered as of this writing.

As with the ’68 and ’69 models, there were two different two-door body styles for ’70 and ’71, a conventional two-door hardtop and a fastback or “Sportsroof” like this ’71 example. Regarding this Torino’s body, The seller states, “The Paint Is Older But Still Looks Good. Body Is Straight And Clean.” Based on the accompanying images, I would concur, this Torino presents itself quite well. While the shine on the Grabber Yellow finish may not be mirror-like, it still has depth and is completely passable. I gather with the comment that the paint is “older” it means the finish is a repaint; it’s a little different shade from what’s visible in the door jambs. The side “strobe” stripe appears to be strong and intact too. I would imagine that it’s a replacement and was applied after the refinishing;  I understand that they are still available from different suppliers. Interesting to note, the seller has chosen to stay with original style Goodyear Polyglas bias-ply tires. They really set this Torino off beautifully especially as installed on Magnum 500 wheels – it’s a great nod to 1971. The only head-scratcher is the flat black hood, I get the rationale around it, it just doesn’t look right on this car.

The interior of this Torino is pretty basic, black cloth and vinyl stretched over a bench seat with a column shift selector. Basic black, however, is a perfect complement to this Ford’s yellow exterior finish, especially when it’s in the shape that this interior is. Other than a split dash pad, the upholstery and carpet reveal very little wear. And there is a dash cover that fits over the dash pad so you can claim, Split? What split? Likewise, for the headliner and the door cards, nothing is out of place and the interior is good to go as it sits.

This Torino is an “H” code equipped car which means that it was assembled with a 351 CI “Cleveland” V8 engine good for 240 gross HP. This 351, however, has been modified with an aluminum intake manifold, a four-barrel carburetor in place of the original 2V unit and an open-element air cleaner. The seller claims, “351 Engine Runs Strong And Automatic Transmission Shifts Smooth! Runs, Drives & Stops Good! ” The transmission being referenced is a typical Ford three-speed automatic unit.

The one item that is not mentioned, however, is the exhaust cut-outs. When I first spied them poking out behind the front wheels I just assumed they were fake. Nope! There is an underside image that shows them connected to the stock exhaust system; curious item to overlook.

There are two days to go on this no reserve auction. Depending on where the bidding goes, this could be a very reasonable acquisition of a nice ’70s intermediate car that’s just not that commonly found anymore. As I mentioned at the outset, I wanted to take a closer look at this ’71 Torino because I have had a tendency to ignore them. They just don’t turn up on sale boards very often and I can’t remember the last time I saw one at a car show. I’m glad I came across this very nice example. This Torino 500 could be a heck of a buy, don’t you think?

 

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    Jim: Like you, I really cared for the 69 model Torino, notch & fastback, and I’ve never been fond of the 70 restyle. With age, I’ve come to appreciate them though, and this appears to be a nice period correct example. GLWTA! :-)

    BTW: You left the ‘e’ off of rationale! :-)

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell

      That pesky missing “e” has been rightfully installed.

      Thx!

      Like 2
  2. Winfield S Wilson

    The inboard (high beam) headlamps are broken/missing; I wonder how hard it is to find replacements? Or you could always update to halogens I guess.

    • Howard Kerr

      Thanks to Jeep, finding the 7 inch headlights is reasonably easy, the 5 and 3/4ths units? Not so much.

      For what it is, an affordable alternative to a Torino GT, this isn’t that bad of a car. But I suspect that if Corona Virus hasn’t hit the auto auction industry that there will be a big uptick in bidding the final few hours.

      Like 1
      • JOHN R GOODMAN Member

        I have 4 cars (1965-1970) that use the quad 5.75 lamps, they are usually in stock at the local O’Reilly’s, and I have ordered tham through Rock Auto, plus all the restoration parts suppliers have them.

        Like 2
      • grant

        All three of my local auto parts stores (NAPA, O’Reilly and CarQuest) all still stock the old sealed beams and they’ll order whatever they don’t have.

  3. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Looks like a nice car that should be a pretty good performer with the 351 Cleveland. Myself, I prefer the ’68-’69 models, especially the fastback but I’ll admit, this is a good-looking car. I don’t care for the matte black hood and I’d just paint it body color. I’d also upgrade to radial tires, too; the old-style bias-ply tires are OK but are poor performers compared to modern radials.

