Good Buy or Good-Bye? 1978 Ford Pinto Wagon

While this isn’t a woodgrain-encrusted Squire model, this 1978 Ford Pinto wagon looks like a nice one. For anyone looking for something unusual to drive to the natural foods store and park next to some random, Work-Towards-World-Peace bumpersticker’d gigantic white SUV with tan leather, this is it. This Pinto wagon can be found here on craigslist in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The seller is asking $4,950. Thanks to Pat L. for sending in this tip!

Brown paint and black steel wheels make me like this Pinto wagon even more, although a brighter color would be nice. It is what it is, as they probably didn’t say back in 1978. There aren’t any photos showing the whole car, other than a couple of them showing the rear of the car and one showing the grille, but none showing the entire side. I’m not sure why that seems to happen a lot with craigslist ads.

Here’s one of the photos showing the rear of the car and the super cool louvers for the rear window. I don’t see any rust at all on this 42-year-old car and the seller doesn’t mention anything about rust or no rust, just saying that the car is in good condition. It sure seems like they’re pretty conservative on that assessment, this car looks almost perfect to me.

For such a plain brown wrapper the interior sure is snappy! Other than the Ford C3 automatic transmission, I don’t see a flaw inside at all. I always pick on automatic transmissions but I admit to owning three vehicles with automatics. Sometimes a person just wants to put ‘er in D and go. The back seats look perfect as does the rear cargo area. A big bonus is seeing those four perfect wheel covers back there!

The engine is Ford’s 2.8L V6 which would have had just under 100 horsepower and the seller doesn’t say how it runs which is more than a little unusual, but they do say that everything works and it almost couldn’t look any better than it does. In fact, this whole car looks almost like new which is amazing. Any thoughts on this Pinto wagon? Good buy or good-bye?

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  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    Cool Pinto. Love the period-correct upholstery. Looks to be in good condition. Would be a hard choice whether to stay with the poverty look, or go to the full wheel covers, or maybe even a snazzier wheel. In any case, something fun to show at Cars & Coffee.

    Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    I’m sorry, this is not a good buy,,,IT’S A GREAT BUY!!! I’d love to have it. While possibly a bit vain, but Scotty knows what vehicles I like, and he knows I had/have a hankering for one, so I think he posted this for me ( crickets). I’ve said it many times, Pintos were good( not great) cars. I had this motor in my Capri, and quite frankly, I’d almost want the 4 cylinder. I’ve known several that eat head gaskets, the 4 cylinder is darn near bulletproof. The wagon is very handy, if you ask me, and nobody does, the Pinto wagon was the perfect car for the times. A little short on amenities by todays standards, but still a perfect car. And an automatic,for those of us who are sick of shifting, or can’t,,,nice, I wonder if they’d trade a square-body GMC for it? Great find.

    Like 17
    • RGSmith1 Member

      I have to agree with you, Howard. I have always liked and wanted one of these. If I was a little closer and the wallet was a bit fuller, I probably would be on my way to WVa right now. Doubt it lasts too long.

      Like 5
    • Jack M.

      Well Howard, I guess that it would be easy enough to reply to the sellers and ask them if they are up for a trade. Then you would no longer have to wonder and could possibly be a proud Pinto owner once again.

      Like 2
  3. Chris

    cool I would drive that

  4. whmracer99

    This is a place where the equation of rare=valuable stops. Not at all poo-pooing the folks that like them — that’s personal choice. Just can’t see spending that kind of money on a car that wasn’t that well liked when it was new, could have been purchased for $500 a couple of years ago, and is slower than most modern mopeds (OK, I’m stretching on the last point but you get my drift).

    Like 4
    • bone

      People want and pay good money for small under powered cars Metropolitans for one ; ridiculously small and slow for the time, and even now, come to think about it , but where they also were once a disposable car you could get cheap .

      Like 1
  5. sir_mike

    Be a great daily driver.Would take this over a Prius

    Like 10
  6. JCA

    I’d have to say goodbye to this. With limited time and garage space, why even bother. Its not fast, doesn’t handle well, isn’t comfortable, sounds terrible and looks horrendous. Did I miss anything?

    Like 1
    • whmracer99

      How about “Tends to explode on impact.”.

      Like 2
  7. Al

    i had one 4cyl 4 speed correct me if im wrong but pinto never came with a v6 all where 4cyl

    • Sgt Stu

      V-6’s were an option at least from 1976. I had a white ‘76 Pinto wagon I bought in late ‘84. V-6, p/s,p/b, and automatic. Got about 25mpg highway at 55-60. My ‘91 Olds Custom Cruiser gets 25mpg at 70(!) It was fun at the time and did a summer NoDak to SE Wisc run and back that summer.

    • WH

      Al, you’re being corrected.

      Like 2
  8. Stevieg

    I know I have strange taste in cars, but apparently so do a number of others on this website.
    This car has me foaming at the mouth! It is every bit as good as Juliette Lewis (who I think is an unconventional hot)!
    Yeah, I would buy this & love it.

    Like 3
  9. PatrickM

    Early Saturday PM, ad shows only 6 hours old and already deleted by author. Sad. I was interested. I live about an hour from Martinsburg, too. Dang, man!

    Like 2
  10. That Guy

    Post already deleted. Looks like someone got themselves a deal.

    Like 1
  11. Maestro1 Member

    I had one, I can’t remember what year, never had any trouble with it, it was a
    hatchback, not much grunt getting off the line, a 4 cylinder automatic, it kept
    up with insane Los Angeles Freeway traffic, it was much happier on side streets running errands. It’s a not too much transport, wasn’t meant to be one, definately a driver with surprising hauling ability with the second seat down. I think this one is a 6 cylinder. If so, jump on it. I have no room.

  12. jerry z

    I remember having the Pinto wagon model with the silver paint and multi color stripe. I can see why it sold quick, looks like it’s in real nice shape.

    Like 1
  13. lc

    I owned two sedans in the past 6 years. The first was a 78 Mercury Bobcat, 2.3, 4spd. The second was a 76 Pinto, 2.8, auto. Both were projects, but in good condition. I wanted to replace the 76 with the 78 since the 76’s 2.8 had been rebuilt around 2003 going off some paperwork still in the car. It also sounded a little hot roddish. Unfortunately, the 76 had some bogging down issues. I didn’t want to delve into what the problem was so I sold it, and rebuilt the Bobcat’s 2.3. I barely put 500 miles on the Bobcat’s rebuilt, and sold it. As far as I know, the Pinto sets nearby without much attention. The Bobcat went to an older mechanic who did even more things to it like new wheels, and new paint with stripes. This little Pinto wagon would be interesting to own.

    Like 1
  14. aaron T carlson

    I had a 1980-the last year they made them. Blue, 2.3L 4-speed. LOVED IT! Took it halfway across the country twice for vacation, did routine maintenance, etc. The only expense was at 91,000 I had to have the bearings and races changed in the rear end. I sold it at 110,000, the guy drove for another year, then sold it to his sister!

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