In order to celebrate the fame brought by the Starsky & Hutch TV series Ford released a Gran Torino “Starsky & Hutch” limited edition car for the 1976 model year. 1,305 were built, they all featured the iconic red paint scheme with the white “vector” stripe down each side.
Starsky & Hutch first appeared on TV screens in 1975, it quickly became a cult classic with stars Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul in the leading roles. The show follows the police detectives they play, David Starsky and Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson, around the streets of the fictional Bay City in Southern California.
Fast Facts – The Ford Gran Torino “Starsky & Hutch”
- Interestingly the car that was originally going to feature in Starsky & Hutch was a green and white Chevrolet Camaro, as the show’s creator William Blinn had owned one previously and loved it.
- The Ford Motor Company’s Studio-TV car loan program was the lease supplier for Spelling-Goldberg Productions that year, the producers eventually chose a bright red two-door Gran Torino with a white “vector” stripe to make it unique and memorable.
- After the custom paint work was complete, the cars used for filming were also given rear air shocks to give the car its nose-down stance, as well as “U.S.” brand five-slot aluminum alloy wheels with larger rear tires.
- A number of cars were created for filming, Ford released a “Starsky & Hutch” version of the 1976 Gran Torino and sold 1,305 of them – one of which was used as a backup car during filming.
The Ford Gran Torino
The model name “Torino” was almost used as the name for the Ford Mustang. For whatever reason it was on the shortlist at Ford and its time finally came in 1968 with the release of the Ford Torino – originally developed as an upgraded version of the Ford Fairlane.
Above Video: This is the intro and outro for the original TV series from season one. The Ford Gran Torino makes a number of appearances, it became wildly popular with viewers and is today referred to as the “third star” from the series.
The Torino would be sold by Ford over three generations between 1968 and 1976. It was available in a variety of layouts with the most popular two being the four-door sedan and the two-door hardtop coupe.
A number of engines were offered over the Torino production run starting with the 200 cubic inch (3.3 liter) straight-six, sizes kept increasing all the way up to the 427 and 428 cubic inch (7.0 liter) Ford FE V8s.
Although the Torino was discontinued after the 1976 model year its underpinnings lived on until 1979, providing the platform for the Ford LTD II, Ford Thunderbird, Ford Ranchero, and the Mercury Cougar.
The Ford Gran Torino “Starsky & Hutch” Shown Here
The car you see here is one of the 1,305 examples of the factory-built Ford Gran Torino “Starsky & Hutch” limited edition model – one of which was used as a backup car during filming.
The screen-used stunt cars from Starsky & Hutch were given a slew of modifications for filming, the white “vector” stripe is the most famous, but they also had air shocks mounted in the rear to lift the back of the car up to give it its unique stance.
“U.S.” brand five-slot aluminum alloy wheels with larger rear tires were also added, and a chrome tip was added to the exhaust pipe.
Ford didn’t include these modifications into their own Gran Torino “Starsky & Hutch” models, they were essentially just given the vector stripe, but many owners in the years since have modified their cars to look and perform more like the cars used on screen.
The car you see here is one such custom, it started out as an original Ford-built Gran Torino “Starsky & Hutch” but it’s been given a well throughout range of upgrades to get it performing as good or better than the cars in the series.
The original engine was replaced with a 409 cubic inch high-performance crate V8, it’s been given an upgraded radiator to keep it cool, and an Edelbrock fuel injection system. It has a custom exhaust, cross-drilled disc brakes, uprated dashboard instrumentation, and upgraded suspension for improved handling.
The car is now due to roll across the auction block with RM Sotheby’s in late March with a price guide of $44,000 – $50,000 USD.
If you’d like to read more about this car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Images: ©2022 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
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