By on May 21, 2014

08 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time, say from about 1973 through 1983— a timespan that corresponds exactly with the Malaise Era— when the Ford Pinto was one of the most numerous cars on America’s roads. You saw way more Pintos than Vegas, Chevettes, Corollas, Civics, Omnis, just about any small car you can name. When I was in high school, the Pinto was one of the cheapest first-car options available for wheels-hungry teenagers; you could get an ugly runner for a C-note, any day of the week. The Pinto wasn’t a good car, but it wasn’t intolerable by the (admittedly low) compact-car standards of its time. Then, rather suddenly, all the Pintos disappeared. The Crusher grew fat on Pinto flesh, then switched to Hyundai Excels. They’re rare finds in wrecking yards today, and we’ve seen just this ’74 hatchback in this series prior to today. During a recent trip to Northern California, I found this early Pinto wagon, short quite a few parts but still exuding its essential Pinto-ness.
11 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome bottom-feeder East Bay car dealership hoped to sell this “perfect classic” for $1,499, but was not successful.
04 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMore than 20 years ago, I grabbed every early-70s Fasten Seat Belt light I could find, for an ambitious project that I’ll complete someday. I have many examples of this Ford version.
06 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe hood once had some sort of JC Whitney hood scoop, which was made quasi-functional by the rectangular hole.
05 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s no telling what sort of connection went between the scoop and the carburetor, because everything above the engine block is long gone.


The strength to climb the Rockies and the brakes to stop quickly on Los Angeles freeways.


From the Model T to the Pinto!


The little carefree car that could withstand a rank of giant fans placed at the roadside.


A few years later, Jackie Stewart boasted that the Pinto was faster than the Datsun B210, the Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Civic.

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102 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    It’s amazing how many Pintos continued to be sold even after the concerns with the fuel tanks became obvious only a few years after introduction. I guess news just didn’t travel as fast back then.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The story really didn’t “break” until the spring of 1978, when Mother Jones ran an expose (that turned out to have exaggerated the number of fire-related Pinto deaths) on the issue.

      By that point, Pinto sales were already down because it was eight model years old and seriously outdated next to the Civic, Rabbit and Omni/Horizon.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps it’s because according to real life statistics, Pintos had no more fires than competitive cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        Exactly, the fuel tank construction and location was standard for the era. The beloved 1st gen mustang used an identical setup. And mustang didn’t even remove it from the crumple zone til the 05 redesign.

        • 0 avatar
          skor

          No, the 1st gen Mustang used a completely different fuel tank setup….it was even more unsafe than the Pinto. the top of the 1st gen Mustang fuel tank served as bottom of the trunk floor.

    • 0 avatar
      jimble

      IIRC, the fuel tank issue (if it existed) never affected the wagons because of the extra length behind the rear axle.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Would the wagons also cook you up like a pork roast upon a rear ender or was that just the hatchbacks that had the faulty design?

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Thanks Jimble. You were all over it!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    The Pinto gas tank debacle was B.S. , anything getting hit that hard had a 50 % chance of catching fire .

    Me , I’d prolly take the Datsun B210 , I was looking at a fairly nice 1980 one in Pick-A-Part yesterday afternoon .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Thing was, in a 30mph rear impact, the Pinto had a 100% rate of tank rupture.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        O.K. ;

        I remembered it being over that speed at impact .

        And I well remember seeing many rear ended Pintos that didn’t rupture the fuel tank so I am not sure where your “100%” statement came from ~ I was in The Auto Trade then and I remember these cheap , unpretentious reliable little shyteboxes , I didn’t ever want/have one but I knew many who did and had little troubles with them .

        EDIT : maybe all those smashed in beaters I saw , had the FoMoCo supplied plastic slip sheet added so the tank moved instead of crushing and rupturing ? .

        They sold so many because many people needed basic transportation ” On The Cheap ” and they provided that in spades .

        Lots and lots of smashed in rear end ones used to be still driven by bottom feeders , no fires , no explosions etc.

        Ever been in a 30 MPH rear collision ? I have and it’s a huge impact by any gauge .

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “so I am not sure where your “100%” statement came from”

          Ford’s own crash test results showed that at rear impacts of 31mph or above, the fuel tank ruptured every time.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            O.K. then .

            I watched the impact video and I re state : pretty much any car getting hit that hard back then would have the same issue .

            I can’t believe I’m defending the wretched Pinto ! =8-) .

