Moday 2 March 2015
For 1972, the Torino was redesigned using many characteristics carried over from the previous generation. The 1972 Torino styling emphasized the "long hood short deck" look and had strong elements of coke bottle styling. The Torino line was also revised to be made up of basic models called "Torino" and more upscale models called "Gran Torinos." The most radical change was a large eggcrate grille in an oval opening on Gran Torinos. Tom McCahill, stated "the gaping grille looks a little like it was patterned after Namu, the killer whale", but also stated that the Torino had "kind of pleasing, no-nonsense styling." Gran Torinos had chrome bezels surrounding the headlamps on each side of the large oval grille. Base Torinos had a full width argent eggcrate grille that surrounded the headlights. Base Torinos also used a unique hood and front bumper differentiating it from the Gran Torino models. The Torino's front fenders were flared around the wheel opening and the rear quarter panel had strong character line extending to the rear bumper. The windshield had a more rakish 60-degree angle, wile the A-pillars and roof were thinner. Even with this changes, structural integrity remained the same as 1971 models. The rear featured a full width bumper that incorporated thin rectangular tail lights into each bumper end. All Torinos had "DirectAire" ventilation as standard equipment resulting in vent windows vanishing from four-door and station wagon models. The Torino incorporated new safety features for 1972, including new flush mount door handles and side door guard rails.
The number of models was reduced from 14 models in 1971 to 9 in 1972. The convertible was discontinued, and the 4-door hardtops and sedans were replaced with 4-door "pillared hardtops." This was Ford's term for 4-door sedans with frameless door glass. All other body styles remained, including the fastback, which Ford continued to dub "SportsRoof". "Torino" remained the base series, but the mid-level Torino 500 was renamed "Gran Torino". The Torino Brougham was reduced to an option package for the Gran Torino, and Torino GT became "Gran Torino Sport." The Torino and Gran Torino were available as a 2-door hardtop and a 4-door sedan; the Gran Torino Sport was available as a 2-door hardtop and SportsRoof. The station wagon line-up consisted of three models: "Torino," "Gran Torino," and "Gran Torino Squire." The Cobra model was discontinued as the Torino line was refocused toward luxury and de-emphasized performance.
The biggest change for the Torino was the switch to body-on-frame construction from the unit-construction of the 1971 models. The new chassis was a perimeter design that was used to help give the Torino a quieter and more isolated ride. It featured an energy absorbing "S" shaped front end, torque boxes to isolate road shock, fourteen rubber body mounts and five solid cross members. The front suspension used an unequal length control arm design, with a computer selected coil spring mounted on the strut stabilized lower control arm, much like the fullsize Ford LTD. The rear used the "Stabul" four link suspension with a computer selected coil spring mounted on a solid axle. The new suspension and chassis had a wheel track at least 2 inches (51 mm) wider than the 1971 models. Motor Trend stated the "road isolation and vibrational dampening is superb" in its test of a 1972 Gran Torino Brougham 4-door. Ford offered two suspension options, the heavy-duty and competition suspension. The heavy-duty suspension included a larger front sway bar, and heavy-duty springs and shocks. Competition suspension, only available in two-door models, included the most heavy-duty springs and shocks, heavy duty rear upper control arms and bushings, a larger front sway bar, and the addition of a rear sway bar. This was the first year that a rear sway bar was offered in the Torino and was only available with competition and police suspension options. Front disc brakes became standard on all Torinos, which no other American intermediate (other than its sister car the Mercury Montego) offered in 1972, however, power brakes remained an option. The only exceptions were that power brakes were standard on the Gran Torino Squire station wagons and a mandatory option for all 429 cu in (7.0 L) powered models. The power steering was revised to be integral in the steering box, rather than the external booster style used in previous years. All Torinos used 14-inch wheels, while 15-inch wheels were used for exclusively by police and taxi models.
A significant change to Torino for 1972 was changing to separate wheelbases for 2-doors and 4-doors. Starting in 1968, GM had begun to use a shorter wheelbase for its 2-door intermediates, and a longer one for the 4-doors. This allowed for stylists to make fewer compromises when trying to turn a 2-door into a 4-door. Chrysler also followed suit in 1971, although its intermediate coupes and sedans didn't even share body panels. The 1972 Torino used a 114-inch (2,896 mm) wheelbase for 2-doors and a 118-inch (2,997 mm) wheelbase for 4-doors, station wagons, and its sister vehicle the Ranchero. Like GM intermediates, the Torino 2-door and 4-door still shared many body parts. Overall, the size and weight for Torino had increased for 1972, following the longer, lower, wider trend. Gran Torino sedans saw a 5-inch (127 mm) length increase, while 2-doors only had a 1-inch (25 mm) increase in length. Interestingly, base Torino sedans were only 1-inch (25 mm) longer, and 2-doors were actually 3-inch (76 mm) shorter than 1971 models. Weight increased significantly for 4-door and station wagon models, while 2-doors had a slight increase in weight.
