Before I say another word, I’d like to offer a caveat. In 1971 (and 1972, for that matter), I was a decision yet to be made by my parents; however, if I were a mobile member of the intermediate-car buying club in either of those years, I probably would have been shopping BOP or Plymouth/Dodge. There is, however, something very appealing about a laser-striped Torino.
In his fascinating book titled Muscle Car Confidential: Confessions of a Muscle Car Test Driver, Joe Oldham claimed that the stripes on the ’71 Torino GT were about two years behind the times. Cars were becoming more subdued, softer, more conservative. From my 43-years-after perspective, the stripes make the car. As many of us know, the ’71 Torino was the last model on the old, familar Ford unibody structure, and the Sportsroof model was “shaped by the wind,” according to the advertising. Of course, NASCAR pilots found that to be, as Roger Thornhill might have said in North by Northwest, “expedient exaggeration.”
In 1972, Ford completely redesigned the Torino, and replaced the GT and Cobra models with this Gran Torino Sport Sportsroof, which had more in common with the full-sized Fords than the compacts. Of all the ’72-’76 Torinos, this specific model arguably works the best aesthetically, if one can get used to its passing resemblance to a catfish.
The ’72 Sport has enjoyed a cultural resurgence as of late, thanks to Hollywood, as green ’72s played prominent roles in the movies Gran Torino and Fast and Furious. Movie producers and directors seem to prefer the ’72, but who cares what they think? How do you prefer your laser stripes: on a ’71 or ’72 Torino?