For the 1971 model year, Ford limited changes to its intermediate line to minor revisions. The biggest change for 1971 was the decision to drop the Fairlane name from the intermediate line-up all together; the Falcon name would also not return for 1971. The Torino line-up consisted of 14 models. The base model was now the "Torino", available as a 2-door hardtop, 4-door sedan and 4-door station wagon. Next was the mid-level "Torino 500", available as a 2-door hardtop and SportsRoof, 4-door sedan and hardtop and a 4-dr station wagon. The top of the line Torino remained the "Torino Brougham", available as a 2-door and 4-door hardtop, while the "Torino Squire" remained the station wagon equivalent to the Brougham. The "Torino GT" was offered as a 2-door SportsRoof and convertible, while the "Torino Cobra" was still only available as a 2-door SportsRoof.
The styling was mostly unchanged for the 1971 models, save for minor revisions to trim and the grilles. The grilles on the 1971 Torinos now were divided by a vertical division in the centre of the grille for all models except the Cobra. The Cobra continued to use the same grille as used in 1970. A revised emblem was located on the vertical divider on the grille for all Torinos except the Cobra. The Torino 500, Brougham, Squire wagon and GT models had the Hideaway headlamp option available, which included a unique grille with a less prominent divider bar.
The engine line-up remained identical to the 1970 model year, with most models featuring the 250 CID I-6 as standard. Broughams, Squires and GTs continued to have the 302-2V as standard, while the Cobra was downgraded to a 351-4V as its standard engine. All engines, other than the 429s, saw a slight drop in compression, which also resulted in a drop in power ratings. High insurance rates for muscle cars, and increasing concerns for emission controls were likely the reason for Ford's changes to its engines. Other manufactures were following suit, including Torino's main competitor Chevrolet's Chevelle, which featured lower compression on all of its 1971 engines, while SS models had the 350 CID 2-barrel as its standard engine. Ram Air induction remained an option on the 351-4V, 429 CJ, and the 429 SCJ.
The Torino Brougham continued to be Torino's luxury oriented model. This model included Brougham ornamentation, additional trim, full wheel covers, additional sound proofing, and cloth trim. Hideaway headlamps were no longer standard, but remained an option for Brougham models. Motor Trend tested a 1971 Torino Brougham 4-door and stated "The cushioning and support was excellent. ..the upholstery was magnificent." The GT remained the sporty Torino and included dual colour keyed racing mirrors, GT identification, a non-functional hood scoop, hub caps and trim, rings, chrome trim on the foot pedals, full width taillights with the honeycomb effect, and E70-14 tires (F70-14 on convertibles).
The Torino Cobra included a 351-4V rated at 285 hp (213 kW), a 4-speed manual with a Hurst shifter, F70-14 tires Cobra emblems, competition suspension, hub caps, and a blacked out grille. A new option for Cobra models was the reflective laser stripe, which also remained an option for GT models. Although the high-performance 429 Cobra Jets were still rated at the same power as the 1970 models, Super Stock and Drag Illustrated had disappointing results from its test of a 1971 Torino Cobra. They tested a Cobra equipped with the 370 hp (280 kW) 429 CJ, C-6 automatic, 3.50:1 gears, and were only able to turn a best quarter mile time of about 15 seconds at 97 mph (156 km/h). The article states "this car would really respond to a good ignition system, a better intake manifold, a larger carburetor and a set of headers." Cars magazine had better luck with their test of a 1971 Torino Cobra equipped with the Ram Air 370 hp (280 kW) 429 CJ, C-6 automatic, and 3:50:1 gears. They went through the quarter mile in 14.5 seconds at 102 mph (164 km/h) in the 4,100 lb (1,900 kg) Torino. The former time was obtained after the Cars staff did some "proper tuning."
Production for 1971 was 326,463 units, slightly lower than 1970 Ford intermediate production. Only 1,613 Torino GT Convertibles and 3,054 Torino Cobras were produced for 1971.
Source: Wikipedia, 2012