A Stock Car Champion / Ford’s 1969 Torino GT

The year 1969 was the second production year for Ford’s Torino and it was also the year that the Torino Cobra and Talledega models were introduced. Ford’s Torino was produced from 1968 to 1976. The car was entered as a mid-sized Ford model.

1969 ford torino gt

1969 Ford Torino GT

At first, called the Fairlane Torino, Ford’s new medium sized line was introduced in 1968, with a GT convertible serving as the Indy Pace Car. These cars however never carried the Fairlane name and they were soon known as Torinos. In fact, the Ford Torino was designed to replace the Fairlane.

The first Torino’s built for 1968 actually had a larger body than the last year of the Fairlane. The Ford Torino offered a full line of models including hardtops, sedans and convertibles, the Torino GT line was prominently noticed for its great looking fastback body, which looked somewhat like the Mustang except with a very different roofline.

The Torino fastback model was a big hit with NASCAR. Driver David Pearson took the 1968 title. A Torino Cobra model was presented for 1969 and the semi-inclining  lines on the Sportsroof model would see them transposed on the Australian Ford Falcon of Mad Max fame. In the mean time, the Torino GT Talladega, named for the opening of the Talledega race track made it’s entrance in 1969.

The fact is that for 1969 the Ford Torino received cosmetic changes on the outside but the inside received quite a few performance upgrades.

1969 ford torino fastback

Sleek Torino fastback design

Torino’s Big Engines

The Torino was built from the very beginning with lots of power and comfort with standard equipment V-8 engines from the small block 302, to the big block 390 and 428 Cobra Jet. The new 1969 Cobra was built purely for speed with one of the most powerful “showroom stock” performance engines ever built.

The full Torino line continued into the 1970 model year replacing the Fairlane with small six-cylinder and V-8 engines. These 1970 and 1971 models came with a complete new body style with entirely new looks.

Collectors were interested in the 1969 Torino GT and Cobra automobiles. The semi-slanting GT car sold  56,819 units, however there were only 3,939 convertible models which made those pretty rare. The Cobra GT accounted for a small 7,675 buyers regardless of the fact that the car sported a 360-hp, Ram Air 429-cid V-8 and along with an optional four speed manual transmission.

The Ford Torino and NASCAR Victories

It’s important to note that during the latter part of the 1960′s, both Ford Motor Company and Chrysler put a lot of effort into stock car racing and the types of V-8 engines mentioned above are excellent examples.Understand that back in those days of the late 1960′s, stock cars were really “stock cars“. The year 1969 also saw Richard Petty switching from years with Plymouth stock car racing to Ford. In Petty’s first 1969 race driving for Ford, he edged out A.J Foyt by 25 seconds in the Riverside California competition.

Aerodynamics also were on the top of the list since sleek designs could get more speed out of an engine. When an engine could only put out the horsepower that it could, aerodynamics became the next logical area of improvement. Interestingly enough, the story is that new lines for the 1969 model, whose intent was to get higher speed and of course went through wind tunnel testing, in reality did the opposite during race competition.

69 torino gt

Front view of the 69 Torino GT

1969 Ford Torino GT Specifications

The standard engine for the 1969 Ford Torino was the 250 cubic inch inline six. The GT’s and Cobras had 360-hp, Ram Air 429-cid V-8′s although the standard GT engine was a 302-1×2bbl model. The 429′s could come with or without the Ram Air.

There were three transmissions available. These were a three speed manual, a four speed manual and a Cruise-O-Matic.

1969 Torino dimensions included a 116.0 inch wheelbase and a length of 201.0 inches. The cars weight came in at about 3,200 lbs.

You may enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

The 1975 Bricklin SV-1

The Avanti II

ford torino gt

Rear view of the sleek lines of the 69 Torino GT

Late 60′s Ford Torino’s Make Good Collector Cars

Some of the lure of the late 1960′s Ford Torino’s is that they were a big part of the performance effort in mid sized cars. The year 1969 in particular saw the introduction of the Cobra and the Talledega as well as Richard Petty joining the Ford Motor stock car race team.

To give you an idea of asking prices as of this writing, we see Torino’s priced from the mid teens to the high $30,000 range. Originality, actual mileage and degree of restoration if any will determine the asking price.

We also see a rare Talledega with an asking price nearing $90,000. We also see an all original 1969 Richard Petty Edition GT Cobra with an asking price of $79,500.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)





A Rugged 1973 Pinzgauer 4×4 / A Master Off-Road Vehicle

PINZGAUER army troop carriers have been released by the Swiss Army. Built in the seventies by Steyr-Puch of Austria, of firearms fame, and manufacturer of the Mercedes G Wagon. Theses vehicles are tough, very sure footed and can be used to haul freight or people on or off road, and they considered easy to handle.