            In San Gabriel there was a blonde Lady Hot Rodder who had a red Pinto Coupe with a hot 289 V8 stuffed into it , along the bottoms of both doors was in bold print : ” IF YOU CAN CATCH ME YOU CAN EAT ME ” ~ strange days , the early 1970’s .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Did they subject any competitive vehicles to that same test?

            My family had a 1973 AMC Gremlin, and even then I noticed how close the fuel tank was to the rear bumper. All small cars were death traps in those days. The original VW Beetle, for example, was hardly a paragon of safety.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Did they subject any competitive vehicles to that same test?”

            From what I understand, later tests were reproduced by the NHTSA included Vegas which did not experience the same result.

            You’re right about the other cars in it’s class though. As Ronnie stated, when looking at overall fatailities, the Pinto fares better than some other compacts of the day like the Datsun 210 and Beetle, about the same as Gremlin and Vega.

            But when looking at the point of contention, rear end collisions, the Pinto was much worse than average. It does seem the Gremlin was worse however.

            The link that madanthony provided contains a lot of the relevant stats.

          • 0 avatar

            “In San Gabriel there was a blonde Lady Hot Rodder who had a red Pinto Coupe with a hot 289 V8 stuffed into it , along the bottoms of both doors was in bold print : ” IF YOU CAN CATCH ME YOU CAN EAT ME ” ~ strange days , the early 1970′s .”

            Nate, in Detroit that urban legend was about a Corvette and the wording was “If You Can Beat Me You Can Eat Me”.

      • 0 avatar

        There was actually a paper in the ’90’s that argues that the Pinto thing was overblown – that when you look at the actual numbers, the Pinto wasn’t any more dangerous than any other car at the time, and that the famous memo that people claim was Ford calculating the value of a human life for lawsuits was actually an NHTSA memo:

        http://www.pointoflaw.com/articles/The_Myth_of_the_Ford_Pinto_Case.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        The main Pinto litigation was spurred by a 72 edition that stalled on a California expressway due to a faulty carburetor design. It was shortly thereafter dispatched by a large hunk of early 60s American iron. I suppose the tendency to stall at speed didn’t help matters, as today’s GM could probably attest!

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Agreed. There were plenty of other models from other manufacturers (and still are–remember the Liberty?) with a rear-mounted gas tank. The problem is that Ford found it was cheaper to pay the victims (or their families) after the incident rather than actually fix the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        There were millions and millions of cars designed and built after the Pinto with rear mounted fuel tanks, like every GM A, G and B body of the following decade. The issue with the Pinto was that it was particularly more vulnerable and had a higher propensity to catch fire because of a few design concerns. Ford was aware of what needed to be done to improve the design to make them less prone to rupture, but chose not to because the accepted cost/benefit analysis of the day didn’t support it. Ford was right in that sense. They later found out that meeting the minimum standard and sticking to the numbers didn’t work out because the car stood out from it’s peer group. Greater foresight into the potenial consequences would have caused them to spend the $11 per car up front instead of eventually making the design changes anyway and recalling the rest 8 years later.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      One test doesn’t add anything to the debate, but I’ve always found this vintage Pinto crash test video to be freaky.

      youtube.com/watch?v=lgOxWPGsJNY

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      We weren’t as preoccupied by safety back then. People we knew, died in car crashes all the time. Or we tried not to think about safety, crashing and mortality so much. And cars only exploded on Charlie’s Angels and such.

      And many weren’t concerned about the car exploding because we’d be “thrown clear of the scene” anyways, from not wearing seat belts. Duh.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were still plenty of car buyers who had lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, polio scares and even the influenza pandemic of 1918-20.

        People just didn’t think about car accidents that much, especially since the nation’s overall fatality rate had been falling since the early 1960s.

        If people did think about car accidents, it was easier to blame the car companies than worry about things like the non-use of safety belts (I can’t remember anyone who used them in the 1970s) or drunk driving (very common, and widely tolerated until the rise of MADD in the 1980s).

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Very good point. Seatbelts weren’t mandatory until 1962 I believe, and those were lap belts which arguably would hurt you worse in a crash than wearing nothing. Your noggin would shatter on the metal lined hard plastic steering wheel if you wore the belt and your chest would get impaled on the chrome horn button if you didn’t. Pick your poison. I don’t think cars had built in shoulder belts until 1973?

          Collapsible steering wheels weren’t required until 1967, and padded dashes and dual master cylinder brakes weren’t mandated until sometime in the mid 1960s.

