|Body Style||2-Door Coupe|
|Transmission||3-Speed Automatic, RWD|
|Engine|| 5.8L (351 cid) V8|
6.6L (400 cid) V8
7.5L (460 cid) V8
|Similar||Mercury Cougar XR-7|
The Ford Elite was a short-lived model, being offered from 1974-1976 during the beginning of the "personal luxury" car craze that started during this period. The Elite was of course based on the Torino platform and was a fraternal twin to the Mercury Cougar XR-7 (which was based on the Mercury Montego platform). The Elite would be discontinued after 1976 in favor of an all-new downsized Thunderbird for 1977.
Here's a quick rundown:
The Elite debuted in 1974 as the Gran Torino Elite, as a personal luxury coupe version (actually a submodel) of the Torino, much like the Chevrolet Monte Carlo was a personal luxury coupe version of the Chevrolet Malibu. The side script said "Gran Torino Elite" and the car would be titled and registered as a Gran Torino. The Gran Torino Elite naturally shared most of the Torino's drivetrains and underpinnings, but it, like all other personal luxury cars of the period, had all the requisite features such as the stand-up hood ornament, landau vinyl roof, rear quarter opera windows (in this case, 2 of them per side) among many other period features. The standard engine was the 5.8L (351 cid) V8, with the 6.6L (400 cid) and 7.5L (460 cid) V8s as options. A 3-speed automatic transmission was the only one available, and a column-shift with a front bench seat or a console-mounted shift with buckets could be had.
The biggest change in 1975 was that the Gran Torino Elite became a model all its own this year, becoming simply known as the Elite. Full instrumentation including a tachometer was now standard on all models including the base, and the gauges received revised graphics. Other than that, changes were pretty much nil - but none were really needed, as the Elite became a great sales success for Ford by this time. There were virtually no changes at all for 1976 either other than a couple of new colors and the catalytic converter becoming standard on some models, depending on where it was sold. All the drivetrain choices remained the same as before. The Elite would become a victim of Ford's model restructuring in 1977 and be replaced by an all-new downsized Thunderbird, which would continue to rack up record sales. The Torino itself would be replaced by the LTD II that same year.
- Buick Regal
- Chevrolet Monte Carlo
- Chrysler Cordoba
- Dodge Charger
- Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
- Pontiac Grand Prix
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