What’s the most iconic Ford from the late 1960s? I’d say the Ford Mustang sits above anything else, while the Le Mans-winning GT40 is a close second. But as much as I love the first-gen Mustang, I’m an even bigger fan of the company’s intermediate cars from the era.
I’m talking about the Fairlane, which by 1968 morphed into a more aggressive midsize powered by potent V8 engines. The lineup even included a beefed-up two-door hardtop aimed at the Chevrolet Chevelle SS. But there’s also the Ford Torino, which debuted in 1968 as an upper-trim version of the Fairlane.
Just like the Mustang, the Torino got a GT package that added a V8 engine as standard. The base 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) mill wasn’t particularly enticing at 210 horsepower, but customers had access to notably more powerful options. The 390-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) V8 came with 265 horses on tap, while the “Thunderbird Special” version of the same mill delivered 314 horsepower.
The engine lineup was topped by the iconic 428-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Cobra Jet V8, rated at 335 horsepower. This mill became standard in the Cobra version in 1969, when Ford also added the drag-oriented Super Cobra Jet lump to the options list. 1969 also saw the arrival of the NASCAR-spec Torino Talladega, but that’s a different story for another time.
The Torino was incredibly successful in its first year on the market, moving 172,000 units, almost as much as the Fairlane. A little more than 100,000 units were high-performance Torino GT cars. The newly-introduced, Mustang-inspired fastback body style was arguably the most popular, being selected by 74,135 customers. All told the 1968 Torino GT fastback is quite the common classic nowadays, but this black-on-red example is a special kind of Torino you don’t get to see often.
No, it’s not the red-striped black exterior or the red upholstery that makes it rare. It’s not the drivetrain either because this Torino GT packs a rather common 390-cubic-inch V8. This fastback is an all-original and unmolested survivor that still boasts all the features it got from the factory. And I’m talking about a muscle car that left the assembly line 55 years ago as of 2023. Is that amazing, or what?
The black paint is probably the most remarkable feat of this car. While it shows a few dings and swirls here and there, the color is in unbelievable condition for a coating that’s been applied more than five decades ago. The same goes for the red stripes that adorn the beltline and center areas of the doors and front fenders. While the exterior shows a bit of weathering, the interior is downright flawless, with no cracks in the upholstery and the dashboard and a red finish that still shines.
Of course, the 390 V8 under the hood is a numbers-matching unit and mates with the original automatic transmission. And not only does the engine sound fantastic, but the car drives like it just left the shop after a complete restoration. By the way, the odometer shows only 42,000 miles (67,592 km). This 1968 Torino GT is a textbook example of how we should maintain classic cars. Check it out in the video below.