All Original With A 4-Speed: 1973 Ford Pinto

We recently saw a very nice Pinto woody wagon that was only one year newer than this 1973 Ford Pinto is and it had wicked huge bumpers. I think that the 1971 to 1973 Pintos were the best looking of the bunch, if a person were looking for a small-bumper Pinto, that is. This one can be found here on eBay in Cedar Ridge, California with some nice bids bringing the price up to $4,600 and there is no reserve.

This car is not only the last year before they were required to wear giant bumpers, but it appears to be in fantastic original condition. I don’t see a flaw anywhere in this car, although the seller mentions one interior flaw that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if they didn’t mention it.

The thing that always comes up with Pintos is the shameful coverup undertaken by Ford in comparing the cost of litigation over fire deaths and injuries compared to recalling the cars and fixing them. I don’t know if car companies have really changed that much over the decades, unfortunately, given the VW diesel scandal and there have probably been others. It’s a valid point with these cars, although I would hope that the vast majority of them have been modified by now so there isn’t such a danger. Ok, back to fun stuff…

There is a crack above the instrument cluster on the dash that the seller mentions, but other than that I don’t see one flaw in this interior, do you? To top it off, it’s a 4-speed car! It seems like most of the time that we see a Pinto in this condition it’s an automatic. The back seats look great as does the hatchback area, although you may have noticed a little rust visible on the lower left side in the hatchback compartment photo. Hopefully that’s the extent of rust as it isn’t mentioned in the seller’s description and I don’t see any on the car body itself.

This clean-looking engine is Ford’s 2.0L inline-four which would have had 83 hp when it rolled out of the factory in San Jose, California. The seller says that the clutch works great, the AC is cold, and there are no shimmies, shakes, rattles, or vibrations. They do mention one issue with this car – it draws a crowd wherever it goes and I definitely believe it. I haven’t seen a Pinto on the road in years other than at car shows and I would certainly check it out if I saw it in a gas station or parking lot. Would you?


  1. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    This could be FUN, with several options.

    If someone wanted to beef up the drivetrain a bit, maybe with a Mustang SVO-style setup, it could be a true sleeper. At least except for the tires which would be necessary to provide some traction.

    At $4600 now with 4 days to go. IF it stays under maybe $6K, it’d be fun to have as just a car-show cruiser. No one else would have one among the tons of muscle cars and big tanks from the 70’s.

    Like 7
    • LT1 Mike

      Growing up I used to see a ton of these cars, and I never thought the day would come that I would be admiring one like the way I’m admiring this one. That’s what nostalgia will do to you. I love the color, and the fact that it is a 4 speed with A/C that still works ! Good luck to the new owner, now I better stop looking or else I’m going to be on a plane to Cedar Ridge, California….

      Like 3
  2. RickyB

    Billy Bob would drive this to a cruise-in for sure!

    Like 1
  3. Mountainwoodie

    A Pinto at car shows! Who would have thought back in the day! But with a 4 speed you could at least scoot around in brown.

    Like 5
    • Karl

      Someone considers a pinto a “classic car”? These along with the chevette all belong in the same shredder hopefully something a lot more constructive with the new metal!!

      Like 1
      • Bodyman68

        Like what a honda ? Ill take the pinto or chevette as they are better cars then you think , just add wider tires on either one and they handle better then any front wheel drive !

        Like 2
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Had a ’74 wagon and loved it. Wish I could find one like it today, but this would
    certainly do. Mountainwoofie, if you think
    seeing a Pinto at a car show is strange,
    then how ’bout seeing a low mileage ’87
    Escort at a car show!?? Saw one at the
    Winter Haven show in 2005. After seeing
    the car at the show, the owner comes into
    my Taco Bell, orders a meal whereupon
    we talk about his car and how he got it.
    Turns out it had just 13K miles on it from
    new. It’s amazing what you see at a car

    Like 2
  5. Geebee

    My ’74 hatchback had that same dash crack.
    It had the 2.3 liter, with a 4 speed. Not fast, and not particularly quick, but I still had a lot of fun with it at 17-18 years old. Simple enough I could fix most things on it, and overall, a tough little car.

    Like 2
  6. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Wow, two nice Pintos in recent days. This one brings me back to my ’73, which was “period-correct” dark green with avocado interior, as compared to this “period-correct” brown/brown scheme. This car even has those miniature bright metal splash guards. With the 4-speed the car was actually kind of fun to drive.

    I for sure would look at this car at a car show before I spent time looking at muscle cars. I would love to own it.

    Like 3
  7. Lee Kuchenreuther

    Only original once. Would NEVER cut this one up!!

    Like 1
  8. Ray

    My first car was a 71, 4 speed. I had never driven a stick before, and dumped the transmission or lugged the engine at least a dozen times that first week. By the time I got it in 1981, it was a $50 beater with the fenders and floors more gone than not – but it served me well for a year after I put a new clutch in.

