1972 Gran Torino: coke bottle movie star

The Ford Gran Torino takes its name from the Italian city of “Turin”, the famed center of the Italian automotive industry. Stateside, the Ford Gran Torino holds the same cult status as the Firebird and Mustang.

1972 Gran Torino review

The iconic 1972 Ford Torino simply stands alone among other classic cars of its time. Instantly recognizable by its chrome detailed headlights and an oval grille, the 72 Torino is known for its coke-bottle styling. Journalist Tom McCahill penned: “the gaping grille looks a little like it was patterned after Namu, the killer whale,” but adding the Torino had “kind of pleasing, no-nonsense styling.”

1972 Ford Gran Torino ad

Visually, the 1972 Ford Gran Torino can be distinguished by its oval grille and chrome bezels around the headlights. The windshield tilt was increased to a faster 60-degree angle, while the A-pillars and roof were thinner. Despite these changes, structural integrity remained the same as earlier models. Besides being available in the coupe, called “the fastback” by ford, The Gran Torino was available as a hardtop sedan body type (frameless door glass with a very thin pillar), and station wagon (The Torino Squire).

The Gran Torino new model presentation reduced the number of models from 14 in 1971 to 9 in 1972. The convertible and four-door hardtops were discontinued but all other body styles remained. The four-door hardtops and sedans were replaced with 4-door “pillared hardtops.”

Of course, the coupe looks more attractive. This car can be compared to a pleasure boat. Seeming especially unusual to drivers today is the wide oval grille and the double circular headlights on each side of the grille with chrome bezels.

1972 Ford Gran Torino review

The hood of the car has a dual air intake which helps cooling under the hood. Front and rear bumpers are made of durable, chrome-plated metal. Given the fact that most of the nearly 500,000 Ford Gran Torinos produced still have their chrome in excellent condition today, is a sign that the original quality of production and assembly was quite high.

1972 Gran Torino brochure

The car rarely appeared painted in one color. Stripes were typically added to the side panels which visually lengthened the car, making it look more streamlined. From the rear, the 1972 Gran Torino looks quite massive; a rare case where this feature suits a car.

1972 Ford Gran Torino interior

Designers made slight updates to the interior of the Ford Torino 1972 compared to the previous model. The new dashboard was made completely of plastic. The standard instrument cluster consisted of five round pods of the same size — a speedometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, and various warning lights. On the left was an opening for the “DirectAire” ventilation system. A clock was an added option.

1972 Ford Gran Torino interior

The “Instrumentation Group” package installed on the V8 model consisted of two round sensors – a speedometer with an odometer and a tachometer. The ammeter, fuel level and temperature sensors, and control lights were located in the center of the dashboard. The seats were also new, the standard front bench seat changed to a high back integrated headrest for the front seat positions, but high back bucket seats remained an option on 2-door models. As in the previous versions, the comfort weave was upholstered.

1972 Gran Torino dimensions

Wheelbase: 116 in
Length: 201 in
Width: 74.6 in

1972 Ford Gran Torino dimensions

1972 Ford Gran Torino specifications

The biggest change for the Torino was the switch to a body-on-chassis construction. The new chassis was designed to help give the Torino a quieter and more isolated ride. The front suspension used a computer system that stabilized the springs on the racks, similar to that of Ford LTD. The rear used a four link suspension, which Ford called “Stabul” mounted on a solid axle. The wheel track increased by at least 2 in (51 mm) over 1971 models. Motor Trend stated the “road isolation and vibrational dampening is superb” in its test of a 1972 Gran Torino Brougham 4-door. Ford offered two suspension options, a heavy-duty and competition suspension. Front disc brakes were standard equipment on all Torinos, which no other American car of this class (other than its sister car the Mercury Montego) offered in 1972.

Another significant change was the use of separate wheelbases for 2-doors and 4-doors. Starting in 1968, GM had begun to use a shorter wheelbase for its 2-door vehicles, and a longer one for the 4-doors. This made it more convenient when trying to turn a 2-door into a 4-door. Chrysler also followed suit in 1971. The wheelbase of 2-door cars in 1972 was 2896 mm, 4-door, as well as vans and Ranchero were 2997 mm. Like other middle-class GM cars, the 2-way and 4-door Torino have many common components like the Increased weight and size of the cars – by 127 mm on a 4-door and 25 mm for a 2-door.

1972 Gran Torino specs

An inline 6-cylinder engine with a 4.1L displacement was installed on less powerful versions of the Gran Torino. The engine has a compression ratio of 8.0: 1; this engine provides a torque of 181 ft lb, which is comparable with BMW engines from the 90s. However, it wasn’t enough for the Torino. Like many other American muscle cars, The Torino has a long main couple with a gear ratio – 3.0: 1. The 4.1L displacement is due to a 93.5mm bore and 99.3mm stroke. You can’t call it a muscle car without a huge V8 engine. Therefore, it was more common for 1972 Ford Gran Torino to have a 351 V8 CJ-4V 5.8L engine. This engine has an output of 248 HP and torque of 297 ft lb. These power characteristics make it possible to accelerate up to 60 in 6.8s. The most powerful of the V8s fitted to the Torino has a volume of 7.0L. – it was the iconic 428 cubic inch engine with 8 cylinders, producing up to 370 HP.

1972 Ford Gran Torino engine

The car was equipped with a 3 or 4 speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission.

Gran Torino car family

The Gran Torino Sport was offered in two body styles: A 2-door formal hardtop and a 2-door SportsRoof. Both models were equipped with a Ram Air system, twin color-keyed racing mirrors, molded plastic door panels, body-side and wheel lip moldings, and F70-14 tires (E70-14 on hardtop models). A new body length laser stripe was an option for Torino 2-door models. The Torino Sport came with Instrumentation Group, independent suspension, G70-14 tires, and a Hurst shifter. The competition suspension was highly regarded by Tom McCahill of Mechanix illustrated, as well as Motor Trend and Car and Driver as being less harsh than past Torino performance suspensions, while still offering excellent handling.

Torino station wagons grew much larger in 1972. Length increased by 2 in (51 mm) for Torino models, and 6 in (152 mm) for Gran Torinos. Wheelbase was up by 4 in (102 mm), width increased by 3 in (76 mm), and weight increased significantly. An available back-facing third seat was available, increasing the wagon’s capacity from 6 to 8 passengers. All the station wagons used the 3-way “Magic Doorgate” featuring for the first time a tailgate that could be opened as a door with the rear window up. The Squire models came with a luggage rack and simulated woodgrain panels that were slightly translucent, allowing some of the paint tint to show through.

Torino wagons were often used to tow, but all Torino models could be equipped with one of two optional towing packages. A medium-duty trailer allowed towing up to 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) while a heavy duty package could tow up to 6,000 lb (2,700 kg). Both towing packages required an automatic transmission, power steering and brakes as mandatory options.

In general, in 1972, the Torino was a very successful and popular car among buyers. A total of 496,645 cars were produced, which made Torino the best-selling car in 1972. Although there was no Cobra in the model line, the new car was safer, more comfortable, quieter and better built than before. The automotive press rated the 1972 Torino well. In addition, the Consumer Guide awarded the car the title of “Best Buy” for 1972.

It was the 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport that was used to film the Gran Torino movie with Clint Eastwood in the title role.

1972 Ford Gran Torino images

1972 Ford Gran Torino
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Design
  • Collectibility
4.6

Summary

Beautifully designed and rare Ford muscle car – might be the gem of the collection for any muscle car enthusiast.