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Eldon C.'s 1974 Ford Gran Torino®
2004 "Starsky & Hutch"®Movie Hero Car #1


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This Gran Torino had only 1,874 Original Miles on it when "Movie" Mike Walsh at Premiere Studio Rentals in California bought it from Steve B. in New Jersey. It was red with a black vinyl top, cloth bench seats, column shift, and a 6 cylinder engine. Mike gave it the "Starsky & Hutch" paint job - "Viper Red" with a white stripe that was his own new design instead of simply a copy of the TV show cars. He replaced the interior with black vinyl buckets and added a floor shift and center console. The car has 8 1/2" x 15" slotted mags all around for better handling. The six cylinder was removed and replaced with a beefed-up 351 Windsor built by Mike's crew. With parts supplied by Edelbrock and others, the new engine has about 435 horsepower - great for burning tires and sliding around corners.


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About 8 years later, Eldon was talking to Steve B. who said that "Movie" Mike had decided to sell Hero Car #1 and that it was listed on eBay. By the time Eldon checked it out, the auction was over. But, he studied the pictures
on the listing and thought it would be a dream come true to actually have this car. Some time went by, and Eldon finally called Mike to talk about the car. "I really didn't think I had a shot at buying the car, " he says, "but Mike said he would like to see me get it. He thought I would give the car a good home and take care of it. He hated to sell the car, and wanted to make sure it would be appreciated by the person buying it."

"He gave me some extra time to raise the money, and said he wouldn't advertise the car or try to sell it until I could see whether or not I could make this work. After talking to my wife, I decided to go for it! I did want to see the car in person before making the final deal. Since I drive cross-country hauling cars, I arranged to get a load to California so I could go by and meet the car and its builder. After seeing the car and going for a ride, my mind was made up and I left a down payment."

"To make this happen, I had to sell two of my Limited Production S&H project cars and some other things taking up room in my shop - sacrifices had to be made! Several months later, after raising the rest of the funds needed, I got another load to California and brought the car home along with a load of Smart Cars going to New Jersey. I swung by the house, unloaded the Torino, and headed out to deliver the Smart Cars."


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Eldon has been cleaning and fixing a lot of things on the car, mostly things that you can't see in photos like the back up lights, windshield wipers, horn - little things that a movie car doesn't need but Eldon needs to work as they should so he can get a Louisiana inspection and drive the car once in a while. He has cleaned and made the wiring under the hood look a lot better - Mike has said he always wanted to do that. Eldon says, "The car is looking great!" My goal is to make the car look as good as it did in the movie."

Ten years after it was transformed from a plain (but pristine) red Gran Torino with a vinyl top, this car still shows only 2,281 original miles on it!

Starsky & Hutch Torino

As you read in the March, 2004 issue of Hot Rod Magazine, both Hero Torinos suffered front end damage in separate "incidents" during filming. When Penny and I (above) visited "Movie" Mike at Premiere Studio Rentals in San Fernando, California on May 2, 2003, Hero #1 wasn't quite put all the way back together. But Mike was nice enough to pull it out of the garage for us to see it in the sun - and even let me drive it back into the garage! I drove it very gingerly to avoid any sort of "incident" of my own, but I could feel an awful lot of power under my foot! That's us, above, posing as "Hutch" and "Starsky" bringing down the bad guys with rubber guns.

When Penny and I drove our S&H Torino to California in 2007, I got to drive Hero Car #1 again, this time in traffic and everything. I believe Eldon when he says the gas gauge goes down when the speedometer goes up - that car is a Monster!
 

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Created March 23, 2013.
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