Why Did the 1970 Ford Torino GT Become an Icon of Power and Style?

The 1970 Ford Torino GT: Power, Style, and Performance

The 1970 Ford Torino GT was one of the most iconic muscle cars of its time, and for good reason. With its sleek, aerodynamic design, powerful engines, and advanced performance features, it was a true embodiment of Ford’s commitment to innovation and excellence. In this article, we will explore the history of the Torino GT, its key features, and what made it such a force to be reckoned with on the road.

A New Era of Design and Performance

When the 1970 Ford Torino GT was released, it was immediately clear that it was a game-changer. With its new, aerodynamic body, it was a significant departure from the boxy, angular designs of previous years. The sleek new lines were shaped by the wind, resulting in a lower roofline and greater windshield rake that gave the car a more aggressive, forward-leaning stance.

The Car of the Year

Motor Trend Magazine was so impressed with the Torino GT that it named it the Car of the Year. The GT and Cobra models were designed to appeal to the youth market, with muscle car styling cues that included a decorative hood scoop, color-keyed mirrors, badging, rear deck appliques, unique taillamp appearance, extra brightwork, hubcaps and trim rings on 14 x 7 wheels, and E70 tires.

Powertrain Options

The Torino GT came with a range of powertrain options, starting with the standard 220-hp 302 two-barrel engine. The 250-hp 351 (Windsor or Cleveland) two-barrel engine was available at an additional cost, while the new 300-hp 351 Cleveland four-barrel engine was a popular upgrade. For even more power, drivers could opt for the 360-hp 429, 370-hp 429 Cobra Jet and CJ Ram Air (“shaker” hood scoop), and the Drag Pack (3.91:1 Traction-Lok or 4.30:1 Detroit Locker and 375-hp 429 Super Cobra Jet upgrade added to CJ or CJ/RA).

The Four-Barrel 351C

One of the most powerful engine options for the Torino GT was the extra-cost four-barrel 351C. This engine featured canted-valve heads with immense ports and 2.19/1.71 valves, a performance-oriented hydraulic cam, a premium-fuel-only 11:1 compression ratio, and dual exhaust. A shaker was optional.

Transmission and Suspension

The Torino GT came standard with a three-speed manual transmission, with an optional Hurst-shifted wide- or close-ratio Toploader four-speed (N/A with the 302). The SelectShift Cruise-O-Matics were also available, with three different models based on engine choice. The suspension used a short/long arm front suspension with coil springs and an anti-roll bar, while the rear featured leaf springs and an anti-roll bar.

Performance and Handling

The Torino GT was known for its excellent performance and handling, with a stiffer Competition Suspension standard on 429 models. The 10-inch drum brakes could be upgraded to power-assisted 11.3-inch front discs at extra cost. The rear end could be fitted with various rear gear ratios and an optional limited-slip differential depending on the powertrain selected.

The Story of Rich Sarginger’s Torino GT

Rich Sarginger of St. Marys, Pennsylvania, has owned his Torino GT since 1979, when he rescued it from the salvage yard where he worked at just 15 years old. He repaired the front end damage using parts he found

The Driving Experience of the 1970 Ford Torino GT

The 1970 Ford Torino GT is a legendary car, and for good reason. With its powerful engine, sporty styling, and impressive handling, it was a true muscle car of its time.

The Torino GT’s 351 Cleveland V-8 engine was capable of producing 300 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque, which was more than enough to propel this beast down the road. The engine was paired with a Hurst-shifted Toploader four-speed manual transmission, which provided crisp and precise gear changes, making the driving experience truly exhilarating.

The suspension system of the Torino GT was well-tuned and capable of handling the powerful engine. The short/long arm front suspension with coil springs, anti-roll bar, and leaf springs in the rear provided a comfortable ride without sacrificing handling.

The competition suspension, which was standard with the 429 engine, made the car even more agile and responsive, especially in tight corners. The 10-inch drum brakes provided adequate stopping power, but upgrading to the power-assisted 11.3-inch front discs was definitely worth the extra cost.

A Restored Beauty

Rich Sarginger’s Torino GT is a shining example of what a restored 1970 Ford Torino GT can look like. After rescuing the car from a salvage yard, he spent years restoring and upgrading it, resulting in a beautiful and powerful machine that turns heads wherever it goes.

From the original factory paint color to the optional laser stripes, hideaway headlamps, and rear sport slats, every detail of this car has been carefully restored or upgraded to match the original factory specifications. Even the interior has been upgraded with bucket seats and a console, making the driving experience even more enjoyable.


The 1970 Ford Torino GT with its 351 Cleveland V-8 engine is a true icon of the muscle car era. Its sleek styling, powerful engine, and impressive handling make it a joy to drive and a pleasure to look at. And with the right care and attention, as shown by Rich Sarginger’s beautifully restored Torino GT, it can continue to be a source of pride and admiration for generations to come.


  1. What is the engine capacity of the 1970 Ford Torino GT?
  • The Torino GT came with several engine options, including the 220-hp 302 two-barrel engine, the 250-hp 351 two-barrel engine, and the 300-hp 351 four-barrel Cleveland V-8 engine.
  1. What was the Car of the Year for Motor Trend magazine in 1970?
  • The Ford Torino GT was named the Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine in 1970.
  1. What was the standard transmission for the Torino GT?
  • The standard transmission for the Torino GT was a three-speed manual, but an optional Hurst-shifted Toploader four-speed manual was also available.
  1. How did Rich Sarginger restore his Torino GT?
  • Rich Sarginger spent years restoring and upgrading his Torino GT, including rebuilding the engine, repainting the car, upgrading the brakes and suspension, and adding bucket seats and a console to the interior.
  1. What makes the Torino GT a true muscle car?
  • The Torino GT’s powerful engine, sporty styling, and impressive handling make it a true muscle car of its time. It was designed to appeal to the youth market by incorporating adrenaline-rush-inducing muscle car styling cues of the day.

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