          Airbags, ABS and traction control? Today if one of those systems failed and resulted in a death you’d have a multi-million dollar lawsuit and a public demand of prison time for the engineer(s) involved. But those items didn’t widely exist in cars until the mid-1990s.

          A Pinto was basically a tin can with a non-power steering wheel, and you drove it like a man. We’ve basically become a litigious nation of wusses.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Exactly right, DenverMike. Auto injuries or fatalities, I forget which, peaked around 1965. Standards were pretty low. I remember the “being thrown clear” argument against wearing seatbelts. A lot of people wouldn’t wear seatbelts “unless they were driving on the highway”, as if this complete non-sequitur made sense. If you dial up the car chase scene in ‘Bullitt’ on Youtube, there’s this moment where the bad guys look at each other knowingly and fasten their seatbelts, to foreshadow that they were about to do some serious driving.

        That Pinto is still a fine looking automobile. Its looks aged surprisingly well. It also handled well for its time.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Right, and for a lot of Americans, the Pinto was a huge (safety) improvement, from what they drove before. Like VW Beetles and such, with drum brakes all around and a fuel tank where the engine should be. And with a ‘firewall’ made of cardboard.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            As far as sub-compact cars from the era the Pinto was safer than many of its competitors and of course safer than even some of the larger cars from the previous decade.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “And cars only exploded on Charlie’s Angels and such.”

        And CHiPS- don’t forget that. A LOT of cars exploded on that show!!

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Other than the Falcon and Falcon-based Mustang, has Ford ever built a car with decent survival rates? They’ve had tons of best sellers, but you’d never know it from looking around. Ford sold millions of cars in the ’50s, but there are hundreds of Chevys for every Ford of the era still around. ’70s GM trucks are still so common as to be invisible, but any Ford truck old enough to have sealed beam headlights is more seldom seen on the road than a McLaren. Anyone seen a 1st generation Escort lately? A Tempo? A Granada? An LTD? Pintos weren’t the only vanishing Fords.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      1st-gen Tauruses are also gone, and they were the best-selling cars in America.

      I think that the disappearing Ford issue is because Ford won’t sell parts for cars over 10 years old. It’s not an issue if you are trying to keep a Mustang on the road, but it’s a showstopper for everything else, especially if you have mandatory emissions/safety tests.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Oh yeah…the guy who sold me my 1995 Thunderbird told me about having to get some part from Virginia because that was the only dealership who had it.

        I’m hoping nothing breaks that I can’t replace with aftermarket parts, because then I’ll be screwed.

        • 0 avatar
          jhefner

          There are aftermarket companies that still stock parts; I did an internet search and was able to find a front valance and rear bumper for my ’95 Taurus just a year ago.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          These folks specialize in NOS Ford parts from the 20-90’s

          http://www.greensalescompany.com

          I’ve always had good luck with them

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        Not totally extinct; I have seen maybe 3-4 1st-gen Tauri on the road in the past couple of years.

        But what killed them was not crashes; it was indeed parts, in particular the AXON transmission. This transmission had issues through about 1994; many of the early Tauri probably died from transmission issues.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        GM also stops their parts support at 10 years for discontinued vehicles.

        Boring GM vehicles definitely disappear in the same way. How many Luminas have you seen lately, especially first-gen ones? Old Saturns? First or second gen Cavaliers?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I saw a 91-93 Lumina just yesterday driving home, and routinely see gen 2 Saturn SLs (and currently own two) although the gen 1s are more a rarity. I agree with you on pre-00 J-cars though they are almost gone.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Right, but you’re asking about cheap-o, crappy cars which most people don’t -want- to maintain in years 10+.

          How many of the following 10+ year old of these do you see?

          Seville/STS
          Deville
          Fleetwood
          Bravada
          Jimmy
          Blazer
          S-10
          Century/Regal
          LeSabre
          Park Avenue
          Grand Am
          Grand Prix

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      There is actually a showroom new 1980 Granada plying its way around my neck of the woods as well as a few 80s Panthers, but beyond that I can’t recall seeing any Ford product prior to 1995 in the past few years in any appreciable quantity.

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        Cigs n dogs… (nudge, nudge)

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        Someone I attend church with still drives a Ford Tempo. But both the early Fords and the Mercedes from that same period used rigid polycarbonate bumper covers instead of flexible olefin or urethane; so if you ran into something, they would shatter. His Tempo has both the front and rear bumper covers missing.

