Torino Project: Help Us Create A Plan!

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One of the best aspects of a new project is getting to dream about all the things you want to do to it. Well, since we now know our Singer is going to sell, we have been spending some time thinking about what we would like to do with our next project. Our 1969 Torino GT runs good, but could use a little attention. We want to include all of you on this one though so I have listed all our ideas below and invite you to respond in the comments section below. I have a feeling that by collaborating on this one, everyone will feel a sense of ownership and we will all have a lot more fun!

Body – The faded paint may look bad, but the body on our big Torino is actually in very good condition. There is a hole by the driver’s side taillight, but there is a replacement in the trunk. Most people would automatically say that we should repaint it, but I’m tempted to leave the paint alone for now. Unfortunately, that black plastic side trim is riveted on, so the only way we are going to get rid of it is to repaint the car or source some chrome trim from another Torino. We are also thinking that the car might look like less of a boat without that rocker stripe.

Interior – The interior of our car is in decent condition. There are a few little flaws here and there, but nothing that makes the car unusable. The previous owner already had the headliner redone and I’m guessing that the seats were reupholstered at some point. The carpet is a little faded and the dash has warped a little from the heat. We have discussed adding A/C, but honestly I don’t think we should do much in here besides cleaning real good and making sure things like the lights and windows work as they should.

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Suspension/Wheels – The car rides fine, but I have a feeling that the suspension would benefit from some new shocks, bushings, and ball joints. The power steering in these old cars always made them feel vague, but when things are loose up front, it just exacerbated the problem. So, a simple front end rebuild will probably go on the todo list. The old tires are also starting to crack so new tires are going to go on. We need to decide if we are just going to find some new GT emblems for the caps and keep things stock or if we should go with something a little more sporty. Magnum 500s are the default rim for most muscle Fords, but I was thinking that some 15×6 black steelies with chrome lugs and white letter tires would give the car a more purposeful Road Runner-esque look.

Brakes – Luckily, our car came from the factory with disc brakes up front so there isn’t much to do here. Obviously, we will want to check the pads and shoes for wear, replace the hoses, and bleed the system. We’ll make sure the master cylinder isn’t leaking, but it is wearing new paint and the system works well so we are confident that it was gone through fairly recently.

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Engine – Last but not least, there’s the engine. The 351W found under the hood runs well and is the higher performance 4-barrel version. The original Autolite 4300 carburetor is in place and works well at low to moderate throttle, but when you really mash the pedal, it just bogs down. Apparently, these carbs were known for this very symptom and some even referred to them as quadrobogs! A rebuild kit is cheap, but I’ve read that getting them right can be tricky. There’s always the option of buying a refurbished one or just sticking a new Holley on there. The 351W can handle performance mods well though, so even though we dont promote that kind of behavior often, I’m seriously tempted to warm things up a bit…

Ford Muscle Parts Catalog

Back in the late sixties, adding more muscle to your muscle car was a popular activity. So much in fact that many manufacturers distributed detailed how-to booklets and even sold the prerequisite parts right over the counter. Ford was no different and when flipping through their 1969 Muscle Parts catalog, I was happy to find a whole section dedicated to the staged modification of the 351! As much fun as it would be to build a 400 horsepower Stage 4 monster, I was thinking the Stage 1 setup would add a nice boost in power while not breaking the bank. It’s more like something a normal guy would do to this car when it was new anyway. As much as I would like to find all the period parts needed to do the job, I have a feeling we would have to substitute a few things for more modern pieces. That might a fun challenge for everyone though – can you find the modern equivalents for each part listed below?

351 Muscle Mods: Stage 1 – “Wrench On” 34 Ponies!

  • 600 CFM Carburetor (Part #: C8AZ-9510-AD)
  • High Riser Intake Manifold (Part #: C9OZ-9424-E)
  • Spacer (Part #: C2AZ-9A589-E)
  • Air Cleaner (Part #: C5ZZ-9600-W)

I’m excited to hear everyone’s opinion on this project. Do you think we should keep everything stock? Or should we build a period street racer? Be sure to leave your opinion in the comments below because we are going to use them when we put together a plan of attack!

