All Original: 1974 Ford Pinto Hatchback

1974 would be the first year for the monstrous front and rear bumpers on the Pinto in order to meet the new U.S. safety regulations. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is and this 1974 Ford Pinto hatchback looks like a nice car otherwise. It can be found here on craigslist in Valley Village, California, just west of Burbank. The seller is asking $4,500 for this one. Thanks to Ikey H. for sending in another great find!

The overall Pinto body stayed basically the same throughout its decade-long run but there were enough small changes that the car looks almost like a different vehicle, including several different grilles, and a slanted grille and going from round to square headlights. It started out as an enclosed-trunk car but a hatchback was soon added and also a wagon. It’s too bad they didn’t make a Ranchero-like small pickup…

The original owner of this light blue hatchback was the seller’s uncle and it has only traveled 77,207 miles over the last 45 years. They say that it’s all original right down to the paint and it has never been in an accident.

The interior looks like it’s been restored – other than the steering wheel – those seats are in amazing condition both front and rear! The cargo area under the hatchback looks good with maybe just a bit of sun damage from that California living, and some wear marks on the side panels. We can almost always hear a collective sigh when showing a Pinto and there’s an automatic in it, not so here, this one is a 4-speed manual.

Although the 2.0L engine should have been available in 1974, I believe that this is the 2.3L inline-four which would have had 82 hp. This car drives great with no issues, according to the seller. It isn’t a perfect car by any means but it looks like a nice, solid example of a car that it would have a small crowd around it any time you stop for groceries or drive it to a restaurant.


  1. Tiberius1701

    A Turbo 2.3/T5 transplant is in order!

    Like 6
  2. Joe Dunlap

    71-73 had a 1.6 as standard with the 2.0 as an option. With the added weight and emission requirements, the 1.6 was dropped and the 2.0 became the base engine. A nice example of probably the worst Pinto ever. Early 74s also had the dreaded seatbelt interlock that prevented starting.

    Like 4
  3. Miguel

    In case you don’t remember, a lot of the early Pinto had damage on the rear corners because when you hit those small bumpers the edges were pushed into the corners of the car. These bumpers saved the body work and thereby saved the car.

    I think all new cars should have bumpers like this so a small bump doesn’t cost thousands to fix.

    TFL Car on You Tube hit the corner of their new Tesla Model 3 on a garage and the final bill was over $10,000 to repair. That small hit cost 1/5 the price of the car new. If the guy had been going much faster, the bill would
    have been much higher. If the car had one of these bumpers, he would have bought some chrome polish and a rag and fixed the car himself.

    Like 6
    • Dave

      Best bumpers of the era were on a 82 Rabbit I owned. They were mounted on spring loaded cylinders. Since the Rabbit came out after 1973 the bumpers didn’t look like an afterthought.

      Like 3
      • Miguel

        My 1981 Impala also had shocks behind the bumper to absorb the impact.

    • ICEMAN from Winnipeg

      I have to agree about the bumpers. Even a minor collision at 2 or 3 miles per hour results in thousands of dollars of damage to any new car. Back in the late 70s, my fathers 1977 Grand Marquis was rear ended by a 1975 Mercury Cougar XR7, both of which had FoMoCo’s battering ram 5 MPH bumpers. No damage whatsoever. Recently, my friends Camry sustained $7,000 damage when the driver behind did not brake hard enough, hit the Camry at maybe 5 miles per hour.

      Like 2
  4. Bob_S

    You shouldn’t be hiting thing with your car. You are suppose to avoid hit things…. people, dogs, houses, garages, other cars etc. People need to learn how to drive and pay attention to what they are doing! Its driving not bumper tag!


    Like 8
    • Dave

      I ride a motorcycle to work when I can, and it was amazing the number of drivers streaming Game of Thrones out there. Most of them just don’t care.

      Like 8
    • ICEMAN from Winnipeg

      Very true, but accidents happen. No one is always the perfect driver.

      Like 2
      • Tim

        Accidents are preventable. Stay off the cell phone, no talking or texting. No eating. No playing with your music source. No playing with the navigation system. Just DRIVE and pay attention. Meaning they are not accidents. They are crashes or collisions. Which means one, or even multiple drivers are at fault.

