Estate Garage Find: 1973 Ford Pinto Squire

The era of the wood-bodied station wagons (aka woodies) ended in the early 1950s, but the visual would live on for decades. Various manufacturers would offer wagons with simulated wood grain paneling on the doors, fenders, tailgates, and other places. One of those would be the Pinto Squire, Ford’s smallest car to wear woodgrain in the 1970s. This ’73 example looks to have been stored for years, but the seller has gotten it running again to make a short trip. Located in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, the wagon is available here on eBay where the first bid of $2,000 has not yet been made. Thanks, Larry D, for another interesting tip!

Ford introduced its first subcompact, the Pinto, in 1971 and it would stick around through the 1980 model year. The car would be quite successful in terms of numbers, selling more than three million units in total. Timing of the car was fortunate as the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 would change consumer buying habits, migrating them quickly to smaller, more fuel-efficient autos like the little Pinto. Three body styles would be offered in 1973: a 2-door sedan, a 2-door hatchback referred to as the Runabout, and a 2-door station wagon which would dominate Pinto production that year, accounting for 45% of assemblies.

We couldn’t determine how many of the 217,000 Pinto wagons built that year were Squires, with simulated wood grain paneling on the sides and rear. But I certainly remember seeing a lot of them back in the day. This wagon was rescued from the garage of a mechanic where it no doubt sat for several years before he passed away. The mechanic’s son, a wrencher himself, was able to get it running and drove it his own home a few miles away. So, the photos provided, with layers of dirt, are likely all from where it was found.

The wagon has an inline 4-cylinder engine, likely a 2.0-liter edition that is rated at about 85 hp and paired with an automatic transmission. This was not a nimble combination but would produce 25 mpg, which became important to consumers in the mid-1970s. It would be interesting to see what this Pinto would look like after a bath so we can determine what issues there may be with the body. At a minimum, there is rust around a couple of the wheel well openings. The interior looks well-used at 81,000 miles and could be serviceable for a time after being cleaned, but the upholstery and carpeting are going to need replacing.

As a car that was in production for a decade, the Pinto changed little from year to year except for the size of its bumpers, which got bigger due to new and changing Federal safety standards. The reputation of the Pinto would get tarnished due to those lawsuits about gas tanks catching fire when the cars were involved in rear-end collisions. The Pinto has not reached collector status and is not likely to anytime soon. So, resale values are optimistic at $7,000 on the high end, according to NADA.

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Comments

  1. Kincer Kincer Member

    I didn’t read the article yet, just looked at the pics. Who puts a mud flap in front of the rear wheel? 🤔 Anybody else catch that?

    Like 17
    • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

      Yeah, I saw that too. I have seen that done before, and could never understand why someone would mount the mud flap in front of the wheel, unless they do a lot of reversing!

      Like 2
      • Shawn Collier

        It was pretty common option on them. I have a 1978 Pinto Cruising Wagon that had them as factory option. The layout of the wheels kick a lot of dirt up on these and the mud flaps are actually functional. Ford went through a few design phases with these and even introduced air duct brake cooling on the higher end models.

  2. Big_Fun Member

    I remember selling a new Grand Marquis – the owner wanted 6 mud flaps (aka ‘splash gaurds’, for today’s sophisticated buyer), installed. His house was 4 miles away from the nearest paved roads. With harsh Midwest gravel roads.
    I would suspect here, this mechanic saw a need – maybe the ‘doglegs’ were prone to rust, and this could slow the whole process down…

    Like 12
  3. Cooney

    I work on Semi , Box Trucks ,Roll Backs they also have mud flaps in front of the rear tires as your tires rotates forwarders they throw everything up front .

    Like 3
  4. martinsane

    Just detail the dang thing.
    Literally 200 to 500 dollars and you’d triple your money.

    Like 13
    • nlpnt

      Hell, spend $6 on a “Basic” car wash.

      Like 5
  5. Steve Mehl

    When I graduated college in Dec. of 1970 I bought a new 1971 Pinto coupe. Owned it for 6 yrs and it had its share of rust from those Chicago winters. When it was new and it rained it was hard to start so had to have the dealer repair that. Not a great car at all. Sold it for $400 with 62K miles. The trunk leaked when it rained and the engine needed a new head gasket. Looking back, the Chevy Vega was a much better looking car for 1971, as was the AMC Gremlin.

    Like 3
    • William Furmage

      not!!

      Like 1
    • William Furmage

      I owned at least a 10 over the last 40 years, The pinto is a great little car.

      Like 2
  6. SpeedWagon

    I had the basic wagon in 73. The engine was German Ford of 100 hp. Not the highest build quality but it never let me down except for running out of gas a couple of times.

    Like 6
  7. Steve Clinton

    A 1973 Pinto wagon with no starting bid of $2,000 posted? Pintos STILL get no respect.

    Like 4
    • ed weld

      Had one and never babied it even sleep in it a few time on fishing trips to Erie,0 to 60 in 2 min but good in snow and only left me down once,the timing belt belt broke at 80 Thousand miles was suppose to be replaced at 50 love it,

      Like 2
  8. Troy

    You all will probably think I’m crazy but if it wasn’t 2400 miles away I would consider buying it. A little commuter rig.

    Like 13
    • Deanna

      i would totally buy it but im in Cali. i added it to my watchlist nonetheless lol

  9. Steve Clinton

    My wife and my first car together in 1975 was a 1973 Pinto wagon. I traded my ’68 Corvette roadster for it, being the responsible newly married man I was. She still hasn’t forgiven me.

    Like 11
    • Raymond

      Dumbass…..

