Although Stuart Fox and Brian Dixon had worked together since August 1984, it was only in April 1987 that the Torino line-up was fully assembled, with the addition of Paul Diamond and Brian McKeown. Diamond had previously achieved success with Manchester-based Rox, who supported Quiet Riot on their UK tour in 1983.
Named after an American car as well as the Italian town, Turin, the band set about recording their first demo. Produced by Mick Devenport, guitarist with Nutz and Rage, it was described by Metal Forces magazine as "Sheer class".
Based in Liverpool, Torino continued to play the national club circuit, including major support slots with the likes of Shy.
After signing to FM-Revolver, the band proceeded to record their debut album 'Customized' under the production auspices of Steve Morris, guitarist with Export, who had recorded two albums for Epic in the USA, the second of which ('Living In The Fear Of The Private Eye') was produced by Lance Quinn (Bon Jovi/Lita Ford etc). The album was released in March 1988.
The band and the album were received with some acclaim:
"Customized is a pretty damn fine all round effort...Good chunky guitaring...A decidedly decent release"
Geoff Barton. Editor, Kerrang
"Torino went from good to great, from melodic to exquisite...tasty guitar beyond my wildest expectations".
Derek Oliver. Kerrang.
The addition of another guitar, in the form of Simon Peters on rhythm guitar, together with replacement bassist, Stephen Jame, gives Torino a fuller, more solid sound.
The album was recorded the winter of 1988/1989, with the album being finished in March, and released on May 2.
The band began touring in mid April, with a series of major city dates supporting 'huge' band, Mammoth. Torino were excited to tour after the album says guitarist Barry McKeown, "Our sights are set - we're desperate to play...we'll be playing everywhere that'll have us!!!"