Welcome to another classic car profile on Flashback Fridays. Most recently we profiled the 1957 Chrysler 300C. Today we feature the 1970 Ford Torino Cobra.
The Torino debuted during the 1968 model year. A Torino GT convertible served as the Indy 500 pace car. The fastback styling was reminiscent of that offered by the Mustang, but it was even more extreme. David Pearson took the 1968 NASCAR championship driving one of these striking fastbacks. In 1970, Ford offered enthusiasts both the Torino GT and the Torino Cobra. The GT far outsold the Cobra.
1970 Ford Torino Cobra – Engine Configurations
In 1970, a base Torino was equipped with a 302 cubic-inch engine capable of 210 horsepower. By contrast, the Cobra came equipped with either a 370 horsepower 429 cubic-inch Cobra, a 370 horsepower Cobra Jet with Ram Air or a 375 horsepower Super Cobra Jet. The latter is so rare that there are no recent documented auction sales of an “original engine” Super Cobra Jet Torino.
Almost 500 Horsepower in Reality
In reality, the Super Cobra Jet engine was probably capable of far more than 375 horsepower. During the muscle car era, manufacturers often understated horsepower to avoid running afoul of government regulations. In subsequent dyno testing, the big-block Super Cobra Jet engine produced 493.6 horsepower at 6000 rpm. Torque was also massive: 503 ft-lbs at 4600 rpm.
Motor Trend’s Comparison
Perhaps this explains Motor Trend’s findings published in an article entitled “A Date With Three Strippers” that compared the 1970 LS6 454 Chevelle SS, the 1970 Dodge Charger Hemi 426 and the 1970 Torino 429 Super Cobra Jet.
The Cobra that Motor Trend tested was specifically equipped with a four-speed manual and a 3.91:1 axle. The zero-60 time was an impressive 5.8 seconds. The tested Cobra completed the quarter-mile in 13.99 seconds at a maximum speed of 101.0 mph. Motor Trend attributed some of the Cobra’s success to its weight, which reduced wheel spin from a standing start. Ultimately, the Torino went on to become Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1970.
The Torino Cobra distinguished itself from other muscle cars of its day by offering a more luxurious interior that complemented the stylish fastback styling. It also distinguished itself as one of the best-performing muscle cars of the era. The caveat here is that not all 429 big blocks in the Cobra were set up in the same way. The Super Cobra Jet was the ultimate engine, and 1970 Torinos that have this original engine are rare indeed.
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