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Rusty Big Block: 1972 Ford Gran Torino

1972 Ford Torino 429

When it comes to muscle cars, I love them just as much as the next guy, but I really struggle with their values. When they were originally introduced in the ’60s, most were meant to be cheap performance machines, but today even the cheapest of yesteryears muscle cars can fetch serious money. What is even more amazing to me is the condition certain cars can be in and still demand top dollar. Prices have gotten so out of control that the average car guy has to either buy an incredibly rough project car and completely rebuild it or find something that isn’t quite a muscle car, but is close. This 1972 Ford Torino isn’t exactly a muscle car by definition, but with a 429 cui V8 under the Ram Air hood, it almost is. Find it here on eBay in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Special thanks to Jim S for the tip!

Rusty Gran Torino

Sadly, this Torino is in rough shape, with lots of the dreaded tin worm and it has it in all the wrong places. These cars still aren’t garnering much interest in the collector car world, so they can be found on the cheap. This one has a number of desirable options, which may help offset some of the rust issues. I hate dealing with rust, but a little in the floors and rocker panels can be addressed with relative ease, but rust around the windows and in structural components like this one has can be a nightmare to fix.

Ford Torino 429 V8

Let’s try to not fixate too much on the negatives though, remember this is a 429 powered Torino after all. Sure it isn’t the potent 429 Cobra Jet of earlier years, but it has potential to be a beast with the right upgrades. Even with the Ram Air option, this motor was only putting out 205 hp in stock form. Just bringing it up to Cobra Jet specs of previous years would increase power well into the upper 300 range. That is if the block isn’t seized or damaged beyond repair.

Ford Gran Torino

I honestly don’t see this car ever being restored to its former glory, but with prices for all classics on the rise I could be wrong. To be fair, I like the looks of this car, especially with all the surface rust on the front end (it has a nice Mad Max look to it), but I just don’t see it ever being a realistic project. At least not at the seller’s current asking price. Now if the 429 was already built to Cobra Jet standards, this would be a whole different story. I’m sure someone would love to have the V8 to build their own monstrous power plant, but I don’t see it staying in this rusty old hulk. Do you think I’m wrong and someone will see the future value here or do you agree with me that the next owner will strip all the good parts and throw away the rest?


  1. Gary Chittenden

    Hey, I’m from Ontario, so that car doesn’t look that bad. We call that original paint.
    Could be rat-rodded and spend the cash on drive train and interior and leave the body as is, with maybe a clear coat and fill the holes in the roof that go right through. Piece of cake.

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  2. William Henshaw

    This is just a real POS, I’d take the Humber anyday over this disaster!

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    • Mark-A

      How about using the drivetrain from the Torino & fitting it to the Humber? #Sleeper

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  3. Carl

    I can see the potential in any old rusty car. I think this would make a great riding car restored. It seems like this might be too much of a project for the average Joe, and not much of a flip after all the work is done. Still cool though. Hope someone does something with it.

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  4. Rich

    I’m usually brave (or stupid) and will tackle most any project, but that roof makes this car look shot, and I don’t think these cars have hit any real value yet. Looks like a parts car to me.

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    • Ed P

      This car most likely had a vinyl top at one time. The roof rust is a benefit of that. I would think there is more rust in the rear quarters.

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  5. tom999p

    There’s a late 60’s- early 70’s Thunderbird 429cj in my local junkyard right now. It’s so complete it looks as if you could drive it out of the lot…

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  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    First thing that comes to mind is: Get off my lawn! I like that year of Torino although I prefer ’70-’71 more.

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  7. Arthur

    If I was the owner of a hot rod shop that had the right equipment and financing, this would be a good basis for a Pro Touring/G-Machine build. The biggest problem would be the roof and floors, but the chassis could be replaced with something from Art Morrison or Roadster Shop, which would require the installation of new floors, anyway.

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  8. cliffyc

    Ed P,has said what I was thinking. Vinyl roof has caused all the roof rusting. Water has sat against the finisher strip and rusted through. Would patch back up with new tin and replace vinyl top. Car would be a labour of love as not super desireable,now if it was a ’74!!. Bring on the Starsky and Hutch theme!!!. Happy New Year everyone !!.

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  9. Rustowner

    While this is no hi-po car, and horsepower figures had started slipping by this point, let’s not forget that 1972 was the year they changed from gross HP figures to net HP figures. This makes all American car HP figures look much weaker than the previous year (but more accurate at the same time). I always like the looks of these beasts, but this one looks way to far gone for anything but a parts car.

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  10. JDSport

    Worth Saving ! Just elbow grease and don’t over spend. Attack worse spots and kill rust first and then mechanicals. Hopefully Frame and bottom is good being a southwest car.

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  11. The Chucker

    My dad had a ’72 Gran Torino he bought new. His had a 302, white with dark blue vinyl top. It was almost as rusty as this one by the early 80’s.

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  12. grant

    when I was young, my dad had a white on white 70 Torino 2 door. I am not sure what motor (I was aged 3 to 5) but my cousin is sure it was a big block. I remember it made a very pleasant rumbling noise and put you back in the seat hard, and my mother complained incessantly about the gas mileage and the tickets dad kept getting. In the fall of 1980 he traded it in on a 1980 Pinto station wagon. I remember sitting in the back of that car wondering what the hell was wrong with my dad. I asked him years later and he told me he had to make a choice the car or his marriage. So he took mom to the Ford dealership and let her pick out a new car.

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  13. Jeff

    “This 1972 Ford Torino isn’t exactly a muscle car by definition…” That is EXACTLY the definition of a muscle car…intermediate body with a big honkin’ engine. What is YOUR definition?

    Like 1
  14. Phil

    This is a car for a good street cruiser. The 429 can be made into a 545 very easy and I might add very cheaply. If a person can do the work himself this could be a fun project and we all know displacement moves heavy cars.

    Like 0

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