Pinzgauer 710M

The Attributes of a 25 + Year Old Military Vehicle

To many, buying a 25+ year old ex-military vehicle would seem like a project only for the serious military collector. The fact is that one need not be a military vehicle collector because the Pinzgauer as featured in this article is truly a fun vehicle.

It’s one of those vehicles that strikes up conversations wherever it goes. It’s rugged look and uniqueness plus the fact that it was originally designed for the Swiss military among others make it a different type of collector vehicle. Pinzies, as they are sometimes referred to, are cool looking trucks and they are considered by many as quite reliable.

A Fun Go Everywhere Vehicle

The Pinzgauers imported/brought into the US were typically made from 1972-1976. Restrictions on all import vehicles mandated that anything imported must be 25 years or older. The truth about this unique vehicle is that the Pinzgauer has proven that the original qualities that made this vehicle so appealing to the Swiss military (capability, reliability, & versatility) have also made it an excellent choice as a fun “do everything” vehicle here in the U.S.

The 1973 Pinzgauer 710M 4×4 model featured in this article is currently being used as a tour vehicle. The 4×4 vehicles were later joined by a 6×6 version and by 1985 over 20 000 had been produced, nearly all for military users.

pinzgauer 710M

Pinzgauer off-road vehicle

The Pinzgauer is capable of off-road travel well beyond the common SUV.

You may have seen Customized Pinzgauers on the street. Some Pinzgauer owners choose to put  thousands of dollars in their trucks with custom paint, seats, wheels, winches, and other options to truly make their trucks look better or ride better, while others choose to leave their Pinzgauers with OD paint, rust, and dents!

The great thing about the Pinzgauer, is that putting a lot of money into a truck doesn’t really make it that much more of a capable truck. The prices for Pinzgauers vary of course. In the more than three decades since these vehicles were selected by the Swiss military as their “jeep” or “Humvee” they are again proving their value to a whole new generation of collectors.

A vehicle that can hold as much or more than a standard pickup. With 14 inches of ground clearance, true “shift on the fly” 4 or 6 wheel drive, and with differential locks front and rear. Additionally, some versions of the Pinzgauer were manufactured to have the ability to carry weapon systems or communication shelters.

A Good Value for the Money?

The Pinzgauer is a vehicle that is as capable off road as anything sold in the United states for up to 5 times as much money. The majority of Pinzgauers were purchased at Swiss military auctions by dealers who import and sell the vehicles in North America.

The 1973 Pinzgauer 710M Specifications

The engine is a 2.5 liter four cylinder air cooled power plant producing 90 horsepower.

The manual transmission has five forward gears and one reverse gear.

pinzgauer off road

Pinzgauer off road transport

Suspension includes Independent Pendel Axle with front & rear coil springs.

The vehicles dimensions include a wheelbase of 86.6 inches, an overall length of 164.0 inches, width of 69.25 inches and a height of 82.75 inches. Empty weight for the Pinzgauer 710M is 4,300 lbs.

Although these vehicles operate great off road, PINZGAUERS can be easily driven on the highway at 60-65 mph and have a top speed of 70 or more, depending on tire size.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

The Jeep MB

A 1950 Willys Station Wagon

73 pinzgauer 710

Rear view of the 73 Pinzgauer 710M

Today’s Pinzgauer Values

You may not know offhand where to look for used Pinzgauers.

Distributors of Pinzgauers as well as some other brands here in the U.S. include Swiss Army Vehicles. They are a major distributor of European military vehicles, parts and surplus. They specialize in Steyr Puch Pinzgauer, Mercedes Unimog and Bucher Duro. They have vehicles in both Fayetteville AR USA and Zuerich Switzerland. You may also see them running Swiss military vehicle auctions on Ebay.

Because there are so many different models of the Pinzgauer in a variety of conditions, prices are all over the place. As of this writing we are finding 710 models similar to the vehicle featured in this article priced from $6,600 to above $20,000 and up close to $30,000. When you look for a Pinzgauer today, chances are you’ll see a wide range of restorations and/or customizations. Some of these customizations are realized in the wide range of asking prices.

