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A Tale of 2 Pintos: Saddle Up


The Pinto is one of the more famous nameplates in motoring history, but now it’s regaining some popularity as a cheap classic. I’ve even seen a few pop up on the autocross circuit, so there’s any number of ways to use these cars. If this wasn’t a Pinto, you’d probably be drooling at the prospect of a hot hatch with awesome 70’s color and decals, dropped on some sweet Centerline wheels! Known as a rare Group II car, an option package offered by Ford, this Pinto project listed here on eBay even comes with a vintage turbo kit if you want to up the ante in a big way.


This is the shot that does it for me: what a great look, and those dual exhaust tips poking out give this Pinto an extra does of street cred (OK, maybe that’s a stretch). But the other modifications, including cams, headers and a Weiand intake manifold do bolster this Pinto’s potential.

1972 Ford Pinto

This 1972 Pinto here on eBay has only 23,000 original miles and is a super clean survivor. Thanks to reader Jim S. for the find.

1972 Ford Pinto Interior

This is perhaps the best part about low-mileage cars: the interiors still shine and aren’t covered in years of neglect by someone with poor personal hygiene. This Pinto is more of a museum car than a daily driver, but it’s perfectly good for parading around the local cruise-in circuit or Cars & Coffee events. Plus, it’s a desirable manual transmission – which would be better suited for our other Pinto project above. Both cars are at or over the $4,000 mark on eBay with the reserves unmet and plenty of time left on the auctions. Which one would you choose?


  1. Rick

    Much as I’m not a Pinto fan, the yellow one looks pretty cool

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  2. jimbosidecar

    I can’t believe the bids are over $4000 and the reserve is not met

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  3. grant

    I don’t know how they get up to 4k or higher. They sold for about that. And it’s still a pinto.

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    • Tony

      And watch out for the infamous exploding fuel tanks.

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    • Barry T

      Actually they sold for a bit less than 4K when new as I bought a 1973 Pinto wagon new in 1973 for $2,700. I really liked that car especially as I had it during the Arab oil embargo and the mpg that car go was a blessing. Mine looked something like this except it was dark green and had small hub caps. I also had the dealer install Michelin radials on it which improved the handling.

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  4. Slim Chance

    Between catching fire (cost/benefit analysis gone really bad) and wiped camshafts it’s surprising any are left. An embarrassing chapter in Ford’s history.

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  5. Dave at OldSchool Restorastions

    the brown ’72… condition and manual trans… make this a no brainer.

    Great motors and LOTS of performance stuff available , cheap

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  6. grant

    It’s like people are forgetting how awful these cars were.

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  7. Jeff Myers

    They were decent cars for that era.
    Shortcomings were blown out of proportion.

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    • Barry T

      I agree. How many here have actually owned one?

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      • grant

        My folks bought a brand new 1980 pinto wagon in the fall of 1979. Horrible car. They traded in a 70 torino for it. I remember my 5 year old self sitting in the back of that vinyl monstrosity and wondering what the hell was wrong with my dad. So yes. I speak from experience. My first driving lessons were in that rattly, pinging 2.3 POS. Horrible cars.

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    • Barry T

      Also don’t forget, if you believed what Ralph Nader said about the Corvair back in the day just sitting in one was like committing suicide. I have not read much negative about the Corvair lately.

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  8. 1969Deuce

    Mine had the lines of the brown car, but with a vinyl top. It started the color of the wagon above but I redid the whole car and had it done in the emerald green of the Continental of the day. I would have preferred a stick but the automatic worked just fine. It was reliable, economical, and went lots of miles for me. I thought it was great and still do.

    I’d have a hard time choosing between these but would probably opt for the brown one.

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  9. redwagon

    friend of mine had a late model version with the last style tail lights that he raced at the walled lake track iirc. he had that thing rocking with a cage a 5 pt harness and all sorts of engine mods. 2nd gear would get us to 90mph. not that we actually did taht – just saying ;-)

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  10. Mike R

    Street cred in a Pinto? Yep, that’s a stretch :D

    Drive either of these down the street, and anyone under 35 will look at you like you’re in a UFO

    Not for me, but there’s an arse for every seat, and someone might pick up a pretty low mileage older car cheap…

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  11. 64 bonneville

    need a look see? Brown is a stripper located in Oklahoma City, yellow in Denton Texas, about 4 hours from. would do it for gas money, cause I need a road trip. BTW the yellow one has about 20 hours left on bidding, but reserve is not met.
    Brown one, no radio, no A/C (strange for Oklahoma, but you don’t turn on the A/C on these till you hit 40mph, otherwise, you will have to push it away from the traffic light.

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  12. piper62j

    We sold a lot of Pintos at the shop.. There are knee jerkers out there that became paranoid with the fuel tank issue, but Ford had mostly debunked it with tests and film footage of actual rear end collisions that the NHTSA concurred with.. The satisfying fix was to install a protective shield around the gas tank which would help prevent puncturing and loss of fuel.. Anyway, the bad press was already out by then and Ford stopped production due to lagging sales..

    Pintos were actually great little cars except for bad cams and a few other minor discrepancies.. Gas mileage was very good for the times.. Knowing the ins and outs of these machines, I wouldn’t mind tooling around in one for myself.. ESPECIALLY the station wagon with woodgrain siding… Lots of room for a small compact…

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    • grant

      A bad run of cams is a minor issue? Sorry anything that requires an engine out and disassembled servicing is not “minor.”