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Comments

  1. Rev Rory

    Please keep the stock wheels, refinish them as necessary but it’s the only right look for that body. Replace the motor mounts first thing! Don’t ask me how I know… Shocks/bushings/brake stuff all round will transform the beast. Tranny kit and the stage 1 intake mods help hugely; resist the temptation to make it loud. These are a credible alternative to period road runners dynamically at a fraction of the cost (yes, and market value also) . Good choice.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      So, one point for stock rims and the stage 1 mods. When you mentioned a shift kit were you referring to a floor shifter or something like a Transgo kit?

      • Rev. Rory

        Transgo, B&M, or similar, shift kit. Leave the selector wherever it is, it’s part of the vibe. A higher-stall torque converter (not much, just enough so you’re more into the torque when it hooks up) transforms these cars too. I’m envious; always liked those and the ’68 302 versions also. Have fun!

  2. Norm

    I would leave it alone and save all that money you would spend on parts for a Hemi Cuda. Just sayin !!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      That would be nice Norm, but I’m afraid it would cost a little more than my humble Torino.

  3. Dudley

    I vote to leave it exactly the way it is but make the engine bay factory clean. If you decide on a repaint, I would go for an oddity like a one-of-one notchback Talladega or a Ford version of a Gurney or Yarborough.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Scruffy on the outside, clean on the inside. Sounds good to me!

  4. Moxman

    Here’s a few of my ideas. I like the idea of keeping the stock wheels; but maybe paint the wheels gloss black and add the brushed trim rings and center caps. That might be the update you’re looking for? As far as suspension and brakes, I recommend a complete refresh of all of that, and some nice radial tires to get this car to handle. I would also replace the carburetor and intake manifold with contemporary offerings from Holley and Edelbrock. It will make a huge difference in the performance of the car. You should probably take a look at the exhaust system too. I’d be wanting to put some Magnaflow mufflers with an “X-pipe” on this car for that great sound. I also like the idea of making the A/C functional. The dealer-installed under-dash unit is cool, but an updated system from one of the mentioned vendors might look cleaner? As far as paint, body and upholstery; I’d be happy with the car as-is, if you guys think it’s presentable.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Another point for the stock wheels. The Magnaflow exhaust is a good idea, but it sounds pretty good as-is so that might have to wait a while. Lots of good suggestions!

  5. Matt

    Restore it properly, don’t alter the motor, those were excellent motors and well matched from the factory. Quadra bogs referred to gm quadra-jets. This car is almost a rarity and is complete enough to be properly restored to a turn-key daily driver.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      That makes sense. I’ve read that the 4300 carb isn’t as good as the 4100 though. Supposedly it’s harder to get right. You can’t believe everything you read online though. Does anyone have any experience with these carbs?

      • Randy

        I have several M code engines in Ford products. They run very well with rebuilt and modified 4300 carbs. Happy to share my source if you like.

  6. JW

    Yes keep the stock wheels and just add some raised white lettered T/A Radials. Give the interior a good cleaning and if the carpet is faded some just get a set of nice Ford carpeted floor mats, you could always check ebay or racejunk.com for a used dash pad. Like you said a complete rebuild of frontend would be smart along with a set of rear shocks also. Now if it were mine I would get a couple cans of Gunk engine degreaser , clean the motor & engine bay then paint what you can see Ford Corporate Blue then pull the intake and carb store away and buy a Edelbrock air gap intake paint it blue to match motor to look stock then I would also purchase a Edelbrock 600CFM carb then I would clean and paint the original air cleaner and reuse it for a stock appearance. Just my opinion on what I would do, good luck with the car as I am totally jealous.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I think the lettered tires would be a big improvement over the white walls. You can still get the original tires from Coker. Those would look sweet, but radials would probably be better and much cheaper. Looks like a clean engine bay is a priority abd I like your idea of keeping a stock look even if we swap a few parts out.

