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Ford Pinto

walterchanwalterchan Member Posts: 61
Just saw in the newspaper that someone is selling
a 1972 Ford Pinto for $3,000. It say that it's in a
excellent condition and it only have 5,000 miles
in it. I was wondering if it's a perfect classic
car collection. Also, is the Ford Pinto has been a
very reliable transportation in the 60's and 70's.
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    No, it's not a collectible car and never will be, in my opinion. So the low miles or the condition is not a big factor in value on this car, because there is little or no interest in it. They were cheap, common, basic transportation without any particular character or beauty. Such a heritage does not make a good bet for a collectible car. I would say $1,500 would be all the money for this car, and that in ten years it will still be worth $1,500.

    If you like Pintos, fine, buy it cheap and drive it until it drops. It's not a car worth saving or restoring IMHO.
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    To add character to a pinto just drop a 289 V8 into it.
    My cousin had a wagon which he did this. WOW
    It made some incredible 175 foot burn outs, both rear wheels.
    Was'nt long before a heavy duty rearend was put in.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, that would be fun, but then all you'd have is a FAST $1,500 car with no brakes to stop it. You'd basically need a miracle to make a collector car out of a Pinto....but they do RACE them...no kidding...it's a stock Pinto class...if nothing else, it's a cheap way to race.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    Used to be all Domestic small cars; MustangII, Pinto, Vega and their cousins. I used to watch them at Orange Show speedway in San Bernardino and the Pintos would clean up LOL!!!! Now it depends on the track and I think some imports are allowed.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    of a story I think about every time I see a Pinto--maybe once every few years. Back when Pintos were plentiful, a friend was looking for a car. His father-in-law was a car dealer, and offered to give him a car. My friend told him, "I'll take any car except a Pinto". So his father-in-law gives him a Bobcat, the Mercury version of the Pinto. Mercury sold maybe three Bobcats, and you really had to look hard to find one, so I always figured either the father-in-law didn't like my friend, or he had a warped sense of humor.
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,486
    I didn't think there were that many Pintos left by now, but I live in the Northeast so rust is a factor.

    I always kind of liked the Pinto. If nothing else, they were better than the Vega.

    I almost bought one in '79 when I was in high school. Actually, I almost traded an old nova with a bad cylinder and starter for an orange wagon with the spark plugs in a coffee can (not sure why). It seemed like a good idea at the time, but that logic is how i ended up with the nova in the first place (the 307/stick combo would have been fast if it didn't stall alot).

    I'm also starting to realize why my wife doesn't want me to buy an old car to keep in the garage and work on...Must have talked to my mother.

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  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,486
    If you were going to get a Pinto with the hope that it might someday be a semi-collectible, maybe an original condition Cruisin' wagon would be the best bet (anyone remember them? I knew a girl with one back around 1981). Sort of a love van conversion for really short people. Even had a porthole, but really bad blindspots to the rear.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Had a friend in high school whose parents bought one of the first Pintos, a 2000cc with auto. Seemed like an okay car, and it could actually burn a little rubber, which was what we looked for in a car in those days.

    As to it being better than the Vega, I remember Brock Yates saying in Car & Driver that the Vega had taken over from the Corvair as the car America preferred to break down in.
  • sgaines1sgaines1 Member Posts: 44
    I had a Vega when I was younger. Orange with a white interior. It never rusted or broke down. It was a toy, and I was about 3, but still.
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,486
    It may be hard for the "typical" person here to imagine (i.e., I'm trying to decide between the 540i and E420 for my 4th car for the maid :), but I once walked away from a deal on a vega over $25. I wouldn't go over $275, and they weren't budging from $300. If only I'd kept that sensability when I got older.

    Vega's did have a habit of having the cowl(that the right piece?) rust out so the wipers had nowhere to attach too. Seem to recall this one had that problem.

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  • walterchanwalterchan Member Posts: 61
    Just wondering that in my own experience, why is everybody is making fun on the Ford Pinto. I have seen some movies and during the school year when I was a child that people are making fun with it.

    I don't think people should make fun on it because Ford is one of the best automobile corporation in our whole solar system. I have depend on Ford for over 20 years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think the reason the car is put up to ridicule is because Ford claimed it was the car that was going to push the Japanese car companies out of America. Yeah, sure....

    It was a modest car of modest competence, and Ford should have just kept quiet instead of raising everyone's expectations way beyond the car's ability to deliver.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    Wonder who wrote some of that garbage. I remember in the early '70's the big magazine ad: Ford Pinto with MORE ROAD HUGGING WEIGHT then the imports.