        If you managed to not hit or be hit by anything for 20 years; the paint itself would erode off the edges from going through the carwash or the rain. So of the remainder that have intact bumper covers have patches of paint missing. Once they get to looking like that, it is downhill from there.

        I see an occasional Fox body Mustang from that period, with paint eroding off the front bumper, and as I mentioned before, less than a handfull of Tauri.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I didn’t know that about the bumper covers, thanks for sharing that tidbit.

          The last Tempo I recall seeing up close and personal was the beat 87 2.3 HSC coupe we picked up TMU from the as-is sale in 2006. Looked like it rolled out of the junkyard with paint cancer and a poor condition interior, but the odo claimed 35Kish and it had very little rust so maybe it wasn’t too far off. I had to stop three times on the drive back because it kept overheating due to what I believe was a hole in the rad and refilling it only got you a mile or two. We ended up towing the POS, I don’t recall what happened to it after I got back. This Tempo neatly defined planned obsolescence to me.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I saw a green Tempo on Monday, and a customized 85-86 Mustang GT right next to it.

            Also I sometimes see Fairmonts, there’s someone around here who drives a Futura fairly often.

          • 0 avatar

            I saw a cherry Tempo last week, I did a second take, but there it was, showroom new. Driven by an elderly man, his prized possession. Last to the stop light, first in owner pride.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Down the street from me, at a KOI store someone had parked a pretty good condition Ram Charger in beige over brown for sale! It had just a little bit of rust along the lower rockers. Big hood ornament intact.

        Just an anecdote about an old thing which you rarely see.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      When I visited San Francisco in the summer of 2003, I saw quite a few Fords from the 1960s and 1970s still on the road (and not just Mustangs). More, in fact, than GM and Chrysler vehicles from that era.

      In rural Pennsylvania, there are still quite a few Ford trucks on the road. What I’ve noticed with Ford trucks is that they tended to be bought as WORK vehicles, while the GM trucks were much more likely to be bought as car substitutes.

      The Ford trucks and SUVs are worked until they die, while their GM counterparts enjoy a second life as customized hot rods, or restored vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I do still see some late 70s Ford trucks, but most of what remain are are from 80-91, at least around here.

        There’s a nice old ’79 Bronco that drives around though.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I see 30+ year old Ford trucks on the road nearly every day. New (not NOS) Motorcraft replacement parts for my 20 year old Bronco are still widely available and entire catalogs like LMC Truck are dedicated to supplying factory and aftermarket replacement parts for every generation of Ford truck manufactured since the 40’s. This is Ford we are talking about here, not Masarati.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There are lots of 70’s and even 60’s Ford pickups on the road around here. I also saw a couple of Tempos recently along with a Granada. Around here Panthers are the most commonly seen cars on the road from the 80’s.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    We actually had a Pinto Wagon in the family driveway for a while when I was in high school. Used as a daily runner by us teenage drivers.

    Got the wagon for two reasons 1) figured it was driven previously by a suburban housewife and therefore wasn’t too beat up, 2) the wagons were not supposed to have the same rear end ‘explosion’ problem.

    It felt like the proverbial ‘thousand bolts moving together in loose formation’ but was relatively reliable and we did beat the heck out of it.

  • avatar
    Curt in WPG

    Some guy one street over from me used to have a Pinto wagon stuffed with a 302. Down a few homes was another guy with a Vega wagon with a small block with a blower sticking through the hood. I figured they must of been either best friends or mortal enemies.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Greatly enjoyed the Jackie Stewart video of the Pinto racing the Corolla, Civic, and Datsun “Honey Bee” B-210 at Indianapolis.

    Funny to consider that a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage would blow them all into the weeds…but I wouldn’t drive one because it’s too damn slow, and you probably wouldn’t either. We forget just how slow 70’s cars were.

    • 0 avatar

      I reviewed the ’14 Mirage for Autoweek a while back, and it’s not particularly slow for a little econo-commuter. It drove up the Grapevine at 85 MPH with the air-conditioning on. It offers nothing to the enthusiast, which is why 98% of car writers say it sucks, but it’s a very competent car.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        I think the Mirage will end up being the Geo Metro of our time: lambasted and ridiculed when new, and sought out by small-car fanatics in 10-15 years.

