Ford had a problem — its cars were not competitive on the street. Starting with the 1966 Fairlane GT, the 390 simply didn’t compare to the Tri-Power 389 powering the GTO, among other cars. A 427 was available in 1966-67, but so few of them were available that they didn’t make much impact. Finally, in April 1968, Ford offered a new engine that gave Blue Oval fans something that would be competitive against General Motors and Chrysler. One of these cars, a 1968 Torino GT fastback with the 428 Cobra Jet, is our Pick of the Day. It is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Texas. (Click the link to view the listing)
The first sign something was going on at Ford was when, on December 30, 1967, 50 white fastbacks were produced with the new 428. This was enough for Ford to qualify the vehicle for NHRA stock racing classes. The cars were distributed to select dealers, though the Average Joe could purchase one of these cars too. Five sponsored racers took their cars to the 1968 NHRA Winternationals in February 1968, with four making it to their respective class finals. After that, it wouldn’t be until April that the engine would be built and installed for mainstream distribution.
When the 428 Cobra Jet was released, it was rated at 335 horsepower, which was the same rating at the 390 two years earlier. Clearly that wasn’t true, as it actually put out 411 horsepower. While Mustangs and Cougars featured ram air and had the availability of a four-speed or automatic, mid-size cars like the Fairlane/Torino and Montego/Cyclone had no air induction and had to make do with an automatic. Why the latter is anyone’s guess.
This 1968 Torino GT fastback may look ratty and in need of a restoration, but it’s one of the rare cars that were built with the 428 Cobra Jet — if you look at the Marti Report, it shows that 660 were built, which actually was the most popular CJ model after the Shelby GT500KR and the Mustang GT fastback.
“Body is extremely straight and solid appears to be original paint,” says the seller. “No apparent rust inside trunk or under battery,” though the “small amount in [the] floors may require a patch in the front right and front left floor, [plus the] small area behind rear wheel housings [and] small area ahead of right rear wheel [and the] cowl has a small hole starting far left side.” The original engine and transmission are MIA but the seller will include a C6 automatic, plus he has 428 CJ parts that include exhaust manifolds, heads, intake manifold, crankshaft, rods and standard bore block.
A black Torino GT fastback with black bench interior and gold stripes sounds like an attractive proposition. Add the CJ to that mix and you have a car that demonstrated Ford could run with the big boys. The cost of entry for this unusual vehicle is $19,750, but the restoration cost is something that you’ll have to figure out. Certainly it’s worth being saved, but is it worth it to you?
To view this fine vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.