For 1968, Ford Motor Company forged ahead with their intermediate sized (116" wheelbase) muscle car offerings by adding the "Torino" name to the upper-end offerings of their re-designed Fairlane model lineup. The Fairlane badging was discontinued after 1970, when all models would be badged as "Torino", with various option/package levels through 1976. Today we will concentrate only on the 1968 and 1969 year models.
The new larger and heavier (than previous Fairlane models) Ford Fairlane/Torino was available in a 2-door coupe, fastback (or "SportsRoof" as they called it) and convertible (very rare, due to minimal production numbers) as well as a 4-door sedan and even a 4-door station wagon, which was the only model in the lineup which actually had a shorter (113") wheelbase. The 1968/69 Fairlane/Torino again had 4-headlamps, two each, placed side-by-side, at each end of the recessed grille opening, as opposed to earlier models where they were stacked vertically (on top of each other at either end of the grille area). Parking/turn signal lamps were located in the front fenders at each corner just above the chromed bumper and wrapped around to incorporate the side marker lamp as well, to keep in step with Federal mandates for side-marker lamps. The taillights were again, a squared style, with the back-up lamp located across the center of each lamp (either vertically or horizontally depending on specific model), similar to previous models. The unitized construction style of build was used, as in previous models as well, in keeping with the advantages of vehicular rigidity, safety and in keeping production costs low.
Engines ranged in displacement from 200 c.i., L6-cyl in base model Fairlanes and 302 c.i., V8 with 2-bbl carburetor in all base model Torino GT's, to late addition (April 1968) of a 428 c.i., V8 "Cobra Jet" big-block motor (with "supposed" underrated hp of 335) in the rarely seen "Cobra Jet" optioned models. Also available, in various models, were the 289 c.i. V8 with 2-bbl carburetor, 390 c.i., V8 big-block with either 2 or 4-bbl carburetor and the even more rare (like, ghostly rare) 427 c.i., V8 big-block, which was an initial offering, but no records of a car actually being produced with this engine seem to exist. All Fairlanes/Torinos came standard with the 3-speed manual transmission, with available 4-speed manual (which also had staggered rear shocks to help eliminate inherent wheel-hop, while performing burnouts) and C-6 "Cruise-O-Matic", automatic transmissions as options. There was an exclusive, "Torino GT" only, handling- suspension option available which gave you heavy-duty springs, shocks and larger front sway bar. However, any V8-equipped model, could be ordered with a heavy-duty suspension which also gave you heavier springs and shocks. All cars came with drum brakes, but could be upgraded to front discs and even power-assist. Suspension was carried over from previous models and had rear, solid-axle, dual semi-elliptical leaf springs, with independent front coil springs and upper/lower control arms.
On the interior front we saw a new cockpit area with four cylindrical gauge openings placed in front of the driver with fuel gauge and engine temperature warning lamp in the far left pod, a 120 mph speedometer in the second pod (situated directly above the steering column), an "idiot" light for charging system and low oil pressure warning were in the third pod (also available was an optional tachometer) and the fourth pod was empty but would house the optional clock when ordered. The more breathable "Comfortweave" upholstery was available, as well as many other options, in place of the standard vinyl upholstery. The Torinos came with color-coordinated carpets, additional interior trim and exterior enhancements, including fancy "crests" on the rear, side-roof areas. The Torino GT's came standard with bucket seats, center console, courtesy lamps on inside door panels, special badging and exterior trim and hub caps. The Torino GT's are quite rare in today's market (due to several factors, including low production numbers, bad deterioration problems of sheet metal and chassis components and abnormally low resale values because of these factors, many units ended up in the junkyards) as only about 98,000 coupes and fastbacks were produced and only about 5,300 convertibles for 1968.
Few changes to the 1969 Fairlane/Torino were evident, but quite a few performance upgrades were made. Subtle changes were made to the grille area and the taillights were more squared looking. Two new "Cobra" specific models, a 2-door hardtop and a 2-door SportsRoof, were added to the lineup in 1969 and the Torino Talladega was added to specifically reach the NASCAR market and participate in races. It afforded Ford a total of 26 victories during the 1969 "Grand National" season and a total of about 750 (including prototypes) of these were produced.
Ford's "Torino" (which is Italian for Turin, a city in Italy) name was chosen because Turin has been compared to Detroit, MI, in respect to being an automobile manufacturing Mecca.
What U.S. Government mandate changed the interior of cars built in America from 1969 onward? Remember . . . answer can be found quickly, on our website, under your favorite 1969 vehicle listing!
Answer: Front seat headrests were made mandatory
Click to see all Ford Torino's for sale on ClassicCars.com.
See all Greg's List Pick's of the Week