Ran When Parked: 1973 Ford Grand Torino Sport

I don’t know why, but I love perusing craigslist with the search term, Ran when parked. There’s something about it that just seems to yield interesting specimens, potentially because in some cases, I really do believe that certain older cars were still being used every day before some random mechanical fault rendered its tenuous grip on daily driving duties moot. This 1973 Ford Gran Torino Sport is said to be very close to being a runner once again, and it comes with the preferred 351 engine paired to an automatic transmission. There is some rust, but nothing you can’t live with for the time being. Find it here on craigslist in Ellicott City, Maryland for $5,500.

I often wonder when a car like this is seemingly still being used for daily use, what it’s like for the owner? Do they know it’s not exactly common to use a car like this for commuting, or do they just find modern entry-level economy cars boring? There’s really no wrong answer in my book, but it does take a certain level of commitment to ignore all the creature comforts present in your average Hyundai these days and eschew those for the chance to drive a car like the Gran Torino every day to work. The interior certainly looks hospitable enough, and surprisingly clean for lighter-colored upholstery in a non-collector car with just under 80,000 miles.

The Gran Torino does wear “Collector” license plates, so the owner presumably knows he’s driving a vehicle we don’t see much of these days. There’s no reason given for why it doesn’t run, but the seller seems to think if you just flush the old gas out of the tank and replace the brake fluid, you’ll have a solid driver once again. Of course, solid is all relative given there is some rust disclosed, but it sounds like it is limited to the lower rear quarters, which you can see in the photos will need some help. The cowl, floors, and frame are all said to be largely solid, but when you look closely at the photos, you see that the fenders are definitely going to need some work in the short term as well.

The paint could very well be original, given how evenly faded it appears to be from body panel to body panel. The chrome bumpers still shine up nicely, and all lenses appear to be intact. The seller is including a new-in-the-box Holley 600 CFM carb, which may indicate he knows of some other underlying issues than just bad gas that could be causing the motor not to fire up. Regardless, a new carb is smart to do on any car that’s been sitting for a few years, and hopefully, potential buyers will respond to this Gran Torino listing prepared to do the necessary refurb work to get this iconic muscle car back on the road.


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  1. Torqueandrecoil Member

    Ready for the full starsky and hutch treatment

    Like 3
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Looks like someone has already started this one with that idea in mind-Starsky’s pillow is right there on the drivers seat (one of those hidden Hollywood secrets, perhaps?).

  2. Moparman Member

    This ’73 model Torino was never used in the TV series, it was a ’74. This was the second year of this body, which was “ugglified” with the chromed railroad tie front bumper. If the rust isn’t too pervasive, this could be a good project for someone; however, with rust we know that what you see is probably not all you’re going to get! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 11
  3. Adam1966 Adam1966 Member

    Also the TV cars were coupes not fast backs.

    Like 8
  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Seems like a decent car for the money though I think there’s more rust than the seller mentions. The driver’s side front wheel arch looks rusty under the trim and the rockers look a little suspect. I’d want some pictures of the underside as I think the floors/trunk might have some rust issues. The 351 is a plus as long as it’s not worn out and the interior looks OK. Nice wheels, too. I had a very clean ’74 Torino, dark blue on blue with a 302 and an automatic. A nice car that was my daily driver for a few years. Sold it to a buddy who wrecked it after a long night of drinking. Too bad, I wouldn’t mind having that one back.

    Like 6
  5. Steve

    I had the 4 door of this car. Never died just kept going

    Like 3
    • Ike Onick

      The first “Driverless” car? 1,000 gallon gas tank? Possessed ?

  6. Ken

    Some other great Craigslist search terms:
    “I know what I got/have”
    “No lowballers”
    “My loss, your gain”

    I dig this car, but I don’t $5500 dig it.

    Like 6
  7. erik in ri

    Looks like an H-code 351W which is a snooze. A Q-code (the low-compression rebirth of the ‘Cobra Jet’) would have been better at that price point.

  8. Sam Shive

    The shift handle in rusted, Nuff Said. I don’t see a body panel without rust. This car has seen some SALTY Winter Roads. Put it on a lift and look over the bottom real good.

    Like 4
    • Stevieg Member

      But compared to some cars I have seen here in Wisconsin, this is down right solid lol.

      Like 1
  9. Abi

    I think you need to look closer at this money pit. Every panel has rot through including the front bumper. Dash pad all cracked, blue/tan/brown interior with red exterior? I know this was the 70’s but ???? Poorly optioned. No AC, no power accessories. Worth less than the cost of restoring it.

    • bone

      The holes in the front bumper are slots for the bumper jack, but yeah , its really rusty. Even the cowl is rotted.

      • Abi

        @bone – no, not there. The left side of the front bumper. It’s one of the bolts that hold the bumper on to the frame bracket. Looks like the bolt is missing or has rotted off.

    • bone

      Wow, how did I miss that ! I really need new glasses

  10. Keith D.

    The Gran Torino from the Starsky and Hutch television series was reportedly Hated by Paul Michael Glazer(Starsky) and he purposely drove the car roughly driving the car into the curbs, braking the car roughly, tearing up the steering etc. to a point where there were several duplicate Torino because of Starsky..In my opinion that the Gran Torino was a nice “personal luxury coupe” by Ford along with GM’s Monte Carlo, Cutlass Supreme, Century/Regal, and Grand Prix models from 73-77 I have no issue with the Gran Torino, nice build.

    Like 1
  11. chrlsful

    “Parked when ran” is my usual retort – – – “Why?”

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