Hangar Find: 1971 Ford Pinto

This 1971 Ford Pinto is a super clean survivor that apparently lived in a California airplane hangar before heading out to Rhode Island, where it’s currently listed for sale. The Pinto is a claimed two-owner, California car with just over 84,000 miles. The seller doesn’t say whether the paint is original, but it’s a great color nonetheless riding on sweet period-correct wheels. Find the Pinto here on craigslist with an asking price of $7,200.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader FordGuy1972 for the find. It’s unusual to see such clean survivors in my neck of the woods, so it’s no surprise this Pinto didn’t live in the Ocean State until January of this year. The paint looks nice and even on every panel, so at the very least it was carefully repainted at one point if it’s not original. Chrome bumpers look sharp as does the beltline trim.

The interior is outstanding, especially if it’s original. With such low mileage and years of storage, it’s entirely possible the interior hasn’t been messed with. Given the dash remains crack-free, I’m guessing this Pinto has just been lovingly maintained. The automatic is a bummer but these cars are hardly bahn-stormers with the manual, so no big loss there. The carpet has been replaced.

Under the hood, you’ll find the original four-cylinder engine, which benefits from a fairly detailed list of maintenance jobs since January. The abbreviated list includes a transmission service with new filter; rear seal replacement; fresh U-joints; new timing belt and idler; and new fan belt, distributor cap, rotor, wires, and more. While $7,200 is steep, if the paint is original, it may be worth close to that.


  1. Skorzeny

    To me when I was a teen in the late 70’s and early 80’s these were invisible cars. Now I think they are quite interesting. I really like this one but would need a manual. I would have fun adding performance parts, etc. Good colour.

    Like 12
  2. Bucky

    I bought (2) yes 2 new ones in the seventies,I paid 2300 for a new
    One in 73,used it as a commuter to school and PT job I traded it in 75 for my first ordered loaded up version with the 2.3 4 speed,a/c and a crank sunroof,4500new,but I have to say,this price is too steep,I think the guy is fishing to be honest

    Like 14
  3. lc

    Great styling with decent fuel mileage. Not a perfect engineering design, but what the hey – what is at that price point?! Don’t know if its an investment car yet, but the reality is one should it check out in person and if you really appreciate these cars, just buy it. You cant get a factory fresh paint job for less than 4-5 Gs.

    Like 4
  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    Man, what is it with BF and Pintos?

    They weren’t good cars, they weren’t pretty cars, they weren’t fast cars, they weren’t good-handling cars, they definitely weren’t comfortable cars, and they weren’t safe cars.

    Cheap cars, yes, they were that.

    Like 8
    • Dave

      Before the Feds got involved, automotive safety was mostly accidental. Safely doesn’t sell cars, the mantra went. Disc brakes and seat belts earned you a higher insurance rate because you had a “sports car”.

      Like 5
  5. Shawn Fox Firth

    Cool make a real nice Bob Glidden clone .

    Like 5
  6. MorganW Morgan Winter

    I like it…no ugly 5 mph bumpers; but then again, no hatch, no stick, and I never liked that color. Guess my $7,200 is safe.

    Like 4
  7. R Soul

    After you dole out $7200.00 of your hard earned money, you’re the only one that cares you have a 71 Pinto.

    Like 16
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      If in a row of vehicles at the local Cars and Coffee, it would be the first car I would look at. I would care.

      Like 23
      • CJinSD

        Me too, but when I found out that someone paid seven grand for it, I’d back away while thinking that they didn’t get enough attention as a child.

        Like 2
    • MorganW Morgan Winter

      R Soul, if I bought this, my family would care…not in a good way, but they’d care!

      Like 7
  8. Rex Kahrs Member

    Sure, in an endless row of Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, GTOs, and Tri-5 Chevys, even a goofy old Pinto looks interesting, and I’d look at it, too. And, I’d be reminded what a cheap piece of crap they were!

    Like 2
  9. Bo

    In such fantastic shape with such a cool colour and the early bumpers this is a beautiful car. I had a ’79 wagon that I paid $150 for when I was 19 which I really liked. It was a real beater but it lasted two 0 maintenance years. This car would attract a lot of attention anywhere and would be very cheap to own.

    Like 4
  10. Ed VT

    My sister had this very car only with a 4 speed. It was her first car and it was brand new, she was so proud. It went back to the dealer for its first service and the tech drove it into his workbench. Being brand new parts were nonexistent, the dealer gave her a loaner until hers was repaired but it was never a “new” car again.

    Like 6
  11. PDXBryan

    Pintos, Mavericks, Vegas, Novas, Dusters were all very handsome cars before the big bumpers. Car&Driver showed they could be race winners too!

    Like 3
  12. Rhett

    Bryan is right – these cars were viable racers in the IMSA series, and I always though the small bumper cars were particularly good looking. The 2.3 motor can be tuned to all sorts of levels of HP, and the that anonymity spoken of here has led to ironic current collectability of these cars. Yeah, too much money but at 5k, al of a sudden we’re talking. And God Bless California and their airplane hangars, I pulled a original paint 73 Buick Gran Sport out of one maybe 5 years ago. So THATS where all the cool original cars are?