    Made me want one even though I was 10 years old.......NOT.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I guess "Car Talk" took a vote of the "Worst Car of the Milennium" and got 25,000 responses!!

    Winners were:

    1. Yugo
    2. Vega
    3. Pinto
    4. AMC Gremlin
    5. Chevy Chevette
    6. Renault Le Car
    7. dodge Aspen
    8. Cadillac Cimmaron
    9. Renault Dauphine
    10. VW Bus
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Before the lowly Pinto gets slammed too hard...

    The 1600 engines were as tough as nails! They were also used in the Festivas and old Cortinas.

    Even the 2000's weren't that bad.

    Remember...this was 1971!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Fiestas. But Shifty knew what I was talking about. :)
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    the old push rod "Kent" engine used in Formula Ford??? I rebuilt a Fiesta for my Dad, the motor seemed sound but couldn't keep a radiator in the darn thing. They were like paper.

    I think the 2000 and 2300 were very tough engines and are just now being phased out in the Rangers as a 2500. They've done everything to them from turbochargers to run them for industrial pumps and a neighbor has a commercial tree shredder with one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Unfortunately, though, an engine is not the whole car...the Pinto was built to be cheap and you could tell, say compared to a Toyota Corolla of the time...the difference in the two cars' quality was apparent, even back then, and the Corolla was no Mercedes either.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    That 2300 may be tough (I hope it is, one's in my wife's Turbo Coupe) but it's a real vibrator. Now that I'm old and grey, I kind of wish we'd bought the V8 Thunderbird.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    I think the main reason people make fun of the Pinto is the "barbeque that seats four" feature of the 1971-1976 models. They had a tendency to explode relatively easy when they were rear-ended. Fords in general from the late 60's/early 70's had the bad habit of using a gas tank that, instead of being 2 pieces bolted together and then strapped under the car, was were just a lower piece bolted to the underside of the trunk. If you rear-ended one hard enough to buckle the trunk floor, you ruptured the gas tank.

    Ford built something like 2 million Pintos from 1971 to 1976, and I think maybe a total of 50 or so people died as a result of exploding gas tanks. Still it was on the news enough in the late 70's, to rate right up there with the killer bees and the prophecy that we'd run out of gas by the end of the century. BTW, I think only the 2 door sedan and hatchback had the "barbeque" feature. The wagons were safe, and so were all the models built from 1977 to 1980.

    I think Pintos are distinctive enough to rate up there with Gremlins and Pacers nowadays, but when they were new, no guy would be caught dead driving one...to "girly". It would be something akin to a man driving a VW cabriolet nowadays! I have to agree with some of the others on the list, though, that the sport wagons are kinda cool. And in the late 70's, when they facelifted the Pinto with square headlights, it wore them fairly well.
    -Andre
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, they are in the same sort of class as Pacers and Gremlins, but I don't know as "up there" is how I would describe their value...more like "down there" with the Gremlins and Pacers...the "odd-ball and orphaned" category of the collector car market I guess. Really now, can you see a "body-off" full restoration of a Pinto anytime soon? Yeah, I know, somebody has probably done it and is asking $45,000 for it. LOL!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    I'm just curious, what kind of imports would the Pinto have competed against in 1971? I'm pretty good with my American car history, but don't know the imports that well. About as far back as I can remember, when I was a kid in the mid 70's, we made fun of my cousins because their parents drove Datsun 510 station wagons. At that time, I was used to fairly big cars, like my Mom's 1975 LeMans, the 1968 Impala she had before that, and the 1972 Impala my grandparents had at the time.

    The oldest Japanese import I have any knowledge of is the first Accords, which I guess came out in 1975 or so. A friend of mine in college had a 1980, and it was a piece of junk. But I will admit it was a lot better than just about any American small car of that vintage, and much better appointed.

    By 1980, the Pinto was really outdated, but how bad were they by 1971 standards? (barbeque that seats four aspect aside?)
    -Andre
  • sgaines1sgaines1 Member Posts: 44
    Speaking of those, and 'wearing them well'...
    It was a dark day when the first idiot designer put those on a car. Those things go a long way toward making a car look dull. Check out a Cadillac from the last year with round headlights, and then one from the first year with square ones. Big difference, it's really surprising because the whole rest of the car is nearly identical. The start of a long slide toward the boring crap cars of the '80's. I think that GM was the first to infect American design with them?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    Actually, I've seen some cars from the late 30's with square headlights, so the design is nothing new. I think some Chrysler divisions used them in 1939. They weren't exactly rectangular, though, but kind of trapezoidal. Whatever it was, they sure weren't round!!

