The Ford Elite (initially Gran Torino Elite) was produced by the U.S. carmaker Ford Coupe of the upper middle class, which was offered from 1974 to 1976. His parallel model at the Mercury division was the Cougar XR-seventh
Since the mid-1950s, Ford offered in the upper class at the Thunderbird, a large, exclusive and expensive coupe. The Thunderbird had become in the course of model development to a full-size model, which was only a little smaller than the largest limousine company. In the arranged underneath so-called Intermediate class (middle class), the company had no independent coupe on offer. Although there were As with other American automobile manufacturers as well two-door versions of the regular middle-class models like the Torino, but they were stylistically close to the limousines and were not perceived as independent models. The same happened in the 1960s when the competitors General Motors and Chrysler.
In 1970, General Motors Chevrolet Monte Carlo out, a middle-class coupe, which had a distinctive design and was high quality. The model, which was redesigned in 1973, soon proved to be success in the market, which neither Ford nor Chrysler had to oppose something. Both groups responded to the success of the Monte Carlo: Chrysler developed the presented in the summer of 1974, Cordoba, while Ford from his middle-class series Gran Torino Elite derived.
Although the Gran Torino Elite was based on the merits for the art of the third series of the Ford Torino, but was essentially a slightly modified version of the 1973 featured Mercury Cougar. This is explained by the time its already available in the U.S. platform strategy.
The Ford brand was represented in the middle class with the model Torino. The Mercury Division offered under the name of Montego own version of this model, which was stylistically independent. Although the Montego and the Torino shared all technical components and also parts of the glazing; However, the Montego had glattflchigere body lines that stood out against the often perceived as bombastic forms of Torino. The Montego had worked as a four-door and available as a two-door sedan. A luxury two-door version of the Montego was sold from the summer of 1973 under the name Cougar. The two-door Montego and Cougar differed outwardly only by a modified front end. The Cougar should compete against the Chevrolet Monte Carlo among others.
When Ford developed its own middle-class coupe Elite, the company went back to the Cougar and modified him outwardly. Instead of the four round headlights of the Ford Cougar version received two large single headlights, which framed a wide grill and should remember the Ford Thunderbird. Doors, side panels and roof section corresponded to unchanged the Cougar, so had no stylistic resemblance to the Torino on. Regardless, the car was in his idea in 1974 called Gran Torino Elite. Only for model year 1975, the additional title Torino fell off.
Technically, the Gran Torino Elite or Elite was completely identical to the Mercury Cougar. As drive sources were V8 engines from 5.8 to 7.5 liters displacement and 121 up to 160 kW (165hp 218); 1975, changed the engine power to 107 or 163 kW (145 221hp). In 1976, a longer rear axle ratio used, which should reduce consumption.
From model year 1977, the elite was superfluous, as from that date the Ford Thunderbird was built on the platform of the Ford LTD II and was now positioned in the middle class segment.
In three years, Ford produced a total of 366,500 copies of the elite. Established in the various model years 96 604 (1974), 123 372 (1975) and 146 475 vehicles (1976).