Vanning Roots: 1977 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon

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The Pinto was Ford’s answer to the fuel-efficient and affordable imports that were taking the American automotive market by storm. It was built to be lightweight and cheap. Engine options included a couple of four-bangers and a V6. Manual and automatic transmissions were available, too. Body styles included a hatchback and a wagon. Sounds kind of boring, huh? Well, Ford decided to spice things up with their Cruising Wagon!

The custom van craze was a weird one. Enthusiasts traded in their muscle and sports cars for shorty vans. They then proceeded to cover the insides with shag carpet, paint the outside with wild colors, and cut porthole windows into the sides of them. As strange as that may seem today, vanning really took off. So much, in fact, that manufacturers started releasing their own “custom” vans. The Yamahauler was an early example. Ford saw the opportunity and came out with their Cruising Van and matching Cruising Wagon!

The requisite porthole window is there, but plaid upholstery and pile carpet was used in place of the shag. Smart move if you ask me! It’s still kind of gross in there, but that’s part of the groovy seventies experience. When new, this was the perfect vehicle for a family man who wanted a van. It would have scratched the custom van itch without offending a wife who may not have liked the vanning image. Honestly, this Pinto might still fit that demographic.

I’m actually surprised Ford even built this thing. They were probably confident that the van version would sell, but how many people could have been on the market for a panel wagon with funky graphics? Ford was already selling Pintos like hotcakes, so maybe they figured another version couldn’t hurt. In reality, they created a whole new genre here. Can you come up with any other vehicle like it? I sure can’t think of anything quite like it.

This particular Pinto is fitted with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. There are 75k miles showing on the odometer and the seller claims that the engine starts right up and that it’s a reliable driver. The seller is only asking $5,500. Sounds like the perfect ride to take to Cars and Coffee this summer! The only problem is that it’s located up in Canada. It might be worth the import hassle though. Check it out here on craigslist. A special thanks goes to TJ for submitting the tip!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Dave

    The V6 was only available with an automatic. 4 cylinder could be had with either transmission. I wanted a manual and ordered one back in 1977. After I thought about it for a couple of days I cancelled my order, just didn’t want the 4 cylinder. I ended up buying an F150!

    Like 6
  2. J

    I can smell the interior from here. The Kambaack was another one.

    Like 8
  3. Mike

    This makes me think of Kermit the Frog. The black ones like these looked better.

    Like 5
    • TimS

      I prefer green over black an average of 999.9 times out of a thousand, and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      Like 2
    • Aussie Dave Aussie DaveMember

      Totally agree, Kermit wants his car back, and black? (Insert Homer Simpson dreul)

      Like 3
  4. CooterMember

    Cruising town, in my green Pinto, with my windows tinted so my friends don’t know…

    Like 8
  5. 8banger 8bangerMember

    Holey Mackerel – that rear bumper!!

    Like 6
  6. Fred

    My first car was a green ’75 wagon with woodgrain.
    I lost something in that car and it wasn’t my wallet.

    Like 12
  7. Troy

    About $3900 USD if you can get them to bring it across the border it makes things easier.

    Like 5
  8. Don

    Those huge mandatory safety bumpers really hurt the look of these 70’s cars. The pre 73 bumpers were so much smaller and cleaner looking.

    Like 6
  9. Chuck

    Bought a new black one in 1977 to replace my 75 woody wagon. Liked it but was hard to see out of. Wife, 5′ 1″ tall, and daughter could not see out of it. On trip to Midwest the transmission started slipping going through the Rockies so went to dealer in North Dakota and they fixed it, 2 days later, saying it was not strong enough for mountain travel with the V6. Made it home to Ca. and traded it in on a new Caprice Classic.

    Like 4
  10. Jim GoodingMember

    A friend in high school had one of these (same color) and one time four of us drove to the local ski mountain in it in the snow. I still remember the fear we all had trying to get home at night when my friend decided to brake check a car that was following too close. You can imagine the tail spin we went into with these tires on ice. But in hindsight, this car was one of the most memorable things about high school.

    Like 2
  11. Rick Braun

    We had a 1974 Pinto Wagon. Regular kind 2.3 4 banger automatic one of the nicest driving and running cars I had in my early days.

    Like 0
  12. Dave

    A “sedan delivery” Pinto, though I guess they didn’t call them that. Blind spots similar to a van or panel truck. Nice anyway. Another one that just needs a decent breathable cover to keep in the drive.

    Like 0
  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    I remember that ad for these and thought they were the coolest thing, in a 15 year old boy sort of way.

    Like 1

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