From the Dave’s Garage Car Collection. One of one, fully documented, ultra-rare car. Matching-numbers 429-ci CJ engine. Fully documented with Marti Report, invoice, two build sheets, original owner’s manual and warranty book. Only 241 Torinos were produced with the SCJ 429 engine with drag pack, and only one with this option combination. C-6 Cruise-O-Matic transmission, 3.91 Traction-Lok. Complete frame-up restoration, with excellent correct code white paint with correct red blazer stripe interior and laser stripe. Power steering, power disc brakes, tachometer, shaker hood, rear window louvers, original AM radio, dual rear speakers and dealer-installed air conditioning. Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in February of 1970. You may never see another one of these.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1970 Ford Torino GT 429 SCJ
Years Produced:1970
Number Produced:241 (SCJ 429 engine with drag pack)
Original List Price:$3,105 (Torino GT base price)
Tune Up Cost:$200
Chassis Number Location:Driver side dash,visible under windshield
Engine Number Location:Identification tag on driver side below ignition coil mount
Alternatives:1970 Mercury Cyclone CJ Coupe 1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 hard top 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T 440 hard top

This car, Lot 340.2, sold for $73,700, including buyer’s premium, at the Barrett-Jackson sale in Orange County, CA, on June 25, 2011.

The Ford Torino was Ford’s intermediate line of passenger cars built from 1968 through 1976, and they were designed to appeal to a mass audience. Your basic V8 Torino came out of the assembly plant with a 302-ci iron block sucking air through a two-barrel carburetor, and this was mated to a slush-box transmission. This is not exactly the top of the heap from a performance perspective. Still, you could have dropped lower on the totem pole and driven off the lot in a six-banger Fairlane, which was now relegated as a subseries to the Torino line.

Most Torinos — Montegos if you wanted a Mercury — left the factory as 4-door passenger cars, and they were destined to be forgotten soon after that “new car smell” dissipated from the cabin. Still, the Torino was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1970, mainly because of the variety of the model, which could range from a modest passenger car a luxury car or even a performance car.

Luckily for us die-hard performance fans, Ford was still in the chase for track dominance on the NASCAR ovals. While Dodge and Plymouth were eating up the tracks with their winged cars, Ford found itself playing catch-up. So, managers decided to beef up the modest Torino by offering a 2-door variant with the option for buyers to cram in a 428-ci engine — from 1968 to early 1970 — or the newly designed 429. This potent combination allowed Ford to stay in the game with the Torino as the NASCAR chassis of choice.

A 429 for every buyer

In 1970, the heavy-breathing 429 was offered up in three configurations: the 360-hp Thunder Jet, the hydraulic-lifter 370-hp Cobra Jet (CJ) and finally, the 375-hp Super Cobra Jet (SCJ).

The only way buyers could up the ante for the 429 SCJ was to check the box for the Drag Pack option. This gave performance-minded buyers a 429-ci engine with 4-bolt mains, solid lifter cam, forged pistons, big-mouth 780 CFM Holley carburetor and an engine oil cooler to help keep the beast from melting down on a hot pass. Buyers also received a 4.30:1 Detroit Locker or 3.91:1 Traction-Lok rear differential to keep all that power in check. The shaker hood was another option, as the SCJ was available with or without Ram Air induction.

The performance lineup for the Torino came in two different packages: the Torino Cobra or the Torino GT. The Torino Cobra was a bare-bones variant, as it was designed more for no-frills street performance while sacrificing some creature comforts. The GT was marketed toward more affluent buyers, as the option list was longer, with more trim and décor levels, while still offering up some pretty stout performance numbers. The GT with the 429 SCJ and Drag Pack running through the 3.91:1 gears hit the clock at just under 14 seconds in the quarter mile, which isn’t too shabby for a bloated, 3,700-pound 4-seater.

The original buyer obviously ordered our subject car for some formidable street action. The only missing items are bucket seats and a 4-speed tranny. The factory air conditioning was a trade-out for the C-6 transmission, as buyers could not get the 429 SCJ combined with a/c and a 4-speed on the floor. The overall combination certainly made a hot street package, and it offered up room for four and a trunk worthy of carrying more than a few bags of groceries.

Love ’em or hate ’em

The question of styling always comes into play whenever I talk with collectors about these cars. They are definitely love-them-or-hate-them propositions. Naturally, if you owned one back in the day, you probably still think they’re Ford’s answer to fun. But for others, myself included, we find ourselves pondering the styling, utilitarian interiors and pedestrian looks.

Don’t get me wrong — the cars have grown on me, and I always take notice of them while at a car show or auction, but they do take some deeper examination to enjoy the elongated body lines. That fact alone, in my opinion, kept the Torino from reaching rock-star status during the overheated Muscle Car money mayhem that rocketed some cars to the over-the-top valuations of a few years ago. Sure, there are exceptions, but for the most part, 1970 Torinos — even the 429s — have kept quietly to themselves within their niche market.

One of one

Our subject car appears to be in very good condition. The restoration looks older but it is still holding up well. The car comes out of a collection that focused on rare, high-performance muscle — and some later performance cars that would eventually fall into the same category given the proper amount of time.

The bench seat with the automatic on the column is an automatic turn-off to some buyers, but this can be overcome, especially with the other rare options. In the case of chassis number 131004, it’s the one-of-one build, along with the highest-performance engine displacement one could order for the car in 1970. This, coupled with some excellent documentation to prove and certify the original build, simply adds to the overall collectibility of the machine.
Looking into the SCM database for comparable cars, we see a handful of transactions for similar offerings, although most of the cars breaking the $50k mark are 429 Torino Cobras. There are a total of ten offerings that were bid beyond $50,000.

The SCM database shows that our subject car sits at the top of the class for sold cars at $73,700. Considering that this list of comparable Torinos includes those up for grabs during the dizzying height of the muscle-car market, this further establishes my hypothesis that Torinos sat on the bench during that boom in values. By that observation, one could conclude that our subject car was very well sold — or caught the attention of at least two well-heeled bidders who simply wanted the car.

That said, I have also noticed a growing trend for the odd — and perhaps formerly less-desirable — muscle cars, as some buyers are now more interested in adding a car to their collection that is not another Camaro, ’Cuda, Corvette or Mustang.

We always want something the other guy doesn’t have — and might have a much harder time finding (at least a nice one). This could be a signal that these types of cars are beginning to move off the sidelines, as genuine buyers search out the more unusual, uncommon offerings while still demanding finite rarity, heritage, performance and rock-solid documentation.

Until we see more strong sales for unusual muscle, this was strong money for the car, and only time will tell if this was an anomaly or a view into things to come.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)