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Dick K.'s 1976 Ford Gran Torino®
"Starsky & Hutch"®Replica


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In 1976, Dick K. was preparing to leave for National Guard basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and considered buying a new factory-built "Starsky & Hutch"®Ford Gran Torino®before he left. He decided not to order the car before he left. Almost 30 years later, he got "the itch" again and began to research the availability of '74-'76 Gran Torinos that needed some restoration. He searched the Internet, and after about two years of searching, he amazingly found just the car he was looking for within 1 mile of his home. It was a 1976 Gran Torino, still owned by the original family in Hartford, South Dakota. It was derivable, and the owner delivered it to Dick in original condition. Then the work began.


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Dick began to disassemble the car from the roof to the frame. The body was in decent shape. The only rust was in the quarter panels and the bottom fenders, and those were replaced with new sheet metal. The rest of the car was stripped and sandblasted to bare metal and nearly every nut and bolt cleaned and painted. The body work from bare metal to the final clear coat was all professionally done at the body shop of the Ford garage where Dick works.

As you can see from the pictures, the interior was green with front bench seat and column shift. A co-worker's father had a '73 Gran Torino Sport which was the perfect parts car with sport mirrors, bucket seats, and a full floor console with shifter. Dick transferred all of those interior Sport components into this replica car after having the seats custom upholstered in white and red (see below) and the rest of the interior recovered or repainted in white and black. This all maintained the Ford originality of the project but gave it a unique update.


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The car was painted PPG Viper Red and the white is pure PPG white. The original R-12 air conditioning was converted to a 134 system which cools the hot and humid South Dakota Summer air perfectly. The motor, a 351 Windsor, was rebuilt, bored 30 over,and high compression pistons, mild racing cam, aluminum intake and a 600 Edelbrock carburetor were added. These all give it a little more "get up and go" than it originally had.


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The wheels were upgraded from 14 inch wheels to 15 inch American Racing mags. The bumpers were all re-chromed. One of the most difficult replacement parts to find were the front bumper strips, but after searching several junk yards, Dick finally found the right ones. The original AM radio was upgraded to a factory AM/FM/cassette combination radio that Dick found on eBay. Dick works at a local Ford dealership, which made the project go much easier because of his access to many experts in the mechanical and body shop areas. That helped immensely as the work progressed.


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The Fall of 2010 saw the end result of three years of blood, sweat and tears and Dick entered his first car show. "It was really gratifying," he says, "to win a trophy after being voted "Cool Car" out of 250 entries. The most fun we had at the car show was hearing how many people reminisced about the original TV show when they saw our car. As far as we know, this may be the only Starsky & Hutch Torino in South Dakota."


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Dick wants to extend a huge Thank-you and note of appreciation to all of his friends, co-workers, and family members who helped in so many ways to make this project and the wonderful end result possible.

"If any other "Starsky & Hutch"
®Torino fans are in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area," Dick says, "look us up. We would love to trade S&H Torino restoration stories."
 

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Created January 14, 2011. All Rights Reserved. Photos are the Property of the Car's Owner.

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