        Like 4
  5. Joe Dunlap

    Like everything else, the bumpers were a compromise. They might have saveed a bit in body damage, they added to the cost of the car in the first place, as well as sustaining damage to themselves. Fuel economy, handling and performance also suffered due to the added weight. All this in addition to the fact that they did not intergrate into the lines of the body at all, making them the dominant, and very ugly, feature. They also became a liability in higher speed collisions, as they provided no crushability (not to say the Pinto had any in the first place)and simply transferred forces to the rest of the body structure even more rapidly. As for the the added cost of repairs on modern vehicles, I would agree with you about the cost of minor collision repairs. That said, they are vastly superior than anything from the ” goid old days.” Cars are objects and can be replaced. Lives are precious and can never be replaced. I eould gladly sacrifice the rarest classic in a collision if it meant I or a loved one were able to survive. I do wish we could have it both ways, but un fortunately, physics mitigates against it.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      The reason why the way things are now are not a positive is because let’s say you have a 2 year old car. A light hit to the back will damage the quarter panel making the insurance company total your car.

      They will pay the value of the car and you, as the owner with a huge loan on it, are left to pay off the car you don’t have anymore.

      I am not talking about high speed crashes as it doesn’t matter what kind of bumper you have, the damage will be severe.

      I am talking about a minor accident that today causes thousands of dollars of damage needlessly.

      Like 2
      • Doug

        Unfortunately, the insurance company also gets to determine the value of the car…… State Farm was only willing to pay $1100 for the 1995 Subaru we’ve owned since new- and they keep the car. Their valuation was based on what a local dealer/pawnshop would have paid for it if the damage had not occurred. I had been offered $2500 for it 3 months before their driver hit me. The car is worth more to me as a backup with all wheel drive than they were willing to pay, so I kept it.
        Most car insurance has become a giant scam. Than goodness we have companies like Hagerty and Grundy that offer ” agreed value” insurance on classic cars. Can you imagine what would happen to a Studebaker pickup with a Hagerty valuation of $20, 000 if it got hit by a State Farm or Progressive driver ? a $500 repair would cause them to total it, and you’d be lucky to get $1500-2000 for it. But if you had agreed value insurance, the company would pay up to the agreed dollar amount to fix your vehicle, or if that wasn’t possible, then they would pay the agreed amount.

  6. Chebby Staff

    If the government were a car, this would be it.

    Like 13
  7. slw71962 Member

    Smog exempt here in CA.

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      Fun exempt everywhere

      Like 9
      • Miguel

        I always had fun with my Pintos, and I have had quite a few of them.

        Like 5
  8. Dave

    Unless I’m mistaken, the first model year for the government mandated 5 mph bumpers was 1973. Strangely enough, rising repair costs for minor accidents was the driving force behind the bumpers being required. September 1973 brought a war followed by the Arab Oil embargo.

    Why did the bumpers go away? Once the Feds began mandating fuel economy standards cutting vehicle weight became a factor and automakers made their case. Impact energy management became a science, and carmakers were free to make vehicles as light and aerodynamic as possible.

    Today, we’ve returned to the days of the collision damage from slow speed collisions costing well North of $1000. In many cars that’s the cost of one headlamp/park lamp/turn signal/side market lamp assembly.

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Dave, this is the info that I found, “In 1974, to meet federal regulations, 5 mph bumpers were added to both the front and rear.”

      I miss having big chrome bumpers on cars, or small chrome bumpers, or anything even remotely related to steel bumpers rather than the plastic, painted flexible things that we have now that get all scratched up and fall off on the freeway in one piece.

      Like 5
      • Boatman Member

        1973 Front only. 1974 Front and rear.

        Like 3
      • Dave

        The image I have is that of a 1973 Plymouth Fury. The Ohio Highway Patrol ran those along with 1972 models. The requirements applied to 1973 model year cars.

        I agree with your assessment and have read somewhere that what we called “bumpers” are now called “covers”.

        Back in the halcyon days of CB radio, a popular choice of antenna was a 102″ whip mounted on the rear bumper. Another popular choice was a trunk lid mount. After that antennas that mounted on the rain gutter or drip rail were common.

