THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1970 Ford Torino Cobra Jet owned by James Laurita
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
During the thick of the muscle car wars in 1970, Ford fought back with several competitive high-powered models, including the fastback Torino Cobra Jet (CJ), whose 429-cubic-inch V-8 pumped out as much as 375 horsepower with the factory “Ram Air” option. Laurita notes that his car is fairly rare, with less than 7,000 produced. “Only 3,488 came with the 429 ‘Ram Air,’ only 1,357 of those came with the (heavy-duty) C6 transmission, only 61 of those were painted black and only this one came with dual rear speakers,” he says. “My CJ also has power steering, power brakes and factory air conditioning.” Augmenting the original package is a host of aftermarket performance pieces, including special cylinder heads, carburetor, ignition, camshaft, exhaust headers, torque converter and dual exhausts.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
He bought it in November 2010 and got it on the road last year after a lengthy restoration.
WHERE HE FOUND IT
“The car was sitting, with the motor removed, for seven years in a Queens backyard,” Laurita says.
“The complete restoration required two years of finding parts,” he says. The motor and transmission were rebuilt by specialists in Bohemia and the body and chassis were refurbished over more than two years by a former Long Islander who had moved to upstate New York near the Vermont border. “My son and I used a borrowed trailer to bring the body up there the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010,” Laurita adds. “It was painted yellow then and I restored it to its original black.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“The two-year body style of the ’70 and ’71 Torino makes the car rare and the parts hard to find,” he advises. “Make sure you join the Fairlane Club of America. They can help with finding parts and technical information.”
“Few were made and very few survive,” Laurita says. “I have seen high-quality restorations sell for $47,000.”