For 1968 Ford launched a new mid size model with a 116″ wheel base called the Torino which was placed over the previous Fairlane’s attracting a predictable price hike in return.
To promote the new model Ford did a deal with the organisers of the Indy 500 to provide a fleet of Torino GT Convertible pace cars for the use of event officials which included two 428’s, one 390 and one hundred and fifty six 302 Automatics known as ‘festival cars’.
Additionally Ford dealers could order a limited edition ’68 Pace Car spec Torino GT convertible. It is thought 709 of these limited edition vehicles were built with around 90% percent having the lower spec 302 motor fitted.
It is possible, with a little room for scepticism in the absence of any number of confirming details, that today’s featured example seen by Geoffrey Horton at last years Marin Concours d’Elegance is the 309 Pace Car used at Indy.
The give away evidence that this might be the 390 GT Torino Convertible used at Indy are the bonnet / hood pins which are unlikely to have been fitted to any of the Dealer ordered Limited Edition pace cars.
The ’68 Indy 500 was won by Bobby Unser driving a turbocharged 4 cylinder Offenhauser powered Eagle from team owner Dan Gurney in a Ford V8 powered Eagle. The ’68 race was also used as a backdrop for the film ‘Winning’ which introduced Paul Newman to Motorsport and led to his participation as a driver and successful team co owner.
‘Winning’ brought some no doubt welcome additional coverage for the GT Torino Pace Cars which also featured in the film. If you have evidence to either confirm or refute the notion that this car is one of the cars supplied to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1968 please do not hesitate to chime in below.
Thanks for joining me on this “Winning Pace Car ?” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !