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Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

Classic Wheels: 1968 Ford Torino GT fastback was a $50 birthday present

Pete Brekus,


Brian Hontz, of Bangor, transports memories of his youth in this 1968 Ford Torino GT fastback.

While a sophomore at Bangor Area High School in 1976, Hontz was fascinated by the terrific Torino as it rumbled into and out of the school parking lot, driven by another student.

"I grew up in the days of muscle cars," Hontz says, "and worked in my uncle's body shop in Bangor from the time I was a little kid."

When he returned for his junior year Hontz noticed the Torino's absence and quickly investigated its seeming disappearance. He soon found out the car was now for sale – for $50.

Hontz's girlfriend, Kathy Miller, ponied up the $50 as a birthday present so Hontz could buy the car on his 17th birthday.

The Torino took Brian and Kathy on dates throughout their high school years, including two prom nights. The couple married in 1979.

After residing in storage for 22 years while Hontz served in the Marine Corps, the Torino GT underwent a full restoration in 2013.

Hontz dropped in a 390-cubic-inch big-block V-8 that he had rebuilt himself. The power plant, a match to the car's original motor, was beefed up with oversize pistons, ported heads, a Crane cam, a Mallory dual-point distributor and Hooker Coyote headers.

Now aspirated by a Holley 650 four-barrel carb, Hontz estimates horsepower at between 375 and 400."It definitely goes," Hontz says. "It's surprising because the car still has the highest gears available off the assembly line. It will just burn the tires when you get on it. It definitely has some torque."

The car was sprayed its original Raven Black enamel at Dean's Auto Body in Bangor by Dean Shook, a longtime friend. The quarter panels were replaced and a 1969 Torino ram-air hood scoop was added to feed more oxygen to the carburetor and give the car a more menacing look. The red C-stripe signifying its fastback designation was then affixed to complete the muscle car's rejuvenation.

About his nearly lifelong relationship with the '68 Ford Torino GT fastback, Hontz says, "Kathy and I just celebrated our 35th anniversary this past September. It's really neat to have the car you had in high school, the car we went to proms in in our junior and senior years."

To share your antique, classic or specialty car, truck or motorcycle, send a photo and information to: Classic Wheels, The Express-Times, 30 N. Fourth St., Easton PA 18042; Attn: Pete Brekus; or email

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