  7. jim s

    if you can live wih the automatic then make it safe, try to protect it from rust and keep it stock. no loud pipes either! maybe a/c. then just drive it and have fun.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I normally stick with manuals, but this car has been a nice comfortable change of pace. It provides a much different driving experience than my agile little MGB, but I can understand why so many people liked these big cars.

  8. joeinthousandoaks

    Please don’t add a B&M shifter. A light shift kit an Edelbrock carb and a set of T/A’s will make a world of performance difference. Keep the stock carb for the purists. Other than that clean it up and leave it as is. Great car.

  9. Bryan

    I like your Torino! I’ve owned a 69 Ford Cobra (Fairlane) with a ram air 428 CJ since I was 17 (im 51 now). Mine has the chrome (versus argent) styled steel wheels like yours. I have to say that these cars look great with Magnum 500s, though they weren’t offered on Torinos until 70. Also, the dashes on these cars are extremely durable and resistant to cracking; you should be able to find a good used replacement easily enough.

    Weak door hinges and door glass alignment are problems with these cars. Good luck with your project!

  10. Fred

    It’s your car, build it the way you want it! Keep the original parts and hand them over to the “purist” whenever you sell. Had a ’68 notchback myself in the mid 70’s and loved it. A seet driving car when the suspension is tight.

  11. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Ok…a few suggestions, some of them “out there”–
    Wheels/tires: Redlines from Diamondback, repaint the inner area of the “GT” casting red (I’ve done that when I worked at Hubcap Annie’s) ala this Mustang.
    Body: I’d leave it alone — apart from the body side molding and the rear trim that reader Larry Brown had on that parts car in your original post
    A/C: YES, with a new kit from any of the aftermarket manufacturers. The retrofits of R134 to an R12 system are fraught with issues and never seem to cool as well as a modern unit. eBay the one you have to an originality lover that wants the accessory.
    Suspension: bushings and shocks will go a long way, but I wouldn’t go overboard on expensive shocks. Look for some Rock Auto closeouts, maybe.
    Engine: box stock new aftermarket carb. Technology, even with carburetors, has improved, and with known issues with the current one why try to chase getting the original one exactly right. When you eventually sell it on the smooth running with the brand new carb will far outweigh any originality issues; it’s not a GT350 or other extremely rare/desirable version. Also — clean, clean, clean underhood. Minimal cost and huge subjective benefits.
    Above all, enjoy it!

  12. Moparmann Member

    Jesse: First of all, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN; Source the trim; keep the original wheels, but refinish them and add T/A radials; IF you decide to repaint, lose the side trim and add the “C” stripe from the fastback, in black to match the vinyl top, OR lose the vinyl top as well. Update components, but maintain the OEM look as much as possible. These are just my $0.02 worth of ideas! :-)

  13. bowtiecarguy

    As others have said but it bears repeating B F Goodrich Radial TA raised white letter tires are the way to go. I have always run Goodyear Eagles on my old Corvette and found the last time I went to but a set that the solid white letter series is no longer available. Looking around at car shows many if not most of the rods and 60’s and 70’s muscle cars have the BFG Radial TA raised white letter tires which are readily available in a variety of sizes at your local tire store. And according to the info about them on Coker’s website, more burn outs have been done with that particular type of tire than any other. Just saying. . . .

    I also think keeping the original wheels trim rings and caps is the right look for that car. You have the option of dressing up the center cap by painting the inside of the GT red, I seem to remember that

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Looks like the BF Goodrich tires are the go-to option. I have seen a few cars with Cooper Cobra GTs too. They are a little cheaper, but also seem to be harder to find. The letters on the caps were originally painted, but the elements have taken their toll on them.

  14. Jim

    Leave it as is and use the money to source a good stock 428cj and associated parts for the transplant. You’ll be shocked at the performance and the value will climb above what the swap will cost. It might look a little cool o have a set of black steel wheels with some hot track tires for ripping around town or you could go with a drag setup with the black wheels, street slicks and thinner tires up front. Just my .02

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I’m surprised no one had made the big block suggestion yet. That would be lots of fun, but I’m afraid the budget on this one will keep that out of reach. That’s ok with me because the 351-4v was no slouch!

