Live Auctions

46k Original Miles: 1978 Ford Pinto Squire Station Wagon

The introduction of the Fiesta in 1978 negatively impacted sales of the Ford Pinto, but 188,899 buyers chose to park one in their driveway. That proved to be the least successful for the Pinto to that point, but the figure was still considered very respectable. Our feature car is a 1978 Pinto Squire Wagon, an original survivor with 46,500 miles on the clock. It has no immediate needs, leaving its new owner to choose between preservation and restoration. The Squire is listed here on Facebook in Elgin, Illinois. The owner has set the sale price for the Pinto at $8,000. I must thank Barn Finder Bill F for spotting this wonderful little survivor.

This Pinto isn’t perfect, but it remains presentable for a vehicle of its type and age. The paint wears the usual marks and imperfections you might expect, but it also carries a decent shine. The seller identifies some paint deterioration on the roof and hood, but it hasn’t reached the point where it requires immediate attention. There is no significant panel damage or rust which means the new owner may choose to preserve it as an original and unmolested survivor. The seller says the Squire’s underside is clean and solid, so the buyer won’t be faced with any grinding or welding if they elect to follow the restoration path. Some of the finish is peeling from the fiberglass edging, but the vinyl faux woodgrain looks surprisingly good for its age. The glass and chrome are excellent, while the “jellybean” alloy wheels perfectly suit the vehicle’s character. As a restoration project, it shows promise, but you can be sure it would still turn heads at a show or Cars & Coffee in its current form.

While 88hp may not be a lot of engine power, it will provide peppy performance in a car that tips the scales at 2,555lbs. That is what the buyer will have on tap from the Pinto’s 2.3-liter OHC four-cylinder engine. That power feeds to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. The journey down the ¼ mile should take 19.1 seconds, and while that may not sound startling, it was still respectable by the day’s standards. After all, Ford marketed the Pinto as an affordable and economical second car, not a high-performance model. The seller claims the Squire has 46,500 genuine miles on its odometer but doesn’t mention supporting evidence. They say it starts easily and runs and drives well. It sounds like it will be a turnkey proposition for its next owner.

If any aspect of this Pinto surprises me, it is its interior presentation. I think the seats wear newer Dark Blue covers, but these look excellent. There is no evidence of wear or physical damage. The remaining upholstered surfaces have survived well, while the carpet is equally impressive. The dash and pad show no evidence of deterioration, which is surprising. Pads can be prone to cracking, so the condition of the one in this Wagon is a bonus. That doesn’t mean that the interior is perfect because the color of the plastic in the rear cargo area reveals this Squire’s age. However, there are no visible splits or cracks, meaning the buyer may choose to apply a plastic dye to return some consistency to that aspect of this classic.

When Ford released the Pinto, it was a calculated gamble. A few people within the company’s hierarchy doubted the wisdom of the decision. Still, like the First Generation Mustang, it proved to be the right car at the right time, with the looming energy crisis sealing its fate as a sales success. Those sales tapered as the decade progressed, with the Wagon version proving the least popular by the time our feature car rolled off the line. However, with 52,269 people slapping down their cash for one, it was hardly all doom and gloom within the company’s walls. Most have long gone to scrapyards around the country, which makes finding a genuinely good one challenging. This one is a gem with no immediate needs. It will almost certainly never be a mega-bucks classic, but I won’t be surprised if it finds a new home pretty quickly.

Comments

  1. Rick

    I’d look for a timing belt cover first thing or one little pebble could make its way through and stop up the works.

    Like 5
    • Mikefromthehammer

      At least it is a non-interference engine so if the works did get gummed up there would be no bent valves. Having said that though, a cover would make a lot of sense.

  2. Chris

    A lot of Pintos on here lately. Is there some kind of Pinto renaissance happening? This looks like a nice one.

    Like 14
    • Steve

      Pintos are one of the few 1970s cars that are still affordable.

      Like 6
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Tired of muscle cars at car shows? Buy this, do nothing more than clean it up, and bring it to a show. Then be ready for an endless parade of folks telling you stories of their Pinto experiences, mostly told with smiles and laughs.

    This one has the advantage of being a manual transmission.

    Like 26
  4. Big C

    It might be me. But this Pinto looks like it’s sitting too high, for a stock suspension. Or is it the tires are too small?

    Like 7
  5. Tony

    Back in the day I remember that there were a ton of the runabouts absolutely everywhere, but I cannot recall seeing the wagons all that much. If you watch these for sale ads you would almost think that the wagons were the only option. I wonder why the wagons survived and the runabouts seem to be more rare? Was it because of the perceived fire danger of the smaller car?

    • Boatman Member

      Tony, I’m thinking the wagon was more a family car and less a daily driver?

      Like 1
  6. Big Schwag

    Drop in a SVO turbo engine and your all set.

    Like 4
    • Emel

      Yea for a wreck. lol

      Like 1
  7. B302

    Love it.
    High optioned car. A/C,P/S,P/B. And with a manual trans. The 2.3 is the best engine for these cars, plenty of power or easily modified for more if wanted.
    The 2.3 is also a Non-Interference engine.

    With Old method EPA ratings shown below, even being off maybe 15-20 percent the car is relevant today.

    78 FORD PINTO WAGON : 2.3 manual:26 combined 23 city 33 Hiway

    Like 4
  8. Howie

    Not bad for the price, and a manual.

    Like 3
  9. PaulG

    Bought one from an auto wrecking yard back in the early 80’s that was too nice to part out. Paid $200 and drove it like I stole it. Survived everything and sold it a couple years later for…$200.
    I had a fellow construction worker at the time remark:
    “Nice rear step bumper”

    Like 4
  10. Boatman Member

    “Jelly Bean” Wheels? What does that even mean?

    I’ll bet those wheels are scarce these days.

  11. John H.

    Goodbye four banger, hello 351 Clevor, built AOD, and built 8.8. Best ride in the park!!

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