        What we drive these days have none of the above.

        Like 1
    • Miguel

      In a minor rear collision, the car will absorb the impact. I guess that is what they are designed for, but to lose you car over such a small accident costs car owners thousands of dollars a year for what?

      Like 1

    Miguel. Yes. A car today should be considered no more then a safety cell. Meaning when you are inside and properly restrained in an accident…..ANY accident the vehicle will protect you and your family and possibly save a life. The Pinto is responsible in part for this today. As everyone knows when rear ended the gas tank would explode. Why so many died was the doors would jamb. Thankfully doors are designed to open in a crash and fuel tank explosions more often only happen in movies. I wouldn’t take chances with my life today with this Pinto then or now.

    When one gets a loan on a vehicle should ALWAYS get gap insurance. It covers you when you become upside down which is anytime you drive off the lot.

    • Lance Platt

      I love the light blue color and the overall visual condition of the Pinto. Personally, I would want an automatic transmission. My 1977 Ford and 1980 Mercury Bobcat were both floor shifted automatics.

      Like 1
    • Mike

      Great point about Gap insurance. To take that a step further, you should always buy it through your own car insurance agency and NOT the dealership where you purchase your car. My wife and I made the mistake of getting it at the Honda dealership, and admittedly it was the first time I had ever heard of Gap insurance. It started at $795, and when I declined the salesperson went down to $695. Then $595. At $495 he told me the field in his computer would not populate at less than $495 (which may or may not have been true). So the next day I found out that my own insurance company offered it on my new vehicle for a hundred bucks.

      • AMCFAN

        Hell of a good point. That is just another way dealers make money off the uninformed.

  10. Del

    Nice little Bomb.

    If you buy it get a fire extinguisher 😁

    • Dave

      When these were new, we joked that if the “engine” lamp came on it meant that you need a new engine. I’d buy this before I’d buy a Corvair or VW bug.

      Like 1
  11. Ralph

    Reminds me of Clarice Starlings sad little gray Pinto in The Silence of the Lambs.

  12. Moparman Member

    A ’73 model Runabout in this exact color, 4 spd, rear window defroster, AND a factory Sunroof, showed up at our Coffee & Chrome Show on yesterday! It was a graduation present to the original owner by his father, (who also was in attendance!) :-)

    Like 1
  13. MarveH

    Pintos have been on my mind of late as one possible candidate for simple, raw, 4 cylinder performance car build. I may be the first person to ever type that.
    I’d remove the bumpers and either do a Volvo 16v head conversion to the 2.3 or put in a built Zetec.
    This car would be a good start.
    I just bought a one-family owned 1983 Saab 900S and have my eye on a stick-shifted 1984 Dodge Caravan cargo, however, so it may not be the time. So many undesirable cars so little time.

  14. charles Flowers

    LMFAO!!! thanks for getting Monday off to a hilarious start.

    Love the eclecticism of the cars featured here, keep up the good and interesting work whomever is putting the cars up for consideration here.

  15. Little_Cars

    I had a light blue, early 71 Pinto runabout. The only year they came with both the little chrome bumpers and the Nomad trim strips on the liftgate which distinguished them from regular trunk models. I’m surprised this one being in California hasn’t become an extra for period movies and TV for street scenes. Think “Stranger Things” anyone?

  16. Joe Dunlap

    72 had the small bumpers also. I bought one brand new and autocrissed it for 8 years.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      My comment related to the rear liftgate trim. 1971 Pinto Runabout got the vertical rows of molding on the liftgate, looking a lot like a Tri-5 Nomad. 1972 Pintos didn’t get this on the hatchbacks. Huge rear window came later, ending with the entire liftgate made of glass.

  17. ctmphrs

    Almost fifty years old and the lies about Pintos blowing up still abound.

    Like 6
    • Joe Dunlap

      Sadly true. One “news” report that stuck in everyones head and took on a life of its own.

      Like 1
  18. Del

    It was true about Pintos exploding.

    The 11 dollar part to insulate the tank was done away with as a cost saving.

    I believe a number of people died before this was fixed

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