Our New Project: 1969 Ford Torino GT!

1969 Ford Torino GT

I just drove by a school to see if it would frighten small children. Sure enough. I revved the engine at a stoplight to see if modern muscle cars would cower in fear. Sure enough. You could see the fear in their eyes. This is the kind of car their mothers warned them about! It’s a 1969 Ford Torino GT and with its sunburnt paint and throaty rumble, it has some serious street presence. It may look well-worn, but it is still ready for battle and we are excited to have it as our newest Barn Finds project car! Yesterday we spent the day hunting around for a new project and were very excited to stumble upon this…

This Ford was purchased as a father and son restoration project, but beside having a mechanic address a few issues, they never got around to doing anything with it. Realizing that life wasn’t ever going to slow down, the car was pulled out of storage and listed for sale locally. The price seemed reasonable and it drove well so we jumped on it. This Torino and I seem like a good match actually. If you were to compare my brother Josh to a Mustang, then I would be a Torino. We are both a little pudgier and less agile than our little brothers, but we can still get the job done. This Torino is probably the more athletic one though because it is fitted with the M-code 351 V8. That means it has a four-barrel carb and puts out a respectable 290 horsepower and 385 foot pounds of torque!

Ford Torino GT

There were bigger engines available in 1969, but this particular combination seems like a nice mix of power and economy. It cruises well at high speeds and has enough power to chirp the tires at every launch. I would have preferred a four-speed, but the automatic was easy to accept once I drove the car and realized how good of shape it was actually in. The body is straight and we couldn’t find a single speck of cancerous rust. Even the batter tray is rust free! The front suspension needs some work and there are a few cosmetic items to sort out, but overall this car is in great condition. Some people will hate the scruffy exterior, but I think the faded paint adds character. Luckily the interior is nice and clean so it’s easy to get over the outside once you’re inside.

Ford Torino

When it comes to Torinos most people think of the fastback body style, but our car is a rare pillarless hardtop. It doesn’t look as sporty, but it’s actually lighter and personally I prefer the shape. It’s a car you don’t see everyday and I have a feeling that with a little work, it will cause quite a stir at just about any local car show or cruise. It’s well optioned and even has an A/C condenser and under dash controller thrown in the trunk that a previous owner sourced for the car. We have plenty of projects to work through on this one and plan to feature each of them here on the site. So, besides the obvious, what do you think we should do to our Torino?


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  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    No wonder you knew something about the hardtops yesterday! Congratulations on the new purchase! Looks like a lot of fun, Jesse!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Haha, yep. You thought I was just being a know-it-all.

  2. Neil

    What a fantastic machine. I prefer the hardtop lines as well.

    This has got to be one that’s worth doing the paint on, rather than leaving it ratty, if nothing else than to boost the Barn Find pot of gold for future projects. I have to confess I had a look on Craigslist, guessing you’d got it from there, to see what you picked it up for; the Hagerty values give you plenty of headroom to play with to bring it up to a #3 car.

  3. Jeff Staff

    Looks completely awesome. I love it. Well done, Jesse and Josh!

  4. DENIS

    I’m all about horsepower-I’d sell the 351 and source a cheap 428..then it would be badass. Wet-sand the paint and clearcoat it or just wet-sand and play stoplight bingo..428s are cheap power:-)

  5. Chris A.

    That’s a nice car. I really like the color as it complements the vinyl top. I had a Mercury Zephyr in the same color and it was the best paint I’d ever had on a Ford vehicle. I’d fix all the mechanical items, install the A/C then strip and repaint it the same color. Even with the auto trans the more I look at it, the more I see a sneaky, classy muscle car.

  6. mtshootist1

    reminds me of good ole Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino

  7. erikj

    Well done, My first car in highschool was a 68 torino gt . Yours brings back memories. Mine had a 352(not orig.) and buckets with a 4spd. and was a fastback.uper fun for $500. Its supposed to be around somewhere locyal but I have not been able to find it. I just need to ask more . What fun it would be to get it back.Good luck on yours. I would love to send picks since I,m always looking. I know of a 57 belair at our storage facilityAll orig. got orig. plates ,been there 20-30-years. neet to look!Just saw a 69 mach 1 in a different storage lot. Same thing, been there forever very weathered. When I figure how to send pics I know of lots more. Erikj

  8. Rhett

    Like that car – wouldnt change much.

    Keep the color scheme, wheels and whitewalls, 3.50 rear, Granada discs, Good mandrel exhaust (please, please please break the whole “torino staight tip” tailpipe trend thing). Treat the transmission to good clutches,steels and shiftpoints, blueprint the engine with light headwork and a small but agressive cam, and find a good AFB carb and cold air set up to make that pretty scoop functional. You wont lose a penny, and it’ll hold it’s own on the street.

    Keep us posted, please.

  9. Larry Brown Member

    Jesse, it just so happens that I am currently parting out a 69 Torino GT Pillarless Hardtop. It has bucket seats and A/C. The body is mostly straight and solid and the stainless trim is in very good shape. If you happen to need any parts, let me know

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      We might take you up on that Larry! Yours doesn’t happen to have a 4-speed does it?

