They Shoot Pintos, Don't They?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
Mr. Keith Martin, editor of Sports Car Market
Magazine and a cheeky fellow, proposes in his Feb.
99 issue, under the title of this topic, a rather
touchy subject....that some cars, old or not,
aren't worth saving and should be junked and
recycled. In part he says:

"At every swap meet we are confronted by hordes of
near-derelict cars with no redeeming value,
including four-door sedans that should have died
and gone to the great recycling yard in the sky
long ago, rusty pigs whose value will never support
a restoration and wallet-sucking automotive
irrelevancies whose chief pull on our heartstrings
in that we first learned to drive or were
introduced to the mysteries of sex in a similar

"Just having two doors and a top that goes down
isn't necessarily a deed to eternal restoration
either. There is no shortage of TR4s in the world,
nor is there ever likely to be (referring to Peter
Egan's recent column in Road and Track about seeing
a deplorably rusty Triumph and compulsively
offering $50 for it). We say let those TRs or Alfas
or Porsches that have become unrestorable hulks
go. Send them to that great universal scrapyard,
their molecules freed to be reborn in a new car.
Imagine, the steel from Mr. Egan's derelict TR4 may
end up as the fender for a Mercedes E-55, not a
bad fate. The world will thank you for helping
reduce its clutter, and surely the poor car you put
out of its misery will enjoy its new chance at
life as well."

So, what's your reaction to this? What about
Grandma's 74 Cadillac four door with the crunched
fender and 162K on it and an exhaust emission that
would knock birds out of the trees? Shall we take
her out back (the car, not Grandma..c'mon) and cut
her up for scrap? Why save cars that were nothing
much to begin with, or are, realistically, too far
gone to justify all the human effort and wealth
necessary to bring them back?


  • vmanvman Member Posts: 103
    Indeed, Mr_Shiftright, I am always amazed when I see a 1971 Dodge Dart 'Swinger' or better yet a 1974 Dodge Aspen wagon (metallic green/fake wood panel doors of course)that just won't die with dignity. They must be the ones that were manufactured on a Wednesday.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    Hurra for Mr Martin Junk in 1955 is now just old junk.I agree with every word.Almost any old growler however bad is now described as Classic.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    "growlers" you call them...nice word.
  • weslwesl Member Posts: 53
    Mr shiftright,
    Three cheers for Mr. Martin. I have owned some tired clunkers before that should have been put out to pasture but I could not bare to. Anyone fancy a 69 Coupe DeVille with a crumpled quarter panel and a sagging front end? It does not bother me to see clunkers get crushed, but I hope people are careful because some parts are worth more than the whole. I like 4dr sedans, even if they are historically or culturally insignificant. I buy the best original I can find, because it doesn't pay to restore. Later, Wes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That's true, even on the most clapped out car one finds the occasional good part, but I don't know if it's worth having a derelict Cadillac on your front lawn because you might need a windshield someday. Some people are real hoarders, and as the wise men say, "there's a fine line between a hobby and sheer insanity".
  • rapunzelrapunzel Member Posts: 15
    I thought I was simply being hard-hearted. My brother had made noises about restoring the 79 Bonneville that started out as Dad's, then handed to him before he bought his own. I tried to explain to him that it wasn't a GTO or a Mach I or something that anyone would want to see. I keep hoping he will change his mind before he drops any money into it. So far it hasn't happened.
    His reasoning was that it was his first car. I just traded in my first car, and I never looked back. Why look back at a 92 Olds Cutlass Supreme? Nice to know I'm not the only one who feels some cars are worth restoring, and some are just modes of transportation.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    A word to the wise don't throw the baby out with the bath water. There can be extenuating cercumstances to saving that old clunker. Think of how station wagons have returned to favor as well as trucks among the collector community. These cars were the last on anyones list just ten to fifteen years ago. Now they are hot.

    I remember when I was coming of driving age almost any old big V-8 was a total dog that was sold off to immigrants who didn't have the $'s up front to pay for a more economical car. I saw an awful lot of Cameros, GTO's, etc. etc. end up in this fate that cheap gas totally turned around just a decade later.

    My first car was a 63 Nova wagon that I still own alabeit "in storage" in my father's barn. I saved this car because I really did love my experience with driving and owning this car. I never expected to see the market for this car to trend upward but I kept it when it probably "deserved" the scrap heap 15 years ago.

    A car that has sentimental value should not be scraped but don't spend the $'s fixing it up for anything other than sentimental reasons. Saving a piece of your own personal history is its own reward. Lovingly maintain and restore those old "clunkers" because they are a very real part of you not because you think you'll get any $'s back from someone else for it!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think discernment is the key here...a lot of those big old American V-8s are still not worth was the performance cars that became valuable, because they were special even at the time they were made.

    You're absolutely right, there's a certain nobility in sentimental value and preserving your own personal history, but one has to keep in mind that it is personal and that few people may share your sense of value in the object and may even object to your calling it a "classic".

