Car Show Find: 1978 Ford Pinto Squire Wagon

One of my favorite Father’s day activities is attending one of the many car shows that take place over the weekend. This year, I decided to stop by one of the shows that’s held at a local retirement center. For my three young boys, it was quite a fun adventure, as it was their first official car show. My two-year-old didn’t understand that he couldn’t touch or climb into the cars, but for the most part, they kept their hands to themselves, and every person we talked to was impressed by their enthusiasm for classic cars. While we all enjoyed looking at the Corvettes and Mustangs that are commonly seen at events like this, there was one car in particular that really jumped out at me. Of the 100 or so cars in attendance, it was a 1978 Ford Pinto Station Wagon Squire in all original survivor condition that really stood out in the crowd!

It isn’t every day that you see a Pinto with just 36k miles, especially a Squire, that’s in exceptional condition like this. My three-year-old was a bit confused by my excitement for this blue wagon, well at least not at first. He wanted to look at the bright red Corvettes, while my wife and two-year-old wanted to look at the yellow Thunderbird that they thought looked kind of like my Bugeye Sprite. Once my three-year-old saw the “wood” on the side of the Pinto, he become very interested in it. The fact that it was one of the few cars that got me excited enough to pull my phone out to take pictures might have helped pique his interest. He wanted so badly to climb into the soft blue interior, but the owner wasn’t around, so unfortunately he didn’t get to experience it firsthand. That’s alright though, I wouldn’t have actually let him climb into a survivor like this, at least not without wrapping him in bubble wrap to ensure he didn’t damage anything.

A printout in the window claimed that the car has 36,825 documented miles and that it’s a two-owner car. It still wears its California blue plates, with an Idaho registration sticker in the window. After looking it over as closely as I could without opening the doors, I didn’t see any signs of restoration work. Of course, why would anyone restore a Pinto when you can buy a nice one fairly cheap? I spotted a couple of small touch-ups to the paint and the driver’s seat has a tear in it, but overall, this Pinto appears to be in exceptional condition.

Typically, I’m very skeptical of milage claims and want to see the documents to back it up, but honestly, this car is in such amazing shape that I have no doubts that the mileage and story are true. I’m still disappointed that the owner wasn’t around, as I would have loved to hear the story of how they found it and what their plans are for it! If the owner sees this, or one of you knows them, I’d love to hear more about this car’s story. I know it’s a rather mundane car, especially when it’s parked next to a Chevelle and a supercharged Nova, but given its survivor status and the oddball factor, I’m still more fascinated by it than anything else I saw at the show. Oh, and I know a couple of toddlers that would love to go for a ride in this Pinto!

Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good write-up Joshua. I think you nailed the car:

    “Of the 100 or so cars in attendance, it was a 1978 Ford Pinto Station Wagon Squire in all original survivor condition that really stood out in the crowd!”

    “…but given its survivor status and the oddball factor, I’m still more fascinated by it than anything else I saw at the show.”

    Obviously I don’t know what else was there, but this likely would have been my reaction too.

    Something about a Pinto parked beside a Nova with a not-quite-stock engine.

    Three young boys…. I wish you well…..

    Like 18
  2. Big_Fun Member

    I don’t remember seeing many of these new – in any year of Pinto.
    That Daytona Yellow Chevelle is cool, however your find is a rare sight! Great find, Josh!

    Like 7
  3. alphasud Member

    This is probably the best color combination for the squire package. I hear June is Pinto pride month given the amount we have seen in the last couple weeks.

    Like 15
    • Christopher Gentry

      I love these , no story. I just sure like Pintos and the wagon most of all. Was sorry to see the orange one fall thru the street in Chicago driven by Nazis

  4. Gunner

    I agree with alphasud. The color combo is awesome and it has the V6 to boot. Funny how oddball cars gather more attention than the more common ones. Especially when they are in super nice condition. I would have loved to check this one out Josh, but unfortunately I had to work this year. Maybe next? Great write up! 👍

    Like 10
    • DON

      Oddball cars stand out – for cars guys, anyway, because you cant open up a catalog and order anything for them ! Camaros ,Mustangs, Tri 5s , etc.. all you need is a checkbook and you can build one even if all you started with was a headlight adjusting grommet . Just start on page 1 and check off your needs ! If there was one decent 66 Falcon in a row of Mustangs , that’s the one I’d check out – interiors and body panels are just not available – a mint 4 door 74 Malibu wagon ? you bet I’d be all over it, same reason

      Like 8
  5. Jack M.

    I attended my first car show Sunday, since the arrival of COVID. What usually draws 75 or so cars, had close to 300 in attendance. Was fun to get back into the hobby again.

  6. Gil Davis Tercenio

    Back in the ’80s, I bought my (ex) wife a ’76 Pinto Runabout MPG. A couple of years later, it had some problems, so I bought a wrecked ’76 Pinto wagon. It also had the wood grain siding. I pulled the engine and transmission, using an old swing set :D and transplanted it into the Runabout. Both were the 4 cylinder/4 speed combo. That Runabout got great gas milage, 32 MPG, but I had to downshift to 2nd to climb the mountain on I-81 S between Roanoke VA and Blacksburg VA.

