Before the new generation Torino came out in 1970, the Ford Dealers Association in Oregon got together with an idea to promote the new body style. The special Torino would be unique to the Northwest, and 601 were to be produced.
Available in three colors, this one is Pacific Blue with a black hood, dual chrome hood-lock pins, dual racing mirrors, rocker panel racing stripes and argent-styled wheels.
Of the 395 Type N/W models made, only five are 429s and only one is a 429 Cobra Jet. This is the car. Chrome Super Stock wheels and radials were added (original wheels and covers go with car). The only other change was to the rear differential. The 3.01 ratio was replaced with a 3.70 gear locker. All of the original tags are still located on the engine, transmission and rear differential. Numbers matching.
Only 12 Torinos were built with non-Ram Air Cobra Jet engines. It comes with a cool recent photo of the original owner and salesman with the car parked in front of the still-operating Ford dealership.
|Vehicle:||1970 Ford Torino 429 CJ Type N/W|
|Years Produced:||1970 (Type N/W)|
|Number Produced:||395 (Type N/W)|
|Original List Price:||$3,560|
|Tune Up Cost:||$250|
|Chassis Number Location:||Plate on driver’s side dashboard, tag on driver’s side door.|
|Engine Number Location:||D0VE or D1VE engineering code on block, partial VIN stamped below driver’s side cylinder head on block. Actual casting date is on lifter valley.|
|Club Info:||Fairlane Club of America.|
|Alternatives:||1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440 6, 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30, 1967 Pontiac GTO Ram Air|
This car, Lot 678, sold for $66,000, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction on September 28, 2013.
The Ford Torino underwent a major restyle in the spring of 1967 under stylist Bill Shenk, Ford’s youngest senior designer at the time. Shenk was supposed to create a 1970 Montego body as a backup for executives to consider during the usual in-house styling competition. He’d been told that Mercury already had their contender ready. Left to his own devices, Shenk broke a rule and used red instead of the standard Silver Di Noc to cover his clay body, which made his design stand out during the review process. Lee Iacocca liked Shenk’s design so much that he stole it from Mercury to be the next Ford Torino. Fairlane had been Iacocca’s baby, and he liked the aggressive lines of Shenk’s new design.
A special Torino
Regional promo cars are one way automakers juice sales in springtime. When the Oregon Ford Dealers Association saw the new Torino, they got excited and decided to repeat the “California Special” magic that had worked so well for the Mustang. With that, the Torino Type NorthWest (N/W) was born.
Every Type N/W came with matte black hood and locking pins, body-color sports mirrors, argent-styled road wheels with trim rings, Wide Oval tires, and rocker panel graphics with “Type N/W” on the rear quarter panel. It was a package car to some degree. Only three colors were offered: Pacific Blue, Washington Green and Oregon Orange. These were Grabber colors with special names.
Only 395 of these cars were built. Looking at some of the production breakdowns reveals a microcosm of the Ford Torino owner circa 1970. Most buyers were interested in comfort and luxury, not tire-frying power. Of the 395 Type N/W models sold, five were 429 powered and only one was a Cobra Jet. Fifteen had the optional 351 4-barrel engine and the other 374 were fitted with standard 302 engines. The paint color distribution repeats the story, with 177 of the Type N/W Torinos sold in Pacific Blue, 142 in Washington Green and only 76 in florid Oregon Orange. Most cars had black vinyl upholstery with bench seats.
The Cobra Jet was highly venomous, with ratings of 370 horsepower at 5,400 rpm, while the Super Cobra Jet had “just” 375 horsepower. Those figures were pure fiction. Ford fudged the ratings to gain favorable ratings for drag racing and insurance premiums.
Ordering the Drag Pack option with your Torino upgraded it to SCJ status. That added a 3/8-inch fuel line, Holley carburetor, four bolt main bearings with heavy-duty rod caps and forged pistons, engine oil cooler, and a solid-lifter camshaft. Strangely, the $155 upgrade didn’t warrant a separate engine code in the VIN. The only way to tell is to check your axle code for a 3.91 or 4.30 ratio. A Drag Pack Torino could be either a C- or J-code engine. The J code means your Cobra Jet had a shaker air scoop.
Road tests from the era reveal 13.99-second ETs at 101 mph — that meant the SCJ was capable of mixing it up with 4-speed Six Pack Chargers, W30 442s, and 1967 GTO Ram Airs. With better tires and refinements, they run faster at the drag races today.
Still a bargain buy?
In today’s market, the Torino is an affordable buy compared with its GM or Mopar rivals. Although Torino Cobras have appeared on countless bargain muscle-car lists, they don’t draw auction heat the way Mach 1 CJs, Six Pack Mopars, or Ram Air GTOs do. But this strong sale could be a signal that bargain-basement days are over for Torino Cobra Jets.
Torino enthusiasts are detail-oriented and dedicated to restoring these cars to show-condition. That’s tough, as reproduction parts supply is weak for Torinos, and Cobra Jet parts are scarce and expensive. For all Torinos from this era, bodywork often means using donor cars. Generally, restoring one is hard work compared with a GM or Mopar, and doing so gives little financial payoff — at least until recently.
The Torino CJ sales record is one of steady, increasing growth over the past five years. The few cars I found that sold ranged from $25,000 to $73,700 for a Super Cobra Jet — and that car came with a bench seat and column-shift automatic, no less. More revealing is the number of no-sales of high-quality restored 429 Cobras. Clearly, owners know what these cars are worth compared to similar makes, and in a lot of cases, they’re holding out for better offers.
Looking at the big picture, it seems that experienced enthusiasts are filling up their collections with less-common examples of high-performance muscle cars, and they’re choosing the best examples they can find. Likewise, new buyers are finding deals by choosing a no-questions, numbers-matching big-block Ford instead of opting for a more popular GM or Mopar with a dubious past.
The new owner of this car not only got a 4-speed Torino Cobra Jet with Marti documentation and a fresh rebuilt numbers-matching driveline, he also got the only one made as a Type N/W. With that in mind, this was a smart purchase with a lot of potential. Both buyer and seller should both be happy here.
(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.