The Pinzgauer 4×4 and 6×6 models are one of a kind. Today, they can be used for a variety of purposes, whether transporting people or freight, and can tackle some of the roughest off-road terrain you can find. On top of that they can be fun to drive.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)


1940 Buick Special Two Door Sport Coupe Beauty

The 1940 Buick Special Two Door Sport Coupe is a fine addition to any automobile collection.The custom Buick Coupe featured in this article is a beauty with it’s two tone paint scheme, creative designed front grille area, rear fender skirts and ground hugging body.

IMG_5913Buick began in 1903 when David Dunbar Buick started the Buick Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan.. Later that same year the company was acquired by James Whiting who moved the Buick operation to Flint . Whiting hired William C. Durant to manage his new auto company.

The Buick badge was considered by many to be the first real automobile success. In fact, at that time it was the largest automaker in America. Durant, with the success of Buick, went on and acquired more companies and in 1908 gave them the name General Motors.

The 1911 Buick was the first built as a completely enclosed American automobile. Buick beat Ford to this milestone achievement.

The 1940 Buick

During the 1930′s Buick was an innovative automaker. Their 1939 models had the first turn signals. Also, steering column shift levers were on all 1939 models.

Total 1940 Buick production was 310,995 units. Buick Special production totals that year was 122,974.

1940 buick sports coupe

Front end of the 40 Buick Sports Coupe

1940 Buick Models

There were six model groups in all for 1940. These included the Series 40 Special, the Series 50 Super, the 60 Century, the 70 Roadmaster, the 80 Limited and the 90 Limited.

The Roadmaster was the top of the line luxury model with the 90 Series vehicles often serving as limousines.

The Buick “Special” was the lines entry level model. It’s wheelbase was changed several times between 1936 and 1940. It was lengthened, shortened and then lengthened again for 1940.

Another interesting note is that Buick built a wooden body station wagon in 1940 which the company referred to as an “Estate” model. The “Estate” badge was used instead of “Station Wagon”. The Estate was offered on the 1940 Super line.

It was one year later with the 1941 models that Buick offered the most complete line up with some 26 different body styles on six model lines. This was quite a big year for Buick because 1942 was a different matter altogether with civilian auto manufacturing suspended in February 1942 because of America’s entrance into World War Two.

1940 Buick Sport Coupe Specifications

The 1940 Buick Special came out with a 248 cubic inch inline eight producing 107 horsepower. Original carburetors were either Carter or Stromberg.

Transmission was a three speed manual.

Brakes on the 1940 Buick Sports Coupe were four wheel internal expanding hydraulic.

1940 buick dashboard

1940 Buick Sports Coupe dashboard

The five passenger Buick Sports Coupe had a wheelbase of 121.0 inches and was 72.0 inches wide. The overall length came in at 203 15/16th inches.

Front suspension were independent coil springs and the rear were coil springs.

The new car price for the 1940 Buick Special Sport Coupe averaged about $1,000.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

A Restored 1940 LaSalle

A Very Rare 1929 Stearns-Knight Luxury Automobile

A few good books regarding Buick cars and their history include…The Buick: A Complete History (90th Anniversary Edition) by authors Terry B. Dunham and Lawrence R. Gustin. Also, David Buick’s Marvelous Motor Car: The Men and the Automobile that Launched General Motors (Updated 2013) by author Lawrence R. Gustin.

buick sports coupe

Buick Sports Coupe

The 1940 Buick Special Sports Coupe Collector Car

All Buick automobiles from these pre World War Two years are highly collectible. The 1940 Buick in particular was one of the major reasons that GM decided to end LaSalle production that year.

While LaSalle was produced by the Cadillac Division, it was the Buick that essentially turned into a LaSalle thus making the LaSalle expendable.

An interesting note for Buick collectors is a list of the top ten collectible Buick’s put together by Buick and Haggerty. The list is as follows….

  • 2012 Buick Regal GS
  • 1932 Model 90 sport phaeton
  • 1937 66C Century convertible coupe
  • 1940 Super Model 59 Woody Estate Wagon
  • 1947 Roadmaster Woody Wagon
  • 1949 Roadmaster Convertible
  • 1953 Skylark
  • 1963 Riviera
  • 1970 GSX Stage 1 Hardtop Coupe
  • 1987 GNX

1940 Buick automobiles for sale as of this writing are priced in a range from about $20,000 to $50,000 plus. These are all running vehicles in a wide range of restorations and asking prices will certainly depend on the exact model. There are also non running project vehicles in various conditions priced under $10,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)


The 1940 LaSalle Was Really A Cadillac

The automobile featured in this article is a 1940 LaSalle. It was an excellent new car designed by Cadillac engineers and built by the Cadillac Motor Car Company entirely in its own plant as a companion car to the Cadillac. The LaSalle 2 Door Coupe shown here definitely has some sleek lines and a sporty look.

