Desert Pony: 1972 Ford Pinto

041516 Barn Finds - 1972 Ford Pinto - 1

Barn Finds guru, Jesse, wrote about a nice, original Pinto a few weeks ago, that thing looked like it was ready for Pebble Beach compared to this one! This car, a 1972 Ford Pinto, is in Los Lunas, New Mexico, a half-hour south of Albuquerque. The seller says that this car is all original but something doesn’t look quite right to me as far as it being all original; I could be wrong.

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The seller has the mileage listed as “1,000,000” miles, so maybe that’s why something looks weird here! I can’t see the odometer because there’s an aftermarket tach in the way, but some parts of this car look like they actually may have a million miles on them. The Pinto was made from 1971 to 1980, the year that I graduated from high school. It looks like this car has been repainted, and maybe with a spray can. I can’t imagine that this is original paint, could it be? I know that the sun will play some nasty tricks on paint in the desert southwest, but this one looks really odd to me. The trunk looks good, but don’t plan on packing for a two-week road trip unless you’re going to put a Continental Kit on this car to get the spare tire out of there.

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Yet, I think that if a person compares the interior to the exterior, the exterior will win, hands down. The interior needs pretty much everything there is to do in there. My dad had two successive Pintos as company cars in the early and mid-1970s and they didn’t seem to be bad cars. One was a goldish-yellow color with a 4-speed and the next one was this dark green color with an automatic. But, now that I think of it, I do remember one of them being in our yard on its side while my dad was working on something underneath. It was already a junker by then, after only a few years, so it didn’t matter if one side got a little wrinkly in the process of rolling it on its side. Weird. But, oddly enough, the car had a “mobile phone” in it! A Pinto with a phone in it seems like one of the biggest oxymorons in the history of the world.

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The seller says that this is this is a 2.3L engine, but from what I’ve found, the 2.3L wasn’t available until 1974. Hmm.. Another strange thing, but strange things happen in the desert. I think that this should be a 2.0L instead unless it’s been changed at some point. Ford made 480,405 Pintos in 1972 and there probably aren’t many left that are “original”, or that are even on the road in any condition.

This Pinto is found on eBay and there are a lot of photos so check it out.  The current bid price is $2,025 with a day left to jump in now if you’ve been looking for a Pinto. Speaking of that, have you been looking for a Pinto?

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Comments

  1. Elliott

    IIRC, the color keyed hubcaps came out later than 72, and even then, on the “upscale” versions! 🙂

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  2. piper62j

    Something fishy here… Engine compartment is very clean for so many miles.. The interior could be anything and the paint job doesn’t have the sun beaten finish..
    Anyway, it’s still a Pinto and could be a decent economical driver..
    Good find and good little car..

    1+

  3. Chris

    I don’t thing that the 2.3L engine was developed in 72. I checked Wiki and confirmed that. Either the engine is a home made upgrade, or it is a 2.0.
    1970s OHC/Pinto/T-88 Series

    1970–1989 EAO—1.3 L–2.0 L Cortina Mk.3-Mk.5, Sierra, Capri Mk.2&3, Granada Mk.2&3, Scorpio, Transit
    1974–1990s OHC—2.3 L (used in the Pinto, Mustang, the Merkur XR4Ti, and Thunderbird Turbo Coupe)
    1983– OHC—2.0 L 2.3 L and the 2.5 L for the Ranger

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  4. JW

    This car looks like the Mexican drug cartel used it for illegal purposes, the color matches what they were hauling and if they could find some wooded area along the border they could hide in the brush without being noticed by the Border Patrol and if they got caught they could just abandon the car with the only loss being the illegal cargo.

    1+

  5. David C

    The fishy thing here is that this is a BIG boat anchor!

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  6. Alan (Michigan)

    Rattle Cans
    A case might have done it.
    Scotty G., what kind of x-ray vision do you have, to see into that dark trunk? The top of a spare is all I can discern. Same with the engine compartment. If not on or very near the top, it can’t be seen. Dark shadows, piper62j.
    If this car was a 50’s manufactured version instead of from 20 years later, I’d think it had lived in Havana all these years.

