Last year the Torino got a new impact absorbing bumper in front, the 1974 model gets a matching 5 mph (8 km/h) rear to match, as well, the sheet metal roll pan under the bumper is gone. The rear bumper is larger, more squared up, and sits a lot lower on the vehicle. The tail lights are also more rectangular and shorter-they wrap around each fender eliminating the need for side maker lights. The fuel tank filler tube is relocated to above the bumper directly below the trunk lock and no longer hidden by the license plate.
Gran Torino versions have a similar shaped grill to last year but a bit larger and divided into eight equal sized sections with a finer mesh pattern. The parking lights are vertically mounted behind each outer grill edge and a new revised logo is now on the left side of side of the grill. The impact absorbing front bumper is more pointed in ’74 while the front bumper guards are moved closer to the center and the Gran Torino front plate is now mounted on the driver’s side. Other Torino versions have the same front fascia as ’73 models although the bumper is upgraded like the Gran although the plate in front remains in the center for the balance of the fleet. The Gran Torino Brougham retains the full width rear tail lights with the non-functional center portion while both the Brougham and the Squire wagon are now sporting a stand-up hood ornament logo rather than the grill mounted one.
A newly available option is opera windows for any two door Gran Torino although they are basic for the Brougham version-any ’74 two door Torino has fixed rear side windows. You can also choose fender skirts for the wheel wells if you want to give the car a sporty lower look. The Brougham and Sport models have a chromed strip on the lower fender running from the front wheel well to the front bumper. The Torino can be very uptown this year with a leather covered steering wheel, wheel mounted cruise control, split bench seat, and a power sun roof are all on the table as options this year. A one year only seat belt interlock system is mandated by the US government although it is scrapped at the year’s end.
Slight changes in the ’74 line up are the elimination of the fast back and the addition of the Gran Torino Elite two door hard top marketed as a personal luxury with midsized economy. The Elite has unique front end sheet metal, large rectangular but arched grill, twin headlights with chromed bezels, and the parking lights are mounted on the edges of the pointed front fenders. The body line of the Elite are different from the other Torino models but the tail lights are full width similar to the Brougham. The basic Elite is equipped with a two barrel for the 351 CID V8 bolted to an automatic and comes with radial tires. Basic luxury items include vinyl roof, opera windows, split bench with cloth upholstery, wood grain trim and a full complement of gauges.
The bumpers have added 5 inches to the Torino length as well as a lot more weight. Original sales brochures say there is no more 250 six cylinder engine available but some left the assembly line so equipped –one of them was used in the 2004 Starsky and Hutch movie. The base engine is the 302 with a three speed standard transmission. There is a 460 CID engine available with low horse power and a lot of torque but the only high performance option is the 351 CJ with a higher horse power rating and this is also the last year for the four speed standard transmission. There is no more competition suspension offered although a revised heavy duty package is a choice for all models but the Elite. The Gran Torino sport is not what it used to be and the days off the muscle car are numbered.