By 1972, the muscle car era was starting to wind down. Harsh emissions laws and safety standards killed horsepower while increasing the weight of cars. None of that could stop diehard racers and engine builders though. In 1972, Ford engine guru Bud Moore took the new 351 Cleveland small-block engine and dropped it into a Ford Torino. It would end up racing two seasons of stock car racing before retiring.
That year, Bud Moore entered his small-block Torino into nine Grand National races before it was called NASCAR. Even though this was a test year, driver David Pearson managed to take home a best finish of 4th place. That’s a Bud Moore Blue Oval for you. In 1973, Moore got serious and hired 1970 Grand National World Champ Bobby Isaac as a full-time driver.
Isaac finished in second place to Richard Petty at the ’73 Daytona 500. Overall, he finished in 5th place or better five times that season before walking off the racetrack and “retiring” after the 21-car crashed at the Talladega 500 that killed driver Larry Smith. The ’72 Torino finished up the season and was raced, stored, and eventually put on display at the North Carolina Motorsports Museum from 1990 until 2008. It was then bought, restored, and equipped with a 475 horsepower 351 Cleveland.
The engine has just two races on it though, as well as a brand new four-speed transmission, and freshened up electrical, braking, and suspension components. We hope whoever the new owner ends up being, they use this car in the way it was meant to be used.
In other words, race it. Race it hard.