    1+

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Besides, what kind of grandma would: Cut big speaker holes in the package shelf and leave them empty? Use bailing wire around the radiator filler neck to keep the rad from falling into the fan? Add not one, but two emblems to the front; the hood one (broken off) and the center grille one (from a 50’s Ford?). Use duct tape to hold up the seams in the headliner? Open the passenger side door from the inside by rolling down the window, reaching out, and using the exterior handle (interior one broken off too short to be of use). Add the blue cap to the overflow bottle.

      If this was a grandma’s car, it was from when her own children were just kids themselves. It has been in the hands of someone else (youngish male, I’d think) for a very long time.

      Nothing to love here. At the current $2k bid, it is overpriced by at least double the real value (again, IMO). So, I look at the bidders. Three combatants. One with Zero feedback. One (who has apparently dropped out of the action) with three. And one with a lofty 71, who was first bidder, and may be the last as well.

      Nope.

      Now, if the seller has a title for the 442 with the dropped down exhaust pipes that shows up in the background of a couple of photos, he might get some real interest. Heck, without a title, that car would probably be worth way more than the Pinto.
      Reality check.

      1+

  7. Joe Howell

    I like Pintos but this one leaves me cold.

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  8. Cassidy

    painted with a rattle can and then smoothed out with a comb

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    • Tirefriar

      More like a paint roller from Home Depot

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  9. Fred

    Clearly the paint job was some kid’s weekend project after investing $29 on spray cans. Would barely call this car a survivor. It’s been abused.

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  10. grenade

    It needs to become a drag car.

    1+

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Like this?

      2+

  11. Rando

    Vin decoder shows 2.0 liter as others have stated. But Ebay description says OPTIONS: 2.3L 2 bbl. Looks like a high school boy’s first car. Audiovox stereo, tach, etc. I’ve seen worse for more money. Not sure how much interest is in this car.

    Paint is definitely weird. It says “original” – could be UNDER the rattle can job? But that is an old spray – could have been an auto body project – single stage repaint that’s showing it’s age. Shoulda went to upholstery class, too. lol

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  12. Mike D

    It went for $2025 so much wrong with it! Yes, Alan, that insignia came off of a mid 50s ford truck ( fat fendered) unless it runs a lot better than it looks wouldn’t give you $500 for it some ppl will put in all 9s for miles , and the sarcasm in me says ” hey a million mile Pinto!” wouldn’t it be better to put in UNKN ??

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  13. Jim A

    Too far from original. 72’s had a 2.0 but I seem to remember some had a 1.6? The bumpers are not from a 72, I think they are probably a 73 before they transitioned to the fat bumpers. 71’s and 72’s had the thin clean bumpers if I recall correctly. Is the white roof painted? Poor mans replication of the vinyl top? I had a 72 hatchback in high school and loved that as my father called it go kart with a big engine.

    It’s over priced but drop a 302 in it and it’s a heck of a sleeper.

    1+

  14. Scott

    No way, if it’s been sitting in a dry desert climate green always gets a yellow tint and gets worse the longer it sits.

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  15. RoughDiamond

    I owned a ’72 Pinto which I believe was called Spirit of America as it was red white and blue. I bought it from a well known drag racer in the area who lived across the street from my uncle. He ran an Opel GT that was just wicked. He had put a different cam in the Pinto engine, installed a Holley carb, added Hedman headers and a Thrush exhaust system. It was pretty darn quick and a hoot to drive with the 4-speed manual transmission. Should have kept it, but didn’t know any better. Speaking of drug cartels, my older brother was living outside Dallas, TX and had bought a new Olds Omega how ever many years ago they were made. It was stolen from a mall parking lot and found 2 weeks later about 60 miles south near the Houston area. It had been reported by someone who found it on a dead end street with a tarp over it. Someone had put over 6K miles on it. The car was beat to hell and my brother said the police told him the car had probably been used to make non-stop long distance drug related runs. The funny thing was his Craftsman toolbox which was loaded with expensive tools was still in the trunk along with the original space saver spare tire.

