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1976 Ford 'Starsky & Hutch' Torino

By Patrick Mondout

Although KITT and General Lee fans might disagree, the biggest star among TV cars is the Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino - if only because the automaker actually made a model for the buying public! Due to the popularity of the TV cop show, Ford Motor Company produced 1,000 limited edition 1976 Gran Torinos in their Chicago plant with the look of the cool car from the show.

Although Ford and its network of dealers were happy to sell the terrific Torino, most dealers loved having them on the showroom floor just to impress young carbuyers.

Naturally the Torino in the TV series had to have some modifications before it was street ready. In an article by Bill Carroll for the March/April 1976 issue of Ford's ServiceLife magazine, George Grenier of Spelling-Goldberg (the production company that produced the show) said, "Of course, we had to make some modifications to the vehicle for the purpose of stunts performed on the show. The car has mags, oversized tires, air shocks and hijackers on the rear end to cause a severe rake."

Ironically, it was Chevrolet and Dodge - not Ford - who were sponsors of the NBC program, which ran from September, 1975 to August, 1979.

Where Are They Now?

You can occasionally find them up for auction at eBay Motors, but be aware, not all Torinos with this look are original. There seem to be nearly as many stock Torinos (1976 or otherwise) that were simply repainted to look that way. If the movie - which is about to be released as I write this - is any kind of a hit, expect to see a few more.

Incidentally, if you do indulge your desire to own one, please remember that you may be pulled over for impersonating a police officer if you put the cool flashing red light on!  

1976 Ford 'Starsky and Hutch' Torino!

Here's an original owned by one of our readers.

Photo by Dale Pratt of Jackson, Mississippi


On a personal note, one of my earliest memories was seeing one parked each time my mother drove us to Golden, Colorado from our home in the Green Mountain area of Denver. As it was my favorite TV show at the time, I'd always have my face against the side window of our white (with brown vinyl top) '75 Gran Torino as we drove past a certain section of town, looking for the impressive Ford.

Special thanks: We'd like to thank Dale Pratt of Jackson, Mississippi for allowing us to use the photos of his '76 Torino on these pages!

 

 

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One of the coolest cars to ever grace the small screen!

Image courtesy of Dale Pratt.



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