Cheap Equestrian: 1973 Ford Pinto Wagon

Although the word “Pinto” can bring up a love hate relationship for many, the Ford Pinto is a small and affordable classic that can be easy to live with. While some share certain feelings for Pinto’s, others also have a love hate relationship with wood applique paneling. Whatever your preference may be, one thing is for certain, and that is the fact that this solid classic wagon is offered for $1,999! Check out this Ford here on craigslist out of Olympia, Washington.

Inside of this tiny wagon is a very nice condition tan interior that looks to have been well taken care of in its lifetime. The driver seat is not shown in detail, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a split or a rip to be found. The carpet is a little dingy on the tunnel, and the parking brake plastic cover is a bit dry and chalky. A modern day cd player has been installed below the glove box which I can appreciate as someone did not butcher the dash for modern day ‘tunes. Otherwise this interior is in excellent shape for a wagon this old with 151,000 miles. One great feature about this Ford is that it has a manual transmission! Perhaps a bit perverse, I think a 2.3l turbo engine from a Turbo coupe, or an Svo, would be right at home in this small wagon. Although the purist in me would certainly leave this wagon as is.

Cream with wood applique is a nice combination, and the overall appearance of this wagon is nice. There is some fade on the applique, but the paint still appears very reasonable. A solid buffing would likely make it shine like “new” and the faux wood I would likely leave as is. There appears to be no rust in this little wagon, really showing that this must have been a well cherished car in its past. Whether you want a cheap classic driver, a project, or a hot rod, this Pinto seems like a no brainer for the $2,000.00 price tag. Would you jump on this cheap Pinto?


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  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Ohhhhh.. that’s very tempting, Brian, nice find!

  2. Paul Hudson

    I’d buy it. It would be a long ride home to Maryland.

  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    Tempting, indeed, but, after careful consideration( and a recent cross country trip) I don’t think this is the best choice. 75 and 80 mph is the norm, and 55-60 would be about it for this car. That’s almost 20 mph slower, and after 8 hours, that’s 160 miles. For me, the sooner I get somewhere, the better. For puttin’ around town, what this car was intended for, be great. There used to millions of these, today, there are probably 17. Great find.

    • Miguel

      Why do you think this car won’t go 75 – 80 MPH?

      Do you think the engine or the trans would be at fault?

      • Blyndgesser

        It would maintain that speed, yes. But the car was really engineered for urban and suburban driving. So it would be out of its element, and Pinto engines have a reputation for insufficient oiling of the top end at high rpm.

      • Rube Goldberg Member

        With all due respect, have you ever driven one of these, at great lengths at speed? I have. It’s like riding a motorcycle in the rain, you can still get there, it’s just not much fun. Pinto’s and Vega’s were never meant to barrel out I-80 for days at a time. We whisk along in our Honda’s ( and such) today @ 80 mph, without a care in the world ( unless a certain head gasket is leaking, don’t ask) I do think this car would do 80, just not for very long. These were introduced when the speed limit was 55, and they did that just fine. I’m sure many had no choice but to take this car cross country. Many didn’t make it, unfortunately.

      • Rick A. Loera Member

        The car was introduced in the fall of 1970. The speed limit was as high 70 on interstate 5 in California. The 55 MPH federal speed limit was not in effect until January 1, 1974.

      • Miguel

        I have had a lot of Pintos and never had a problem keeping up highway speeds in them.

        We are all now pampered with our new cars and the options they offer, but that does not mean the older cars would not perform like they should.

      • D. Truett

        Mine only had issues climbing up a freeway grade starting from an on ramp. It would hit a solid 55 if I stood on it, but if I had to back off it at all it was over. Mine was a 74 with a substituted 2.0 and 4 speed. Other than that it would do highway speeds with ease. I loved the thing and wish I could have it back.

    • Dean

      I agree. My 1980 Pinto WILL do 75-80, however, when on the interstate I never go faster than 65, unless for a short hop to pass someone, then go back to 65. She does BEST at 55, GREAT gas mileage. However, at 70+ I’ve noticed the temp climbs, & while it’s never overheated, you can hear that the engine is severely taxed, & running at too high of RPMs to be ran for long distances. Now, if it could shift into an overdrive, or 4th gear it would surely be fine; with only 3 gears (auto tranny), it just makes the car run at too high of RPMs to be done for long distances. I agree with the person who said 55 mph was the norm expected on the interstate, and also the expected performance from a Pinto with only three gears. My little pinto does just fine at 55, again, fantastic gas mileage, and purrs right along at that speed…. The bottom line is, certain products have certain parameters…… that’s the case with a Pinto….. If you remain within its parameters, it does just fine.

