It's often said that any car can be restored, but they are only original once. That statement comes to mind every time we experience an original car, be it in person or via pictures, like Giulio Mancuso's stunning '68½ Torino GT fastback with 428 Cobra Jet motivation under its long sweeping hood.
Giulio, of Forest Hills, New York, has owned several classic Mustangs in the past, but when he found this Torino GT for sale by the second owner (a judge in the Fairlane Club of America) in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, he had to have it. Giulio understood right off just how rare the fastback was and he believes that the 428 CJ was one of Ford's best engines "hands down."
The Torino was originally ordered and sold through a West Coast dealer; southern California's famous Galpin Ford in August of 1968 (the only '68½ CJ Torino to be sold there). The original owner had no trade-in vehicle and after a $1,000 deposit, made 36 monthly payments of $107.89 to be able to call it his own. The Torino moved to its second owner in 1993 with just 58,112 miles on it. Earlier this year, when Giulio picked up the Torino and became its third caretaker, the gleaming red fastback had a scant 772 miles added on it in the 20 years the second owner had it. That's less than 40 miles a year average use! The second owner did, however, have the Torino repainted (exterior only, so all the door jambs, trunk, and more have original paint) during his time of ownership. Thankfully, they were smart enough to keep the original Candy Apple Red top coat and not touch anything else on the car. That's right, this Torino GT wears its original drivetrain, full interior, chrome trim, glass, and more to this day.
According to Kevin Marti's Deluxe Marti Report, there were only 660 '68½ Torino GT fastbacks with 428 CJ engines and C6 automatic transmissions produced in 1968. From what information Giulio gathered from previous owners and Fairlane Club of America members, there are only around 30 of these beauties left today, though Giulio has yet to see another like it in any condition let alone one in the condition his GT is still in.
"It has been babied, maintained and cared for all its life. It has all the original paperwork, too. You name it; she has it. It is also a ‘black plate' California car," Giulio explained to us about his newest ride. "I have owned some very nice Mustangs—thus, I love your magazine—but this is one of the sweetest cars I have and will ever own. There are factory markings all over the car, the interior is out of a time capsule, and she rides better than some of the newer cars I have owned with tons of power," Giulio further added.
The Torino came with 3:91 gears bolted to a Traction-Lock differential. Giulio tells us the gears were removed from the car at Galpin Ford when the original owner purchased it. The dealership swapped them for a set of 3.50 gears before the owner even drove the Torino home in hope of getting better gas mileage (maybe they should have purchased a small-block then, no?). The original gears were still in a Galpin Ford parts box, unused, and packed in grease when Giulio bought the Torino. By the time you read this, Giulio will have the original 3.91 gears back in service under the Torino for the first time in 45 years! While the Torino's previous owners were caretakers more so than owners (they even kept the original battery, which Giulio still has as well), Giulio does drive the big-block fastback once or twice a month, mainly to shows/cruises.
"The way I look at it is like this; I do not own the car, I am just holding the torch until I pass it on to someone else. It's an amazing piece of automotive history as far as I'm concerned," Giulio explained to us, and we couldn't agree more.
428 4-V Cobra Jet big-block
C6 three-speed automatic
Factory Candy Apple Red
Black interior with front bucket seats
9-inch axle housing
Power disc brakes
Argent Styled Steel wheels with GT center caps
All original glass, chrome, and sheetmetal
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