Grab This: 1973 Ford Pinto Runabout

A 1973 Ford Pinto Runabout with small bumpers, no rust, and in Grabber Blue? There’s cool and then there’s cool, this is the latter. This eye-poppingly-pigmented Pinto can be found listed here on eBay with an equally eye-poppingly-prime bid price of over $4,200 and the reserve isn’t met yet! It’s located in West Warwick, Rhode Island and it sure looks like it could be driven home, maybe after “replacing or rebuilding the master brake cylinder”, according to the seller.

Black wall tires on the passenger side and white walls on the driver’s side? I like it, is that some sort of new trend that the kids are doing these days, like nose piercings and full-sleeve arm tattoos? As much as I love me some black wall tire on a basic car, I vote for white walls all the way around on this car. The seller says that this Pinto has had “No rust ever. Original paint still shines well (paint on top is thinning and showing some patina).” I have to admit that I don’t recall ever seeing a Pinto in Grabber Blue, which was officially referred to as Pinto Blue, but now it’s the only color for me. Well, ok, orange, lime green, or yellow would work, too. As would brown, white, black, red, or pretty much any other color. Next slide…

The roof rack is a touch of 1970s Subaru-like utility, I like it. A lot. 1973 would be the last year of the small bumpers and without the bumper guards, they look even better, for a Pinto that is. I’m kidding, of course, I love Pintos. My dad had a couple of Pintos in succession as company cars in the early-to-mid 1970s and they were fun little cars to drive. Of course, I was only about 12 or 13 years old at the time so maybe I shouldn’t have been driving them, on public roads, by myself. Neither of them were Grabber/Pinto Blue, being gold and dark green cars, but both of them were two-door hatchbacks. Or, as they were known in Pinto circles: Runabouts.

This is the only glitch with this car that I can see, other than dirty and/or faded carpet: the Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission. One thing I’m not personally super keen on is the dark blue interior with the un-matching blue exterior. It’s like wearing red pants with an orange shirt, it doesn’t quite blend together too well. My apologies to any of you who may be wearing red and orange right now, or this double-blue combo. But, it is a deluxe interior so the seats are nice. Unfortunately, they aren’t plaid, and in a different color. You can see in the photo of the back seat that the rear interior panels almost look green? I also noticed that the left quarter panel seems a little darker. I don’t want to imagine a world where this car was involved in a rear-end collision and maybe I’m just seeing things or most likely it’s a shadow. Although, in the photo showing the VIN door tag on the driver’s door, the seam on the left quarter panel looks a bit wavy, not exactly factory-quality. But the seller says that it’s all original so I guess that’s that.

This car has AC but the “belt is not installed.  It does come with a new AC drive belt.” This is Ford’s 2.0L inline-four with 83 hp and that automatic will zap a few of those Pinto ponies, unfortunately. As will the AC if the next owner decides to reconnect it. The seller says that it has been “Recently serviced including Tune up, plugs and wires. New water pump, thermostat, and radiator flush. New rear brake cylinders, new front caliper, rebuilt alternator,  new drive belts, and timing belt.” Have any of you ever seen a Pinto in this color?

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Comments

  1. Jaydawg7 Jaydawg7

    Buyer beware: it’s been Ziebart’d. Notorious for holding moisture between the layer & metal causing corrosion. You could be buying a total rust bucket.

    Like 2
    • steve

      No PINTO….NO HOW, NOW WHERE…..They are known to EXPLODE when hit from the rear……

      Like 2
      • Tom

        That rear collision exploding feature was fixed after the first year of production. After that it was no worse than any other small car on the market in the early-mid 70’s

        Like 5
  2. Dennis gilmore

    I have a tear in my eye! I had a grabber blue pinto , my first new car. I miss it to this day.

    Like 12
    • norm bissonnette

      My mom had a ’72 and ’77 . Decent ,tough little cars….

      Like 7
    • Terry Robinson

      I bought a new, ordered a new 73 pinto runabout. I ordered the 2000 with 4 speed, 350 gear posi. Extra heavy duty handling suspention, came with extra leafs in back, front sway bars, heavy duty shocks.1st gear 37mph, 2nd 65, 3rd 90, 4th 125, flat out on interstate, could out run a 73 monti 350 chevy. Won top eliminator in an 8th against a 38 chevy 327. Handled like a race car. Had 7inch alunium ansons, et stile with goodyear gts on it. It was gold glow metalic. I could wind it up and burn rubber about 50 ft in first, hit second and never stop burning the tires off, almost an 8th mile. Mill head 50th to 65 on head and 25 i think off block and port the head and u can blow a 4speed up. Have fun there out there

      Like 3
  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    Now there’s a car that offers simulated acceleration, especially if it had working A/C… ;-)

    Do Pintos really go for that kind of scratch, these days?

