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Sweet Street Sleeper: 1972 Ford Gran Torino Squire Wagon

If you are a fan of the movie “Better Off Dead,” then you remember the drag race scenes from the movie.  In the first two encounters with the Japanese brothers in a 1965 Ford Falcon four door, the main character, Lane Myer played by John Cusack, is driving a 1973 Ford LTD wagon.  While the wagon hits the back of a truck before the first race even got going, it gave a good account for itself in the second race.  It is not often that a wagon is racer’s first choice to go into combat with, but Myer fought valiantly with what he had.  With this race in mind, I think I have found the perfect wagon for stoplight combat.  Take a look at this 1972 Ford Gran Torino Squire station wagon, for sale on Craigslist in scenic Chattanooga, Tennessee.  While it may not look like much, and you may think there is no way it is worth the $6800 asking price, this brown bomber has a few secrets to share with you.

Here’s the story on this super sized sleeper.  The Dr. Frankenstein seller has been steadily modifying it for years, but lost interest along the way.  Under the hood and through the driveline, it packs a 429 cubic inch big block Ford V-8 with a four barrel carburetor, a heavy duty C-6 transmission, and a factory Trac Loc rear end with 3.00:1 gears.  Both the engine and transmission have been recently rebuilt, as has the brakes and air conditioning, which was converted over to the more readily available R-134 refrigerant.  To make things more sporty, the power steering was converted over to a fast ratio Lares Mustang style steering box, and the car comes equipped with either a set of staggered Mopar police rally wheels or a set of Mustang wheels.  Both with lower than stock profile tires, of course.

The seller also states that he purchased the car with the Squire trim missing, and has painstakingly collected most of the parts and pieces to restore the car to its former glory.  He also started swapping over a Gran Torino Sport front clip onto the car to make it look better.  If you are wondering why the car has a different set of wheels in almost every picture, it appears that this mad scientist has been wheel swapping to find the perfect combination.  Some of the pictures shows it to have salt flats type wheels (Halibrands?), but they have since been made unavailable.  Another problem in regards to the pictures is that the car has been sitting in his garage for three years, so it will need the usual fuel system work to make it drivable.  Bring a trailer (OK, a BIG trailer) if you decide to purchase it.

Inside, we see that the car is in good condition.  With just 115,000 original miles, it looks to be well taken care of.  The interior is the optional Comfort Weave cloth interior, and it is in very good condition.  It even comes with a new carpet set.

Above, in all its glory, rests the heart of this beast.  429 big blocks are formidable motors, with gobs of low end torque.  They respond well to modifications, and speed parts are still plentiful.  Maybe one of our readers can give us more information about the bottom end of these engines, and if they can handle a lot more horsepower without running into issues.  I guess I am wondering if they can handle the occasional shot of nitrous.  Perhaps an aftermarket set of heads, an Edelbrock manifold, and a bigger carburetor combined with a nitrous kit would make this thing into the ultimate Q-ship.

Maybe I am crazy.  OK, I am crazy, but I can see a lot of potential in this one.  I’d beef up the engine, install exhaust cutouts, strap on some cheater slicks to some wide steel wheels with dog dish hubcaps, and go out hunting in the evenings.  Wagons are the ultimate sleeper, and an early seventies one in you know what color brown is as good as it gets.  My only regret is that it doesn’t have acres of plastic woodgrain slathered all over the sides.  If it did, I might even be crazy enough to put some on the hood like the Family Truckster in National Lampoon’s Vacation.  Some people might think I am insane, but it is good to know that at least one other person thinks like I do!


  1. Rich Tague

    If only I Could Afford this Beast !!! Would compliment my 2014 Stang Nicely!!!

  2. Arthur

    Why are there snow tires or all terrain tires on the front? Seems a bit weird for a classic wagon.

    • D

      Been in the garage? Maybe air holders to roll it easier?

  3. D

    I would really enjoy cruising this one!

  4. boxdin

    Love the 72 front end on wagons and rancheros. These wagons were some of the best ever made.

    Like 1
  5. dgrass

    Keystone classics, torque thrusts, Craigers, or polished slots. Which do you all think would dress this up best?

