1969 Ford Torino Pikes Peak: The Indomitable Force of Racing Greatness

In the world of classic muscle cars, there are few names as iconic as Bobby Unser and Ford Torino. In the milestone 200th episode of Muscle Car of the Week, a very special interview takes place, featuring the legendary three-time IndyCar champion and 13-time Pikes Peak champion himself, Bobby Unser. The interview is conducted at the Muscle Car Corvette Nationals in Chicago, where a 1969 Ford Torino race car from the Brothers Collection is showcased. This article delves into the fascinating details of the interview and the significance of the 1969 Ford Torino as a Pikes Peak winner.

Bobby Unser’s Career and Achievements

Bobby Unser, a legendary figure in the world of motorsports, boasts an impressive career and a long list of accomplishments. With three victories at the prestigious Indianapolis 500 and thirteen wins at the challenging Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Unser has etched his name in racing history. His skill, determination, and passion for racing have made him one of the most respected and celebrated drivers of all time.

The star of the interview is the 1969 Ford Torino, a race car that holds a significant place in Bobby Unser’s racing journey. This Torino, originally built by Holman and Moody and Bill Stroppe Racing, was specifically designed for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1969. Unser’s involvement with Ford Motor Company and the collaboration between Bunkie Knudsen and Unser himself played a crucial role in bringing this remarkable race car to life.

The Design and Modifications of the Torino

The 1969 Ford Torino, with its Talladega-bodied stock car design, underwent significant modifications aimed at maximizing its performance for the demanding Pikes Peak race. To enhance its aerodynamics, the car was lowered and streamlined, resulting in a more sleek and aggressive appearance. In pursuit of weight reduction and improved efficiency, non-essential components such as lights, mirrors, and trim were eliminated. Additionally, the bumpers were skillfully tucked in, further contributing to the Torino’s streamlined profile.

To ensure optimal cooling during the intense race, the Torino received cold air intakes in place of traditional headlights. This innovative design allowed for efficient air circulation to cool the vital fluid coolers. Moreover, a complete roll cage was meticulously installed, providing not only structural rigidity but also essential safety measures for the driver, enabling them to tackle the treacherous Pikes Peak course with confidence.

The combination of these modifications transformed the 1969 Ford Torino into a formidable machine ready to conquer the challenges of Pikes Peak. Its aerodynamic enhancements, weight reduction measures, and safety provisions showcased the commitment to pushing the limits of performance while ensuring the driver’s well-being. The modified Torino exemplifies the dedication and ingenuity of the racing world, where every detail is meticulously crafted for optimal speed, control, and safety.

The Powerful Engine: Smokey Yunick’s Boss 429

The 1969 Ford Torino is powered by a formidable engine that lies at the heart of its performance – a hand-built Boss 429 V8 crafted by the legendary Smokey Yunick. Renowned for his innovative approach to engine building, Yunick’s expertise played a crucial role in unlocking the Torino’s exceptional capabilities. While the precise power figures of the engine remain undisclosed, its formidable performance on the challenging terrain of Pikes Peak speaks volumes about its potency.

The Boss 429 V8 engine is a testament to the relentless pursuit of power and performance. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, it embodies the essence of American muscle. Although specific power numbers are not revealed, it is widely recognized that the engine’s output was more than sufficient to propel the Torino to great heights and conquer the demanding slopes of Pikes Peak.

The Torino’s engine, a result of Smokey Yunick’s expertise and craftsmanship, represents the epitome of power and performance. It stands as a testament to the ingenuity and skill of those who pushed the boundaries of automotive engineering. With every rev of the engine, the Torino showcased the thrilling combination of raw power, precision engineering, and a relentless desire to dominate the racecourse.

Unveiling the Torino’s Performance at Pikes Peak

The 1969 Ford Torino’s purpose was clear—to dominate the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Unser, with his profound understanding of the race, piloted the Torino to victory, setting a record on June 29, 1969. The Torino’s remarkable performance and its ability to tackle the demanding conditions of Pikes Peak solidified its place in racing history.

The 1969 Ford Torino holds immense historical significance as a testament to the collaboration between Bobby Unser and Ford Motor Company. Its success at Pikes Peak highlighted the capabilities of both the car and the driver. The Torino’s innovative design and modifications paved the way for future advancements in race car engineering. Its legacy continues to inspire racing enthusiasts and collectors alike.

The Interior

Stepping inside the 1969 Ford Torino, you are greeted by a driver-focused interior that blends style with functionality. The cockpit features a well-designed layout, placing all the essential controls within easy reach. The driver’s seat provides excellent support and comfort, ensuring a commanding position behind the wheel. The interior materials exude quality, with a mix of plush upholstery and tasteful accents that enhance the Torino’s sporty character.

Attention to detail is evident throughout the interior of the Torino. The dashboard boasts a clean and uncluttered design, adorned with a combination of analog gauges and modern instrumentation. The center console houses various controls, including climate settings and audio controls, ensuring convenience and ease of use. The steering wheel, with its ergonomic shape and tactile grip, offers precise control and enhances the driving experience.

Comfort and convenience are not compromised in the Torino’s interior. The spacious cabin provides ample legroom and headroom for both the driver and passengers. The seats, upholstered in premium materials, offer excellent support during spirited drives or long journeys. Thoughtful storage compartments are strategically placed, allowing for the stowage of personal items and keeping the interior organized. Overall, the interior of the Torino strikes a harmonious balance between comfort, style, and functionality.

Furthermore, the Torino’s interior is designed to provide a sense of immersive driving experience. From the symphony of engine sounds to the perfectly positioned pedals and intuitive placement of controls, every element is geared towards enhancing the connection between driver and machine. The ergonomic design of the interior ensures that the driver can focus on the road ahead while enjoying the thrill and excitement that the Torino offers.


The 200th episode of Muscle Car of the Week showcased the remarkable interview with Bobby Unser and the iconic 1969 Ford Torino. This episode celebrated not only the legacy of a legendary race car but also the achievements of a racing icon. The captivating stories, the thrilling race car, and Unser’s charisma made it a milestone episode to remember.

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