HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1971 Ford Torino 500

Pick of the Day: 1971 Ford Torino 500

A green Q-ship painted Ford Blue


Imagine it’s 1971: high-performance cars are a bad word, with General Motors starting to lower compression a year earlier than the government mandate. There were creative ways to build a performance car without attracting much attention from your insurance agent or minister, with our Pick of the Day possibly being a very nice example of this: a 1971 Ford Torino 500 two-door hardtop for sale on by a dealership in Volo, Illinois. (Click the link to view the listing)

Ford’s mid-size hierarchy evolved from 1967-71 and beyond. While the Fairlane was the name of the series in 1967, two new Torino models were introduced in 1968 to replace the Fairlane 500/XL and Fairlane GT. Then, in 1970, the Torino Brougham was introduced, which pushed out the base Fairlane, leaving the Fairlane 500 as the only Fairlane model. For 1971, the Fairlane 500 was discontinued, with Torino (the top model for 1968-69) now at the bottom, with the new Torino 500 playing the role that the Torino played in 1970. Confused? You’re not alone, but it’s the typical story of ushering in the new and replacing the old, no different than how the Tempest, F-85, Belvedere, etc. were pushed out over time.

During this era, Ford allowed customers to spec out just about any engine for its models, so it was possible to order a 429 Cobra Jet for the Torino 500. A step down from there was the 351-4V, an engine that had a dual purpose both as a pedestrian upgrade from low-performance engines as well as the base performance engine for sporty fastback models like the Torino Cobra and Torino GT. The “Cleveland” engine featured large oval ports and canted valves, the latter which may have been a bit too much for the street without mods. When introduced in 1970, the 351-4V (code M in the VIN) featured a high 11.0:1 compression and was rated at 300 horsepower, Ford tweaked things for 1971 by lowering compression to 10.7:1 and rating it at 285 horses.

The 351-4V was a popular engine for the sporty models, but it’s not common for the more pedestrian models. This 1971 Ford Torino 500 two-door hardtop is quite unusual because it features several high-performance options while appearing on Dad’s Torino sans stripes or cartoonish decals. Painted in the very 1971 color of Medium Green metallic (one of 7,677 built per the Marti Report), this Blue Oval was also ordered with black knit vinyl bucket seats, of which only 24 were built in combination with the paint. While buckets were a popular option for enthusiast, they were not on your average family car like this. The 351-4V is rare enough at 920 built with the C-6 automatic, and this one has the console to add to this subversive performance car. Note the color-keyed racing mirrors too! Icing on the cake? The Shaker hood scoop, one of 69 351 cars built with this option.

So, what you have here is just about an equal to a Torino Cobra or GT, but for someone who wasn’t a peacock or perhaps was able to navigate insurance surcharges to his/her benefit. Along the way, someone added Magnum 500s but, as you can see from the pictures, this car needs little other than your $41,998.

Click here for this Pick of the Day.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.


  1. Id say the Cleveland is quite a bit more than a pedestrian upgrade. Cleveland’s are still banned at tracks throughout the country and it’s not because they’re dropping oil.


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