Heidts Changes Stance For Early ‘70s Cult Classic Torinos

Heidts Automotive Group was started in 1985 in the 700 square foot garage of company founder Gary Heidt. The company has grown over the last 30 years, and now occupies a modern 50,000 square foot facility in Lake Zurich, Illinois.

For something a little different, Heidts has created an aggressive stance for the early ‘70s Ford Torino project cars. Ford Torinos, while unique and not as widely popular as other musclecars of the era, have seen their fair share of time in the limelight. Produced from 1968 to 1976, the Torino was propelled into motorsports prominence by NASCAR at the end of the 1960s. The fastback roofline gave the Ford Torino a wind-cheating design which dominated in super-speedway racing.

Television helped bring the car into everyone’s house every Saturday night when the latest episode of Starsky & Hutch came on. Fords were prominent in the show with David Soul’s character (Hutch) driving a beat-up 1973 Ford Galaxie 500 and Starsky with the iconic bright red, two-door 1975 Ford Gran Torino with white vector stripe. The Torino featured a rear end that was lifted by air shocks and Ansen Sprint 5-slot mag wheels with larger rear tires. This gave it a popular stance for the period.

Most Torino fans have focused on the late 60s versions, making the Torino Talladega and King Cobra the most collectible, followed closely by the 1972 and later models. Movies like Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, which featured a 1972 model, and the Fast and Furious series with 1974-64 Torino models represented, helped define the popularity of the later year versions.

1970 Ford Torino GT. Photo from wikipedia.org.

It is the 1970-1971 period that is often overlooked by car enthusiasts. “The Torino may not be the most popular car around, but the people who have them love them,” said Scott Diedrich of Heidts. “There doesn’t seem to be many parts manufactured for the Torino, so we’re very excited to serve this particular audience of enthusiasts.”

1971 Ford Torino GT. Photo from wikipedia.org.

Hiedts has added upgraded front and rear suspension setups for the ’70-’71 Torinos. “At Heidts, we celebrate every build and understand that rare vehicles deserve the same quality and functionality as the cars you see every day,” Diedrich added.

While the ’70-’71 Torinos seem like a unique niche among car enthusiasts, the 1970 model was a very successful year for the Torino. Well received by the public and automotive press, it was selected as the Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1970.

Heidt’s Offerings

Up front, the Heidts Superide II Independent Front Suspension (IFS) for 1970-’71 Torinos provides a true independent anti-dive upgrade for these heavy-but-powerful classics. This adds safety and reliability in an adjustable coil-over system.

The complete hub-to-hub kits come with a Superide II crossmember, tubular upper and lower control arms, power rack and pinion steering, billet adjustable coil-over shocks with springs, and 11″ rotors with 4-piston Wilwood brakes. Standard or drop spindles are also included, bringing the car’s ride height down 2″-4″ respectively.

Available upgrades include double-adjustable coil-over shocks and 12″ and 13″ Wilwood brake packages to dial in at the track.

In The Rear

The IFS is designed to be paired with a Heidts 4-Link Rear Suspension Kit—otherwise, the rear will sit quite high (stinkbug style). The 4-Link kits are built specifically for the Torino and come standard with brackets, links, and hardware, plus coil-over shocks and springs.

The Torino 4-Link is designed to work with the bulletproof 9″ rearend, and is available with housings, axles, and posi-trac third members.

Currently, these are a cheaper option for builders to explore, and there’s a lot to love about Torinos, from their larger trunks to massive engine compartments that can easily accommodate a Coyote engine swap.

“Torino builds are for people who enjoy the challenge of doing something different — not just another Mustang or Camaro — and Heidts is known for having our finger on the pulse of the industry,” Diedrich noted. “We’re happy to support these unique projects that are a little bit out of the ordinary.”

For more information about the Torino upgrades, visit them online at www.heidts.com.

Article Sources

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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