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Friday, May 6, 2016

Hot Wheels 1976 Ford Gran Torino and M2 Machines 1970 Ford Torino GT




The name Torino or Gran Torino has been getting a lot of attention lately from new castings in diecast to the movie "Gran Torino" centered around the car of the same name.  While I do admire the Torino i'm not a big fan of the car.  However, these two have peaked my interest lately: the 1976 version that is the star of the TV series "Starsky and Hutch", while the other one is a 1970 not just for the cool black paint job but the overall details as well.



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M2 Machines 1970 Ford Torino GT

The Torino is a big player not only in the muscle car world but also in NASCAR, so while designing a car that is slippery though air to win races they also made versions that were made for the street as well.  A subseries of the Fairlane line, the Torino would began to take over the Fairlane line eventually and create its own line.  By 1970 Ford had abandoned, a bit, of the aerodynamic race now that the aero-cheating Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Superbird was the climax of NASCAR cheatbooks and that instructed a change of rules.  The new Torino was the same size as before but now adorns a more aggressive front-end with either exposed or concealed headlights, red badge on the grille in the center, and a lower bumper that seamlessly integrates into the front-end.  This M2 casting is part of the Auto-Drivers release in the new Frost Black paint job (which is actually a fancy name for flat black) as M2 joins the long list of blacked-out cars series that started with Greenlight.  The Torino looks good not only in this color but also for the cleaner lines thanks to the lack of opening features (a common complaint on most M2 castings).



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If there is a glossy part of this car it would be the hood, a contrast to the flat black hood/glossy paint jobs in other color hues.  Even with the shut hood the shaker hood scoop still remains and has the labels for the 429 CID Cobra Jet V8 that makes 379 hp through a 4-speed manual transmission.  The sides of the car are long and lean with a fastback roofline and the side stripes that end in GT.  The 5-spoke mag wheels in black look good on rubber tires with Goodyear markings (though they are a tad bit small).  The rear has the full bar taillight in red and dual exhausts below.  What you don't get in the Drivers series is a metal base, though the base is still detailed just as the metal version, and the doors do not open, but on the upper-hand the closed doors allows for a smooth beltline without any noticeable gaps.  The interior has bucket seat at the front and a bench at the rear with detailed seat patterns, door panels, and a dashboard that curles up in a shell with the only opening in the dash for the gauges behind the two-spoke steering wheel.  I've been impressed with the way M2 Machines has executed the 1970 Ford Torino casting, and now I finally had a chance to pick one up and I must say it looks pretty good for a sporty large coupe from Ford.




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Hot Wheels 1976 Ford Gran Torino

The Torino may have success with a new car line, but the dark days of the 1970's started to put a damper on the Torino line; so much that 1976 was the last year for the Gran Torino line.  Still, even with new safety bumpers, emission controls, and less performance the car was the star in the 1970's TV series "Starsky and Hutch"; so much popular that in fact Ford made a limited run of these cars in the same red with white hockey stick stripe in 1975.  Hot Wheels only Ford Torino was the 1976 stock car version used in NASCAR, so this version would be the perfect street version.  It all starts with that important red with white stripe that wraps around the sides and over the roof, the raised rear end (the real car in the show used air springs to get the desired effect) with 5-spoke wheels on rubber tires, and the cool strobe light mounted on the roof and detailed.  Very nice.  Quality Control at Mattel should be considered as the stripe has a noticeable shift when the two sides overlap.




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The front has detailed quad headlights and slotted grille where the signal lights occupy the outermost slots, and are joined by the bumper with detailed bumper pads and California license plate to the left with the all-metal base.  The corners of the front-end look a bit soft, but otherwise nicely done.  The sides have a nice profile that shows off the aggressive look of the car, and for some reason looks shorter than the 1970 Torino for comparison.  The rear has detailed taillights, lower bumper with bumper pads, and that California plate again.  A few issues: the Gran Torino on the right-side fender has that same shifting problem as the stripe does, and why does Hot Wheels put copyright information on the body instead of the base?  Then again the placement of that information makes it look like trunk lid badging.  Nice cover.  The metal base does not show much, and that's a disappointment as the car has lots to show with its raked rear-end; not even the dual exhausts are visible at the rear!  The interior has bucket seats, console shifter, door panels, and dashboard layout with a split design with the left section housing the gauges, radio, HVAC controls, and 2-spoke steering wheel.  Power is by the 351 CID V8 that produces an estimated 250 hp. through a 3-speed automatic (no manual offered starting in 1975).  The overall conclusion to this casting is that it looks cool, for a $1 casting, but for a $5 casting it could use some more details, more appropriate tooling design, and better quality control for the placement of graphics.







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