        • 0 avatar
          TheyBeRollin

          Improbable unless the sales numbers somehow end up in the same territory. The Metro was so popular that there are still tons of them out there. Mirages are just too rare. I’d suspect people will be after SFE Fiestas, Versa Notes, Scion iQs, and Sparks (and maybe the Fiat 500, provided they last that long, which is uncertain), provided most cars are still using gasoline engines in 2030.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Foley

        I test drove one and “competent” is the perfect word to describe it. It’s unbeatable in terms of amenities for the $$, too – even the base DE has power windows, power locks, automatic climate control, CD w/aux and USB inputs, and traction control. And a Hyundai-style ten-year warranty (assuming Mitsu USA is still around in ten years to honor it).

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I learned to drive stick in my dad’s ’74 Pinto wagon–Country Squire edition, with genuine fake wood paneling! I’m not normally one to contradict Jackie Stewart, but the Corolla was faster. I drag raced a friend of mine, and he won…and got the ticket from the cop watching us. Probably the most boring drag race ever. I suppose the the added weight of the wagon body might have slowed it a couple ticks, giving the Corolla the edge. Sure wasn’t my 130-pound 16-year-old body.

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Yep, I don’t know how the Corolla could possibly have been slower than the 30+ seconds it took to get my old man’s ’75 Pinto wagon from 0-60. And that was without a torque converter!

  • avatar
    ggbox69

    This was the preferred transportation of Illinois Nazis.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Pinto was built from 1971-1980, not 73-83.

    My first car was an orange 71 sedan (trunk, not hatch), with the 1600 Kent engine, and would love to find another one like it someday. Nostalgia and all that.

    Then I had a 76 2.3 stick (trunk), and an 80 Bobcat 2.3 automatic (hatch). All rusted terribly, but the 80 was one of the worst cars I ever had, for a variety of reasons. The 76 was a tough, reliable car.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Do people actually preserve Pintos nowadays?

    I’ve seen the occasional Vega, but not really any Pintos.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I’ve seen several all-original Pintos – in very good condition – at the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals. There are more out there than you would think.

      Most of the Vegas tend to be restored or never-driven Cosworth editions.

      The few “regular” Vegas I’ve seen have usually had their original engine replaced with a Chevy small-block V-8.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Yeah, I’m always surprised by how many Nash Metropolitans there are when I take a trip to Macungie for Das Awksfest, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about people collecting Pintos.

        Someone around here has a restored Vega GT in silver with black stripes, I really dig it.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Also, I’ve heard of swapping 4.3 V6s from S10s/Blazers into Vegas, that seems like it would also be a lot of fun while putting a bit less weight on the front end.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Back in the day the Buick 3.8 was put in a few Vegas for those same reasons since the 4.3 hadn’t been introduced then.

  • avatar

    The proper way to power a Pinto. The Lotus Twin Cam is based on the 1600cc Ford Kent block, which was the base engine in the Pinto, so it’s pretty much a bolt in project.

    http://edmamerica.blogspot.com/2011/05/pinto-stampede-comes-to-kc.html

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s such a dismal and depressing thing, not even the Crayola orange paint can assist.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I know a guy who has two beater pintos that he has been driving alternately since the late 80’s. He always has a spare 2.3 engine in the garage that he is ‘improving’ and about once a year will swap engines with one of the other cars. He drives about 25K a year and to this day swears that he will never drive another car. Except for when he has to drive his wifes T&C minivan with the kids.

    Seems crazy – but…

  • avatar
    ClayT

    I bought my (soon to be ex) girlfriend a ’72 hatchback back in 1978.
    400.00 iirc, but it was nice. It had the same German block 2.0L that I was running in my 145 hydro so I knew the motor inside and out.
    Anyway, she had a sense of humor about the Pinto fire thing… Her license plate frame said: “Hit me and you’ll BURN!”

  • avatar
    50merc

    I keep warning people about rear-mounted gas tanks, but they won’t listen to me. My Model A has the tank under the windshield, in my lap, right where it belongs. No worry about collisions from the rear for me!

    Back in the day, the joke was bad luck consisted of being stuck behind a Pinto and in front of an Audi 5000.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    As bad as the Pinto was, it was still better than the Vega.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      The Vega has one edge over the Pinto: Looks.

      That’s…about it.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Only until the Vega rust-through got started, or around six months.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I still think a rusty Vega looks better than a Pinto.

