The 1973 Ford Torino integrated the new 5 mph (8 km/h) impact regulations into the front bumpers, and it also revised the sheet metal from the firewall forward. The front fascia now was square, and all models sported the new energy-absorbing bumper design, which was a stark contrast to the previous year’s form-fitting design. Because of the revisions, the Torino was now one inch-plus longer and more than 100 pounds (45 kg) heavier, although old standards still regulated the rear bumpers, which had an impact strip and guards. The grille pattern was similar to previous editions although more rectangular and wider now containing both the parking lights as well as the quad horizontally mounted headlights complete with the chrome bezel.
The lineup of models increased to 11 offers with the uptown Gran Torino Brougham available as a two-door hard-top and a sedan. The rest of the line remained unaltered, but the basic bench seat now had a lower back with the headrests separately mounted on top to increase driver rear visibility. The bucket option stayed with the integral head rest design. Two other new changes were the hood release, now located under the dash for increased security, and optional radial tires to increase handling as well as having a longer life span than bias ply.
The base engine was still the 250-cubic-inch inline-six for all but the wagons and Sport, which offered the entry level 302-cubic-inch V8, but all the engines had a decreased compression ratio of 8.0:1. The power option 351-cubic-inch engine gets a nominal drop of 2 hp (1.5 kW) less than the ’72 models, but the car moves out a bit slower with an increase in the weight, as well. Those were the only engine offerings for civilians. However, there was a police interceptor that had a 460-cubic-inch with a four-barrel new. This package also had 11-inch rear brake drums, which were one inch larger than the other models, as well.
The Gran Torino was the most lavishly upholstered model with a nylon cloth fabric and/or simulated leather, while the bench seat version had a fold-down armrest. The dash had a vinyl wood-grain trim around the instrument cluster, deluxe steering wheel with a two-tone horn, and an electric clock with the foot peddle bright trim pack as well; the Squire wagon came similarly equipped.
The laser strip was still an option, but a revised version for the Gran Torino Sport in ’73 had its own logo, which mounted on the grille’s center as well as covering the trunk lock. The Sport no longer had a hood scoop, bur Ford deleted the Ram Air in ’73, but other than that, it was essentially the same car. Car and Driver magazine commented that the sport is as “quiet as the Jaguar and as smooth as a Continental” while still maintaining the competition suspension that handled exceptionally well.
Ford tested a fastback version equipped with the 351 CJ, a C-6 automatic, and 3.25:1 gears, and it did 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds, just .9 seconds slower than the ’72 with a quarter-mile time of 16 seconds achieving 88.1 mph in the process. This wasn’t a super car, but it was good performance for a street car. The ’73 was a great success, and Ford gets to again thumb its nose at GM by outselling the Chevelle by more than 168,000 units.