The base engine was the 250 cu in (4.1 L) I-6 in all models except the Gran Torino Squire station wagon and the Gran Torino Sport which both had a 302-2V small-block V8 as standard. Available engines included the 302-2V, a 351-2V "Windsor" or "Cleveland", a 351C-4V "Cobra Jet" (CJ), a 400-2V, and a 429-4V. The 400-2V was a new engine to the Torino line-up, and was part of the 335 series engine family like the 351 Cleveland. The 429-4V was not a high-performance engine like the Cobra Jets of previous years; instead, it was a high torque, low revving engine. Emissions, low lead and fuel economy requirements had become more strict for 1972. To meet these requirements, compression ratios on all Torino engines were dropped to at least 8.5:1, and all engines ran on regular gasoline. These engines generally produced less power than their predecessors in 1971, although this was exaggerated due to the switch to the new SAE net bhp ratings from the SAE gross figures used in 1971. As a result the figures are not directly comparable. All models came equipped with a three-speed manual transmission as a standard equipment. The Cruise-O-Matic remained optional, but was a mandatory option for the 351-2V, 400-2V and 429-4V. The 351-4V CJ required either the 4-speed or the Cruise-O-Matic as mandatory options.
With the only performance engine being the 351-4V CJ, performance was good but not at the "super car" levels of the 429 Cobra Jet Torinos. The 351-4V CJ was new for 1972 and offered a number of performance enhancing features not offered on the 1970–71 351C-4V. It included a special intake manifold, modified camshaft, special valve springs and dampers, a 750 CFM Motorcraft Carburetor, 4-bolt main bearing caps and 2.5-inch (63.5 mm) dual exhaust. The 351 CJ was the only engine equipped with dual exhaust and it was the only engine that could be mated to the available four-speed transmission. The Ram Air induction system was available, and could be equipped on 351 CJ and 429 powered cars. Performance from the 1972 351 CJ was competitive with the 1970-71 Torinos with the high compression 351-4V. Car and Driver tested a 351 CJ, 4-speed Gran Torino Sport SportsRoof with 3.50:1 gears to have a 0 - 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 6.8 seconds. Car and Driver did not publish its quarter mile times, but Cars magazine tested a Gran Torino Sport SportsRoof with a 351 CJ, C-6 automatic, and 3.50 gears to run though the quarter mile in 15.40 seconds.
Interiors were all new and featured a vastly improved instrument panel, that used ABS plastic for much of its construction. The standard instrument cluster featured five equally sized round pods and contained a speedometer, fuel gauge, and temperature gauge, along with various warning lights. The leftmost pod was a vent for the "DirectAire" ventilation system. A clock was optional with the standard instrument package. The "Instrumentation Group", available on all V8 models, featured two large round pods centered on the steering wheel, containing the speedometer (with trip odometer) and a tachometer. A third equal sized pod on the left contained the DirectAire vent. The instrument cluster featured an ammeter, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge and clock in set of smaller stacked pods near the centre of the instrument panel. The seats were also new for 1972, the standard front bench seat had an integrated headrest for both outboard seating positions featuring, while the available high back buckets also featured integrated headrests. Ford continued to offer "comfort weave" vinyl seats as an option. These seats had the centre portion upholstered with a knitted vinyl material that allowed the upholstery to "breathe" unlike conventional vinyl. An optional 6-way power bench seat, replaced the 4-way seat offered in 1971.
The Gran Torino Sport was offered as a 2-door hardtop and a 2-door SportsRoof. All Sport models featured an integrated hood scoop, which was only functional with the optional and rare Ram Air Induction system. Also included with this model was twin colour-keyed racing mirrors, moulded door panels unique to the Sport model, body-side and wheel lip moldings, and F70-14 tires (E70-14 on hardtop models). A revised full body length laser stripe remained an option. It replaced the chrome side molding, and was available in four colours to match the exterior paint. For the driving enthusiast, the "Rallye Equipment Group" included the Instrumentation Group, Competition Suspension, G70-14 tires with raised white letters, and a Hurst shifter for those equipped with the 4-speed. The Rallye Equipment Group was available the 351CJ-4V or the 429-4V exclusively. The Competition Suspension was highly regarded by Tom McCahill of Mechanix illustrated, as well as Motor Trend and Car and Driver as being less harsh than past Torino performance suspensions, while still offering excellent handling. Motor Trend described the suspension as "Unlike the super heavy-duty springs of years past, the folks at Ford have managed to produce superior ride control without harshness. It takes a ride in one [Torino] to truly appreciate it." Torino's new and improved chassis and suspension design can be attributed to this improvement.
- engine: V8
- capacity: 5800 cc
- horsepower: 170 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 175 km/h