302 V8 Transplant! 1973 Ford Pinto

In the late 1960s, Volkswagen and the Japanese imports were taking a bigger and bigger slice of the market away from U.S. automakers. Ford’s response would be the Pinto, new for 1971 and part of the mix for the balance of the decade. This was a no-frills economy car, so a 4-cylinder engine was standard fare. But this 1973 Pinto station wagon has lost that set-up in favor of a 302 V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, so speed was the objective. Located in Shelton, Washington, this hot Pinto is available here on craigslist for $7,000, although offers will be considered. Another great find by Pat L.!

Before Ford would up production of the Pinto in 1980, more than three million copies of the little cars were built. Their heyday would be in 1973-74 during the OPEC energy crisis as buyers began to flock to more economic means of transportation. The Pinto station wagon, which came along in 1972, was the first 2-door wagon built by Ford since the 1965 Falcon. These cars would be minimally changed until about 1974 when the larger, cowcatcher-style bumpers came into vogue thanks to more stringent impact legislation.

This ’73 Pinto belonged to the seller’s father, who may or may not have made the motor switch that’s in place now. The engine is paired with an automatic transmission which may have come with the dressed-up 302. We’re told the Pinto runs but needs a new battery. Some new parts will accompany the deal that the seller can install, such as a new oil dipstick and speed pulleys still in the box.

The body and goldish paint look fine and the upholstery on the inside looks great, though a new carpet kit will come with the wagon. The odometer is broken, and the reading has passed 100,000 miles, so we don’t know how much use the engine and transmission have seen. For an extra charge, the seller says he has a different intake manifold that his dad had acquired. Once some loose ends are tied up, it would be cool to see what this wagon can do in the quarter mile.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice clean conversion with the exception of the plastic fuel filter on top of the engine. Nice car, nice price.

    Like 5
    • Jack M.

      The owner probably wanted a see through fuel filter. Some people are scared that a glass one will shatter and start a fire. I like to use a metal one.

      Like 6
  2. Big C

    Ah. Another clean Pinto. 3000 miles away. Someday, though…

    Like 5
  3. JustPassinThru

    It “needs a new battery” because heat off the engine, right up against it, baked it and buckled the plates.

    In Pintos of that era,there was a heat shield that went around the battery to deflect some of the engine’s heat…and that was with the Four, which was much further away than that V bank.

    That’s actually an easy fix – move the battery into the passenger cabin on the other side of the firewall. But I wonder if it’s indicative of other lack of planning in the conversion.

    Like 5
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Both our newer cars have a woven “blanket” wrapped around the batteries. That could be applied here to solve some of the heat situation.

      Like 8
  4. Howie

    Do they run with no air cleaner? And the wheels do not match front to rear.

    Like 4
  5. Tom

    Always thought these looked good for what they are. The original 2.0 was a great motor. We used them in our sand rails with great reliability and success. However, this is an awesome set-up. Only concern is what rear end and driveline is behind the tranny. Can’t imagine the stock of either would be sufficient for the V8.

    Like 3
    • DON

      A buddy of mine put a Mustang II rear in his Pinto mini stock, it was beefier and bolted right in. Maybe the seller did that as well ?

  6. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    They make some nice fiberglass rised hood for the Pinto. So you can have a air filter set up. Agree on the battery.. I remember guys dropping in a V8 and putting heat insulation around the battery. Some relocate the battery in the back . I would ask for $5,000 lots of work to make it right. Good luck to the next owner. 🐻🇺🇸

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