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  16. Luckydawg

    My first car was a 72 Pinto. I spent the last year of high school going through at least two sets of rear tires. One time flying through the air across a ditch while ripping both front tires off the rims. That car went through hell until the day I pulled out in front of a Mercedes. RIP to my gold lowered 72.

    That is why I bought this one, hahaha
    I only paid $1500 and already have the car on jacks for a complete suspension rebuild next week. Had tough time finding all the parts! Trying to find a shop that can pull the v8 out of my 65 mustang and install the in the Pinto. The motor is a 2.3 I’m guessing from a 74 or above but don’t know for sure. The only three things I need are smooth front and rear bumpers and a grille. If anyone knows of any let me know.
    Cheers

    1+

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Congratulations, Luckydawg! Post some pictures as you go — we love to hear about finds “after the purchase!”

      1+

  17. Tirefriar

    Another testament to an age old statement of “there’s an a$$ for every seat”…

    LD, I am happy for you, especially since it sounds like this pinto melts your butter. Be sure to post pics before and hopefully after. Good luck brother.

    1+

  18. Gerald

    Up until a couple of years ago that Pinto was here in my area, halfway between Fresno & Bakersfield in California. It was running rough and out in the sunlight the paint was uneven like it had been applied with a spray can.

    1+

  19. djkenny

    2.3 liter was an option on the 1974 Ford Pinto. The 2.0 liter was still standard. The 2.3 liter was the optional 4 cylinder that year. In 1975 it became standard and continued through 1980 as the standard motor.

    The base engine was the 1.6 liter 1970-1972.

    (I “think”) The 2.0 liter was an option on 1971-1972, standard in 1973.

    The 2.0 liter was German Built, and arguably the better motor. Maybe when it burnt out the 2.3 liter was pulled out of one of the many Fords that used it.

    This looks like a $1000 Pinto~… not a $2500 one.

    I had a stock 74 Pinto with the 2.0 liter from 2002-2006. Bought it for $1150 with only 15k orig miles, sold it for $1750 in 06.
    It had 26k orig miles when I sold it, one dent, 1 dash crash, otherwise near perfect.

    Had original paperwork, including fuel tank recalls with notes from original owner stating where they were in line for the recall at their local San Jose CA dealer. There was still tape on the rear leaf springs from new.

    I would say this. It was not a great car to drive. Slow. Big hump in the middle of the interior for the drivetrain took up tons of space. The tiny trunk had a small opening that made it hard to fit anything.

    If it was an earlier lighter weight, and less hampered with heavy bumpers, early power robbing smog pump model… a 71-73 model with smaller bumpers, same 2.0, and a Runabout with a useful trunk and folding seats? I might have kept it.

    1+

  20. Marshall

    Years ago I thought about buying a 1972 Pinto sedan. So I called some expert, and left a message on his answering machine, asking about the exploding gas tank problem on them, and whether or not I should be concerned (don’t remember who the expert was or exactly how I posed the question). But what I do remember is his reply on my answering machine, which said “1972 Ford Pinto sedan, yes, be afraid, be very afraid!”(paraphrased) Needless to say, I did not buy that 1972 Pinto.

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  21. piper62j

    It was proven time and time again that the later Pintos were as safe as any compact car of the time. Having owned many Pintos over the years, I would own another.. The knee jerkers & nay-sayers based their opinions on old hype and woes. Early Mustangs, Falcons, Comets and Cougars all shared the basic same platform with the gas tanks mounted right behind the rear bumper. If the rear impact is severe enough, any of those cars gas tanks could rupture and catch fire.. Give me a Pinto any day..

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  22. Luckydawg

    This pinto is currently being fitted with a 289 V8. I will post pics when she returns from the shop.

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