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  13. piper62j

    Not to get off subject, but it seems the Corvairs are coming into their own lately.. The (Cosworth if I remember) is on top of the demand list right now..

    Officially, The last Corvair was produced on May 14, 1969, at 1:00 PM EST. It was a Monza coupe, with serial number 6000
    The car was ultimately replaced by the Vega. Corvair was not “unsafe’ as the public was led to believe, but was losing sales to the Ford Mustang and other popular small cars of the era. Chevy had planned to end production in 1966, and replace the Corvair with the Camaro. Thanks to a certain consumer advocate, and a book, Chevrolet produced the Corvair three years longer than planned. This was to prove they did not build a bad product. Had the book “Unsafe at Any Speed”, never been published, the 1967 Corvair would never have been produced.

    Stacy David crushes a Corvair body with a big foot replica on Gearz.. Breaks my heart… LOL

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  14. GlenK

    My wife bought one new in 78 and it was to my surprise a pretty good handling car. Being the “family car” I new did much to it. there were a few minor issues with the car but all fixed under warranty. Unfortunately some guy hit it hard on a miserable winter day. After it was fixed, I noticed it started to twist back to its hit state so we traded it in. Someone in the neighborhood bought it and drove it a number of years after.

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  15. 64 bonneville

    Yellow Pinto sale ended @ $4050, reserve not met, Brown one is on Dallas Craigslist priced at $6500.00. IMHO bot are priced to high by the sellers,

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  16. piper62j

    Actually, replacing the camshafts only took 2 – 3 hours and that included the valve stem seals.. It did not require an “engine out” procedure.. Anyone knowledgeable with Pintos would know this.. Also, minor issues were a timing belt (included during the cam replacement), maybe some squeaks and rattles.. Those of us who actually put our hands on these cars could quickly and easily repair them due to their simplicity.

    That being said, the Pinto problems came no where near the Chevy Vega engine problems.. The cylinder walls on the Vegas were impregnated with silicone and once scuffed with carbon, required an engine pull and if not covered under warranty, cost the owner a replacement block… This was a major defeat for Chevrolet, where Ford only had a minor scare with the Pinto gas tank issue.. which was resolved with the NHTSA and allowed Pintos to be produced into the early 80’s.. Vegas were dropped in 1977.

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    • grant

      Pinto production ended in 1980

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  17. Jim Ward

    Sister and brother in law had a 71. He was sitting at a red light got rear ended guy never hit his brakes. So at 40 mph he hot it hard. Pushed back end in did not explode. He drove it home and drove it that way till the ins. Totaled it. Changed many a cam engine in couple hrs work tops.

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  18. Blindmarc

    A good friend of mine had a pinto engine in his street legal dune buggy back in the early 80’s. That thing ran like a scalded dog, and it was his only vehicle.

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  19. Jason Houston

    Here is car that acquired an undeserved reputation, if ever a car could. All the BS about catching fie, etc. was exploited by an Illinois district attorney who charged Ford Motor Company with criminal negligence over an accident in which a parked Pinto was struck from the rear by a speeding tractor-trailer rig, killing a family of four instantly.

    The case was tried before a jury, which convicted the defendants (Ford Motor Company) and awarded a huge $136 million. he entire case was reversed on appeal, but THAT never made the news.

    So, the reputation stuck, and the lowly Pinto slipped into the annals of America’s bad cars, along with the Rambler Gremlin, AMC Pacer, Edsel, and bathtub Nashes.

    When the Pinto first appeared I deemed it the ugliest car Ford ever made, even worse than the dreadful 1965 Fairlane. Then in 1984 I bought a 1974 Pint Squire for $400. I replaced the tires, water pump and brought the license current and got two high mileage, trouble-free years out of that car.

    The Pinto was the 1957 Chevy of the 70’s. Popular with young people everywhere, it trumped the Maverick, Vega and Gremlin in both popularity and sales.

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  20. Tony Cywinski

    I remember working at a ford dealership in the late 70’s. We were installing fuel tank guards on 2dr pintos as I remember. The steel fuel tank on these vehicles is located right behind the 5mph impact bar. A rear impact Will split the tank on a new Pinto. Add the rust factor….
    GM moved the midships fuel tanks on their 80’s pickups from outside of the frame to the inside because of the same design flaw My $0.02

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  21. Melvin Burwell

    Ist car at 16 was a 74 pinto.Great car. Girls loved it. Ist one on my block with a car, I think. Sold it only because I wanted a muscle car. A 71 Chevelle. YEAH!

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  22. Steve

    Still have a running/ driving 79 pinto wagon. Have had it 20 years have never had to replace the cam, but replacing the starter is a pain, I’ve had several pintos over the years and loved every one I always called them a “mini mustang” they had excellent handling for back then

    I believe the msrp for a 71 base pinto was $1995

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  23. Rick A. Loera Member

    I’ve had two 1972 Pintos. One strippo model and one loaded. They were automatics. Both great cars. Wouldn’t mind having another. The loaded 72 would stall at traffic lights with the A/C on. Don’t know if that was typical, or just my Pinto. I did test drive a 73 with A/C that did just fine. It was also a four speed with a dealer installed A/C. I’ve also heard that statistically Pintos erupted into flames when rear ended about the same or less than average cars out at the same time.

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