The Ford Torino is an automobile which was produced by the Ford Motor Company for the North American market between 1968 and 1976. It was a competitor in the intermediate market segement. The car was named after the city of Turin (Torino, in Italian), considered the Italian Detroit. The Torino was initially an upscale version of the intermediate sized Ford Fairlane, which Ford produced between 1962 and 1970. After 1968, the Fairlane name was retained for the base models with lower levels of trim than those models which wore the Torino name. During this time, the Torino was considered a subseries to the Fairlane. By 1970 Torino had become the primary name for Ford's intermediate, and the Fairlane was now a subseries of the Torino. In 1971 the Fairlane name was dropped altogether and all Ford intermediates were called Torino. This name was one of several originally proposed for the Mustang while in development. The Torino was essentially a twin to the Mercury Montego line.
Most Torinos were conventional cars, and generally the most popular models were the 4-door sedans and 2-door hardtops. However, Ford produced some high-performance versions of the Torino by fitting them with large powerful engines, such as the 428 cu in (7.0 L) and 429 cu in (7.0 L) "Cobra-Jet" engines. These cars are classified as muscle cars. Ford also chose the Torino as the base for its NASCAR entrants, and it has a successful racing heritage.
In 1972, The Torino line was revised to be made up of basic models called "Torino" and more upscale models called "Gran Torinos."
The Dude drives a four door 1973 Ford Gran Torino throughout The Big Lebowski. One night, after exiting his favorite bowling alley, The Dude finds that his car has been stolen. While filing the police report at his Venice Beach home, The Dude describes the car as being green, rusty, and containing an extensive Creedence Clearwater Revival tape collection. It also contained a briefcase allegedly filled with ransom money given to The Dude by The Big Lebowski to be delivered to The Nihilists.
Upon learning that the car had been found, a police officer tells The Dude that the culprit (later suspected to be Larry Sellers ) was thought to be a vagrant that slept in the vehicle, or just used it as a toilet and moved on. The Torino was found abandoned after the thieves crashed it into a retaining wall, but the briefcase full of cash was gone. Although damaged, the car was still driveable.
Since The Dude was unable to deliver the money to The Nihilists, they retaliated by setting the car ablaze in the bowling alley's parking lot.