          Also I’m pretty sure Pintos also rotted out with alarming speed. Ford wasn’t radically better than GM in regards to build quality in the 70s.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Sadly I had a Pinto and a Vega (but not at the same time). Hey, if that’s my baseline; I have no where to go but up! Both did four wheeling through corn field duties quite well. Vega burned more oil and rusted worse than the Pinto. One of dad’s buddies just had to buy the Vega from me and put an SBC in it. The Pinto got sold and an MG Midget was next. Both were paragons of reliability compared to the MG.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        When I was in high school, Pinto and Vega beaters were as common as herpes sores at a porn shoot. I recall the Vegas being much worse than Pintos in just about every category.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Although you’ve been doing this series for a long time, I continue to be amazed at the robust sheet metal on these dry climate cars. Some rot under the battery tray here, but pretty robust elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      They don’t use chemically treated sand on roads in the dry, snow-free zone. However, A neighbor’s wife in San Diego got a new Vega for her high school graduation gift, and it was pretty rusted out after 4 years. Ford had a patented rustproofing treatment so good, Toyota payed royalties to use it, since all Japanese cars in the 1970s rusted horribly.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Speaking of climates and forty year-old Fords, I see a Maverick and the odd Dart every now and then, among other well-preserved malaise era transportation. (I live in the “Deep South” of the United States.)

  • avatar
    Jimal

    - How appropriate to choose this week to feature obscure Pinto ads filmed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    – My brother’s friend had a mid 70’s Pinto wagon. I don’t remember much from it other than the fact that it had just about the most supportive seats I’ve sat in from the malaise era. They could actually hold you pretty good. Much better than the handling of the era would require.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Actually, the Pinto handled pretty well. Light weight, wide stance, low center of gravity. Which was good,because none of the motors it came with were good for much, so you needed to keep all the speed you could in the corners.

  • avatar

    Pinto’s at the very top of my list of potential LeMons cars. Light, cheap, crappy, no shortage of replacement or swap parts.

    They’re actually hard to find in cheap enough condition though. Ones that crappy seem to have been crushed 5-30 years ago.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in the late 70’s I had a neighbor who did a full custom Pinto coupe in root beer brown with a 302 and 67-8 Cougar taillights. Very nice.

    I know there have been a few built up with the 80’s era SVO 2.3 turbo.

    Remember; If there was no Pinto what would the Mustang II have been based on? German Capri?

  • avatar
    360joules

    Having scalded my wrist for years changing oil filters on various whips powered by FWD inline 4s, I look enviously at the easily accessible oil filter on this beast.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Huh, intact doors.

    When I was awarded my parents’ ’71 Pinto in October ’74, I used an old bath towel between the door card and the door skin to keep out the wind. Thought I’d get the door welded up. The bodyman poked and prodded for all of 5 seconds: “Son, you’ve got rust up to the gunwales. Scrap it.”

    Looking through the oil filler cap of the 2.0 SOHC, it was enlightening to observe the mashed cam lobes. Lasted clean through April ’75.

    What a machine.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” Nate, in Detroit that urban legend was about a Corvette and the wording was “If You Can Beat Me You Can Eat Me”. ” ~

    I wasn’t telling you any Urban Myth ~ I saw the car every couple days when I was working in Temple City , driving the parts truck , a Mustard Yellow Courier , I’ve mentioned a few stories from then .

    Stock red paint with 4″ or so high letters just below the crease in the doors on both sides .

    At that time I had nothing that’d come close to catching her plus my Russian/Cajun girlfriend was *much* better looking & hotter than a two dollar pistol .

    When Vegas and Pintos were new , we’d joke that Vegas were rusting in the showroom , not so the Pinto .

    Yes , it was a cheap car but a very sturdy little thing that got the job done by the millions .

    Pam bought a green wagon in 1972 and @ 250,000 miles and three kids it still have the original clutch .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    When these were new I never owned Pinto or Vega but many friends had one or the other , or both . Even in no- salt Austin in the seventies I was living in then the Vegas would start rusting out when only 2 years old . One advantage I remember the Vega had over the Pinto or the Gremlin was a much bigger back seat . The Pinto and Gremlin back seats were horrible , even for a 5 ‘ 5 ” little guy like myself . The Pinto owners who seemed most satisfied in my memory were the ones who had cars equipped with the Kent engine , no doubt slow but quite reliable .

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    I think I saw one of the most rarest Pintos ever in the City Heights area of San Diego a few months ago; the Pangra.

    It was a tuner Pinto that had it’s engine turbocharged to 285 hp and had some other goodies such as Recaro seats, mag wheels and suspension pieces. The most visible was the unique front end. 0=60 for the Pangra was around 7.5 seconds, excellent for the era.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Here is why you need a Pinto. Copy & paste this awesome music video!

    Or search “SWEET D “ROLLIN’ IN MY PINTO”


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