Rare 1970 Ford Torino GT Has It All: 429 V8, Ram Air, Four-Speed, and a Droptop

1970 was a turning point for Ford and the rest of Detroit after the horsepower wars hit an all-time high, with every carmaker putting out at least one big gun to add havoc to the cannonade. It was the last year for the Boss Nine and its smaller 302-armed brother, but the Blue Oval had other weapons of mass attraction available. The Torino was one of them – especially when fitted with the 429 V8.

The Torino debuted as a trim level for the Fairlane in 1968. In 1970, the two monikers castled: the Torino was the family, and the Fairlane assumed entry-level sub-model duties. On the opposite end of the spectrum lay the Cobra, the muscle-bound offer that put down 429 cubic inches (7.0 liters) of raw power as standard.

The big-block engine came in three states of tune: the ‘regular’ 429 with 360 hp and 480 lb-ft (365 PS, 651 Nm), and its two Cobra derivatives – the standard and the Cobra Jet Ram Air. Both offered 370 hp and 450 lb-ft (375 PS, 610 Nm) despite the latter’s fresh air hood scoop.

The Torino Cobra automobile and the 429 Cobra V8 engine weren’t exclusively related. The engine was also available in other Torinos, like the GT, essentially a more luxurious alternative to the bare-bones performance (read ‘austere optioned’) Cobra.

Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile

 

Strangely, the fun-intended Cobra sold way under its GT cousin – and it wasn’t the two body styles available for the GT that made the difference. Production numbers don’t leave room for interpretation: the Cobra moved 7,675 units in 1970, while the GT upped that number eightfold. The fastback was the preferred variant (56,819), while the droptop accounted for 3,939 examples. (the Cobra was offered only in Sportsroof guise – that’s Fordese for fastback).

The convertibles are the rarest Torinos of 1970, but even among those elusive GTs, there are unicorns. Most came with a small-block eight-cylinder powerplant (the standard 302-cube/4.9-liter or the 351-CID/5.8-liter). Only 64 units were fitted with a 429: 37 were automatics, and the remaining 27 were the fun ones, with three pedals and a floor stick to mesh through the gears.

Allegedly, ten of those 27 were purpose-built as drag cars – or so the man in the video below says. He also owns one of those rare 429 four-speeds with a ragtop, a vehicle he was lucky enough to buy from the original owner’s family. The car changed hands in 2019 and then underwent a complex restoration procedure. It came out on the other end looking as stunning as it did fresh out of the assembly line.

Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile

 

Fun fact: the owner opted for a Torino GT convertible because a Mustang was ‘too small for his size.’ This one-in-few muscle car has the 3.50 rear axle, so it’s not one of the unicornian Drag-Pack-equipped cars with a 3.91 or a 4.30 gearing. Critically, the package also put the ‘Super’ on the 429 V8, making it a Super Cobra Jet with solid lifters, four-bolt mains, a 780 CFM Holley four-barrel carburetor, forged piston and an oil cooling system.

However, advertised power gains were minor – only five hp over the 370 of the CJ Ram Air that we can hear in the video below (courtesy of Lou Costabile) during the 2023 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals. Still, even without the go-faster tweaks, this 1970 Ford Torino GT convertible is one cool muscle car, and those hideaway headlights working in sync are just the cherry on top.

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