68k Original Miles: 1971 Ford Pinto Runabout


We always hear from both sides when we feature a Pinto on Barn Finds. I’m sure this claimed 68,000 mile car won’t be an exception! It’s located in Van Nuys, California and is up for sale here on eBay where bidding is just over $1,000 as I write.


The car has obviously had some work done, with new paint and some decidedly non-stock striping. And I really don’t understand the semi-luggage rack on the hatchback; how would you keep the luggage on? Nevertheless, the paint appears to be fairly well done and the seller has resisted the temptation to deviate from the stock wheels and wheel covers.


Seats, carpet and dash all look nice, leading me to think the seller’s story plausible of purchasing a low-mileage car from a buddy who’s aunt was the original owner. Unfortunately, this one is an automatic.


The engine compartment looks nice, although some features are obviously non-original. It features a new carburetor on the original 2.0 liter engine and an aftermarket air cleaner. I remember the valve and timing covers being blue, but maybe I’m incorrect. The silver looks good, either way.


Ultimately, the seller appears to have posed the same question I am: what exactly do you do with a car like this? Daily driver? You’ll drop it’s value with every mile, although it’s pretty low already. Weekend show car? Most folks want something a little more “special”. Me? I’d drive it. What about you?


  1. Patrick McC.

    I hate to be a hater but, since my family has had a history (not necessarily a great one) with these, I’ll say it: There is a reason that these are found with such low mileage…

  2. Hans

    I like it, the small chrome bumpers blend into the body well. This car looks like a good candidate for a 302 engine swap.

    • grant

      Wholeheartedly agree. Let some kid use it as a driver for a while, then an auto shop project.

    • Jason Houston

      You can’t just dump a 302 into a car like this without compromising every other aspect of the handling and suspension. Leave it alone!

      Like 1
  3. JW

    I’ve seen thousands of Pintos over the years and have never seen one with those stripes, Factory I’m not sure I believe that. Get rid of the stripes drop in a 302 H.O. motor and a 4 speed, beef up the suspension and brakes, put some fat meats on the rear and go hunting mid to late 70’s junk.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I’m pretty sure you are correct about the stripes, although to the seller’s credit, they only said it was original colors, not how they were applied :-)

    • Jason Houston

      After you’ve done all that, why go hunting ‘mid 70s’ junk when you’re already driving it?

      But you are correct, the 1971 Pinto offered no body ornamentation: the stripes are bogus.

  4. Doug

    It is a nice example. It’s just, with life being so short and all, there is so much other stuff to put your effort into!

  5. grant

    I’ll keep my usual comments about pintos to myself, for a thousand bucks this will make some kid a good first car.

  6. Steve

    Nice looking pony! The grill is in one piece! those were tough to find when they were still being made. You are correct on the valve cover color. Too bad she’s missing the nos air cleaner. Stripes need to go away. I do remember the chrome strips on the hatch. Purely for visual. The hub caps are a sweet touch, no big deal to put on some 13″ aftermarket wheels. I would keep it as a driver if it ran good and didn’t leak or burn fluids. Miss my old Pinto!

    Like 1
  7. JW454

    I’d like to have it. I’m retired and average about 300 miles per month on my daily driver. This would be perfect.

  8. sir mike

    JW454….my thoughts also…great daily driver…nice Pinto

  9. 64 bonneville

    The best looking bumpers were on the 70-73 Pintos’, before the mandated 5 mph bumpers. gave the car a tighter look, and the later model stick out bumpers (on all cars) threw off the style balance. the gold stripes are not factory, in fact the only factory stripes you could get were a 1/64 or 1/32 pinstripe along the top edge of fender, door and quarter panel. The color looks good it, appears to be the jade green metallic from the later model Thunderbirds of the same decade. The recovering of the front seats is not a stock or original cover, but appears to be professionally done, for reference look at the back seat which has original upholstery on it. IMHO $1500-2K is tops, being a low # 3.

  10. erikj

    It says In the above: the stripes are not orig. what do some people miss!!

