The 1976 model year saw no major changes to the Torino line-up. The Gran Torino Sport was discontinued, and so the Torino consisted of 9 separate models; 2- and 4-door versions of the Torino, Gran Torino, and Gran Torino Brougham, along with three station wagon models. New options for the 1976 model year included a power trunk release and an automatic parking brake release. Gran Torino 2-doors could now be ordered with the center console when optional bucket seats were specified; previously the console was only available on Sport models. In addition, opera windows and landau roofs were now available options for all 2-door models. There were no styling changes made to Torino for 1976.
Engine options remained the unchanged for 1976, however fuel economy was improved on all engines with revisions to the engine spark advance and the EGR valve operation. The 351-2V engines and the 400-2V had a power and torque increase, and the 460-4V had a power decrease. In an attempt to help improve fuel economy, the standard rear axle ratio for all models was now 2.75:1.
1975–1976 Gran Torinos were used in the popular Spelling-Goldberg Productions TV series Starsky and Hutch. The producers needed a flashy specialty car for the main characters to drive. Since Ford was the lease supplier for on-screen cars through their Studio-TV Car Loan Program, eventually it was decided by the producers that a bright red 1975 Gran Torino two-door would be the vehicle of choice for the pilot episode. To make the Torino less mundane, a large white vector stripe was added. Aluminum 5-slot mag wheels and larger rear tires replaced the stock wheels and tires, and air shocks were added to give the car an aggressive rake. The television show became quite popular with the public, and much of that popularity was centered on the star Torino. Ford couldn't help but take notice to the public's interest in the "Starsky and Hutch" Torino, and decided to introduce a replica version of the TV car.
Ford built 1,000 replicas of the "Starsky and Hutch" car in the spring of 1976. Production of the replicas began in March 1976, and all were produced in Ford's Chicago manufacturing plant. This limited production package was essentially a special paint option, but required the deluxe bumper group and dual color-keyed sport mirrors as mandatory options. The TV car's slotted mag wheels were not offered by Ford, and the only aggressive wheel option was the "Magnum 500" wheel. They were not a mandatory option though, and these cars came equipped with wheel covers as a standard feature. When producing the replicas, Ford painted the entire car white, then masked off the stripe and painted the rest of the car the shade of bright red (code 2B) used on the 1972–75 models (and subsequently the TV cars); this color had been discontinued for all other Torino models for 1976 in favor of a different shade of red. The factory replicas were close to the TV show car, but had minor differences in the stripe, and did not have the aggressive rake of the TV car. Many replica owners installed slotted mag wheels, and air shocks after purchase to give the car a more authentic look. The "Starsky and Hutch" replica was available with all Torino engines. Seat colors were limited to black or white and were available with all seating trims and options. One of the factory replicas was leased to Spelling-Goldberg as a backup for the original Torinos that were created for the show.
Production total for Torino in 1976 was 193,096 units, slightly lower than 1975. This would be the final year for the Ford Torino. For the 1977 model year, Ford replaced the Torino with the Ford LTD II, created through a major restyle of the Torino sheetmetal. The Torino chassis continued to live on under the Ford LTD II, the Mercury Cougar, the Ford Ranchero and the Ford Thunderbird from 1977 to 1979.
Source: Wikipedia, 2012