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David W.'s 1974 Gran Torino®
"Starsky & Hutch"® Replica


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David was 21 years old when he tried to buy a factory-built "Starsky & Hutch" Gran Torino from the local Ford dealership, but they could not agree on a purchase price. If I David had known how popular they would be, he says, he would probably have paid the asking price. Since he couldn't get the '76, though, he bought a '74 Gran Torino Sport and painted it with the Starsky paint scheme and kept it until 1983 when he sold it to a guy he worked with.

In later years, David tried to find that same car but couldn't. So, he started looking locally, then on the Internet, for another car to replicate the one he had sold. By that time, he was a member of two classic car clubs with his 1968 Mustang, but continued to try to find the right Torino model. There were lots of Mustangs, Chevelles and Camaros available but no Gran Torinos, especially not the "Starsky & Hutch" model. David became more and more determined to find the car he once had.


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David searched the Internet continuously for just the right car to remake into the car of his dreams. It was hard to find the right model, or the right models that could be used for parts and the remake. He even traveled to Memphis, TN during the seemingly never-ending search. It took David 5 years to find ca car that was in good enough shape and that he could afford to purchase and fix up. In 2010, David bought a '74 Gran Torino from a young man in Albemarle, North Carolina. He and his dad had planned to restore the but they lost interest and put it online for sale. David and a buddy rode up to see it one Saturday and went back with a roll-back to get it two days later.


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Then the work began. The body was in good shape. The only rust was in the driver's side quarter panel and underneath the vinyl top. David replaced the panel with one salvaged from a junk yard in South Carolina, and filled in the opera windows with sheet metal from another car. The rest of the car was stripped to bare metal and primed with epoxy primer. The white stripe was applied by painting the area black, taping it off for the black border pinstripe, and then painting the white. A red sealer was then used followed by application of Viper Red paint. Several coats of Clear Coat finished it off. The body work, from bare metal to the final clear coat, was all professionally done at a Fayetteville body shop, Seals Body Shop, by Mark Seals and his team (Clayton, Huey, Tommy and Terry).


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The engine is an original 351C 2 bbl with 95,000 miles. The interior was in excellent shape when David bought the car. It has the original dash, dash pad, and door panels. The only interior work done was replacement of the headliner, carpet, and a cover for the front seat. The radio was a nonfunctioning AM radio and David replaced it with an under-dash AM/FM/CD Kenwood player with speakers. David intends to install bucket seats with a center console and floor shifter once he finds ones he likes.

David couldn't find vintage slotted mag rims so he went with Cragar SS 6"x15" reverse rims, with the rear having 8"x15" reverse rims. The front tires are 215/65/15 and the rear are 275/60/15. He installed new air shocks on the rear end, installed dual exhaust with Flowmaster 40 mufflers, and as the "final touch" added a "Starsky & Hutch" red light. The project was completed in July, 2011. David won Top 25 in the first car show he entered!


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David says, "I would like to thank all of my family, friends, and fellow car club members who helped me track down the car and the replacement parts. They helped me make my dream a reality."

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Created July 27, 2012. All Rights Reserved. Photos are the Property of the Car's Owner.

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