Monday, March 31, 2014

15k: Notta SportsRoof: 1971 Ford Torino 500 Hardtop

The Ford Torino was available in 1971 as a 2-door or 4-door hardtop, 2-door fastback (sportsroof), 2-door convertible, 4-door sedan or 4-door station wagon.  The 2-door hardtop and fastback (sportsroof) versions are very close in appearance since the rear roofline isn't as exaggerated as in the Mustang, but the rear 1/4 window and fastback flying buttress is different.  Find this 1971 Ford Torino 500 Hardtop incorrectly called a fastback, currently bidding for $13,900 on ebay with a few hours to go, located in Palm Desert, CA.

This big green hardtop isn't a bad looking example of the Torino breed and by 1971 the coupe version was easily confused with the fastback. This one is covered in a nice shade of metallic green and features a custom yellow/black side stripe that works surprisingly well.

The original 302 cubic inch (5.0 liter) Ford V8 has been rebuilt and hopefully massaged to release some of the hidden horsepower.  It is attached to a 3-speed auto, so this one is a cruiser and thankfully has working AC.

The interior color can be described as "You Can't Do That On Television" green slime, but combines a column shifter and front bench seat to give you 6 passenger comfort.  It won't get the fuel economy of a Mazda5, but it'll certainly do a better job at burnouts and getting thumbs-up from random folks.

See a better way to cruise around and pretend that gas is 35 cents a gallon?


  1. Nothing of consequence to add, except don't be fooled by the blue plate - the tag number (6CCZ360) denotes this as an ordinary CA "white" plate car from 2007-2008 time frame that someone went online and purchased unofficial blue plates for, or the owner received them through some special CA DMV program that I don't really want to take the time to learn about. That being said, being a 1971, this car does not qualify for the Year of Manufacture program.

    Legit blue plates were 6 alpha numeric characters up until the very end of the "blue plate" era, when they changed (1980-82) to 7 digits, beginning with a 1.

    Either way, this car may have had blue plates when new, but more than likely they weren't the plates its currently wearing.

    1. Good catch RyanM, thanks for pointing out this blue plate tomfoolery. This fake blue plate (albeit with an allegedly real sequence) is technically illegal to run on a street driven car; any non-DMV-issued knockoff plate is verboten in CA.

      The special CA DMV program you're thinking of hasn't been enacted yet, but it will allow anyone to buy a retro yellow, black, or blue CA plate and apply it to any vehicle, with any reasonable sequence. The new "Legacy" plates won't look identical to the old ones they are supposed to emulate - e.g. they will be reflectorized aluminum instead of single-stage painted steel. Until the end of 2014, DMV is still taking pre-orders for the new plates. They won't kick off the program for reals until they've got 7500 people plunking down $50 deposit for each new plate - what a nice way to raise the $375k capital investment that they must need to start making these!

    2. Amending my previous comment, I just noticed that the DMV's Legacy plate site shows live counters for the number of pre-orders they've taken. As of today it looks like they've got 9419 orders total for the various plate styles, so presumably the program is a "go."

      And hey, bonus - great job DMV - you figured out a way to raise $471k in cash without actually providing any real product or service (yet).

    3. CFlo - the site you linked indicates they need 7500 orders for "any one" of the 3 plate styles before they make it a "go." Right now the CA "black" plate is only about 1000 away from going live.

      I've seen quite a few of the 356 replica crowd rocking modern registration numbers on faux old style plates.

      I didn't know this is illegal, but now that I do... I'll be sure to piss in their cheerios next Early Rodders / Cars & Coffee I attend.

      I have known folks here who kept one plate between the dozen or so cars they've owned since the early 80's. Example: My friend who has a 2012 Mercedes is currently wearing a blue plate circa 1981, the year he was born. His parents handed it down, it has his name on it. He's had this exact plate on probably 10 cars.

      Unfortunately, I don't think this car is one of those examples.

      Not to take away from the fact that it is a beautifully done car (but perhaps to deflate the seller's gusto a bit), one not very often seen in the wild.

      This issue is like the mole on Cindy Crawford's face. Some people think its hot, some don't even notice it, still others... moley moley moley MOLE. Unfortunately, I'm in the latter crowd.

      Now you can see why I'm so much fun at parties. /sarcasm.

    4. Ah ha, thanks for clarifying. I must have skimmed over that bit of text about the minimum orders. Looks like they need less than 1000 more pre-orders for the black plates, and there are 9 months left on the clock. Should be doable I would think.

      I just did some further research, and running a fake plate can actually be a felony! It's covered under CA Vehicle Code 4463. I think the law is mainly directed towards running fake or false registration stickers, but fake plates are also covered.

    5. I'm not sure if anyone else finds this type of minutiae interesting, but this Torino looks to be wearing repainted genuine plates. In this shot from the auction listing it looks like the CALIFORNIA lettering is not embossed, as it would be on a genuine older plate or new fake. The current white plates have the California script printed on the surface so it would be possible to just paint a new plate this way.

      Seller's blue plate pic

    6. BTW - CA has had the YOM (year of manufacture) black plate program around for a few years, that for a small fee allowed you to put a vintage CA black plate (or yellow) back on your 69 or earlier ride. To do it you need two parts, a "base plate" 63-69 for instance, and a year reg sticker that corresponds to the ACTUAL year of your ride. Unfortunately this drove the price of a set of black plates to $250 minimum and then another $50 for a sticker (as of a year ago) and the DMV saw an opportunity to sell replica CA black/blue plates at $50 a pop. For all that we complain about a trip to the DMV being a glimpse at purgatory, this is a program created for OCD enthusiasts and car nuts - so good for them!

      EIC Vince

    7. Dang CFlo, I must not have scrolled through the pictures far enough... its a "genuine" blue-painted modern CA plate. Truth in advertising, I guess? Wonder where this sits on the scales of justice?

      And yes, I'm totally into all of this minutiae. Probably the only (other) one here.

    8. Nope, make that at least two of us.. Shall we now dissect the origins of that OEM appearing stripe on the side of the car that was usually on Torino GTs? Didn't know those were being reproduced but it looks good on this car.

  2. A buddy of mine had one of these when we where both stationed @Fort Lewis Wa. always like this year well bought !


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