Home » What If Ford Had Made The Mustang Mach-E A Torino Instead?

What If Ford Had Made The Mustang Mach-E A Torino Instead?

Topshot 7a

Bronco! Mustang! Maverick! It’s 1972 all over again at Ford. After doing that F-word Focus/Fusion/Five Hundred nonsense a few years back they’ve doubled down on the full retro thing with names. So why no Torino?

[ED Note: The Bishop, our daydreaming designer, regularly shares with us his wild ideas. From a reborn Mustang II to a tiny RV house, his ideas range from thoughtful and practical to outright loony.]

Ford’s late sixties to mid seventies mid-sized entry (well, they CALLED it mid-sized) was quite popular and was available in some exciting versions. The sinister-looking 1969-71 GT coupes could be had with the Cobra Jet 428 and were arguably quite underrated latter day muscle cars at the time. This design was apparently approved by then-Ford President Lee Iacocca after one viewing and was one of the favorite cars of his career:

1970 Ford Torino Cobra A013

sources: Performance Ford and Muscle Car Sales

I mean, even the crappiest, most Malaise of the Torinos had cool cred that it really didn’t deserve:

Img 6595

source: Fast Toy Club

Manufacturers are trying to scrounge up ANY name these days to lend credibility to a new car, so why not use the Torino moniker? But where? I have an alternate reality in mind.

The whole Mach E controversy of A-Mustang-Can’t-Be-A-Four-Door is a horse that’s been beaten to death, but I am going to grab a crowbar and respectfully beat it some more.


While I am not exactly going to set myself on fire in the Dearborn headquarters in protest, I do have to fall into the camp of it being a Bad Idea. My first ride in a car as a two-day old infant was supposedly in our old 1965 289-powered Mustang convertible, so I should have SOME respect for this car. I mean, even Iacocca seemed to nix this four door concept at the beginning, and he would famously sell ANYTHING he could make a buck on:


source: Ford Authority

It’s just too confusing to have a still-being-produced icon named after a new electric car. Plus, the Mach-E should really be its own line of cars like the Prius–but this would be a Prius with teeth. It’s undeniably a good car; the fit and finish alone on this thing at the price point should tell any new EV startups to just give up and make electric… I dunno… something else.

Well, here at the office I always say go ahead and criticize if you can offer a solution, and I’m doing that here. Let’s remove the simulated Mustang trim on the Mach-E and add something different.

Presenting the Torino GT:


sources: Car Buyer Labs  and The Bishop

It’s funny how the evil full width black grille of the old GT fits perfectly onto the Mach E body, and it’s even better since it doesn’t have to be a grille at all with no radiator. No headlight doors needed in 2021. Light the whole thing up, baby! Obviously, the projector lights are carefully blended in at the edges and the rest is just for looks. Get this in a Tesla’s rear view mirror:


Honeycomb taillights in back like the old GT? I mean, it’s perfect.


sources: US News , Volo Cars, and The Bishop

Also, do not forget that back in the day the Torino was a full line of cars:

Fb9d40d4ac068d15c0d9a3eb383cd578 Window Trims Black Interiors

sources: Pinterest, Pinterest, Mecum and Mecum;

Coupes, wagon, even the Ranchero pickup, so as a name it would perfectly suit a complete line of Ford’s EV cars.  Next models could include:

-A Santa Cruz-style Ranchero

-A notchback ‘wagon’ body akin to a Prius V, the XTRA.

-An actual coupe, with available graphics package so that Huggy Bear can see you coming.

Screenshot 5

sources: Diehl Auto , Ford, and The Bishop

This alternate reality would bring a great, versatile name back to life and not further shit on the ICE Mustang legacy.

Remember the 1982 Cougar station wagon? Or those four-door Thunderbirds? Yeah, let’s not do that again.


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34 Responses

  1. A non descript, utilitarian vehicle for commuting and/or light hauling……wasnt that the Pinto? Another vehicle in the stable of horse names from Ford? Pinto looks to be a more fitting name for the shape, size, and performance of this vehicle class..shouldnt Ford leadership leave “Mustang” for base powered cars and Mustang GT” and above for higher horse power variants. Seemed like, other than the poorly placed fuel tank thing, the Pinto was decent at what it was made for, in its era. Is Ford so shamed of the Pinto name that its doomed to remain relegated to the Phantom Zone…or a name not to be mentioned outside of family settings?

  2. Amazing as always, Bishop. To me, what really makes it is the front and rear lighting concept.

    At least to a layman, these seem to be the places where good design really makes a vehicle stand out these days, given how fast the tech has evolved.

    On the highway at night the other week, I saw my first Rivian in my rear view. It was immediately clear to me what it was, as the lighting is like nothing else out there.

    P.S. I’d liked Galaxie/Galaxy myself, complete with redesigned round taillights…but this has won me over to Team Torino.

      1. Gene- sounds good to me. Honestly, my point was anything other than Mustang…it needs to stop before it becomes like early 80s Oldsmobile where EVERY car was a fucking Cutlass.

  3. This is a very cool idea. I like the blackout grill, though the front still seems a little busy.

    I loved the Torino back in the day, especially the Ranchero. I also know someone who still has a ’72 GT he got new – that’s a love affair.

    1. Sadly, I think Pep Boys of all places still owns Futura.

      This is coming from a member of the Mustang faithful so take it as you will, but my biggest problem with calling it a Mustang is that Ford should have believed in it enough as its own cool thing.

      It’s a great vehicle that proves EVs can be for everyone (just like the Lightning does) not just the rich.

      If Ford had given it a unique name, like say the Amp (b/c that’s the part of electricity that kills you, maybe), 30 years from now we’d be on Autopian-verse-gamma or whatever talking about the Amp as Ford’s model T of the 21st century instead of arguing about if it’s a proper Mustang.

