At first glance, these two cars could'nt be farther from each other. One was marketed as the most advanced production car on the planet, the other was Ford's better idea. One is small(ish) and nimble, the other is like an elephant wearing roller skates. Then again, they might have more in common than you might think.
The Corvette you see here is a good example of the early C4-generation. It's an '84 with a late '83 production date, still retaining its original Cross-fire 350 V8 backed by a 4-speed automatic transmission. It belongs to a good friend of mine, and I've had the privilege to drive it.
The Corvette feels tight and poised, unlike anything I've ever driven. Even though the drive was short, it gave me enough to form a thought of what this car can do. First thing you notice once you've dumped down into the driver's seat (this car is LOW) and woken the thing to life is how loud it is. The rumble is all but subtle, thanks to the downpipes/dumps on the mufflers. Having a normal conversation, even at idle is a strugle and will wear out your vocal cords faster than a sing-a-long at the local irish pub. Everything is power-assisted, but it doesn't feel like it. The steering is direct, no noticeable body-roll in corners and the brakes are precise without demanding a heavy foot. This thing feels like a go-kart compared to the Torino. The 205 hp seems more than eager enough to propell the body along and not at all sluggish as I feared from reading about them. Once the transmission kicks down, you are pushed into the seat as the Corvette launches forward, and because of its go-kart nature, hitting a cruve isn't a fear of thought. Oh, what fun this would be on a road course! I would have loved to do a burnout, but sinse it's not my car, I didn't dare! But it's a car that begs to be hooned and flogged around. This was marketed as the most advanced production car on the planet, and in the day when it was new, I guess it was. Certantly compared to its predesessor, the C3, that like many, if not all other performance car from the US at the time, were under-powered and smog-choked. A mere shadow of what once was. This carried over to the C4, but, from my experience, the chassis was far better and handled the power differently. Suddenly the Corvette was back to what it once was, America's one and only sports car.
Over in the Torino, everything is quiter. Older. Fatter. Analog, next to the Corvette's LCD instrument panel that could give Nintendo a run for its money, feels older than the 14 years that separate them. The idle is a bit rougher, actually, partly to the mis-adjusted carb and noticeable, but not deafaning. With the windows all up, it's hardly audible by vintage standards with just a slight rumble of its old skiff-like idle seeping through the weatherstripping. Only the shakes from a almost worn out engine mount tells you that this thing is alive. This is all thanks to the extra thick carpets and the extra sound-deadening standard on its Brougham model designation. As for driving experience, everything in this car feels dangerous, like you're pushing limits, thanks to its outdated underpinnings and bench seat. I've done jaunts on twisty backroads at 50+ mph, and to be honest, I laugh every single time. Is it a joyous laugh? Perhaps. Is it a "fear for my life" laugh? Yes, by all means! This is, in every sense, a muscle car, even with its four doors and everything. The 351 Cleveland V8 (that's 5.8 liters to you) with its 250 (very) gross SAE rating, but more importantly, the 380 lb-ft at 2600 rpm, moves the car along nicely and doesn't have a problem with producing some one-tire fire every now and then (open diff thank you very much), even from a rolling start. This thing got torque!
At the top of this article I mentioned similarities. In terms of visual content, both have hidden headlights. Both have V8 engines. Both are american. Both have their share of keen and devoted followers and both have to struggle for acceptance in the general public. The Corvette's looks, and the reputation of the Cross-fire v8 along with some electronic foibles, are the source for the why the haters hate. I, can't say I see the problem, even though I'm not a die-hard fan of that type of Corvette. The design held on for 12 years, and that's gotta be worth something? This car is a formidable package, and right now, they are CHEAP! If you want performance on a budget. This is your ride. The Torino on the other hand is more the victim of forgetfullness. The '70/71 Torino seems like have been forgotten or sidelined in part for other models. Can we blame the mustang for this? Or perhaps the previous '68/69 Fairlane/Torino models? I don't know. I wish, as an owner of one, of this one actually, that they were more poplular. Not because of the rise in value so often related to popular and sought after cars, but for the aftermarket that surrounds them. Reproduction parts for these cars are practically noneexcisting (mechanical are easy though) and leaves us owners crawling through junkyards to find those missing or damaged pieces. The Corvette has a fiberglass body, and that's a completely different story - Happy motoring