    Like 3
  13. Little_Cars

    No hatch? No sale. The Runabout was much more practical. Seriously great color that only the 70s could produce. Call it Colonel Mustard, or Mister Poupon.

    Like 3
  14. sir mike

    I like her….glad it has a proper trunk…didn’t like the hatch back model.Would make a nice daily driver.

    Like 5
    • JoeNYWF64

      The very early pintos had an optional hatchback with “ribs” on the lower steel part & a rear window about the size of one with the trunk(to better hide the contents).
      Plus it had no struts to hold up the hatch! – it just had steel “scissors” linkage that could lock & i bet it never wore out, unlike expensive struts!
      The interior pics show the std very THIN kewl bucket seats & with them, just how roomy this pinto is in the back seat – legroom!! Do u have that roominess in today’s pony cars or smaller 4 doors? Nope!!
      Note the chrome gas cap – gas tank fix done by the dealer.
      I could look at that all brown(or blue, etc) interior all day long & not want to get out of the car!

      Like 6
      • Little_Cars

        JoeNYWF64, I didn’t remember my hatch having the locking scissors but I guess I never got beaned by the hatch when trying to keep it open so there. Thanks for jogging my memory. I wouldn’t use the phrase the “very early” Pintos. Every 1971 Runabout had the ribs on the back, and the runabout callout on the sail panel. A silver/black plastic appliqué if I remember right. For the 72 model year and beyond the script and the chrome ribs were gone. The glass area was increased and I guess they abandoned the idea that owners wanted their stowage obscured from passers-by. One other thing not mentioned about the first year Pinto is that base models had no tracks for the passenger seat. It was permanently fixed in position.

      • sir mike

        the gas cap on the early cars were from the Ford world parts bin…actually from the English Ford Cortina MK2…I know because when I lost my Cortina gas cap I used one off a totaled
        71 Pinto.

      • JoeNYWF64

        Little_Cars, here’s the smaller window hatch with the “scissors” linkage holdin it up …
        & apparently even some later bigger window hatchbacks got em too …
        The even bigger all glass hatch in the late 70’s was ridiculous & possibly dangeous in a collision, IMO.
        Those optional chrome(stainless) door frames on pintos & many other cars back then put the flat black frames just waiting to fade on todays “cars” to shame!! Even the std body colored painted window frames on the pinto were shiny & could be waxed like the rest of the body to last a good long time!

  15. Little_Cars

    If by proper trunk you mean something the size of a Styrofoam cooler…IIRC the back seats did not fold forward on the non-Runabouts.

  16. Garry B

    It brings back sweet memories of my 1971 Pinto. My first car used to commute to college! Reliable and gas was incredibly cheap! Traded the car in for a 1977 Camaro… Those were the days..

    Like 2
  17. Fred W

    Don’t see how anyone could daily drive one, knowing what we now know about what could happen in a 25mph rear ender. If you must have one, get a wagon, which didn’t have the problem.

    Like 1
  18. Hollywood Collier

    My buddy Jose had a 71 red pinto with a 4 speed in high school. We lived up in Tecumseh Michigan. They had 11 people in that family, and nobody could kill that car. I liked it, it ran good, and was good on gas, and they pumped the gas at the station for 29.9 a gallon. Ahhhh….memories.

    Like 4
  19. lbpa18

    In the end, its still a Pinto. Maybe there is a market in buying these traps for ex-wives.

  20. Little_Cars

    The “good on gas” comments got me to thinking a few months ago. There is a website you can go to see what mileage these cars are getting when driven by real people today. So I decided to see what kind of mileage I would get on cars I used to own. I traded my 1959 Ford Galaxie convertible for a 1971 Pinto Runabout around 1976. Anyway, a 59 Ford with a 352 and dual exhaust can maybe squeeze out 13-15 mpg on a good day. A 71 Ford Pinto with stock engine can eek out 17-22 miles per gallon.

  21. Little_Cars

    My 1959 Ford Galaxie was traded for a 1971 Pinto. 59 Ford, maybe 13-15 mpg. Pinto, about 17-22 mpg. There is a website to go to where people submit their mileage and the stats are quite revealing regarding cars we thought were getting such fantastic mileage back in the day.

    Like 1
  22. eastlex91

    For anyone who says that the Pintos were not good cars, you might want to research the little four cylinder that powered most of them. If you drove a 4-cylinder powered Ford anything from about 1970-1990, chances are, it was the same engine, to include the Mustang SVO. Ford Europe designed the engine and yes, to this day, you can still find these engines powering many vehivles on the vintage racing circuits – including the occasional Pinto! My family had a ’74 Pinto wagon when I was a kid and you couldn’t kill it. I always thought they were a nice design. It was sadly doomed from the start by Ford’s decision to cut short their final engineering and testing phases.