      • Larry Brown Member

        You know actually I can’t remember whether it is an auto or 4sp. I will go out to the yard later and check. You know besides the one I have, I have never seen another one until you posted yours. They must be somewhat rare

      • Larry Brown Member

        Darn, if I knew before hand that you were looking for a Torino, I would have sold you this 1970 Torino GT 429 Convertible

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        That’s a nice looking car Larry, but it probably would have been above our budget.

    • jim s

      buy the whole car!

    • jamesB

      I spy a 63 Boxtop Galaxie behind the Torino, How much? Jesse has my email.

  10. jim s

    great find and buy. i would drive the wheel off this car. first make it safe, protect it from rust, do the research on cars history, install a/c and cruise control, and convert to manual transmission. i hope they have oldies/ run what you have night at the drag strip in your area. this is going to be fun.

  11. Rhett

    Grab that trunk trim from Larry – Quick!

    • Jeff Staff

      Oh yeah – that would class up the rear quite a bit.

  12. Dan Farrell

    I had a 72 Gran Torino Cobra Jet with a Q code 351 Cleveland that was a screamer, is the M code a Cleveland or a Windsor?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      It’s a Windsor.

  13. JW

    I am totally jealous, I love the hardtop Torino’s over the fastbacks. Super nice find. Correct the suspension then a nice not too expensive paint job then drive it.

  14. Shiloh

    I love it!! Torino’s rock and do not get the respect they deserve. Restore it original. Love the color keep it that color. Hop up the engine, good duel exhausts, make it have a good rumble. Congrats on a very nice car.

  15. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Oh, I forgot to mention that our car is equipped with the optional front disc brakes!

    • jim s

      that saves a lot of money from you upgrade budget. from the motor photos it looks like you have P/S and P/B also. if you do deside to convert to manual transmission you could go with a modren 5 or 6 speed as the motor should have enough torque to pull an overdrive 5/6th gear ratio.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Yep, power steering and brakes make her drive like a much smaller car. This car is so original that I’m not sure we should switch to manual, but if we did, it would have to be a 4-speed top loader.

  16. MH

    Larry. How much are you looking to get for your car?

    • Larry Brown Member


      If you are referring to the convertible, the price is $29,500

  17. dbigb1 Member

    I dont think this is a cleveland. I think they came out in 1970 anyways I like this. the 5 or 6 speed would keep up with traffic better

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Nope, it’s a Windsor.

  18. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    1969 was the first year for the 351W and with a four barrel motor should be a 290 horse motor and was really good in a Mustang or Cougar….or the heavier Torino’s bodies. Good deal all n all…..
    The C/M motors would come later….maybe 1971….

  19. Larry Brown Member


    Here is a front corner pic of the 69 Torino GT that I am parting out

  20. Larry Brown Member


    Here is a side shot of the 69 Torino GT. I assume that your car also has the bucket seats

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Mine actually has a bench, but I’m alright with that. So, is yours a manual? I’d like to get that trim peice on the trunk and the a/c compressor bracket. I’ll try to email you a list of needed parts soon. Thanks Larry!

      • taruffi57

        I may buy the A/C under dash evaporator if you want to sell.


  21. Larry Brown Member

    Actually Jesse I haven’t been out to the yard yet as it has been raining non stop here. I believe it is an auto, but I could be wrong. I know I have the bucket seats still, but I can’t remember if I still have the console or not. Yes, whenever you find the time email me with the parts that you need. You know actually the one I have should have never starting being parted out as it has a nice straight and solid body

  22. JW

    The 351 Windsor to Cleveland change over began mid to late 69, when restoring our 70 Mach1 with a 351 Cleveland I researched this and there are early 1969 #’s matching survivor Mustangs out there that have Windsors and late 1969 #’s matching survivor Mustangs that have Clevelands. The Cleveland was developed in 69 to race in the Trans Am series for Ford for the Mustang as it’s a higher revving motor than the Windsors but not as reliable so Ford ditched it 4 years later in production cars.

  23. e55

    @larrybrown: I am interested in the 429 convertible. Can you email me at “randy at wileinterests dot com” to discuss? Thanks.

  24. Jim

    Super cool, glad to see you guys finally made it into real American muscle. Now pull that 351 and shoehorn a 428CJ in there, you’ll never regret it.

  25. Don

    Love the car! Myself, I’d keep the color scheme. I know it’d look sharp; Dad had a ’69 Dodge Polara 500, black vinyl top, over bronze. Nice color combo; okay-looking car.

  26. John nydam

    Good Evening Guys,
    Thats a great find! I have owned 9 torino’s 68 & 69 s. 6 fastbacks, 2 coupes, 1 conv. 302’s to 390 GT engines, C4,C6,4spd toploader Transmissions. Your idea of adding A/C is a good one. Doing the the coversion to 4 speed is a good idea as well. If you guys do it put in the factory buckets and center console and of course the factory tach in. You will have one bad ass ride! By the way the 68s have a cold air intake hood scoop you can add just paint it to match.if you guys don’t want to do it let me know I will pay good money for your new toy should you decide to move it on. JOHN

  27. Paul

    My uncle drove Torinos for several years, on the dirt and in the ARCA circuit. Was a Dyed in the wool Ford man. Worked for Ford and supported them completely.

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