Nothing says late-70s like the symbol of the popular television series Starsky & Hutch. The police drama entertained American audiences from 1975 to 1979, and the distinctive-looking Torino used on the program has become a cultural icon.
For the '76 model year, Ford introduced a Starsky & Hutch limited edition Gran Torino. The car was given the distinctive striping like that on the television show and was an immediate hit. A youngster named Steven Bordi, a fan of the TV show from day one, wanted to have his own. It helped that he was a fan of the Torino, having owned a '69 model and then a '72 edition as well. Young Steven simply couldn't come up with the necessary money to get the car of his dreams, but the idea never left his head.
Steven became quite a collector of Starsky & Hutch memorabilia, but the elusive element was finding a real limited edition car. "I found a Starsky & Hutch car at a car show in 1981 and spoke with the owner. I told him I wanted to buy the car," recalls Steven. "He was not interested to sell at that time, but he said I would be the first person if he were."
Steven hung onto those words. He kept in contact with the owner for 8 years. The answer was always the same. "At the 8½-year point, I made my routine phone call and found out that he had passed on. When I asked what happened to the car, his mother said 'I wish I knew you wanted the car because it sat around for the longest time and I sold it.'"
Now Steven was back to square one. His cross-country search yielded one in Ohio, but the car was in terrible condition, having sat in a barn for nearly 15 years. "When the driver picked it up, he said there were mice running out of it."
Steven, himself a law enforcement officer in New Jersey, awaited some estimates to start the work on this project. Another owner read an ad Steven had placed and called. "He said, 'Are you still looking for a Starsky & Hutch Torino?' and I told him yes. When I asked him what size engine, he said, 'What else, Dude? A 460.' He sent me pictures and we made a deal. I sold the rodent-condo car, which was also one of 1,000, to another guy in Philadelphia."
Once the car arrived, Steven turned it over to the attention of C&R Cars in Philadelphia, where an extensive frame-on restoration took place. The stock components were used to keep the car as close to the original edition as possible.
When we met up with Steven, the car was part of a special display at the 2000 Carlisle All-Ford Nationals. Other fine specimens were on hand, but this entry really caught our eye. You could just imagine it zooming down the streets, headed for the next street tip from Huggy Bear with orders from Captain Dobey.