  4. JimboFord

    Wow, what a find!! Am seriously gonna pursue adopting that Pony. Never realized a love affair for any car, until my two running and rodded Pinto wagons were ripped away from me by trusted “friends” who turned a quick buck at a salvage crusher one day, right along with a Grand Marquis wagon, big block Cartier edition Continental, and everything in our shop.

  5. Paul Hudson

    I have an F150 that could tow it with ease but the fuel cost would be more than shipping it. I went to Florida recently 2000 miles round trip and because the speed is 70-80 MPH the Gas mileage was only 16. That was 300 + in Fuel. It would take $800 in fuel to get to and from the West Coast. I think I’ll hold off.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I agree, shipping is the way to go. Aside from the gas, hotels that don’t take cash, gas stations with no rest rooms ( THAT really upset me), crappy expensive food, and don’t forget the hand sanitizer, you wouldn’t believe how many pigs I see that exit rest room stalls and don’t wash their hands, older folks, mostly. Travelling by car today is just the pits.

      • Miguel

        The problem with your way is that you have no stories to tell if you ship the car.

        Sometimes it is not the destination that is important, but the journey.

  6. Vegaman_Dan

    I do like the mini wagons of the 70’s. They have a proper proportion about them that just works.

  7. elrod

    If it only had the jet engine in the back option – now that would really be something..

    • Rick A. Loera Member

      There is one for

    • Rick A. Loera Member

      There is one for sale on Craigslist

  8. Hopie

    Pinto and Mustang II seats of the era were torture devices, simply horrid. After an hour and a half the typical driver would pull into the nearest gas station, open the the door just wide enough to fall onto the icy pavement, and drag himself away from the wretched thing he’d once called a “car.”

    Like 1
    • Rick A. Loera Member

      Had a 72 with the interior decor group. The seats in that car were super comfortable. Vinyl with houndstooth cloth inserts. Looked great as well. Second 72 Pinto had base seats that I pulled out and put seats from a wrecked 83 Mustang in 84. Bolted right in using the seat rails from the original seats. They were super comfortable. My sister had a 1976 Mustang Ghia, also very comfortable. They were velour.
      They breathe alot better than vinyl which was unforgivingly hot on thr summer and freezing cold in the winter.

  9. RichS

    Don’t do this to me. I will be in Olympia later this week. MUST NOT BUY.

  10. JW

    My parents had a grabber blue one of these with the wood sides, took it to S. Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and it broke a timing belt just outside Rapid City otherwise it did the trip flawlessly.

  11. Mark Hoffman

    My aunt had a 1973 Pinto Squire wagon

    My uncle had a 1973 Ranchero Squire

    Both green

    Both ordered

    Both sold the same day

    Dealership made them a great deal.

  12. Classix Steel

    Nice future igniting gas tank!
    I would name it kaboom :-p

    • Superdessucke

      The wagons did not suffer from the exploding gas tank issue. Just the hatchback and sedan were recalled. I think they were protected by more metal and, more importantly, the rear fenders did not bow out in a rear end collision and tear out the fuel filler neck like would happen on the coupe and hatchback

      Anyway, my aunt had a ’74 Squire wagon back in the day. I spent a lot of time in the back of that car. I don’t even remember what color it was now but I remember it was pretty cool. I later went on to drive several Pintos. They were ok cars, just very slow and kind of boring.

      • Rube Goldberg Member

        Somebody always has to bring that up. In my millions of miles driving, I don’t ever recall a fried Pinto at the side of the road, broken timing belt, maybe, but never any fires.

  13. ccrvtt

    A Pinto Squire wagon is in my Dream Car Garage. They weren’t meant to be anything more than an economical small car. This one with a 4-speed is a real honey. If it wouldn’t lead to divorce I’d replace my beloved Town & Country in a heartbeat.

    And I drove one with 3 adults from Atlanta to Albuquerque and back with no complaints about the seats.

  14. Oldog4tz Oldog Member

    And it’s so much like a Ferrari, in that simple tasks, like changing the starter, requires pulling the motor

  15. Dovi65

    A 5-speed wagon. I love it. VERRRRRY tempting. I have relatives in Seattle that have been asking when we’re coming to visit. Hmmm … this wouldn’t take up much room on the plane [might even fit in the carry-on space!]

