For 1970, J. Walter Thompson, Ford’s longtime ad agency, came up with a clever tagline for the midsize Torino: “New clear through!” And it was an honest boast, as the Ford intermediate platform was all indeed all-new with radically restyled sheet metal from front to rear, a longer wheelbase, and a fresh slate of powertrain choices, including a 429 cubic-inch Cobra Jet V8. To help drive home the “new clear through” theme, the JWT crew conceived an equally clever selling tool: a see-though Torino.
Built from a standard production 1970 Torino two-door hardtop in Acapulco Blue with a 351 two-barrel V8 and an automatic transmission, the car featured a score of see-though body panels vacuum-formed in plexiglass by Creative Industries. At the time, Creative was a leading builder of specialty vehicles for all the Motor City carmakers and the experts on plastics and new materials. To complete the Illustrated Car effect, the undercarriage and all the interior panels and components were show-prepped and painted in bright, contrasting colors, the better to show them off, and an elaborate network of miniature electric lamps was hidden inside to illuminate the inner body and simulate the flow-through ventilation system.
The see-though hardtop was featured in Ford’s 1970 Torino sales catalog and treated to a full spread for Motor Trend (the Torino was the magazine’s Car of the Year for 1970). The Torino also starred in a 1970 Ford television commercial, demonstrating in action shots that despite the presumably flimsy body panels, it was fully functional and roadworthy. At some point, the car was updated to 1971 exterior trim—the photos here show the car as both a ’70 and a ’71, you will note, and it also appears as a ’71 in the ’71 Torino sales literature. What happened to the see-through Torino after that? We don’t know, but we do sort of wish we did.