  4. I like the idea of separating it from the Mustang.

    As for your design, I like the idea of the lights through the grill. But that’s where it ends on the front. I think it is grinning too much and I am really aggravated by the hood scoop. Plus it looks like it has multiple chins.

    I think the real light treatment is better and I like having a variety of body styles.

    1. 2cv8- it still needs tweaking, that’s for sure. But then, looking back at the original Mach-E I think that could use some tweaking as well. Really just looking at the concept of a different line more than design details right now, and I’m glad you like that!

  5. Well this post brings back some memories. Like you, my dad brought home a new ’65 Mustang convertible; 289 2V manual, white on white with a black top. I must be a few years older than you because that car started my life long love of mustangs. I personally owned a ’70 Torino GT. Mine was a 302 automatic but it had all the options. Mine was like the yellow one above with the hide away headlights and the laser stripe except in red.

    Naming the Mach-E as a Torino would work. I’ll always have soft spot for that name. However, Ford used Mustang in order to get press coverage. Torino would never have done that.

    1. richardodn- that might be true. Still, I was surprised how excited people got about revival of the ‘Maverick’ name, which was a car that couldn’t even approach the cool of most Torinos, to say nothing of the GT model like you owned.

      Didn’t The Dude own a beat-to-shit later one as well?

      1. Love the Torino idea, but the name certainly wouldn’t have gone over like Mustang. But now that it’s here, I’d like to see them really lean into Mach-E as an EV identity. Basically, copy your designs, but use “Mach-E” in place of “Torino”. Get on it, Ford!

        As for the Maverick, they probably held a focus group and asked, “How many of you remember the Ford Maverick?” One person raises their hand. “How many think ‘Maverick’ sounds tough and outdoorsy?” Everyone raises their hands. “Maverick it is! Yeehaw!”

  6. If they’re going to badge engineer, they should do a Lincoln Mark-E ‘personal luxury coupe’.

    On another note, having seen the Mach-E in person now a few times, I’m surprised at what an ugly vehicle it is. It doesn’t look so bad in pictures, but in real space, it’s just a lumpy mess.

  7. I love the nod to early Torinos. The lights need to be in production, now.

    The GT and Xtra look better, but I think it would HAVE to be a coupe to start as a retro nod. The Starsky and Hutch Limted Edition should go like hell (so max engine or EV output) but otherwise, keep it simple and retro with less screen and infotainment chicanery.

  8. it would have made more sense to call it the Thunderbird as thunder goes with Lightning. they could have made a performance version or even a lowered coupe and called it a Thunderbolt. But thunder is also load and these are quiet things. so I digress. The with the rendering is pretty sweet looking, but nobody these days knows what a Torino even is. I would also entertain that the Futura name would have been an ok choice here, but neither would have garnered as much free press. let’s be honest the Mach is just a ford Edge with Batteries and dolled up with Mustang inspired lights

  9. I’ve said it before: the correct model name to bring back out of the stable for the first electric Fords was staring them in the face the whole time – the Mustang Mach-E should have been the Galax-E. You were close with the Torino, just one body size down from the right answer.

  10. I love this kind of content. Keep it coming. It’s fun.

    “…not further shit on the ICE Mustang legacy.”

    I was on this train when I first heard about an EV CUV Mustang, but it’s hard to care now. The Mustang’s legacy isn’t that it was powered by an ICE. Everything was until it wasn’t. The legacy of the Mustang is the concept of the pony car and with its good price/performance/livability ratio.

    Honestly, a CUV Mustang still offends me a little, but the EV part couldn’t matter any less.

    1. thefanciestcat- I think by saying ICE Mustang it misrepresented my point. I was referring more to the car itself and not the powertrain. I mean, when the SVO came out with a turbo 4 that was still a Mustang to me..not the greatest powertrain but it was great that they were trying to keep pace in a world where V8s were becoming extinct (we never thought they would ever come back). I have no problem with an EV Mustang, but slapping three-bar taillights on a 4 door CUV is part I kind of take issue with.

    2. Well said. I feel the same way, mostly b/c Ford is clearly going to have a proper electric Mustang in a few years’ time.

      And then at that point, the arguments are going to begin all over again…

      “I love these new electric Mustangs.” “Wait, which one do you have?” “A Mach-E!” “That’s not an EV Mustang….this is!”

  11. You know Torino, we know Torino. The unenlightened public think Torino might be a city in California. Everybody thinks car before horse when they hear Mustang. I agree that Mach E is a fine stand alone name and they didn’t need to drag Mustang into it. I love what you’ve done here!

  12. BEV CUVs are next-level dumb.

    You justify the CUV by deciding that you need one vehicle that can do it all rather than a pair of vehicles, but then you limit the range by making it a battery EV instead of a plugin hybrid? More so than normal CUVs, The MachE is proof that most people are driven by how they want to look rather than by objectivity.

    What would have happened if they made it a Torino? It’d be like now, but they’d have run out of blue ovals faster.

  13. Personally I think they should drop the ‘Mustang’ part and just call it the Ford Mach-E

    Now having said that, calling it a Torino or even giving it the Thunderbird name would have been better.

    Sometimes I think Ford’s marketing people have no idea of what they’re doing and have no concept of Ford’s history (let alone Lincoln’s) and what the various model names stand for in the eyes of Ford vehicle buyers/users.

  14. Every alternate universe Mustang Mach-E I see, I can’t help but think that Ford just got lazy.
    This is awesome, and frankly, I think would have generated more demand for the car.
    The people that were saying it should have been the Galax-E were also right.
    They wanted to leverage the brand…but then created a truck that doesn’t follow the brand. So it wasn’t an EV thing. If they were really interested in brand, they would have left the Mustang alone and created a new brand for their EVs like everyone else has.

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