  15. olerascal

    There is a reason white letters are rarely seen nowadays.
    Too much monkey motion as they flippy-floppy while rotating.

    Nice wheels already present…fresh silver paint and shining the shiny bits
    will make ’em sparkle plenty.

    Since youse guys buy/sell alot, I’d keep costs down by simply
    making it the best it can be without a lot of personalization.

    If’n it was my keeper, wider steelies and altitude adjustment
    would be first order…after everything works right.

  16. John Heeg

    Great car and some great ideas people have mentioned.
    From what i am seeing, looks like the rear springs are sagging-back of the car is kinda low.
    Take care of the safety stuff. Get the springs done-just looks low in the back.
    As far as tires/wheels-car needs some 15×8 black steelies-check with a company that sells wheels to roundy/round guys. After that I am thinking maybe a 235/60/15 front and 255/60/15 rears. As far as the motor-Intake, 750 Holley. If you really wanna do it right-cam also. Now as far as the sound of the car. Gotta do headers and exhaust-not crazy loud-just a sorta in your face loud. If it has a 9inch rear you can easily get some better gears in it as it’s probably a 3:08:1 in the back. Maybe something around a 3:55.
    Having been around when that car was new-it’s was the time of in your face, meet you at the next traffic light fun.
    But-the motor to have in a Ford back then was the 351 Cleveland.
    But that being said-Great car-what ever you do-enjoy and have fun……

  17. Rob

    One of the vintage wheel companies makes a 15″ version of that styled steel wheel that looks great, you can find them at Coker. https://www.cokertire.com/ford-styled-steel-68-69.html

    I really need to get my ’69 fastback out of storage.

  18. ben

    u gotta luv these all org little old ladys carslook at the all org nova u just posted check out the hub caps 66 chevell wonder what else is org don’t know if I ment to tell u the rims on the gt your doing look great cromed I had a set done for my 68 mustang

  19. ben

    I talked to the owner of the 1937 ford custom in ocola the cars about a hour from me nice guyfriend of don garlet

  20. John C Cargill

    if anything, keep those stock rims. Magnum 500s are everywhere and those fit the car well. i had them on my 69 Mach I.

  21. Forrest roberts Lambert II

    I’m going “Day 2” style. Cragars with white lettered tires. Two inch dropped spindles. Cobra kit for the engine. Aluminum intake with a 650 Holley, Good long tube headers. Mild cam. Leave the paint as is survivor style with clear coat. Good sound system, chrome cup tach, and AC, because I’m from the South.

  22. cory

    Raise the back drop the front. Just. A little. Needs some rake to it. White letter tires are a must. Put the stock carb and intake on the shelf, grab a modern carb or EFI setup. No point in wasting money on old worn out carbs. Edelbrock makes a great carb, and intake setup that can be your little secret. Throw a k and n filter in and forget you every had carb problems. Then scrub and shine till your arm falls off. The price 9f a good paint job takes it off the table for this car.

  23. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Lot’s of good ideas here guys, but it looks like the general consensus is to keep the rims, install some Radial T/As, rebuild the suspension, clean everything, throw a Holley carb on it, and call it a day! Simple, affordable, and effective. Sounds like a good plan to me, so once we get the Singer shipped out, we will get to work!

    Perhaps we will have to debut her at the dragstrip…

  24. jsieao

    Your GT is an awesome find. I found my LTD 17 years ago. Externally, believe it or not, I have done nothing to it, short of putting the Magnums and tires on it. They made the car! It came with the steel wheels and turbine style wheel covers, as well as fender skirts! I would agree that keeping your original styled steel wheels on it is the way to go. In regards to the running gear, my car had the 2bbl 351W in it. After a number of years screwing around with that set up, I converted it to a 4bbl using a stock intake & carb. I had numerous issues with the Autolite 4bbl, so two weeks ago, I finally replaced it with a 600cfm Holley. What a difference! Highly recommend the upgrade. I like the idea of leaving the crusty exterior and updating all the mechanicals. The car will be much easier to enjoy if you aren’t worried about every little nick and scratch.

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