Ford Elite

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Ford Elite (1976 model shown)
Ford Elite
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
ClassPersonal luxury car
Body style(s)Coupe
LayoutFR Layout
Engine(s)351 CID Windsor 351 CID Modified V8
400 CID Cleveland V8
460 CID 385 V8
Transmission(s)3-speed automatic
Wheelbase114 in.
RelatedFord Torino
Mercury Cougar
Mercury Montego
ManualsService Manual
Ford Elite

The Ford Elite was an automobile produced by the Ford Motor Company for the North American market from 1974 to 1976. The Elite was based on the Ford Torino, and was a two-door coupe intended to be, in the words of Ford's advertising, a "mid-size car in the Thunderbird tradition"—a more affordable personal luxury car than the Thunderbird, intended to compete with such cars as the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and the Chrysler Cordoba. It was essentially the concurrent Mercury Cougar XR-7 with a mild front end restyle.

In the 1974 model year, the Elite was considered a sub-model of the Torino; although advertised separately, the side script said "Gran Torino Elite" and the car would be titled and registered as a Gran Torino. In 1975 and 1976 (with "Elite" side script) ,the Elite was fully its own model. In all three years, the car sold well.

The Elite name was dropped after 1976 because the Ford range was being restructured and downsized. The Thunderbird was dramatically reduced in size and price for 1977, moving to the old Torino platform, while the Torino itself was replaced by the LTD II. In effect, the Elite continued under the more-recognized Thunderbird name, with the larger car being discontinued.

Standard equipment

As standard, the Elite came with:


Among the options that could be specified on the Elite were:

  • 400M V8 engine of 402 CID (6.6 L)
  • 460 V8 engine of 460 CID (7.5 L)
  • Power glass moonroof
  • Power steel sunroof
  • Air conditioning with standard manual control or optional Automatic Temperature Control
  • Metallic Glow paint
  • Cruise (speed) control
  • Gauge package with tachometer, oil pressure gauge, coolant temperature gauge, and ammeter gauge
  • Fuel Sentry Vacuum Gauge - monitors intake manifold vacuum to give an indication of how hard the engine is working, and thus economy (not available with gauge package).
  • Fuel Monitor Warning Light - as above, but an on/off light instead of a gauge.
  • Bucket seats and center console (1976 only).