The Hunt

So why Torinos you ask? This had not been the plan since the beginning. Craig®, a Camaro guy, and Serial Keller a G-Body guy, the last thing on our minds was the though of a muscle car from Ford. It was the springtime, and we had been looking for a project having spent most of the winter of 2005 attempting to master the art of TIG and gas welding and working on other small projects. We had both taken an English wheel / sheet metal forming class the year before and we anxious to take on a larger project.

In late February we stumbled upon a couple of 1968 Fairlanes locally on Craigslist (online free classifieds). The prices of these cars were significantly less that all of the “mainstream” muscle cars we had been looking at so what the heck, time to go take a look. We called the guy up and went to see them in person. One of them was in quite good condition, but the other was very rough and would only really be good for parts. We figured we could buy one and fix it and strip the other for parts. That was easy – we just hand over the money and be on our way. By this point the car fever was beginning to set in.

First problem – car has a replacement state VIN. That raises a flag – where would the original one go? Owner has a firm story and had the titles back to the mid 70’s for the car, so it seemed logical. Still we wondered. We put a call into Marti Auto Works and got them to run the VIN and give us a report on the vehicle. For $25 they offer a same day fax service which we opted for. The fax came in with some striking news. Based on the VIN, this vehicle was supposed to be a 390 Torino (not Fairlane) with disc brakes and several other options that the car did not have. This was enough that we had doubts that this VIN was for the car. Digging a bit deeper, we went on a hunt for a build sheet. First look was behind the upper rear seat, as this is typically where they are. Opened the trunk and nothing. Just then the owner recalled having switched out the rear seat for another as the sun had faded and cracked the original. Good news was they still have the original seat. We went into where it was stored and sure enough – there was a build sheet!

Put another call into Marti Auto Works and ran this “recovered” VIN. Got the results back and Jackpot! Perfect match to the vehicle. After this we ran away.. far away from these vehicles. Not sure what happened, but we are guessing that the VIN’s of this vehicles had been switched in the early 70’s and the identity of the car we were looking at vanished up until we stumbled up it. The VIN now on it likely came from a car in the junkyard. So much for this idea, although the connection with the owner paid off later on when we managed to get several parts of the other car when he decided to scrap it a month later.

By this time the car fever was getting serious, and the Fairlanes and Torinos were starting to grow on us. In the midst of all of this, we started looking everywhere for other Torinos. We started looking daily on Ebay to see if something would come up locally. Just a week later, a Torino GT Fastback showed up on Ebay only 15 min away from where we work – the ad started in the morning. By lunchtime we had the owner on the phone and had arranged to check out the car in the evening (You have to move fast with these cars). The Ebay action as seen here made the car sound like a parts car that was far from complete. We feared the worst. We went to see this car and it was in immaculate original condition, which seems to be rare with these cars. This is how it sat in the garage:

Sure it needed body work and floor pans, but almost all do it seems. First question – does it have a clean title?? With a yes in response, an offer was put in on the car. After going back and fourth on it, the owner accepted. An deposit was put down on the car and we made plans to have the car hauled away the next day (before the owner could change his mind). This leads to Day 1 for the Texas Torino. Special thanks to Chuck for giving up his wonderful car to this project!

With one down, the search went on for another. A couple of weeks later, another one showed up on Ebay locally and we made arrangements to check it out. The car was in decent shape but needed a lot of attention. By now the summer season was coming closer and lots of other people were in the market for cars. We went to check it out, and decided to go ahead with it. We needed a day to think it over and round up the $$ to pay for it. Next thing we know – we get a call from the owner saying it was sold (we are talking a matter of a couple of hours here)!! The car was swiped out from under us. Frustration set in after this one and the fever approached a critical state.

Several weeks went by and nothing. We had a couple of leads and went to check them out, only to find victims of the rust belt. No hopes in fixing them up. Then one day while searching the net, a Torino shows up 4 hours away and is up for “Buy it Now” on Ebay. Great car, great price – time to make our move. We drove over to work (25 min from home) and discussed the purchase and working on how we would pick it up etc. We logged into Ebay when we got there and could not find the auction – someone has used “Buy it Now” and the car literally sold in 2 hours after being listed!! Not again. Figured we should email the bidder and let him know that we were interested in the car should the deal fall through. A person never knows I guess.

Several weeks went past and nothing.. absolutely nothing. On top of this, summer was very near and the prices were rising considerably. All of a sudden one day we got an email asking if we were still interested in the car from weeks back. The “Buy it Now” was was now back on the market!! Not wanting to waste time on this one arrangements were make to make the 4 hour trek up to see the car. Luckily it was near a major camp group so a weekend was made out of it. The owner opened the garage door and this was what awaiting – enter the Georgia Torino:

We looked the car over and this one was a no brainer. It even ran and drove! Again we checked on the clear title, but the car was still registered in Georgia where titles were not required on classics. A deal was worked out with the owner to get a title for the car and it was a done deal. Special thanks to Jesse for the Georgia Torino – what a great guy he has been to work with!

Project Twin Torino begins!

If you have made it through all of this – here is finally the final product of all of this car hunting. This is how the cars looked and what they were originally ordered and delivered with: