Story and Photos by: Mike Walker, Rossville, Ga.
I purchased my 1976 Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino on April 8, 1976 from the Bert Brown Ford Dealership on Rossville Boulevard. I've liked cars since I was a kid.
I graduated from Rossville High School in 1972. After graduation, I went out and got a full time job. The first thing I bought was a new Plymouth Duster 6 cylinder for a whopping $3,200. It was a good starter car, but I wanted a V8 engine car.
A funny thing happened in the fall of 1975. A Ford Gran Torino became a hit off the TV show, “Starsky and Hutch.” The fan mail began pouring in. Everyone wanted to know where they could buy a car like that. Ford Motor Company got into the act really fast and ordered 1,000 limited production units to be produced at the Chicago auto assembly plant.
Every day while driving back and forth to work, I would pass the Bert Brown Dealership on Rossville Boulevard. One April day, I passed by the dealership and saw my bright red, Starsky Torino sitting on the showroom floor. I had to have this car. I traded my just-paid-off Duster in on the Torino.
I drove the Torino on a regular basis for about four years. In 1980, I put a car cover over it and just used it for cruising around every now and then. Today, my Torino only has 4200 original miles on it. It still gets plenty of looks wherever I go in it. When I drive the car, I always pop an 8-track tape in the stereo. It takes me back to the 1970s again, listening to the Bee Gees singing “Staying Alive.” It's great rush of nostalgia for me.
The Torino has a 351W motor, C4 transmission, 3.00 positrac rearend, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, AM/FM 8-track stereo and BF Goodrich radials on Ansen mag wheels with air shocks to lift the rear end up high. Ford only made 1,000 of these cars in March of 1976.
To verify that it's an original limited edition by Ford and not a clone, all Starsky units have a special tag. The tag is located in the engine compartment on the right side of the passenger side cowling. Stamped on this tag is PS 122 and the DSO number, 240022. The DSO number will also be located on the door tag. There are less than fifteen known original owners left of these cars, and I'm one of them. I have the original title and bill of sales. I also have the build sheet for this car that was placed under the back seat of the car when it left the assembly line.
Although my Torino is unrestored, it still looks new. To this day, I've never entered it into a car show. I just enjoy taking it out for a drive and cruising down memory lane on a sunny day.