Ford Torino

The most obvious change for the 1973 model saw was a new front fascia, required to meet new federal regulations. The new regulation mandated that all cars manufactured after September 1, 1972 must be able to take a 5 mph (8.0 km/h) strike to the front without damaging safety related components such as headlamps and the fuel system. For 1973 only, rear bumpers had a 2.5 mph (4.0 km/h) requirement. The Torino's front end featured totally new sheetmetal from the firewall forward, with a blunt, more squared-off fascia replacing the previous year's pointed prow. The new large square 5 mph (8.0 km/h) energy absorbing bumper replaced the almost body-fitting chrome bumper used on the front of the 1972 Torino. The new larger bumpers caused all Torino models to increase in length by at least 1", and weight also increased by at least 100 lb (45 kg) for all models.

Separate grille designs were still maintained for Torino and Gran Torino models; they mimicked the '72s in design. The Gran Torino now had a more rectangular grill with the parking lamps horizontally placed in the grille, but the quad headlights were still surrounded with a chrome bezel. The Torino models had a wider full width grill that surrounded the headlamps; however, the parking lamps were located on the outer edge of the fascia. The leading edge of the hood was now squared off to follow the fascia's lines, and all models shared the same hood. The 1973 Torino maintained the rear bumper of the 1972 Torino, and incorporated minor changes to meet the 2.5 mph (4.0 km/h) mandate. Rear bumpers now featured an impact strip and bumper guards.

The model line-up for 1973 increased to 11 from the 9 models in 1972. The new top level Torino was the "Gran Torino Brougham", available as a 2-door hardtop and a 4-door sedan. All other models remained the same. Bench seats for 1973 now featured low backs with separate head rests to increase rear visibility. The high back bucket seats were still available on the two-door models. The hood release was moved to inside, for increased security. Radial tires were also a new option, and offered longer tread life and better road manners. The standard engine remained as the 250 CID I-6 for all models, except the station wagons and Sport which used the 302-2V. Engine options also remained the same, and all engines now had their compression ratio dropped to 8.0:1. Power for all engines was slightly lower than in 1972. The 351 CJ continued to be the only high-performance engine and only saw a 2 hp (1.5 kW) drop from 1972, although performance decreased again due to the weight increase. Police package Torinos had all the engine options of the civilian models while the "Interceptor" package featured a 460-4V new for 1973. All models featured larger 11-inch (279 mm) rear drum brakes for 1973 to help cope with the extra weight; 1972 models used 10-inch (254 mm) drums.

The Gran Torino Sport now featured its own unique emblem, which it displayed in the grille and on the trunk lock cover. The laser strip was still an option but was revised to a slightly different shape, and ran higher along on the body side. The Sport no longer featured a hood scoop, and the Ram Air induction option was also gone. Other than the above changes, the Sport was unchanged from the 1972 model year, and continued to be offered as a 2-door hardtop and 2-door SportsRoof. In the Car and Driver magazine road test of a 1973 Gran Torino Sport, the suspension received high marks for comfort and handling. Car and Driver wrote that the Torino was as "..quiet as a Jaguar, smooth as a Continental, the Torino's ride is exceptional...even with the competition suspension." Their test of a SportsRoof equipped with the 351 CJ, C-6 automatic, and 3.25:1 gears, resulted in a 0 - 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 7.7 seconds while the quarter mile went by in 16.0 seconds at 88.1 mph (141.8 km/h). The 0-60 time was 0.9 seconds slower than the 1972 model Car and Driver tested a year before; however, this can partially be attributed to differences in gear ratio, transmission type, and a weight increase. The 1973 Sport had a test weight of 4,308 lb (1,954 kg), while the 1972 had a test weight of 3,966 lb (1,799 kg)(an almost 350 lb (160 kg)increase). Performance was certainly no longer at the "Super Car" level, but still was respectable. For comparison, in a Motor Trend test of a 1970 Torino 2-door equipped with a 351-4V, Cruise-O-Matic, and 3.00:1 gears, they recorded a 0 - 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 8.7 seconds, and a quarter mile time of 16.5 seconds at 86 mph (138 km/h). However, the high compression 1970 motor required premium fuel, while the low compression 1973 motor could run on regular.

The Gran Torino Brougham featured the finest upholsteries in the Torino line-up, including nylon cloth fabrics and "leather like" vinyl. Standard equipment included a front bench seat with a fold down armrest, woodgrained trim on the instrument panel, deluxe steering wheel, electric clock, bright pedal pad trim, and a dual note horn. The Squire wagon was trimmed similarly to the Brougham.

1973 was another successful year for the Torino, with 496,581 units being sold. The public continued to respond well to the Torino, even with the stiff competition from GM's new for 1973 "Colonnade" intermediates. Torino in fact outsold its main competitor, the Chevrolet Chevelle, by over 168,000 units.

Source: Wikipedia, 2012

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