    Like 5
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Yes.

      Like 3
  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Neat-o Pinto…..

    Like 4
  5. Keith

    What What What?!!! A light blue pinto at over 4k bidding and reserve not met??? and with an auto!?? Do these bidders know what they are bidding on? OMG these are terrible cars. All I can say is “Happy Bidding” LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like 3
  6. Chuck

    I’m sure glad people are allowed to have their own opinions. I’d rather have a 4 speed.. But it is my favorite color. If drive it as my daily !! Neat cars.

    Like 8
  7. Gaspumpchas

    PINTO- Put in New TRansmission often. Zero to sixty eventually. Its a cutie, good luck to the new owner.

    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 6
  8. MikeG

    In the 1970’s there was a Pinto I’d see in Seattle that had flames painted on the rear and license plate was KABOOM…denoting the infamous Pinto gas tank issue.

    Like 5
  9. Beaver

    Cool LITTLE cars Little being the key word, But Tough little cars as long as you did not get hit in the bummmm!!

    Like 2
  10. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I had a 1973 Pinto Runabout. 1.6L 4 cylinder 4 speed, dark green with the oh-so-70’s avocado interior. It was my college car, and served me well for many years. It wasn’t fast but with the manual transmission it wasn’t bad. I’ve driven worse.

    One item of note: it was my first encounter with rust….. I bought the car when it when it was three years old, and it already had rust holes in the leading edge of the hood and bubbles on the tops of the fenders and above the rear wheels. So I learned poor-boy body work (bondo) which allowed me to keep things under control.

    It would be fun to have one today, as cheap, throw-away cars such as this are rarely now seen.

    Like 5
  11. Tiberius1701

    This particular car does not appear to have had the fuel tank recall modifications (if I recall the fuel fillers had a black insert that surrounded them.) done to it. OTOH, I see a great 2.3 Turbo swap candidate!

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      It does have the replacement chrome gas filler cap – so maybe the recall was done.
      I don’t think pintos came with whitewalls that wide back then.
      Don’t know why the very very few non specialty(“inexpensive”) whitewall tires TODAY come with such a wide whitewall. Is it harder to make one with a thinner or better yet an ultra thin white stripe? The latter look so much better on ’60s & ’70’s cars. To make matter worse, some whitewalls made in china turn brown or are not truly white! Check the simpletire website & reviews for your tire size. Quite a selection of odd tire brands.

  12. Gaspumpchas

    JoeNY,its difficult to find tires with whitewalls these days, and you get what they make, sorry to say, you don’t get a choice unless you go to I high end supplier like Coker. Myself I still like whitewalls on an older car~
    Good luck to the new owner–I worked on hundreds of these in the 70’s and know enough about them to dislike them, and I’m a Ford guy.

    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
  13. Gunther

    I still own a Pinto and have had great fun with them. I even customized a porthole window wagon and traded it for a corvette. Very simple to work on, and great for kids to learn on. I also would prefer a manual trans.

    Like 7
  14. Newport Bill

    Here is the answer to many of the above questions.

    1) Yes – Pintos are climbing the value charts. A few recent, condition 1 examples have sold in the $20-$30k range. Though nobody would suggest getting this as an investment.
    2) Yes – correct size whitewalls are available through Maxxim and a few others. Hint if you are looking at classic tire sellers, the correct size is the same as Corvairs.
    3) Rust in the floors are the first place they go, regardless of where the car was located, that’s the place to check.
    4) Fuel tank recall consists of a longer filler neck extending into the tank, and a guard between the tank and the protruding bolts on the rear diff.
    5) Interior colors on these cars fade at an alarming rate, especially the carpet and plastic panels. In this car, you can see that the rear seats were folded down for most of its life, that is why you see the dark blue (where the seat would be folded down) and the faded green-blue that would be exposed to sunlight.
    6) This is a rare factory AC car, and that factory temp control unit is quickly becoming un-obtainium.
    7) All Pintos deserve a KABOOM license plate!