    So the point is not that an old Chevy station wagon 'deserves' to be preserved...logic and history dictates that it doesn't...but that it doesn't need to deserve don't need history's approval to make the preservation meaningful. If you DO want history's approval, then you have to pick a car that history deems "worthy", that the culture as a whole values, not just you.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    How about the triple white 78 Seville I just sold to a German airline mechanic to help fulfill his living in America dreams. He was from Frankfurt and owned a custom Harley and drove an MCB SL back at home.

    I admit that I may have a rather sick interest in old American lead sleds but I know that I'm not the only one. I actually thought those Sevilles were very elegant autmobile back when it came out.

    Shiftright- I haven't exactly figured out your demographics but I think you have goood decerment about automobile values. Please do not take my following comments as directed towards you specifically.

    There is one thing that I resist in autophiles and that is the prevelance of a creeping class snobbery amoung collectors that permiates the entire auto restoration field. I understand the economics of this attitude but it discourages the less informed to get involved in this field.

    Older collectors look down there noses at up and comers who are just trying to learn what it's all about. I say encourage and inform but don't thumb a nose at a younger autophile. Encourage them on their path to collecting and enjoying the cars they can afford. I think they'll learn and enjoy the experience more this way.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, I'm not trying to be a snob at all...I'm just telling people what the collectible car market is doing...if it doesn't "like" a certain car (and votes that way by not paying any money for it) then it's simply a supply and demand equation...I'm not discrediting a car by saying it isn't worth anything...those are just the facts of the market. I'd rather see certain old cars just patched up and driven or disposed of, rather than all this time and effort going to waste.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    I DO agree with you. Please keep up the good work but keep it real. Be honest, as you've always been, but a lttile sympathy goes a long way. God knows, as well as you, that I've needed plenty of it!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well said, Frederick.....thanks...
  • pure911pure911 Member Posts: 40
    ....that could be a fire hazard!!!
  • guitarzanguitarzan Member Posts: 873
    A buddy I used to valet with was an immigrant, who bought the only thing he could afford: A used Pinto. One day we both looked out at the car at the same time. I said, "Is that your car?" He said yes, and we both laughed really hard for a couple minutes. This car had been owned by a Browns fan. It had been painted team colors. It may have originally been orange, and the guy just added lots of brown to it, I'm not sure. It wouldn't have been funny if it wasn't painted team colors.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Somebody tried to start a Pinto Class in, I believe, SCCA racing, but I don't know if it got anywhere. Theory was that anyone could buy one and go out and have fun. Personally, I'd prefer the European craze of travel trailer racing. Saw a film--hilarious.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    I have a Chinese friend whose father came to this country in the mid seventies as a chef ultimatly becoming a multimillionare chef to the stars.

    The first car dad bought was a beautiful Orange Pinto Wagon version with that wood grain contact paper down the sides and brown vinyl uphostery. Virtually as luxurious as a Ford LTD Country Squire Wagon at a fraction of the cost and twice the beauty!
  • bubukittybubukitty Member Posts: 96
    My sister used to own a Pinto and I was always afraid that she was going to end up as a vehicle flambe if someone bashed her in the back! It was pretty dependable for her but a potential death trap. She sold it for all Audi Fox, a terribly unreliable one at that, but then my sister was not one to maintain a car properly either!

    I love to see old cars on the road, even ones that were nothing special in their day. There are plenty of them around here in California due to the forgiving climate and NO salt (I used to live in Rochester, N.Y., the salted road capitol). I've seen zillions of old cars.....old slat six Dodge Darts and old Ford Falcons and Plymouth Belevederes etc., and even though there were not interesting cars in their time, just basic transportation, they bring me back to an earlier and simpler time in my life. I think it's great if someone likes their plain old vanilla car and tries to keep it on the road. More power to them. Obviously it will be the sentimental value that keeps these cars alive, not the potential collector value. It is still the older sports and collector cars that get my juices flowing, but there is a soft spot in my heart for the old workhorses of the automotive world.
  • classic1classic1 Member Posts: 8
    I "inherited" my first car. It was a 1962 Rambler Station Wagon with a flat 6 in it. It was a sickly green with a white top and luggage racks. It had the pushbutton automatic transmission. We used to call it the "flying brick"....especially when being driven downhill into the San Fernando Valley. The car that I bought from my mom's friend was a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. I was 19 at the time, and I didn't know that much about cars. It had a wood-grain steering wheel, and automatic transmission that actually looked like a manual with the shifter. All I knew was it was fast. Someone told me it had a 318 V8, but I'm not sure it was that size. I'm not even sure they put the 318 in the Barracuda for that year...even as an option. Now I see those Barracudas restored and going for as much as $10,000. Everything I've seen on the Barracuda web-sites suggest I had a keeper, but I didn't keep her.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The Barracudas do have some interest to collectors, but $10,000 is a fanciful price--more like $6,000 for a nice one...they also made a Formula S which brings about $1,500 more.

    I kinda like 'em myself because they arent' too large, look different, and have decent performance, but you didn't walk away from a gold mine, so don't worry about that!

This discussion has been closed.