HomePick of the DayStarsky and Hutch' tribute Torino

Starsky and Hutch’ tribute Torino


The Gran Torino is instantly recognizable with its ‘Starsky and Hutch’ details
The Gran Torino is instantly recognizable with its ‘Starsky and Hutch’ styling cues

One of the most memorable cop shows of the 1970s was Starsky and Hutch, a classic buddy adventure series with plenty of yucks and mugging by the star-power lead actors, Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky and David Soul as Hutch.

But what makes Starsky and Hutch most memorable, at least for gearheads like us, was Starsky’s impressive Ford Torino muscle car that was often shown careening through the streets of fictional Bay City, California, with a high-performance roar. Without that Torino, Starsky and Hutch most likely would have been relegated to the crowded scrap heap of ’70s cop shows.

The muscle car is exceptionally well-finished, the seller says
The muscle car is exceptionally well-finished, the seller says

A more-recent feature film was based on the TV series, and the Torino was once again front and center in the action sequences.

So let’s end the year with a powerful piece of faux TV history for Pick of the Week, a 1976 Ford Gran Torino coupe that has been transformed into a fittingly muscular tribute to Starsky’s car, which in one episode, Hutch mockingly dubbed “The Striped Tomato.”

“A quick Google search will tell you about one of the most famous TV and movie cars of all, but the details on this one are even more impressive,” the Fort Worth, Texas, seller says in the ad description on ClassicCars.com. “It’s not some ragged-out prop; it’s a purpose-built performance car built by a fan, and quite honestly if you have a Gran Torino coupe, this is the best way to make it look awesome.

“Bright red is fine, but the iconic white stripe slims it down and gives it a very aggressive look that’s the exact opposite of subtle.”

Motivation is provided by a 450 cid V8
Motivation is provided by a performance-tuned 460 cid V8

The Torino has been fitted with a 460-cubic-inch aluminum-head V8, which would have put a maniacal grin on Starsky’s face. The big block is fitted with Weiand intake, four-barrel carburetor, MSD ignition, long-tube headers and glasspack-style mufflers. Power is transmitted through a C6 three-speed automatic with a Hurst T-handle shifter, high-stall torque converter and nine-inch rear.

The seller states that the car is beautifully finished, with an original interior that includes custom gauges and new carpet. So while it may not be an actual TV-show car, the next owner might find that it’s even better, the seller contends.

“Finish quality is a lot better than a movie prop, too, with great bodywork on top of a clean original car, and the bright red paint is deep and shiny to make it really pop,” the ad says. “Up close, you’ll also note that the white stripe has been outlined in black to really give it some contrast and there’s a hood scoop just in case the look wasn’t aggressive enough. Big chrome bumpers look big enough to use as battering rams (which is what they often did on TV), and you have to admit that this big brute does look imposing hammering down the road.

“The right ’70s stance and Centerline aluminum wheels help with the throwback look. These cars were extremely popular back in the day, and not many have survived. If you like the show, the movie or just the car, this is a no-disappointments hot rod Torino that’s a blast to drive.”

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


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