    (I have owned 3 Pintos in various states of condition and am currently undergoing an extensive restoration on a 77 Squire wagon)

    Like 3
  15. James Schwartz

    I love these old small cars from the 70’s (Vega’s, Pinto’s, Gremlin’s, Chevette’s, etc.), but why is it that almost every time a nice original one comes up for sale it’s got an automatic in it? They could actually be some fun with a 4 speed (or in the case of some of them, even a 3 speed….as long as it was on the floor).

    Like 1
  16. Wrong Way

    I don’t know if this guy knows it, but he has something very special on his hands! It’s all in that paint! I was always told and read that the grabber colors were put away permanently after the 60s and didn’t come out again until 50th anniversary! If this is original paint this deserves a study!

    Like 3
    • z28th1s

      Incorrect.

      My grandfather had a new ’71 Comet GT that was Grabber Blue (Mercury called it Competition Blue) and my uncle currently has a ’71 Maverick Grabber that is painted it’s original color of Grabber Blue.

      Like 6
      • Wrong Way

        Unless it’s a repaint it’s not grabber blue on that Mercury! I guarantee that! You would have to research the history of the grabber paints to understand! FYI

        Like 1
      • z28th1s

        As I said before, incorrect.

        My grandfather bought the car brand new in the fall of 1970. It was the 1st ’71 Comet GT in our town. It was Competition Blue which is paint number ‘3657’. Which is the same as Ford’s Grabber Blue.

        There were plenty of ‘Grabber’ colors on the Fords and Mercury’s in 1971. Here is a color chart for reference.

        http://www.mercurystuff.com/1971_mercury_colors.php

        Like 7
      • Wrong Way

        I will leave you alone now with your opinions! The grabber colors were exclusive to the Mustang! Already had this discussion a year ago with one of the barn finds writers, they found out that I am correct! FYI, I presently own 13 Mustangs from 64 1/2 all the way up to a 2012 coyote all near to perfect to perfect condition! I know Mustangs, I am a ol’man not a young no it all! So I encourage you to search and find out for yourself! Have a great day young man!

        Like 1
      • Miguel

        Wrong Way, weren’t the grabber colors used on the Mavericks?

        Like 6
      • John M

        For the purpose of an illustration in the contemplation of the difference between personal opinion and the actual facts, I want to confirm that I also bought a brand new 1971 Comet GT painted Grabber Blue. The other 5,180 of us might not bother to confirm here.

        Like 9
    • z28th1s

      I’m 53 years old. I’ve been around these Ford’s and Mercury’s all my life and my family has had and still has many of them.

      I’ve had over 50 Mustang’s through the years. Including a 2011 Coyote GT that was Grabber Blue and I installed a Procharger on it in January of ’11 and it made 550 RWHP.

      My family currently has a ’64 Mercury Marauder, ’69 Mustang Boss 302, ’69 Cyclone CJ 428, ’70 Torino Cobra, ’70 Maverick, ’71 Maverick Grabber, ’71 Comet GT, ’72 Maverick Grabber, 75 Comet GT, ’93 Mustang 5.0 LX Coupe, ’11 Mustang GT and ’18 Mustang Ecoboost.

      I’m very well versed on these cars.

      Grabber colors weren’t exclusive to the Mustang, they also came on the Torino’s and Maverick’s. I’m at work right now and having trouble trying to post a copy of the Marti Report for mu uncle’s ’71 Maverick Grabber showing the original paint is Grabber Blue.

      Like 9
  17. Miguel

    I know the write up says this is the original color, but the picture under the hood doesn’t look like the same color to me.

    Do any of you see that?

    I do remember the sky blue and the dark blue, but not this one on a Pinto.

    Like 3
  18. z28th1s

    Here is the Marti Report for my uncle’s 71 Maverick Grabber.

    Like 9
    • z28th1s

      As you can see from the Marti Report there were 5,183 Maverick 2 doors in 1971 that were painted Grabber Blue from the factory.

      Dis-proving your comment that said that Grabber colors were exclusive to the Mustang and that they weren’t available in the 1970’s.

      Like 11
  19. Rebecca McCaa

    I had two Grabber Blue Pintos- both original paint. Mine were not nearly this nice, but Grabber Blue, Green, and Orange were seen on early Pintos.

    Like 2
  20. barbara nelson

    Beeee uuutiful!! I will always be looking for a Pinto Runabout! Classic & Rare. It’s a beauty!

  21. Steve lancaster

    My 1973 had a 2.0 with automatic and it WAS slow, but boy was it fun to drive! I LOVED mine!

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