We’ve seen two pedigree Ford Torinos priced higher than new Ferrari 488s. This 1971 example is not one of those Torinos. Next month, Barrett-Jackson will attempt to auction this non-running, plastic-grafted abstract interpretation of a Torino. Illinois artist Ioan Florea has an enigmatic theory behind his 2013 creation, saying that it symbolizes the bridge between the second Industrial Revolution that peaked with Henry Ford’s assembly line and the third Industrial Revolution of 3D printing, now aborning.
Florea, born and raised in Communist-era Transylvania, specializes in textured paintings and sculptures that involve printing plastic skeletal formations and dousing them in metallic pigments. During his childhood, Florea’s automotive world was defined by soulless Dacias, so an imported 1971 Torino—almost nobody’s dream car in our country—was like an exotic temptress, built in the same year the artist was born. Perhaps his fascination with bones helps explain it. If you were a little boy digging up animal skeletons in a country where people buried them to avoid jail (hunting was widely prohibited), perhaps it would make sense to cover a Torino with 3D-printed plastic resembling calcified warts and vertebrae. (And you thought you and your buddies did the wildest, most unspeakable things with ’70s muscle cars.)
In 2013, Florea said he wasn’t sure there would be any “commercial value” to his Torino, but he is now convinced that someone at the Scottsdale auction who won’t bother bidding on Barrett-Jackson’s pristine 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo will prefer his artistic statement, a silvery tribute to the malaise era. Name your price, folks: There’s no reserve. Any offer should be considered generous.