    Like 3
  9. Rusty

    A friend had one of these when I was a teen. Could have been this car’s sister: same year, color, drivetrain. I don’t think his had a/c or power steering, though. Tin worm was unkind to his in northern Ohio. The fuel tank recall have him some mismatched paint around the fuel filler, and he claimed that was the only spot without rust. One of the rear shock mounts pulled away from the car in 1977. A tie rod end let loose in 1978 without warning. Fortunately he was only going 25 mph at the time and didn’t hit anything. I think that may have been the last straw, as the car was soon gone. Nice to see such a clean one here

    Like 1
  10. Pete

    Scotty, the ’73 *was* the first year that “impact bumpers” were incorporated. Notice the jutting front jaw on this one. Earlier models had the nice, body-conforming units. Usually, on 73 models, it is only on the front, not the rear. I had a ’71 Pinto. I liked it except that the trunk opening was about as large as a mailbox slot. LOL.

    Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Hi Pete, you could be right on that, at least for the over-riders on the rear bumpers having been added in 1973, but I found a few sources that mention that the big bumpers were added in 1974: “In 1974, to meet federal regulations, 5 mph bumpers were added to both the front and rear.” (wiki)

      A good percentage of photos on the internet show both 1971 and 1972 Pintos with the over-riders on the front bumpers like this ’73 has. I think I’m sticking with my original statement that 1974 is when the redesigned, big bumpers were first required.

      Like 3
  11. AnalogMan

    When I was in high school (back in the stone age, the 1970’s) my second car was a Pinto with a 4 speed (a ’71 model, otherwise like this one). They are better cars than their reputations would have one believe. At the time, the handling of the car was not far off that of some pure ‘sports’ cars like MG, Triumph, etc. With the ‘big block’ 2.0 liter engine, the Pinto was actually reasonably competitive in the old SCCA racing classes at Lime Rock CT.

    By today’s standards it’s slow, poorly built, etc., but for the time, it wasn’t bad at all. While it didn’t look the part of a ‘performance’ car, it was reasonably fun to drive, and a lot more practical than anything out of England.

    The propensity to combust and immolate passengers upon anything bigger than a mosquito coming into contact with the rear end, well, that was another issue…

    Like 3
  12. CaCarDude

    My first wife and I (newlyweds) bought a brand new 73 Pinto identical to this with yellow exterior, drove it from CA to Fla. and back, and I have to say a fun little car at the time with the 4 spd. No A/C so was a hot ride in the late summer months.
    On the return to CA less than 1 yr later my now ex wife lost control of it in the rain on a freeway onramp, managed to total the car after hitting the walls like a pinball and every corner of the car was wiped out, ahh good times…

    Like 2
  13. Art

    Mine was a robin egg blue 75 hatchback with the v6. Having many cars over the years including a vett and mustanh, that pinto still holds a place in my heart

    Like 4
  14. PatrickM

    Once again, one of us is on the wrong coast!! Dang it, anyway!! I would really like to have this car. Price is okay. But, transport fees would kill me I am constantly reminded of my ’75 Pinto wagon, 2.8L, (171 cid), automatic. It was a good car. I sold it in the early ’80’s and to this day have no recollection as to why. It was kinda small for what I needed, but I could have kept it and also bought something larger for the family. Oh well, hind sight being 20/20……

    • Del

      Nice car.
      Great shape.
      Rare exploding gas tank option ?

      Like 1
      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

        I remember sometime late 70’s I think a pinto won the Pikes peak low fuel consumption contest. One of my many sister-in-laws owned 71/72 pinto 2.3L automatic. She put a lot of miles on it, eventually trading it in on a 81 Chevy Impala.

  15. Ron

    Had one the same color and drivetrain setup back in the late 70’s, great little car, economical to drive and it would squawk the tires easily if you wanted to…

    Like 1
  16. Miguel

    I had this same car but with a trunk and the 1600 engine.

    Pintos are still my favorite car.

    Like 2
  17. Pinto guy

    Impact bumper facts: 1973 front bumper only, 1974 rear bumper now mandatory. For another reference point, check on the bumpers on a 73 and a 74 Corvette.

    Like 2
  18. Woody

    The interior is beautiful in this little Ford! My Dad drove one for a short time,it was a reliable runner certainly not much power but would love to see the Eco-Boost under the hood and tubbed rear! Brown is classic!

    Like 2
  19. Ed VT

    As the Pinto was being introduced and as a publicity gimmick our local Ford dealer and I would think other dealers had a fuel economy contest. They had about a one quart glass jar mounted on the right front fender. The jar had two lines on it and when the gas level reached the bottom line the Ford salesman riding with you recorded the miles driven. It certainly wasn’t very accurate as the gas bounced all over the jar and it wasn’t very safe but it was a different world back then. Of course I didn’t win the contest the salesman barely tolerated me but he couldn’t say no and I made the most of the short drive. Can you imagine the corporate lawyers allowing such a thing today?

    Like 1
  20. TimM

    A brown pinto!!
    Well you know who drives the brown Ford Probe!!!

    You Proctologist!!!

  21. RP

    When I was a kid I went through four different Pintos and loved every one of them. Even wrapped one completely around a telephone pole during a little incident with black ice and walked away without a scratch. Great little cars.

    By the way. The one that “exploded” because the gas tank was too close to the differential was actually rammed quite hard by a large truck with an impact that would have destroyed a Cadillac.

    Ford got their money back on that one.

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