Brown, RWD, and a Stick: 1980 Ford Pinto Wagon

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From Ken T – To some automotive fanboys, owning a brown diesel wagon with a manual transmission displays their devotion to obscure vehicles that have been disdained by society. To their way of thinking, anyone with a job and decent credit can get a new ride with all modern conveniences, but only a true auto aficionado would have the guts and desire to stray so far off the beaten path of convention. It’s located in Foley, Alabama and is listed for sale here on craigslist.

While this wagon might lose cool points for the lack of an oil burner, that infamous nameplate makes up for it. This Pinto has the right color, transmission and obscurity that tells all who behold it that the driver is not a follower and doesn’t care a tinker’s cuss for what you think about him and his tastes. This brown beauty has a first rate interior that appears amazingly clean and stock. The driver’s seat betrays fraying in the fabric weave, but I’ve seen worse on 10 year old cars. The back seat is pristine. The diamond plate around the shifter is interesting…

That stock look fades away when looking under the hood. The owner has added a “mild” race cam, Offenhauser intake, Holley carb and electronic ignition goodies. Perhaps those upgrades don’t qualify this wagon as a sleeper, but if the Pinto World Championships were a real thing, this car would be a favorite. The Turbo wheels give it a nice aggressive look too and would let real Pinto enthusiasts know that this pony can run!

Outside, the shadowy pics show little of the body, but no rust or dents. Hopefully, this isn’t a case of skillful photography to obscure body issues. As a good sign of body condition, the tailgate/hatchback seems to hold itself open. So, does this wagon make you want to lay down $5,500 and have a drag race against Wayne and Garth? Could this be the wagon that gives you forum bragging rights? Or could it be the perfect commuter/family hauler?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. jw454

    As nice as this one is, it’d be nice if he saved the stock parts so it could be returned to stock if the new owner wanted to.
    I’d drive it the way it is because it should run a little better but, having the stock stuff on a shelf would be good too.

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    • ROAR

      Whats the stuff about diesel?? there are road racing classes specifically for race cars using these engines, The 4 speed has VERY close ratios. There may have been as many Pintos made into race cars as 55 chevvies. do YOU believe everything lawyers say?? just because Ralf blasted them doesn’t mean they weren’t good cars!

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  2. dgrass

    Never realized how much real estate there was between the hatch and rear bumper, enough space to feed a family of four. Thanks for the enlightenment once again!

    This one looks like it was well cared for over the years. A definite plus to anyone in the market.

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  3. Jack M.

    Don’t forget that bad ass exhaust header. Should add some extra volume to the exhaust note.

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    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Believe or not, Jack, these little Pinto mills respond well to the addition of a header and a decent low-restriction exhaust system. So you not only get a bit of extra volume, but noticeably improved performance and economy.

      Sadly, the Lima engine will still sound like a lo-po four-banger… (cheeky grin)

      The wheels and ‘dog poo brown’ colour definitely make it period correct. It would be a fun toy for someone, especially being a stick.

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  4. Jeff Weir

    Had a tomato red one just like this. It was great on gas and handled amazingly! I just wish my wife didn’t hate station wagons because I would buy it in a heartbeat!

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  5. LAB3

    Nice to have the added go-fast goodies although there’s a popular saying in certain circles that claims this car can’t be polished.

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    • DuaneBoda

      Common expression was….you can’t polish a turd – 💩

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  6. DuaneBoda

    The Pinto is a ride I’d buy IF it was reintroduced minus the safety issues – kaboom gas tank. Poor design with
    it being hit at moderate speeds would be a issue regardless if you ask me. 🤔 🤨

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    • TJ
      • KKW

        You can find that same story concerning 70s chevrolet saddle mount gas tank pickups.

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    • Charlie Gilg

      I had one of these, a 79, same interior with white paint job, automatic tranny. The gas filler on the wagon is on the side, not in the rear, so it isn’t prone to turning into a bomb. I bought it on the cheap at an auction, all it needed was a u-joint.

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  7. ccrvtt

    If I recall the station wagons did not suffer from the instant immolation syndrome due to a different tank/location.

    This is a remarkably elegant design for a compact utility vehicle. I’ve always liked the pretensiously upscale Squire versions, but the 4-speed and the engine mods make this example very desirable.

    Considering what the market alternatives are this is a pretty attractive deal. Especially if you’re trying to avoid a Civic/Corolla/Sentra.

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  8. Jwinters

    I had one just like this. I remember the entire exhaust pipe, muffler, and catylatic converter fell off while I was driving and I ran over it. that thing sure was loud after that!

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  9. Tom Justice

    These late model Pintos were pretty good cars and yes, the wagon did not have the “napalm edition” option. I did have a friend that had a napalm edition with Firestone 500 tires; the over 55 crowd will get a chuckle out of that one. This would be a great go to the home store car for someone as it does hold quite a bit. Price seems a bit high but you probably can’t find something that will do what this does any cheaper and it sounds like it might be fun to drive.

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    • Mark S.

      You’re right about the wagon lacking the “napalm option”. I remember the fly apart Firestone’s. Add to that the flaming ignition switch, and you have a recipe for disaster.

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  10. Coventrycat

    That tach bolted to the steering column is awful – even if it is useful.

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  11. Classic Steel

    Okay i might be able to warm up to it being just a wagon with 70s choc color

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  12. That Guy

    I would need a jet-black lumberjack beard and a man bun to be able to drive this ironically.

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  13. PatrickM

    I had a ’75 Pinto wagon with a 2.8L, V6. Ran quite well. Surprised many. Wish I still had it.

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  14. Buick Fan

    Yes, my girlfriend in high school had one of these loaded up with power everything, a/c and the 2.8 V6, that car was surprisingly fast! Especially when she was speeding home to beat Dad’s curfew…

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  15. Kevin A Russell

    Diesel??? Uhh, no such thing!

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  16. Marc

    Nice to see a car, no matter what it is, to be owned by an enthusiast and how well it is cared for. As for the “turbo” wheels, never knew there name, but they are the Mustang GT wheels from the mid 80’s, looks good on the Pinto.

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    so this diesel has a 2 barrel carb. and a high energy distributor?

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  18. chad

    like that engine (2.3 pinto/lima ’74 – ’01) in the turbo version (SVO) topped w/a Ranger/MazdaB2500 oval port head. U can run it up over 120HP & 150tq.

    Nice body style here (no KaBoom & some room) but the same era dart/che**y/falcon has my kinda room.
    8^ )

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  19. Bob E

    Where does it say it’s a “diesel”??
    The Craigslist ad even states “gas” in the fuel box! Anybody proof read this stuff??!!!

    Like 0

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