1940 lasalle

The sleek 1940 LaSalle

Some may have first heard of the LaSalle mentioned in the opening lines from character Archie Bunker and his wife Edith in the TV sitcom “All in the Family”. The LaSalle was named after the French adventurer who explored the Mississippi river in 1682.

Cadillac and the LaSalle

As far as General Motors was concerned, when they manufactured the last LaSalle in 1940, the LaSalle was a Cadillac. One reason probably was the fact that LaSalle was manufactured by the Cadillac Division of GM, but there’s more to the story than just that. In the summer of 1940 the LaSalle was discontinued. Designers already had a 1941 full scale mock up completed when the model was pulled.

The LaSalle Was a Production Winner

It’s impossible to talk about the LaSalle automobile without comparing it to the Cadillac.

Take a snapshot of 1939 production of both LaSalle and Cadillac and you’ll see these kind of numbers. Total LaSalle production that year, according to the GM Heritage Center numbers, were 23,002 vehicles. That same year Cadillac had production of 13,495 vehicles.

lasalle dashboard

Dashboard and interior of the 1940 LaSalle

For the last year of LaSalle production (1940), a total of 24,130 units were built. The year 1940 also saw Cadillac making big strides since the early 30′s when the nameplate was unprofitable. Total Cadillac 1940 production came in at

Even earlier in the 30′s there was some talk of getting rid of the LaSalle even though the nameplate was outselling the Cadillacs. Incredibly, the LaSalle was saved by new styling changes by Harley Earl’s team. Earl helped make the LaSalle one of the most attractive cars on the road. The 1934 LaSalle came out with a newly designed chassis, an L-head straight eight engine taken from Oldsmobile with lightweight Lynite aluminum pistons, a single plate clutch, addition of hydraulic brakes which represented a first at GM, and independent front suspension.

Why the LaSalle Was Discontinued

There were a few reasons that the LaSalle was discontinued in 1941 and these really had nothing to do with the automobile itself as far as mechanics and design are concerned. The commonly accepted reasons for the discontinuance are as follows…

1) LaSalle had an exclusive market niche which appeared to disappear by 1940. Much had to do with price increases from Buick.

2) Productions costs.

3) A rearranging of the GM product line which had the LaSalle replaced by the Cadillac Series 61. By 1940 the separation between Cadillac and LaSalle was very close. Some thought that the LaSalle became a marketing mistake since the car was a Cadillac without the Cadillac badge.

lasalle 2 door coupe

1940 LaDalle 2 Door Coupe

With this being said, the LaSalle helped GM in several ways. It helped make a Cadillac type car more affordable for many. For the years it was in production, the LaSalle honored GM with some of the best styling from this automaker.

As mentioned above, the start of the LaSalle coincided with the start of GM’s Art and Color Department. Last but certainly not least, during the depression years of the 30′s, LaSalle sales figures helped out the often struggling Cadillac and Packard numbers. The car was priced right for the Great Depression years.

lasalle coupe

1940 LaSalle Two Door Coupe

1940 LaSalle Specifications

The 1940 LaSalle Series 52 had a 322 cubic inch V-8 putting out 130 horsepower.

Brakes were hydraulic drum and the transmission a three speed manual.

The 1940 LaSalle 52 had a wheelbase of 123.0 inches.The cars weight came in at 3,900 lbs.

The new car price for the 1940 LaSalle ranged between $1,300 and $1,900.

You may enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

The 1941 Cadillac Series 62

1939 Plymouth Coupe

A Finely Restored 1940 Buick Sports Coupe


 Locations of Serial Numbers on Vintage Automobiles

LaSalle Collectible Cars

LaSalle automobiles are popular collector cars. The LaSalle was produced for fourteen years. Many collectors feel that the restored LaSalle can make a good investment.

As of this writing there are several LaSalle models over various production years that have asking prices in a wide range of between about $25,000 and $90,000. As is always the case, originality and degree of restoration, frame off, will drive the price. The higher priced models on the price range above will be those in museum like condition. You’ll likely run across some older restorations at attractive prices. We have seen a 1940 LaSalle Coupe in pristine condition with a lot of originality with an asking price of $37,000.

For those looking for a project car, we’ve seen models needing complete frame off restorations for about $12,000 and some much lower. Degree of rust on any project car models will affect selling prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)


1950 Willys Station Wagon / Photos History and Specs

The vehicle featured in this article is a 1950  Willys Station Wagon. The vehicle was rated as a 1/2 ton Wagon and was available in two and four wheel drives.