    Like 6
  7. JustPassinThru

    I had one almost exactly like this one. Blue on blue; and a Squire wagon. Differences being it was a 1973 with the 2-liter German four and a manual.

    AND, it had lived outdoors in Houston. Unfortunately it had a little rust – Houston treated their freeways with brine on cold winter nights – and a lot of sunburn (the fake wood was turned almost gray in places)

    For all that, and 100,000 miles, it was a reliable, almost-fun car. Already in Ohio, where I took it and kept it five years, Pintos were rare on the ground. Mine, lacking a heater (HVAC core was completely gone from neglect; replacement meant removing the dashboard) was only used summers.

    It was the perfect car for a young person, for those times – which in many ways mirror these times. Tight money; just get by and hope for better. To better monitor engine health, I put a full pack of discount-house gauges on; and I was shocked to learn that the engine oil pressure was within specs for a new Cologne four.

    And it was almost fun. Those could be zippy, when shorn of post-1973 emissions crap and those heavy NHTSA bumpers. Mine had the original style, no weight at all.

    I could even camp in the thing, and did. Good times.

    I’d love this one for the memories, but memories are…what they are. No going back.

    Like 5
  8. DON

    Oddball cars stand out – for cars guys, anyway, because you cant open up a catalog and order anything for them ! Camaros ,Mustangs, Tri 5s , etc.. all you need is a checkbook and you can build one even if all you started with was a headlight adjusting grommet . Just start on page 1 and check off your needs ! If there was one decent 66 Falcon in a row of Mustangs , that’s the one I’d check out – interiors and body panels are just not available – a mint 4 door 74 Malibu wagon ? you bet I’d be all over it, same reason

  9. Greg B Greg B Member

    Hey Joshua!

    Thank you for the write up and I am sorry that I missed you. I was checking out some others cars. Appreciate all the nice comments and the Pinto is a time capsule. You are welcome to have your son come take a look anytime and we can even go for drive if you like!

    Greg

    Like 5
  10. Greg B Greg B Member

    Here it is in my backyard area in Boise

    Like 8
  11. Cold340t

    This is identical to the one my dad bought. After my mom said no to the Shelby kr500 convertible. Oh, the disappointment of returning the Shelby and coming home in this! I was 9 and it still hurts to this day.

    Like 3
  12. bowmade

    it’s kinda like a reported Elvis sighting. Nice buzz & memories.

    Like 1
  13. Greg B Greg B Member

    To follow up, the original owner had bought it new and always kept it inside her garage. She kept it maintained (I have a book full of receipts with miles and dates) and loved it until the day of her passing.

    I was thrilled to buy it and have done those paint touch ups you saw, added a new NOS gas cap, gave it a tune up with new plugs, plug wires, distributor cap, and kept all the parts replaced. I located two new NOS tail light lenses that I added. I had the mostly original paint a good light cut and buff. It took off the oxidation and it really pops.

    It is equipped with the 2.8 liter V6, and has power steering, roof rack, and a working am radio. It still retains its original interior and carpet.

    I plan to keep it as is and cherish it for many years to come. The colors, the faux wood paneling, and the low actual one owner miles, are what drew me to it.

    My parents had a plain light brown Pinto Station Wagon when I was a kid. I still remember the long trips we took in it as a family.

    This Pinto Squire Station Wagon drives as good as it looks. I really enjoy taking it out! One of things I just know is that it will stand out in a crowd of show cars, muscle cars, etc. Just the short time I was near my car at the car show so many had memories to share and complimented the car.

    I am sure the original owner would be happy I am the current care giver of her Pinto that she bought new and owned for 44 years until her passing.

    Like 9
  14. Greg B Greg B Member

    Motor Picture

    Like 2
  15. Greg B Greg B Member

    Rear of Interior pic

    Like 3
  16. Greg B Greg B Member

    Here is a link to my video on YouTube. This was shortly after I got it home to Boise, Idaho from CA. This is before I did any of the paint correction to the faux wood paneling and paint. Basically how I got it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ4_0icY82E&t=17s

    Like 1
  17. Bob P

    I was never a fan of the Pinto (I was a Vega man), but by God I’d buy THAT!

    Like 1
  18. Greg B Greg B Member

    I jumped on it as soon as I could and made a great deal. I rarely see any in this color, condition, with low one owner actual miles. Having been a car collector for over 30 years you just know and have to act quick before it’s gone. When I go out to my garage and see it puts a smile on my face. It’s a keeper as they say.

    Like 1
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Thanks for getting on and sharing the full story on your Pinto Greg! It really is an amazing time capsule. What’s even more incredible to me is that not only did you see that I featured your Pinto, but you already follow Barn Finds and are even a Supporting Member!

      I’ll get in touch with you directly about coming to take a look sometime with my boys.

      Like 1
      • Greg B Greg B Member

        That sounds great and look forward to meeting you and your son!

        I saw it on EBay before it was featured on Barnfinds.com and actually bought it before the story broke. I think I commented on that story too.

        I’ve been looking a long time for the right one to surface and this was the one 😊

        Like 1
  19. Greg B Greg B Member

    Looks good in the “my” garage :-)

    Like 1

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