IN THE SPORT THING...
"In August of 1969 three Torinos were entered in the 84 Hours of Nurburgring in Germany -- in a chancy advertising and sport operation.
"The delegation presiding over it included Juan Manuel Fangio, Tibor Teleki, and Carlos Lobosco, who coordinated the effort. The motors were handled by engineer Lepper, but the attendance of Oreste Berta hinted at who was really in charge.
"The car number 3, driven by Eduardo Copello, Oscar Mauricio Franco, and someone named "Larry" surprised its rivals by finishing first in its category! It might have won in the general classification for number of laps, but a penalty took the absolute victory out of their hands. Today the story of the penalty sounds absurd -- suggesting the Torino should have stopped in the pits to repair the exhaust pipe but was penalized five laps and finished down that many from the number it had actually completed.
"But what was, was, and all the companies were amazed by the "strange big car" -- the Torino, a Rambler Rogue modified by Pininfarina -- won the "Marathon of the Route of Nurburgring". Argentinians lay awake at night when the Torino raced in Germany; radios played in the offices and in the factories they stopped the production lines while the tellers among those that Luis Elías Sojit and Isidro González Longhi stood out, rushed through the ocean the feats of the Torino.
"After Nurburgring, the Torino took its place as a winner and its sales grew tremendously.
"After the madness post-Nurburgring, IKA-Renault built a series of five models -- two economy versions with simple carburetors (the coupe S and the sedan) and three others with 'double body' carburetors (the coupe GS & TS and the sedan TS). The development of a three-Weber-carburetor intake was suspended, but the most economic series [still had] increases [of] power up to 140 HP, and the most powerful, with a Holley carburetor, had 200hp.
"It became a very competitive car because it handled the roads of the interior of the country very well while the motor acquired fame for being robust and reliable.
THE FRENCH TORINO
1970-75 front end
"Orders to buy the car arrived from Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay -- all the countries that border Argentina. It was a fashion car.
received several technical improvements of great importance, but it was in 1973 when the most important change took place. Changing the crankshaft to 7 mains instead of four and displacement changes resulted in a change of names for the engine, from Tornado to Torino.
"During its production, the Torino "[At the same time] the North American participation in the company [diminished], and the Regie Renault became the majority shareholder. In 1975, IKA-Renault (it acquired this name in 1967) abandoned their American past forever and [became simply] "Renault Argentina."
"In 1976, the Torino was the only non-Renault product manufactured by the French company.
1976-78 front end
"Ten years after its launching, the Torino began to get hard competition. Its technology appeared outdated compared with the new cars. New models in the Argentinian market, coming from both the resident companies the imports, [outshone it].
1979-82 front end
"For Renault, the last three years of the Torino were used to work on the Renault-18 and Renault-21 projects. These cars later occupied the position in the high range that the Argentinean car had.
"In 1982 the last Torino left the assembly line at Santa Isabel City. Somewhat less than 100,000 vehicles were produced in that period. This ended a special time in Argentina's automobile history.
"Designed for the passionate automobile owner, this car stimulated sales that resulted in a production run longer than anyone had anticipated. The Torino has been the only automobile in the history of the country that has raised such a deep national loyalty.
"After everything, it had the great virtue of entering the Argentinian popular mythology.
THE TORINO WAS SOMETHING ELSE
"The Torino was a coupe without divisions between the glasses [ed: no door posts], pleasant and proportionate lines, walnut dashboard, complete instrumentation, and leather upholstery.
"All that without counting the wood and aluminum steering wheel, the leather console and walnut on the shift lever that controlled the ZF four-speed. The car approached 160kph maximimum speed for the version Holley 2-bbl carbureted 380, and more than 205kph for the 380W, with three Weber carburetors.
"In short, the automobile cognescenti of the country were divided before and after the Torino: everything changed, and the inflection point corresponded to that car.
"But, the world was changing, and there were no good successors for this kind of car. What came later was more rational and more balanced, more modern and with better gas mileage and the same performance. In Argentina there are cars from around the world, but the Torino is a collector item to show and preserve by anyone who has one. More than 300 members of the Torino club have regular meetings where their cars are shown."
Pictures of a car in Tucuman