  16. Jay E.

    Ive got yards and yards (several large rolls) of OEM wood applique if you buy it.

    • Miguel

      The spray you buy at the store will make the wood look good for a while.

  17. Paul Hudson

    What would help on the highway would be the 5 Speed instead of the 4 Speed. I had several Mustangs with the 2.3 and 5 Speed and they were great highway cars. My Turbo T-Bird was definitely a highway car. I’m not sure how the old 2.0 was. I know in England they had the 2.0 and 1.6 they refer to them as Pinto engines and they raced and hopped them up all of the time. How about an ecoboost install. That would be interesting.

  18. Bruce

    I had one very similar to this that I got from a RENT A WRECK place in Dallas. It was truly a fun car to drive in the urban environment. Not perfect long distance car but amazingly useful around town and in the burbs. That car held many an Alfa, MG, Triumph, Fiat, and Healey parts where they needed to go and back.

    I really enjoyed that two door wagon. In feel very much like the older NOMAD wagons of the 1950’s. The wood appliqué on the side gave that version a great name. The big wagons were the Country Squire and the Pinto wagons were the Country Squirt. Do not discount these. They are very rare now and still very usable. Not perfect but there is one in the Kansas City area I have seen that is nearly perfect and I have seen it parked a few times always with a crowd around it. Sometimes different and useful is just what you need.

  19. Chebby Staff

    Cheap and fun, looks like a pretty high trim level for a Pinto.

    Kinda surprised the dealer does not clean it up themselves and ask another 1-2k.

  20. Al

    Had both a 72 and 74. 72 was dark green, camel interior, roof rack, dog dish plus trim rings and a 4 speed. Had the vacuum advance replaced with mechanical and was really fun to drive and a nice looking little wagon. I’d take this one in a heartbeat.

  21. Brad

    I’m VERY tempted. I had a ’71 and a ’79. Both were excellent cars. I would have no problem putting a different sound system in the car. You remove the radio, remove 4 screws holding in a small plastic panel. take a reciprocal saw with a hack saw blade, and carefully cut an opening for a modern stereo. Did it in my ’79, and it looked like factory. If the car has been inspected by ASE mechanics, I’d just fly out and drive it home to Columbus, Indiana. Won’t need the A/C this time of year. And by the looks of it, I would lean toward only having 51K miles, not 151K.

  22. Mike Reese

    Might make a cheap business vehicle. That’s what I’d do with it ..

  23. Ian Sights

    I had one of these, but in white. Not a bad car overall. It suffered from poor maintenance before I got it, but for $300, hey I was a poor student and could overlook a lot of things. Needed a new cam belt, that was easy. Sold it cheap when the starter stopped engaging reliably. Perfect for my needs of the time.

  24. Dan D

    I ‘re-learned’ how to drive a stick on my wife-to-be’s ’79 Pinto sedan. Never had trouble keeping up with traffic in MA at the time, and it wasn’t going 55 (except on Route 128 in rush hour). But that doesn’t mean it was enjoyable. I bought a new ’82 Dodge Colt (Mitsubishi Mirage) and the difference in these cars could not have been greater. It was like driving a Model T versus a Ferrari.

    That said, I like this wagon.

  25. Alan Robbins

    Wow I am in love. I had this car. Well, not this exact car, but one exactly like it. I regularly drove it from LA to Phoenix with no air conditioning at 80, 85, 90 MPH with the accelerator on the floor for hours and hours. Pulled a little U-Haul once.

    Of course I was young, foolish, and in love at the time. But it was quite comfortable. I put a good 100K miles on the thing, when I sold it there were 175K miles on the clock… Got decent mileage too.

  26. Rick A. Loera Member

    These really are great little cars. They were genuinely memerable automobiles . People still talk about them thirty seven years after the last ones left the factory. I have owned two, and would have another in a minute.

  27. Fred Alexander

    My mom had one of these – – – bought it off my aunt who always had a new TBird every year when living in Winnipeg .When they moved to Westbank BC for some reason she bought this new – – with AC yet.
    She had it for a couple of year and ended up with a 2dr HT Starfire Olds (new) and mom got hold of the Pinto.
    I drove it for a couple of weeks while visiting as I’d flown in to Kelowna instead of driving.
    Great little car – – –
    The neighbor across the street convinced her to sell it to him for his wife who left him a couple of months later – – -WITH the Pinto.
    End of story.

  28. Joe L

    Is this car still for sale? If so I’m interested

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