1974 Ford Gran Torino Squire 351 from North America


Great old station wagon!


Not much ever went wrong with this station wagon. Over the 15 years we owned it the gas tank leaked twice and had to be replaced. It needed one water pump, and just ordinary wear items. It finally succumbed to a lot of rust and was sold.

General Comments:

It was big, smooth, comfortable and reliable. Very simple and inexpensive to work on; this year had minimal emissions equipment. It never left us stranded, and always started right up even in sub-zero weather.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th September, 2018

1974 Ford Gran Torino Elite 5.8L (351c.i. Windsor) from North America


They don't make them like this any more; dependable that is


First off, I was told this car was a barn find and that is why the miles are so low and the odometer is only 5 digits long.

I flew from Michigan to Seattle, WA to meet a guy from Craigslist about the Gran Torino. The plan was to drive from Seattle down the west coast of the United States, across the south via Las Vegas NV, El Paso TX, and Mobile AL, then head north to Michigan from there. Needless to say the car made it with very little trouble or effort.

The only trouble I had was that the distributor timing went off by about 30 degrees between Seattle, WA and Houston, TX after all of the mountain travel. A mechanic came out and fixed it for $150.00. There was no more trouble after that.

This 43 year old car was built well and made a 4600 mile trip after sitting for God knows how many years.

General Comments:

This car isn't the fastest or sportiest of the Gran Torinos. It isn't as comfortable as a Lincoln or as spacious in the cabin or trunk areas, but it made it through Sequoia trees, deserts, mountains, plains, lots of cities and quaint towns and averaged roughly 320 miles per tank.

This was a very well built car, and the engineering that went into the production of this vehicle shows that it was built to last not only time, but distance as well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th December, 2017

31st Dec 2017, 04:56

Great review :)

Be careful: Anytime an engine loses 30 degrees of timing, the timing chain is suspect. Get a decent mechanic to check the slack in the chain. More than 10 degrees is a flag. Ignore it, and you can be looking at bent valves ($$$).

Having said that, 1974 was a good year for Torino/Montegos in that the offered one of the best engines ever built by Ford - the 351 Windsor.

While it did not have the legendary reputation of the 351 Cleveland, it didn't have the infamy of the 351 Cleveland, either (bottom-end problems due to oiling issues).

They respond very nicely to a 600-CFM 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. The only thing is, that can lead to shortening the life of the C-4 transmission that these (heavy) cars often wind up being paired up with. The FMXs do (a bit) better. Takeaway: At least think about a fluid/filter change, and if you want to do shift kit (on a healthy - read properly-shifting - transmission) on it, not a bad idea ;)

Almost forgot - head gaskets can be a problem, but keeping on top of coolant changes largely mitigates that.

Enjoy :)

1974 Ford Gran Torino 351 Cleveland from North America


Solid plain tank


This was one of our cars that my family had when I was growing up. In general, this was a comfortable car, and looking back in time it was a huge, wide tank of a thing. At the time, however, it was an average sized car -- other new cars back in 1974 were smaller, and others were much bigger. If you were a middle class family in 1974 and needed to buy a new car, this one would have been a very real possibility, and on your list to look at.

My parents were not very diligent about taking care of their cars, and it wasn't high on their list of priorities in life to do things like make sure the oil was changed regularly, or check for air pressure in the tires. Incredible as it may seem, they often just drove on and on, thousands of miles, until the engine blew, or the radiator, or whatever calamity might befall. Even still, this did not especially bother them. If they were involved in a fender bender, they'd just drive on, and sometimes we'd go years with major and/or minor dents on our various cars. Again, this was not a bother to them.

I can remember when they bought this car brand new from Stone Mountain Ford around Christmas time, 40 years ago. While this was the Gran Torino and not the plain Torino, this car, with its blue vinyl top, blue paint, and blue vinyl interior (which felt and looked like leather) was still pretty basic, even for 1974. It had an AM-FM radio with one speaker (no 8-track), and no power windows or door locks, and no clock. It DID, however, have optional cruise control, which was a big deal back then, and an expensive option that my mother insisted on having. That cruise control worked for all of one single week, and then it broke, and Stone Mountain Ford did not have the parts in stock to fix it, even though it was under warranty. My parents, just being who they are, did not sweat this out or complain. They just weren't like that. The broken cruise control drove ME crazy back then, even as a boy, but not them! We drove it for the next 10 years or so, and the cruise never worked.

We also had to replace the engine, probably in around 1980 or so, mostly due to lack of maintenance (our fault), and other various issues.

General Comments:

The back seat, where I sat, was very deep and wide. Children could not see over the front seat, hence no view. Even an adult could probably have only barely been able to see over the front seat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th December, 2014

28th Dec 2014, 04:44

Nice review :)

I've owned a few 351 Clevelands (and worked on many Cleveland/Modifieds), and they like frequent oil/filter changes. If your parents were indifferent about oil/filter changes, life could get "Interesting" fast. The bottom ends get loose fast in such an environment. Operation with large throttle openings and higher RPM will quickly shorten lifespans with casual maintenance.

On the other hand, fastidious maintenance pays dividends :) It's a fun engine when you add a 4-barrel carb and dual exhaust. The big intake valves tend to make torque a bit weak at low RPM, but wind 'em, and they go!!! (Hint: 5500 RPM will do).

Long story short: Don't make the mistakes I made, and have fun!!!