MotorCities National Heritage Area
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By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 11.9.2022

1969 Fairlane Torino GT Fastback styling Ford Motor Company Archives 21969 Fairlane Torino GT Fastback styling (Ford Motor Company Archives)

In 1968, Ford Motor Company introduced the all-new Torino models, including the Torino and Torino GT. For the 1969 model year, the price point for a new Torino was $2,749.

One of the most popular Torino models introduced for the 1969 model year was the Fairlane Torino GT, a two-door sports hardtop priced at $2,825. This was Torino’s top of the line model.

1969 Ford Fairlane GT 2 door Ford Motor Company Archives 11969 Ford Fairlane GT 2 door (Ford Motor Company Archives)

For 1969, the Torino models were largely unchanged, except for the two new entrants of the fastback design and hardtop Cobra models. These models were introduced with Carroll Shelby’s muscular sports car pedigree. The Torino line and its three GT models offered the popular 302 V-8 engine with a 390 as an option.

1969 Ford Torino advertising Robert Tate Collection RESIZED 31969 Ford Torino advertising (Robert Tate Collection)

Many automotive historians have said that the Torino Cobra muscle car was made to compete with the popular Plymouth Road Runner introduced by Chrysler in 1968. Historians also said that the Torino Cobra proved to be one of the fastest Ford models on the race track and the dragstrip during the 1960s.

1969 Ford Torino Cobra Strikes ad Robert Tate Collection 41969 Ford Torino Cobra Strikes ad (Robert Tate Collection)

Ford produced 61,319 of the Torino GT fastback models. The Cobra model had a base price of $3,490. Regarding options, bucket seats were made available for Torino models, along with a great looking interior console interior, for 1969.

1969 Ford Talladega Performance catalog Robert Tate Collection 51969 Ford Talladega Performance catalog (Robert Tate Collection)

Another Ford introduced for the 1969 model year was the Torino Talladega, a part of the Fairlane intermediate. Some automotive historians have said that these models were identical in style and look to the 1969 Mercury Cyclone fastback models. The Talladega nameplate came from a town in Alabama. These models offered a sloped nose and flush grille design that many automotive racing fans admired. They also became a big part of the racing community, including the #98 Ford Torino Talladega sponsored by Jim Robbins for NASCAR driver Leeroy Yarbrough. All the Ford Torino GT models were fastback designs, and the public really enjoyed their performance on the race tracks. The 1969 Torino Cobra sports roof shared similar lines with the Talladega models. AIso, the Fairlane Torino Talladega models featured a special hood design with a functional air-scoop.

1969 Torino Talladega racing car advertising card Robert Tate Collection RESIZED 61969 Torino Talladega racing car (Robert Tate Collection)

In 1969, Ford introduced a great looking advertising campaign to represent the new Torino models. In January 1969, Ford’s Atlanta assembly plant manufactured a run of 500 special fastback Torino models offering a slightly aerodynamic nose design developed by Holman Moody. Ford wanted a more competitive package for the 1969 NASCAR Grand National season, and some automotive magazines called the 1969 Torino models “potent racing machines.”

1969 Torino racing car 43 information Robert Tate Collection RESIZED 71969 Torino racing car 43 information (Robert Tate Collection)

In conclusion, some automotive historians have said that the 1969 Ford Torino models were among the best designed and engineered vehicles of the era, but others disagree. The 1969 Torino GT fastback and Torino Cobra models were great looking designs and proved to be popular vehicles. The Torino GT was relatively unchanged from the 1968 model lineup, and the number of units produced by Ford increased during the 1969 model year.

1969 Torino drag racer 81969 Torino drag racer

Bibliography

Dammann, George H. “Illustrated History of Ford.” Crestline Publishing, 1970.

Kowalke, Ron. “American Muscle Cars a Super Source Book 1960-1995.“ Krause Publications, 1996.

Langworth, Richard M. “Encyclopedia of American Cars 1930-1980.” By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, 1984.