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.

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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)

 

 

 

 

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