Starsky and Hutch Saber – Inspired by the Ford Gran Torino

Hello Everybody, today we come back down to earth with a bump and land right in the middle of the world of crime busting! This is another of my “inspired by” range of sabers based on toys and merchandise from TV and film franchises for a series of posts which I produce in conjunction with my friend, TheVintageToyAdvertiser. And today we go back to the mid 70’s and Bay City California – the world of top cops, Starsky & Hutch! I used to watch reruns of this series in the UK during the early 80’s and loved the show. It had everything, action, stunts, real hard hitting stories and three stars in the show. I say three as there was the two titular cops played by Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul….but there was also the CAR! Yes, the now world famous 1976 Ford Gran Torino with the white vector stripes down the side. The car wasn’t loved by everyone however as Paul Michael Glaser upon seeing it behind the scenes described it as ” big, ugly and childish-looking” and “wasn’t the sort of car undercover cops would drive”. He also said it looked like a “Striped Tomato”. Well that striped tomato (or Grand Tomato as it got nicknamed in the UK) became a big selling toy item for Corgi Toys and I was given the task of designing a hilt based on the show so what better than a Gran Torino saber! Here are some studio work in progress pictures…

So as this series concentrates on the toy merchandise and the car is the star I had to combine a Ford Gran Torino with a saber! I thought that was daunting as I had already pushed the limits of design and created a Ghostbusters Ecto-1 themed hilt and I worried that a Gran Torino hilt may look too much like a car. However using clever shaping of the hilt handle I was able to create a hand guard section (or Tsuba in Japanese sword terminology) which also resembled the front hood of the car and the radiator grille, whilst still incorporating the saber blade. I repeated the flared shape for the rear end of the saber which resulted in a car shape with a “pinched waist” for the handgrip. To show why I chose this shape here are a few images supplied by TVTA to show off the Corgi Toy replica car…

As you might be able to see, the Gran Torino has a very distinctive front end and rear section so by flaring the ends of the saber I could replicate those body shapes and incorporate a few nice details such as the radiator grille with headlights! Of course the most striking detail on the car is the white stripe and I had to work hard to get that looking correct. Fortunately the effort I put into my Superman Supermobile Saber hilt helped me position and shape the stripe (not easy on curved surfaces!). Below you can see a few test renders of the hilt where I check my work….

In the above images you can see the shape coming together and the all important stripe. You can also see the “bodywork lines” to represent the hood and panels of the car – I even modelled the rear collision protectors (known as bumpers in the UK!) But it still wasn’t completely finished it was missing a few more details, see if you can pick them out in the following “Glamour Shot” gallery…

I modelled the windshield and side windows and gave them a black gloss finish to replicate the toys. These windows are actually inset slightly to give a grippy texture to prevent the saber slipping in your hand. It also has an emergency light used as the activation switch, and technically I know it should sit atop the “roof” section but for the sake of ergonomics I moved it to a position so it could be pressed with your thumb. For the really little details I even added “door handles” on the sides and the moulded bodywork fins stretching from the stripe to the rear end of the car/saber. If you zoom in real close on the radiator you will find the red “Ford Torino” badge modelled on the chromed grille! Oh yes…and the headlights light up too as accents!

Wow! That was a slightly longer than normal post but there were a lot of details to cover. Starsky and Hutch ran for four seasons (series) and a theatrical movie was produced as well as a computer game. The two prop cars used in the show still exist albeit slightly worse for wear as Paul did his best to secretly try and destroy the cars as he hated them. Thankfully he failed (though he did bend them quite a bit) and one resides in a museum of “Cars of the Stars” and the second I believe is in private ownership now. Many replicas have been built/modified by fans around the world.

And please be sure to check out TheVintageToyAdvertiser‘s site over the next few weeks as one of his posts will be a Starsky & Hutch themed offering of toy and merchandise advertisements!

Ok I will end here, and as always thank you all for checking out my Starsky and Hutch Saber. I hope you enjoyed it and will return to check out more of my creations here on FTSabersite in future posts. Whether you are a regular long time viewer/follower or a first time visitor, you are most welcome and appreciated. Till next time…

“Starsky & Hutch Saber” is a For Tyeth Editions design and is ©Copyright of For Tyeth/FTSabersite 2016-2019. “Starsky & Hutch”, the “Starsky Gran Torino” and all other names, logos and related material are Trademark/©Copyright of Spelling-Goldberg Productions/Columbia Pictures. 

6 thoughts on “Starsky and Hutch Saber – Inspired by the Ford Gran Torino”

    1. Hi Neil, that is great to hear! With your friend having a Torino I knew you would probably see the details I included! And I haven’t met Gran Torino yet but with this saber he’d be pretty formidable! Thanks again for looking in.

  1. A+. I was wowed to see this develop in our back and forth emails – but nothing quite like seeing it posted in all its glory here. And Neil’s right… Gran Torino does sound like a Jedi name doesn’t it 🙂

    1. Hi TVTA, I am really please (relieved) this design turned out as well as it did. As I mentioned I’d done ECTO-1 and thought another car based design ,might be a bit plain in comparison. I did get carried away doing the images and started framing them as if I was taking pictures for a car magazine! Grand Master Gran Torino does have a ring to it! Thanks again for the challenge.

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