    I think they look ok on some cars, for example, I think one of the coolest looking cars from the 70's is the 1976 Pontiac LeMans base model. Don't ask me why, I just think they look cool. I think they would have looked funny with round headlights. I think some of the dullest looking cars are the ones with singular square headlights, vs dual square headlights. The only thing worse is when those composite headlights first came out. Sure, they looked normal on a Ford Taurus, but when GM tried grafting onto existing cars, like the Celebrity, Caprice, Monte Carlo, etc, they kind of reminded me of cataracts.

    I think you're right, sgaines1, that GM was the first to start using them once they became vogue in the 70's. In fact, I think the government wouldn't legalize them at first (kind of like dual headlights in 1957) GM argued that the square headlights were more space efficient and thus would allow for lower hoodlines. So what did they do? They stacked them, one on top of the other, on cars like the 1976 Monte Carlo, Century, and Malibu. So much for lower hoodlines. I think whole 1975 Cadillac lineup, plus the Buick Electra/Riviera, and Olds 98/Toronado were the first GM cars with square headlights, with the remaining full-size and midsize cars following the next year.
    -Andre
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Competition for the 1971 Pinto was the formidable Datsun 510 and the Toyota Corolla and Corona, which were far better cars.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    Hey Mr. Shifty,

    I just saw some pics of the 1968-73 Datsun 510 on the web. Looks kinda like a poor man's BMW. Also looks better than those nasty little station wagons my aunt and uncle drove.

    For some reason, whenever I think of Japanese cars from the 70's, I remember stuff like the late 70's Datsun 210 a friend of the family had, and our neighbor's junky Corolla and Fiesta. And compared to those, a Pinto begins to look good!

    I kinda like those early 510's, though, now that I've finally seen some pics. Still too small for my tastes though.
    -Andre
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Great little car, though, the first 510s. They are still raced successfully which is more than you can say for a Pinto. Mid 70s Japanese styling as been described in Town Hall as "Japanese Atomic Cockroach". Love it.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    In the dictionary, under the entry "japanese atomic cockroach", is a picture of a Datsun Honeybee.

    Regarding the Pinto's competition, let's not forget the Plymouth Cricket (although the five people who bought them are probably trying hard to). Imagine throwing an English car into the ring against Japanese imports. Singapore all over again. I have a brochure for the Cricket from one of the SF Auto Shows. Shiftright, can I sell it and retire?
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,486
    Actually wasn't Japanese. It's hard to remember the lineage of some of the captive imports of that time, but I think the Fiesta was from Germany or England. Actually a neat small car for the day, pretty quick too. A friends mom had one in'79 and I got to drive it once.

    Plymouth imported the Cricket, which I know was from England. Maybe that explains some of their QC problems in the '70s (they picked up an infection?).

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  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,486
    Speedshift, great minds think alike. I was typing while you were posting.

    I actually knew womeone who owned a Cricket (my sister's friend). Her boyfriend had a GTO Judge, so that made up for it. This must have been about 1975 or so.

    Don't forget the first Civics. They came out in the late 70's. Boy were they tiny, but a surprising amount of room in the back seat.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Shiftright, please tell Nigel that I apologize for my remarkably tasteless reference to Singapore. And I'm an Anglophile!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Nigel is hard to insult.

    The Ford Fiesta was around the same time as the Pinto. It was a German Ford product and yes it was fun to drive and pretty quick for its day. One of the first "pocket-rockets" of the era. Well-built, cross-flow cylinder head as I recall, but definitely an inexpensive automobile, even by German standards. They have a small following today and are even restored now and then.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    ...that's right, the Fiesta was German! I knew that! Wasn't the Mercury Capri of the 70's German, too? I used to think those were neat little cars. And to be fair, my neighbors' Fiesta, while it looked pretty far gone, lasted them until around 1991 when they got rid of it and their Corolla and got a new Honda CRX (which they still have today).

    They also got a 1989 Volvo station wagon used around the same time, and got rid of it after about 9 years, when every time it went into the shop it was at least $1000. Kind of interesting that their Fiesta lasted longer than their Volvo!
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,486
    Yes, the Capri was German also I believe, although for some reason Britain comes into my head for that one... (time for a good smack in the head or to go to bed).

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, they made a later Capri in Austalia, so perhaps you had the Greater British Empire in mind.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    My recollection is that the 1600 was the Kent engine, from England, and that the 2000 was German. Could be wrong about the 2000.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think that's right, but the Fiesta did have a 1600 (pushrod)....wasn't there also a Cologne engine? The Pinto was, I believe a 2.3 OHC...very rough engine.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I think the Cologne engine was the V6, which was offered in Capris and Mustangs from the early 70s into the 80s in 2.6 and 2.8L versions; I think there was a smaller version used in Europe. I read somewhere that this engine is still around in the Explorer! I don't think the 2 litre and 2.3 are the same engine. The 2.3 is the Lima(?) engine. Well, that was a nice stroll down memory lane, without a map.

