Upper Crust: 1975 Ford Elite

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These days, we feel pretty smart as consumers, don’t we? With endless access to online reviews and YouTube celebrities reviewing cars, it’s not the same dog and pony show. But in the 70s, you could put a different badge and some special opera windows on a car that essentially had multiple twins from the same manufacturer and sell it as a different model. Customers didn’t question it, and this 1975 Ford Elite here on eBay is a reminder of how long ago platform sharing began. 

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This Ford Elite is said to be all original with just under 75,000 miles. The Elite bowed at a time when the domestic manufacturers were seeing a surge of interest in the personal luxury car market, and the team at Ford decided to enhance the sales impact of Mercury’s Cougar XR7 by building  a twin with the Ford oval on the hood. The Elite was originally known as the Gran Torino Elite, just to make things a little more confusing.

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The interior was effectively an exact copy of the Cougar’s which could be a good thing if you liked what you saw inside the Mercury! This Elite’s insides look pretty solid for a car that doesn’t have new-car low mileage but has actually been on the road and used. I personally like the chocolate brown seating surfaces and matching door trim, but I wish there were a few other contrasting colors to look at besides light brown and dark brown.

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The Elite actually sold fairly well and was far from a sales failure. It came with a 351 Windsor V8 up front, which, while not exotic, will get the job done and make some nice sounds in the process. This Elite was traded in by the original owner, which tells you something about how much he or she must have loved their personal luxury coupe to keep it this long and in such great condition. What do you think it’s worth?

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  1. dirtyharry

    $3,500, but spending money on this car would be a mistake. Just fix what is broken and drive it. It would be great on a road trip. Cheap fun for sure.

    Like 0
  2. piper62j

    My father in law bought a blue one new in 75.. Put over 125k on it and sold it to his nephew who promptly ran over man hole and blew the oil pan while driving it home.. Needless to say, he never made it..
    Great riding cars and very heavy, so the 351 was the least powerful engine to have in it.. Sweet ride..

    Like 0
  3. Vegas Vic

    Great luxury riders
    Those opera windows are nifty
    Buy it and rude it, heads will turn as we all remember Gerald Ford and the bicentennial

    Like 1
  4. whippeteer

    Rare! One of only 125,000 built that year. Well maintained, but $5K?

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  5. Chebby

    No member of the elite ever drove a Ford Elite! For the amount of exterior space these take up, the cabins are very cramped. It’s probably as good as any corporate Ford of its day, but I’ve always hated these cars.

    Like 0
  6. Vintageant

    How can one of 125,000 be rare?

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    • Melvin Gray

      Are you kidding, I bought a brand new 1975 Ford Elite, best riding Smooth shifting sweetest vehicle I’ve ever owned, I’ve bought over 30 vehicles in my life, great power and I wouldn’t hesitate to but another at the right price. I never will forget the 800 mile trip we took to Arkansas 3 adults and 4 children. This vehicle use less than 3 tanks of gas totalling 1600 miles with comfort that was surprisingly elite.

      Like 0
  7. Mark P

    Back in the mid to late 70’s I worked for a Lafayette Radio affiliate store. I can remember installing many aftermarket stereos and CB’s in the many different versions of these cars. There really wasn’t a good place to hang the CB. When the Cobra AM/FM/CB indash units came out they were real popular in these. Like the comment above about remebering the bicentennial and Gerry Ford, good times, for me anyway.

    Like 0
  8. Roselandpete

    This car is so elite that the tires/hub caps don’t even match. How rare is that?

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  9. M B

    NICE cars, in an era when Chrysler Cordobas were very “IN”. Luxury without the expanse of sheet metal in traditional luxury cars. The Elite is not seen very much now, so it’s “elite” is more now than then. For “rare”, add the 351 HO V-8 and trailer package. A friend bought one like that and it was a performance car in sheep’s clothing, luxurious sheep’s clothing.

    The Torino Elite and Cordoba (with buckets and console) were the upscale cars for young professionals of the day. Upward mobility signals!

    The one showcased can be a better car with a little effort and $$. The 351 will “work”, but not a performance engine by any means. Reliable performance with then-decent fuel economy (no worse than many SUVs of today!!).

    Like 0
    • Timothy Young

      What about the 351 Cleveland

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  10. Pat

    Guy down the street has an olive green with vinyl top. Owned since new. He says ” I’ll keep it a few more years to get my money out of it”. It was a cheaper version of the mark 3 when introduced.

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  11. jaygryph

    Just saw a yellow one at the Newark Pick & Pull by San Jose, looks like it was a nice car before the forklift folded up the doors and fenders and trim getting it into place. Kinda a shame, I’d not seen one in person before. Saw it on aug 28th, 2016, so it’s safe to assume if you’re reading this much later than that it’s not there.

    Like 0
  12. piper62j

    I found the 351W to be less perky than the 351C.

    Like 0

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