Great Pumpkin: 1979 Ford Pinto Wagon

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If there’s anything I miss about 70s-era automobiles, it’s the wide color wheel that manufacturers seemed to gravitate towards when painting their cars. This 1979 Ford Pinto wagon here on eBay is hard to miss with its orange paint and blacked out windows, but it needs a little more snort under the hood to back up those loud colors. The seller says this highly original Pinto would make a great platform for modifying – but I think it might be better left stock. 

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The interior does look very clean for a car of this vintage, with good carpets, a nicely presented dash and clear gauges. The seller says the original radio is included, but I don’t see it here. Perhaps he has it set aside in storage somewhere. The A/C still works, which instills some confidence that this Pinto has been maintained as opposed to letting systems deteriorate and then never make the necessary repairs. I’m looking at you, Mr. “Just Needs a Charge” guy.

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With under 100,000 miles, there should be some good life left in the Pinto’s stock 2.8L V6. This was the biggest engine offered in the Pinto range but it still wasn’t all that powerful; perhaps that’s why the seller advocates making this wagon a hot rod given the frequency with which Pintos received hopped-up motors. If this were a manual transmission model, I’d be completely against swapping out the original powertrain, but the automatic and a 302 V8 seems like a nice combo.

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Given the car’s location in Arizona, it’s no surprise that it remains rust-free, and the warm temperatures that made window tint a necessity is also the likely reason why the interior remains in such nice shape. Overall, if you can handle the color, this seems like a great deal for a Pinto project given there’s no reserve and the bidding is below $1,600 at the moment. Although it’s no Cruising Wagon, it still looks like a fun project to me. Would you drive it?

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Comments

  1. grant

    Many have heard me relate how my dear departed dad traded a 1970 Torino for this cars 1980 twin. I hate Pintos. Being young and not understanding the complexities of married life, I wondered then what was wrong with my dad. I’ve always lusted after another white, 1970 Torino, and derided the Pinto at every opportunity. I hate Pintos! With that said, I want this car, and if it were closer I would be buying it. F**k!!!!

    • Rancho Bella

      Grant,
      that was funny. Oddly, Pintos are good little cars. They handle great and the early ones had the Kent block (Lotus). The wagons are way cool. Pintos have been road raced for decades

      • grant

        I know, ours lasted 200k, and a lot of fishing trips, and I turned it down as a teenager. Should have used it for a shop project. …

  2. Mike H. Mike H.

    That’s a very high-optioned car right there. The Cologne 2.8L V-6 wasn’t a popular option and it increased the actual “snort” these cars had by a fairly negligible factor. Add to that the factory A/C and the good overall condition and this is a great find.

    Of course, the Pinto (Vega, Corvair, Duster, Cricket, Capri, Monza, Astre. . .) wasn’t the car for everyone, but I’ve owned a handful of these over the years and they were all surprisingly durable and capable little cars for being the cheap s***boxes they were designed and marketed to be.

    I’d consider it if it were close to me.

  3. Blindmarc

    It even has a trailer hitch…..( tongue in cheek).

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      So does my Honda Civic. It’s a great place for mounting my bike rack.

      Both big things and little things hook to trailer hitches; let’s not forget that.

  4. Jim

    Back in the seventies I helped two friends who used a kit made by Hooker Headers to swap a 289-302 into their Pintos. Both used 302 automatics, they went like hell in a straight line but they needed much work to handle decently, one stayed a street car the other went the other way with tunnel ram ect and drag raced it a few years before tin worm caught up to it. Too small for me but this could be a nice project car for someone, a turbocharged 4 cylinder out of something new would fit a lot easier than a 302 and be more fun to drive.

  5. AMC STEVE

    I owned one of these POS back in my wayward teens in the same color. That was the worst car I ever owned in my life. After awhile the doors broke and I had to tie them shut with a rope. Brakes went out and it ran like an anemic pig.

    Build quality was very poor. You just gave me a nightmare looking at that thing
    JUNK

  6. Jim

    You must have had a beauty. They weren’t meant to be high quality transportation, just cheap transportation and when gasoline hit $1.00 per gallon and OPEC kicked us in the privates the Pinto looked pretty good. They had inherent design issues, I got to be a wiz at rebuilding my sister’s manual transmission until a transmission guy gave me the dimensions for a thrust washer for the mainshaft that really did its job. I had it made from real steel, didn’t touch it again for years. I knew of a few that lasted ten years with regular maintenance, it definitely wasn’t a slant six dart, change the oil and distributor gear and drive forever. I used to see plenty in the boneyard also. Too bad there was no Lemon Law back then, you would have cashed in.

  7. starsailing

    Friend Joe had exact same car in exact same color. Bought it new! Brought it to Ford numerous times to be fixed….they left him those paper floor mats on floor board everytime he picked up. He saved the clean ones. Joe suspected wife was cheating on him with her coworker. So Joe put in two perfectly clean ones on both front floor boards….Sure enough…she came home late….there were guys shoe prints on passenger side toes pointing to back of car…while her shoeprints were facing forward. Passenger seat was shoved all way into back position … Joe had jammed it all way forward. Busted….Divorce…..She wanted the car….Joe parked the car where we worked, left brick on gas pedal with engine running, took about 15 minutes….kablooey! Had the car towed back home and gave it to her.

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