    Like 3
    • CJinSD

      $7,200 will buy you a clean SVO Mustang that someone stored in the mistaken belief that it would some day be valuable.

      Like 2
    • Mike

      My 94 Ranger had basically the same (optional) 2.3L. engine that was used in Pintos and many other Fords for years. To my knowlege, the only major differences are fuel injection and the cursed distributorless dual ignition system. My Ranger is getting a 302 swap now. However, when I advertised the 2.3 and 5 speed trans for sale (still in the truck so that buyers coud actually know that they ran and shifted perfectly), I had people lining up for them, even with well over 200k miles and just regular maintenance. I sold them to someone for $500! That actually paid for the swap kit that I was going to buy. When the guy came to pick them up after I pulled them, I asked him if he wanted the driveshaft and rear end too, since I wasn’t going to use them. He asked how much and I told him $20 for the torch gas to cut the u-bolts. He took them too.

  23. Chas358 Chasman358

    I recall that Ford did something to “Fix” the rear impact issue.

    Don’t early Mustangs use the top of the gas tank as the floor of the trunk?

    Like 1
  24. Scott Member

    I drove a 1971 Pinto all through high school. It had the unbreakable 1600 under head valve engine. Got rid of it with 150,000 miles. Only had to rebuild the carb and change the clutch. Really a nice car, but not fast. I know because I tried to drive it fast, just did not work. Mine had the trunk and the gas tank updates were done before we bought it.

    Like 2
  25. Del

    Ford removed an $11.00 pad between the tank and floor boards to save money.

    The result was in a rear end collision was a ruptured fuel tank that ignited from the sparks. A few people died.

    Its amazing how large corporations can be so blind. Kinda reminds me of a plane builder ?

    Like 1
  26. Green66

    My71 Pinto was puke green. Paid $90 for it on a wholesale lot in 78, just in time for the second gas crisis. Drove it from NJ to Fla no problems other than stuck at about 57mph. Then put a cam in it and a nice holly 2bbl. Ran back and forth between Ft. Belvoir and NJ never having to worry about Odd or Even plate days. Loved that car. They are better with 4 spd though.

    Like 1
  27. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    The comments on this Pinto, and other Pintos on Barn Finds, are fascinating to me. Yes, they were cheap econoboxes, but isn’t that part of the definition? Many people had contact with them, and many (me included) found them to be at a minimum serviceable, perhaps stellar at fulfilling their role. Even maybe fun.

    Yes, many of us aspire to a glorious classic car like a Boss Mustang or a Hemi or whatever, but a humble car which is part of our past and solicits pleasant remembrances, why not?

    Like 5
  28. Bruce

    1971???? I don’t think so. Not ’71 bumpers or steering wheel. Not much else is different through ’72 so this might be a ’73

    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      This looks like a 1971 to me. For comparison, the 1973 had a somewhat different front bumper configuration. It stuck out an inch or two more, and the bumper guards were shorter. The bumper itself may have been different too, I don’t know.

      The two-spoke v-shaped steering wheel, used on many Fords, was available in 1971 as part of the Luxury Decor Group.

  29. Flint

    Here I thought all pintos were hatchbacks. Learned something new.

    Like 1
  30. Scott Menard

    I like the car and I think the Pinto has impacted many lives over the years. It seems everyone I talk to has had one or new someone that had one. I always wanted to put a Ford 2.3 turbo engine and five speed transmission in a Pinto and this would be the car! Best year and color from my view. Love the small trunk lid! Price is realistic also. Time it takes to fix up a $1000 Pinto, you will be over the asking price.

    Like 2
  31. Stevieg Member

    When I was a kid, my Mom had a ’68 Galaxie XL convertible. Being in Wisconsin, that car rusted badly.
    When my Dad decided it was time to replace it, he brought home a maroon 1972 Pinto coupe, 4 speed car. Mom didn’t know how to drive stick.
    We all piled in & went for a drive. Mom started crying almost instantly. She hated it!
    Dad sold it the next day & got Mom her 1973 Riviera, a big upgrade from both the Pinto and the Galaxie.
    I actually like these, in spite of Mom’s reaction. Not sure why, but I do lol.

  32. Miguel

    I want this car but it has a few problems.

    First are the wrong wheels. Next is the huge price, which I would never pay.

    As somebody has mentions, it doesn’t have the right steering wheel. This is a later wheel. The correct wheel should have a horn button in the middle and I would want that one.

    Also they took a California car and took it to Rhode Island.

    Too many negatives for the price.

    Like 1
  33. Scott Menard

    I spoke with the owner last night and the wheels are from a Mustang 2 and I think they are a plus and make the car look sporty. He also has the origin hubcaps.
    The steering wheel is including in the deluxe interior option and is verified on the window sticker from when the car was sold new.
    The car coming from California is a big plus for me!! The $ price I can deal with as we can’t get anything decent for that coin here anyway! Hopefully I will own it soon!

    Like 1
    • lc

      That’s a great lil Pinto!

  34. Earl

    Wasn’t that the name of one of Columbus’s ships.

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