  4. markp

    I like the 68-69 but these 70-71 are cool because they kind of look a little like the Mad Max Falcon XBs

    Like 4
  5. Skorzeny

    Jim, I really like the way the flat black hood looks on this. I love this body style but it would have to be a manual.

    Like 1
  6. Steve1957 Member

    The fastest I’ve ever gone in a car was in a red 4-speed version of this Torino, on one truly horribly potholed road at age 17, 45 years ago. I really shoulda known better.

    Like 1
  7. jerry z

    1970 and 1971 are my favorite year Torinos. Years ago, a friend’s sister’s boyfriend had same set up but was white. I thought it sounded cool with the glasspacks!

    Like 5
  8. JBD

    Great car! I had a ’71 Torino GT, M code 351-4V, 290 HP stock.
    All 351 C should be c6 auto which is a tough auto trans. Great condition and still has the stock reflective laser stripe. I have actually been pulled over by the cops, only EMS vehicles are allowed to have the reflective stripe kits. I told the dumbass it was stock and he wanted to argue about it!

    Like 1
  9. BB

    Base Torino 500- note the base tail lights and door cards.
    Hood and stripe are from a GT model.
    351 would come with C4 or FMX only, C6 went behind big blocks.

    Like 1
  10. MBorst

    Never knew a Cleveland to come with a 4bbl carb. Thought that was only with Windsor’s

    Like 1
    • Robert Morphew

      The post states the the Aluminum Intake and the four barrel are modifications.

    • Wr HALL

      I had a 73 Ranchero Eons ago that was borderline junk when I got it. This one had a 351 C with a four barral carb , from the factory. It was Motorcraft imitation quadrajet. It also had an FMX TRANS. It was the fastest car I have ever had. I can only imagine how much faster it would have been with a GOOD MOTOR REBUILD instead of cheap quick job.

    • Troy s

      Probably meant 2 barrel, spell check drives me nuts.

  11. james mazurani

    Thank you so much for yours advertisements. but i am only interested in English cars. recently have purchased a E Type Jaguar series 3 roaster from the States, So please cancel your subscription to me. Cheers for now. James.

    Like 1
  12. Turin

    I had a 69 GT Fastback for years. I think the ’70-’71 is a much better looking car.

  13. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Like…..no one noticed the Mopar caps on what I believe is the standard silver wheels….not the chrome magnums….just looks toooo silvery and they were 14×7 – ran them on my Challenger.

  14. Troy s

    The black matte hood is fine with me, so is the basically boring interior, hey it’s a Torino 500 not a GT or Cobra, 2barrel heads on the Cleveland were better on the street anyways and with those mods alone should make for fun times, good looking wheels too. The bright in your face yellow paint stands out a tad too much for me, blue, Burgundy, silver, maroon, then I’d be all in at five grand. Yea right.

  15. PatrickM

    Basically, I like this car. The only thing that keeps me out of bidding is the color. Once again, I just do not like yellow cars.

  16. chrlsful

    yes, I thought weird till i looked at 2 ‘stangs (2+2 v coupe). Torino hada regular’n a Sportback (this 1).

    “…I really liked the ’66 and ’67 Ford Fairlane until I saw the ’68 and ’69 versions which I liked even better…” Who can account for our ‘taste”. C: furniture, haircuts, home design, women’s fashion…want more? To me…no thing can match the earlier model, the stacked hdlghts? nice (’60 – mid 67’s) straight square lines?:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Fairlane_(Americas)

    take alookat the 5th gen, (1/2 way dwn page, in grp of 3) may B the ‘chero? It usta B the site’s ‘top of the page’ pic to demonstrate this whole model (’55/70). That’s “mine” any way~

  17. Troy s

    From a fashion standpoint, I think Ford nailed it in ’66 as far as the Fairlane goes. As much as I like old Ford muscle, ’66-67 are the only years to me that look just as good if not better than the GM products like the GTO type cars from the same two years. Definitely not in ’64-65, the ’68’69’s look good but can’t match some of the other hot machines coming out then, the ’69 SS396 and Dodge Charger R/T, as far as these early seventies models go, well maybe more sharp but kinda big looking. Look almost as big as a full size Galaxie from the sixties.
    One things for certain I’ll see one for every fifty Chevelles.

  18. Miguel

    No covered headlights means no sale for me.

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