(first posted 3/7/2013) Despite a massive snowstorm on Tuesday, last week was most excellent for me. Long story short, I had been out of work for approximately a month, but through a mutual friend I was able to interview for a full-time accounting position at a local company. Last Thursday morning I arrived in my one-and-only suit, and a few hours later they called and offered me the job. I was very happy, to say the least! Just after I left a message accepting the job, I started the car and prepared to drive away from the mall, where I’d been browsing at a bookstore–and what did I see? This rather clean mid-size 1970 Ford, parked at a restaurant–in February, in the Midwest! Highly unlikely. But is this really a Torino?
Despite the lack of Falcon scripts on the rear quarters, I believe it to be a 1970½ Falcon, of which 30,445 sedans were built. To my surprise, the Falcon sedan actually outsold the mid-line Fairlane 500, which sold 25,780 copies, as well as the Torino sedan, which sold 30,117.
The ’70½ was a bargain-basement Torino whose function was filling the gap left when the 1966-70 Falcon ended production on January 1, 1970. As noted in the recent Maverick post, Federal regulations requiring a steering column-mounted ignition switch were taking effect, and so the compact 1970 Falcon, with its dash-mounted switch, had to be discontinued after December 31, 1969.
The Torino-based unit was ushered in to finish out the year but did not return for ’71. So, why do I think it’s a Falcon? For starters, it appears that the next-lowest variant, the Fairlane 500 sedan, got chrome-trimmed door frames that are conspicuously absent from our red example.
Also, please note that in the brochure shot further up that while the Falcon had no grille ornament, the 500 wore a red, black and chrome Ford shield. Unfortunately, our CC is missing its grille; I’m wondering if it’s in the trunk, as it appears the owner might have removed it in order to block off the radiator with cardboard.
Whoever ordered this one must have wanted a sharp ride on a budget, as the red paint, black vinyl top and Ford’s ultra-cool dog-dish hubcaps all make for an attractive four-door. I really thought this was a Torino the first time I saw it.
As a U.S. example, this one has “FORD MOTOR COMPANY” emblazoned on its hubcaps, unlike the “FORD FORD FORD” on our recent Brazilian Maverick GT. Also note the lack of wheel-opening moldings, standard on the Fairlane 500.
Furthermore, the basic black interior looks like a match to the ‘70.5 brochure picture. Unfortunately, the sole interior picture I took was slightly out of focus, so I can’t read the series badge above the glove box. Curses!
If that isn’t enough for you, here is a Fairlane 500 I spotted at a car show last year. As you can see, the upholstery is much nicer, and the Fairlane 500 plaques on this blue one are absent from our featured vehicle.
The 500 also got two chrome accents on each front fender. It is easier for me to believe that someone removed all the Falcon badges from this car (probably during a repaint) than wonder why, if it was indeed a Fairlane 500, someone would put in a taxicab interior and remove the Fairlane 500 scripts from the doors?
So, my educated guess is that this is a Falcon. While I can imagine many Falcon two-doors being saved over the years, I can also imagine that most sedans were unceremoniously driven into the ground (also true of 1968-72 Novas), which makes this find all the more remarkable. A new job, a good old-fashioned Midwestern snowstorm and a rare CC. What a week!