1950 willys station wagon

1950 Willys Station Wagon

The First Willys Wagon in 1946

Considering that most station wagons at that time had some authentic wood in their bodies, the prospect of building an all steel station wagon in 1946 made a lot of business sense.

By building an all steel wagon as a passenger vehicle, Willys-Overland  was able to mass produce the station wagon very efficiently. Not working with wood on the body saved considerable production time. The first Willys Station Wagon in 1946 was a 463 model and it was powered with a flathead four engine.

The vehicle’s designer was Brooks Stevens. In 1944 Stevens and other formed the Industrial Designers Society of America. Brooks Stevens not only designed automobiles but also kitchen appliances, architecture and even the Miller Brewing logo.

willys station wagon

The new grille design on the 1950 Willys Wagon

The Willys Station Wagon was called “The Peoples Car” and could carry seven people. Other claimed attributes for the Willys Wagon included easy maintenance and superior safety. Some refer to the Willys Station Wagon as a Jeep of another name.

By the time 1950 rolled around the Willys Station Wagon had many changes. These changes included some new body designing as well as a new engine. The grille was changed to a V shaped design with five horizontal bars in front. One our photos in this article gives you a good look of it.

The  463, 473 and the 673 Willys

For the 1950 model year, Willys offered three versions of it’s station wagon. These were the 463, 473 and 673 models.The 463 and 473 versions came with a 134 cubic inch (Go Devil) engine. The 673 model was built with a 144 cubic inch engine. The 673 overdrive version came with a 148 cubic inch power plant. The 134 and 144 and 148 cubic inch engines were flathead four cylinder. As an option, a Willys F4-134 Hurricane inline-4 was available for the 473′s and a Lightning Six was available for the 673′s.

These engines were somewhat under powered for their size.

In 1950 Willys also produced a Sedan Delivery version of the Wagon.

1950 Willys Station Wagon Specifications

As mentioned above there were a variety of engines available for the 1950 Willys Station Wagons. Some engines had more power than others but as a whole the Willys Station Wagon was probably underpowered considering the vehicles size and weight.

Engines available were a 134 cubic inch, a 144 cubic inch, and a 148 cubic inch. All were straight fours. As an option, a Willys F4-134 Hurricane inline-4 was available for the 473′s and a Lightning Six was available for the 673′s. Top speeds for these 1950 vehicles were between 105 to 110 MPH depending on engine.

Transmissions included both three and four speeds.

Suspension for the vehicle were front independent coil springs and rear longitudinal leaf springs.

Brakes were Bendix Hydraulic drums.

The dimensions of the 1950 Willys Station Wagon included an overall length of 175.8 inches, a wheelbase of 104.5 inches, a height of 75.2 inches and a width of 72.0 inches. Curb weight was estimated at 3,350 lbs.

See our AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

The 1949 Chevy Woody Wagon

The 1958 Ford Country Sedan Wagon

A Restored 1931 Chevrolet Depot Hack

You may also be interested in the Jeep Collector’s Library by author Jim Allen from MotorBooks International.

willys wagon 1950

Rear view of the 1950 Willys Station Wagon

1950 Willys Station Wagons as Collector Automobiles

Willys have been popular collector cars and trucks for a long time. The Willys Jeep can be seen at almost every automobile show you happen to attend. As a side note, the first Jeep MB (Willys MB) was produced in 1941 making it the oldest American off road vehicle. The Jeep is certainly a part of American history. One attribute in addition to the vehicles utility is the ruggedness of it’s construction.

The Willys Station Wagon, like the beauty featured in this article,  overshadowed other Willys models during it’s 1946 to 1964 run. Today they are fine collectible vehicles and they are gaining in popularity. The Station Wagons built by both Willys-Overland and then by Kaiser-Willys have kept that Jeep ruggedness look and therefore are quite unique where Wagons are concerned.

willys wagon dashboard

dashboard on a 1950 Willys Station Wagon

The Willys Station Wagons have good restorability and parts are relatively easy to find. As of this writing, some of the suppliers for Jeep parts including parts for the 1950 Willys Station Wagon include Midwest Jeep Willys, Rockauto.com and The Jeepster Man, Inc.

Willys-Overland built the Willys Wagons (Jeep Wagons) until 1953 when they were acquired by Kaiser.

Asking prices for early 1950′s Willys Station Wagons are reasonable. You’ll likely see asking prices in the low to high $20,000 range for examples in excellent condition. As of this writing we have seen Willys Wagons offered below and above those figures. Mileage, condition, exact model and originality will determine the asking prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)