The 1968 Ford Torino: The Lasting Appeal of Ford’s “Bright Idea”

To capture the style and appeal of a time characterized by beige colors and turtleneck sweaters, Ford chose a suitably exotic and cosmopolitan name when introducing the new upscale version of its more family-friendly Fairlane to the public in 1968.

Named after Turin, Italy, a city with a reputation for being Italy's Detroit, the Ford Torino was initially billed as the automaker's "newest bright idea," even if the car's introductory ad campaign is hilarious dated. After all, today muscle cars like the Torino are associated with a much different buyer than the actor in the ad. (Though this may be due to the car's role in the famous Clint Eastwood movie "Gran Torino," a later update of this model).

Among the benefits that attracted buyers to the original Torinos, according to How Stuff Works, were their performance, size, construction quality and neat appearance. Today's collectors often choose this car for its looks and rare qualities. For example, less than 8,000 Torino convertibles were produced and sold in 1968 and 1969, making these versions a collector's item. Retailing for around $3,000, surviving 1968-1969 Torinos net a sizeable return. Some are now listed online for five times the original asking price.

But, if the 1968 Torino "promised action," as its commercial advertised, the model line only delivered later on. The 1970 version claimed Motor Trend's Car of the Year award, and many car fans say the Gran Torino, introduced in 1972, was the best entry in the line.

By comparison, the 1968 Ford Torino was the genesis that would eventually lead to the creation of that notable automobile, and while it still had more than few a quirks, they're ones that collectors are often more than happy to iron out for the chance to own an underrated American muscle car.