      Like 12
      • Mountainwoodie

        A little harsh. Given the nature of getting married we do lots of, in retrospect, dumb things.

        We had a yellow Squire wagon in 1981……a ’73. Girlfriend had it in when I met her.Slept in it on a foam pad in the back on many trips up and down the California coast.

        What a nothing!

  10. Timothy Youngberg

    If it was stick shift. Maybe. My dad had one and it was kind of fun to drive. Rear seats fold down and it’s a great place to hang out with your girlfriend.

    Like 13
    • Frank M

      I had a new 79 with 4 speed. Fun to drive and I can confirm the back seat lays down… LOL

      Like 1
  11. Pleease

    I don’t think Pinto wagons had that exploding-from-rear-collision problem, right?

    Like 4
    • Rick

      Correct. The Pintos with the gas tank problem were the 1971 through 1976 hatchback and sedan models. The problem didn’t apply to the sedan delivery, the wagons or the Cruising Wagon models.

      The 1977 and newer models were equipped with the revised gas tank filler and shields, plus shorter bumper mounting bolts.

      Like 4
  12. Robert Hooks

    Yea but would it be fun to put a 2.3 liter mustang twin turbo in it. With a six speed automatic and a cut to fix 9 in rear end could be a real sleeper.

    Like 1
    • Fitz

      2.3 in that chassis is a PITA. Build the 2.0, hang a 5 speed behind it & an 8”. Call it a day.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      The Mustang II was built on the same platform and you could get a V8 in those. A V8 Pinto wagon would be a hoot!

      • Paul

        I dragged races a guy with a pinto wagon with a v6and a blower back in the last 70’s. I smoked him with a stock Mazda RX2 and with 3 people in my car. It also beat a lot of 302 mustangs.

  13. Greg Mason

    I had one the same color with the simulated wood. Only difference was mine was a V6 automatic. Car ran great in good weather bit any drizzle or rain and it wouldn’t start. Drove me crazy. Changed wires , modual , distributor, coil, checked ever connection and finally gave up. Sold it to a guy I knew cheap. He was told of the problem. Don’t know if he ever fixed it or just drove it in good weather lol.

    Like 1
  14. Greg Mason

    I had one the same color with the simulated wood. Only difference was mine was a V6 automatic. Car ran great in good weather but any drizzle or rain and it wouldn’t start. Drove me crazy. Changed wires , modual , distributor, coil, checked ever connection and finally gave up. Sold it to a guy I knew cheap. He was told of the problem. Don’t know if he ever fixed it or just drove it in good weather lol.

    • Bill McCoskey

      I worked for a Ford dealer back in the early 1970s, and we had a quick fix for the non-starting problem when wet; We would sell the customer on a tune-up, and use a hair dryer to dry out the distributor, then coat the outside of the new distributor cap with silicone spray. Worked every time.

      And as I recall, the distributor caps with the hard start problem were all brown plastic aftermarket caps, and we always used the FoMoCo blue plastic caps.

      Like 1
  15. KevinM

    Pennsylvania rust bucket….

    Like 1
  16. Gtprend

    Drop a small block Ford in it, and have some fun. My brother had a wagon like this back in the 70’s, and we dropped a 289 in ii, along with a 8 inch rear ended. What a fun and quick car.

    Like 1
  17. don

    Mine was a squire 2.0 4 speed. reworked to carb so it was a 2 barrell all the time, adj cam timing and a header. oh, and Hurst shifter. Then it was a lot of fun to drive and still got good fuel mileage.

    Like 5
  18. Speedo

    One of my students had a rusty ’75 two door. He asked if I could help him figure out why the doors wouldn’t stay latched. When he drove up I could see a big gap at the bottom of door pillar. Then I noticed a crease appearing across the roof, side to side. He had pizza pans screwed to the floor on each side. The car was rusted from the outter rockers all the eay to the drive shaft tunnel. The only thing holding the poor thing together was the drive shaft tunnel and the roof. I put a rachet strap from the lower door hinge on each side to the package shelf to pull the doors tighter and told him to drive it home immediately and junk it. The rust was unbelievable!

    Like 1
  19. chrlsful

    luv the waggy, Lima, weber 32/36 progressive, want auto for DD.
    I’m w/Troy and the proceeder, drive it at 2, 3K$…

  20. Steve Mehl

    Why bother putting that good stuff in a vehicle that is still going to look ugly on the outside? Save it for a Vega with a nice paint job.

  21. Ken J

    I had the Mercury Bobcat wagon version of that car years ago….with the faux wood paneling and a 4-speed manual. I have nothing bad to say about it. Good grocery getter for its time!

    Like 1
  22. Erik

    This listing’s description on Ebay seems so dubious and questionable as to it’s claim that it is desirable.

    As description states:

    – Part of estate of deceased mechanic.

    – Per son (who is also a mechanic) it runs!!!

    – He drove it from father’s garage to his house a few miles away.

    – Clean PA title!

    If these photos are where the Pinto now sits than it appearently must have been moved from father (mechanic) to son’s (also mechanic) house a long time ago.

    With that sequence of descriptors, it seems to me that seller is trying to claim that this Pinto was recently moved.

    Maybe it was driven a few miles from house to house decades ago or maybe just weeks ago (but why no new photos?) but even at that there are plenty of basket cases that can have the same achieved, especially by a mechanic.

    This Pinto is only 4 hours from where I live and I love the color and the Squire edition. But the condition of interior and exterior (as viewed within the limited view photos) says this Pinto has more going against it than it has going for it.

    With current bid in the $2k range, buyer is either going to have remorse or be break even. Currently I am leaning towards the former rather than the latter.

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