Ford employees had to dress up 1970s style before being allowed behind the wheel of a special visitor to the company's Essex HQ. To mark this month's release of the new Starsky and Hutch film, their star vehicle, Ford's Gran Torino, was on display in the building foyer. Employees were photographed in the driver's seat wearing wigs, shades and flares – all making a donation to charity for the privilege.
Few cars are as recognisable as Starsky's 1976 Ford Gran Torino in its tomato red and contrasting white striped livery. Co-star Hutch was also a Ford fan – driving a 1973 Ford Galaxie complete with one odd coloured bumper.
Following the success of the original TV programme and in response to customer demand, Ford produced around 1,000 of the red and white Gran Torinos at its Chicago assembly plant. The 5,752cc V8 coupé is now enjoying revived interest thanks to the 2004 film – the starskytorino.com site has had almost 190,000 hits this month. The Gran Torino currently at Ford of Britain headquarters is owned by Kevin Christmas of Wisbech, Cambs, who still uses the car as everyday transport.
Tim Holmes, Ford of Britain Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs, said: "We are most grateful to Kevin for the loan of his Gran Torino. Its iconic V8 rumbling throaty roar and stunning looks are still turning heads – more than 25 years after Starsky and Hutch first made the car famous on TV. I'm delighted our employees joined in the fun today and donated generously to WOMAC."Published 18 March 2004