    • Geerhed

      Polished slots.

      My parents had a 73 Brady Bunch wagon with the same 429 4-V engine. It easily baked the rear tires and filled the whole wagon with smoke.

  6. JW

    Refresh the fuel system then a set of 17″ Magnum 500s with T/A Radials then a set of FPA headers and dual magnaflows with a “”H” or “X” pipe. Heck I might even add a OD trans to help on highway cruising.

  7. Mercury man

    OMG! What a Wayback machine! My dad bought this exact wagon new in 72. It was the first brand new car my family ever had so he optioned it completely. My mum hated it! We got it the year my middle sister was born and every time my mum drove it the car would rocket forward and make my sister cry. My mum wanted a Monte Carlo but my dad was a Ford guy so car purchase was always fun at our house. He who pays usually wins so we had a lot of Torino’s. We only had that car for little over a year though…. My mum convinced my dad that it was too much car for her and a Monte was just right. So, for our next car we got a white Torino wagon with a 2bbl 302…… She never did get a Monte Carlo, but I got lots of great memories of my dad’s fast Ford’s.

    • Timothy King

      My dad worked at Gimble Hopkins Ford and so did I.
      He brought new cars home every night and had to hide them since they were not out yet.
      He brought the wagon home and took us to the shore.
      My sisters and I had a blast mooning people with our feet in the fold down rear seat.
      He kept getting pulled over because they wanted to look at the car.
      Oh yeah he was speeding

      Like 1
  8. Howard A Member

    I always liked the ’72 as well, but unless you’re pulling the family cabin cruiser or 38 ft Airstream, the 429 is horribly unnecessary today. With mileage similar to the LIncoln, this ain’t no Lincoln. Nice car, but not with that motor.

  9. ron bajorek

    $6800? That’s a screaming deal

    Like 2
  10. Jeffro

    I want my $2

    You’d have to see the movie to understand.

    Like 3
  11. Steve

    The car in “Better off Dead” was an LTD. same wonderful shade of brown, though. “Now that’s a damn shame, when people be throwin’ away a perfectly good white boy like that.”

    Like 3
  12. z28th1s

    The 429 in ’72 only had 205 HP. It will need some aftermarket goodies or a bump in compression back to ’70 levels for this car to be fast.

    Does look like a very nice car and with some work and a few motor hop up parts would be a fun and different cruiser!

  13. Tommy D

    351 4V was the more powerful engine option, though not sure if they offered it in the wagon?

  14. Kevin W

    Arguably the best looking year for the Torino. 72 was a one year gig. The Cleveland would probably be a better overall choice under the hood, but a 429 has a world of potential as well. Some guys on here need to quit worrying about too much motor and MPG. Classic cars are all about having fun, and maybe laying down a little rubber once in a while. If fuel economy is your thing, go for a classic prious or something. Lol

    Like 1
    • boxdin

      Fuel cost is at a low, I filled up yesterday for $2.19 per gallon in abq. Lots of huge pickups on the road here, few care about mpgs.

  15. TouringFordor

    I’ve had three 80’s Crown Vic wagons witch 302s in them. Always daydreamed about dropping in an HO 302 and a five speed manual. Mustang GT stuff should just bolt right up, surely! 🤑

  16. Troy S.

    It reminds me of a wagon version of the car Burt Reynolds raced around in the movie White Lightning. To be a real stoplight terror that 429 is gonna need to be breathed on, heavily, and that 3.00 rear gear isn’t exactly helpful in acceleration.

  17. Jubjub

    My sister got involved with a French pastry chef back in the mid eighties named Dominique. He bought one very similar to this off of a buy here, pay here lot…I don’t believe he ever made much more than a down payment though. He looked kinda like Madrian Pace, with the gray Eleanor theft wig. One day in the driveway looking at the Torino, he kinda dropped down cocked his head over and exclaims in his accent “Dats a guud luking cah”.

  18. RICKY

    I seriously doubt it, but growing up my dad had one identical with a 429. Would love when he took off in from the red lights. Peoples jaw would drop.


    😲i hav a👍 1970 scj, toploader
    & 410 posi disk 9″ would be one
    hell of a street pounder 😎

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