    Yes, the 2.3 is a real shaker, enough to spoil an otherwise nice T-Bird Turbo Coupe. Four-bangers shouldn't be brought out past two litres. Ford did offer some interesting speed parts for the 2300, including a high-perf head.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    Aren't there 2 versions of the 2.3? I heard that the one used in the Pinto and Fairmont was a Brazilian unit, and the one used in the Tempo was actually an old Falcon six cut down by 2 cylinders. I'm not sure which engine went in other cars with the 2.3, though.
    -Andre
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Yes, the Tempo four is our old friend the Falcon six, minus two cylinders. Talk about quick-and-dirty low tech. That lump barely had overhead valves.
  • chrismarchrismar Member Posts: 18
    Brings back alot of memories when I was young. That car broke down on us so many times. We had a blue one, hatchback. That car was sure an experience :)
  • CooperCooper Member Posts: 55
    A '74 Pinto was my first car that I got in 1976 to commute to college. If I recall, the car didn't even have carpeting.

    But, it was the car that got me to start working on cars. I took it in for a tuneup once. The technician let me watch him, and even commented that I could do everything that he was.

    Kept the Pinto until 1979, when my parents gave me their '72 Plymouth Scamp. That was when they bought a '79 Volare. I think we were the only family buying Chrysler products in the late 70s.
    At the time, my sister had a Dodge Colt, I think. I think it was something like a denim edition, it was blue and white and has a faux blue demin vinyl roof. What ever were we thinking in the 70s? Yuk!
  • CooperCooper Member Posts: 55
    Who would have ever thought we'd be discussing Pintos, Vegas, etc. in a "Classics" discussion? I just looked up "classics", and the first definition is "an outstanding representation of its kind." So, for better or worse, they were classics.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    classically awful, I hope you mean. Would the collector car world be any worse off if every single Pinto, Vega, etc were scrapped and turned into razor blades or Turkish tea pots? I don't think so myself. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work, wreckers of the world!
  • sgaines1sgaines1 Member Posts: 44
    I'm awfully sentimental about cars that people seem not to care about at all (big 70's barges), but there are limits. Let's add the Mustang II and the Maverick, and almost everything Japanese and European (luxury marques excepted) from that era to the list of small, hopelessly dull, cheap cars to be rid of forever. Oooh, and the Chevette!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, fine. Get the bulldozer, dig the pit, I'm ready to volunteer (of course, these cars will not be forcibly confiscated. If you want to keep yours, this is your constitutional right.)
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I think they should be preserved as a grim, silent reminder of how bad things were after 1970. Car nuts went through some lean times then. I pretty much thought my life was over when they reduced compression ratios in '71, and it only got worse.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Kind of like a War Memorial you mean? Yeah, that's a good idea. So the young might know how bad is was 20-25 years ago for car buyers.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    Hey guys...can you at least leave the wagons with the little portholes? I always thought those were kinda cool. There's a street in Greenbelt, MD, where there are 3 or 4 Pinto wagons and a big Country Squire parked in a row...all of them fake woodies. One or two of them have been parked for so long they're covered in dust and bird crap, and debris has washed up around the wheels. I guess someone feels they're worth saving!

    I almost hate to admit it, but I think the world would NOT be a better place if the Pinto was totally eradicated from the landscape. Look at all the boring little look-alike cars they make today. The more the manufacturers try to tell us they're differentiating them, the more they end up looking alike. Hell, those little Mercedes coupes they have now look like Honda Civics to me! The day that a Mercedes can be mistaken for a Civic is a sad day indeed for the auto industry. The Pinto may be cheap and ugly, and just about every adjective that can be hurled at it, but it still has a certain charm, a charm that's lacking in a 10 year old Escort, Cavalier, Hyundai, Corolla, et al.

    I remember a line from a book of mine reminiscing about the way cars used to be. Something along the lines of "...they were different, had character. Some of them could make you laugh. And even that is important, for laughter is a precious commodity. Cars built today can't make you laugh. Cry, maybe, but not laugh..." This book was published in 1979, and they were reminiscing about the 50's, but that statement can pretty much apply today, as well.

    A Pinto, Vega, or Pacer will never win any quality awards like a Toyota or Honda might, but at least you'll never mistake one for anything else.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,672
    Believe it or not, I've seen one driving around with historic plates on it! oh, the shame!! And the guy delivers pizzas with it!
This discussion has been closed.