Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cars in Yards: 1973 Gran Torino Sport



“I put blocks under it to keep it off the ground,” said the man with the yellow 1973 Ford Gran Torino Sport parked deep in his yard.  Robert Champion’s lawn has been home to his brother’s Gran Torino for more than a decade.  This relic from the muscle car meltdown years deserved a closer look. It appeared to be in much better shape from the road.


Champion’s brother, Bobby, bought the nearly new Gran Torino in 1974.  He sold his tired 1967 Chevelle SS to a family member for a few hundred dollars and started driving the fastback Ford.  It is still equipped with Ford’s last production year of the 351-cubic-inch Cleveland V8 engine and 2-barrel carburetor.  Bobby drove the Ford for the better part of two decades before  mechanical issues forced him to park it.  “Bobby’s been saying for several years that he plans to fix it up someday,” said Champion, “but I don’t know if he will ever get around to it.” 

The Gran Torino Sport will remain in Robert’s yard until his brother or the elements claim it.  So far, the bright yellow fastback is losing its battle with Mother Nature.  Old yeller, as I call it, has been a landmark for residents that get turned around in Mr. Champion’s Pinson, Alabama neighborhood.  Like it or not, old cars tend to disappear when you least expect it.  This landmark vehicle will eventually be claimed for a restoration , parts or scrapped out.  See another example here of another ‘Car in Yards’ that vanished not long after I documented its existence.




Love thy neighbor
Let this be a lesson to neighbors who view old cars wilting on the lawn next door as an eyesore.  It’s brotherly love, people!  Any good brother or sister would gladly provide storage space for an older vehicle that holds nostalgic memories for their loved ones.  One day you may be lucky enough to have a ‘project’ in your yard.


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