  11. E55

    I thought the Pinto Runabout had a much larger glass window because it was essentially a hatchback, whereas the standard Pinto had a true trunk. Am I mistaken??

    • BradL

      The larger glass came in 72. The small window with chrome strips beneath was stock for 71.

    • grant

      As far as I know, the pinto came as a hatchback like this and a wagon. Never seen a pinto with a true trunk, although the sister mustang came with one. All this said with the understanding that maybe I’m wrong lol.

      • Jason


        We had 2 with the trunk and never owned the hatchback version. The trunk was pretty much useless!

    • Al8apex

      The very first year of the hatchback had this hatch

      The following years had the larger window

  12. Mark S

    Well I guess there better than a Chevy Vega.

    • grant

      Well, you aren’t wrong.

  13. Jason

    I grew up with Pintos. My dad bought our first one in 1972, a white wagon. Our last one was bought in 1980, a blue Squire with faux wood siding and a roof rack. All of ours were 2.3l fours with 4spd manuals.

  14. Jerry

    I have owned 2 Pinto hatchbacks, both 1973 and they were great little cars. I do question this being a 1971 because the early version had a 1.6 Kent engine and the hatchback came out in 1972.

    • Mark S

      Jerry your right they were good little cars, solid platform good handling. there only week spot there carberators, flooding power valves and unreliable chokes. There was a question about rear window size, yes there were bigger ones but not until later big bumper model years. These pinto’s were WAY better than the Chevy Vega.

  15. Howard A Member

    Pintos were good cars, not great, but good. They did exactly what they were designed to do, and with proper maintenance,( remember, 4 cylinders were new to American’s, and they drove them hard) they’d last at least until the doors wouldn’t close anymore. Re: Stripes. For a while, racing stripes went every which way across a car. I always thought they looked silly, and this is no exception. Pintos aren’t what you’d call collectible, now, but look what we are cherishing now from the 50’s and 60’s. Stuff we never thought of saving. I’d keep it just the way it is ( sans the stripes, of course) and drive it for what it was intended. A good little commuter car.

  16. Randy

    I bought one in early ’71. It was a four speed model in the Butterscotch color w black interior. The fake luggage rack was standard on the Runabout model. It was a terrible car to own in northern winters because hitting the slightest of snowbanks would allow snow to get behind the inadequate timing belt cover and make the belt jump off. (2L engine). I always wished that I had put out the extra bucks and got the Mercury Capri with the 2.3 V6. I think the color choice and stripes actually detracts from the look of this car. I wouldve painted it in one of the Maverick Grabber colors.

  17. Jerry

    @mark S Regarding the larger rear window, both mine were ’73 models, small bumpers. Large bumpers came out in 1974.

  18. Mark

    I had a new 78 Pinto trunk model and found the trunk not bad for room.Unless you plan on hauling lumber or ladders or something like that.About this car,if it wasnt 3500 miles away from me,id definately buy it and park it beside my 289 Pinto and leave it the way it is(besides removing the stripes)

    • Dean

      Good comment. Wish u would post a pic of the 289 pinto! :-)

  19. piper62j

    Funny how these Pintos keep popping up lately.. This one is clean and ready to ride.
    I like it..

  20. Tundra/BMW Guy

    I think that if I were going to do something to help it sell, paint wouldn’t have been it! (unless it’s done to hide some ugly stuff) It would have been an option, like, s a y AIR CONDITIONING? I was surprised to see a radio considering there appears to be NO other options on it!! Of course if you put AC on it, with the automatic, you probably would have to get out and push it!!

  21. Jason Houston

    Besides being a ‘flipper’ car (he’s only selling it bc he has too many cars!) I have to admit I despised the styling when it came out. It was the first unconventional car I’d ever seen Ford build, and it truly stunk in my mind. But when the Government’s Big Brother Bumpers came out, suddenly the 71/72 cars looked petty nice.

  22. H.jones

    Howard J. At 17 I order my frist car a Ford Pinto runabout yellow and picked on May 7 1971with one option 2.0 liter and came with front dis brakes. My 71 hatchback had small glass and Chrome strlpes. Would do 100 mph

    Like 1

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