Surfboard Included! 1978 Ford Pinto Wagon

With the rising success and popularity of European and Japanese imports as a result of the 1970s oil crisis, American automakers decided to cash in on this previously untapped market for small, efficient, and economical cars. Ford’s entrant, using a powertrain donated by Ford of Europe, was the Pinto. Offered in a fastback, hatchback, or shooting brake body style, all three had the same reputation of being overly dramatic in a rear-ended fender-bender. This one survived, and survived exceptionally well. The seller says that it was used time and again for movie rentals. You can find this gorgeous beach cruiser here on craigslist, complete with a matching surfboard! Special thanks to Pat L. for letting us know about it!

Inside is a beautifully preserved bucket seat arrangement with decidedly seventies green vinyl siding and patterned cloth inserts. There’s plenty of room for four people, with all of their beach stuff, to have a lovely day out on the sand. A two-spoke steering wheel fronts a speedometer…and not much else. Not that you need much else. If you’re doing it properly, you shift by feel rather than what your tachometer says.

The seller includes no images under the hood, but it presumably runs and drives under its own original power. They say it’s got a 2.2-liter four-cylinder, but the information I can find says that the engine closest in size to that is a Ford Lima LL23 2.3-liter overhead cam inline four-cylinder, driving the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission. It produced around 90 horsepower, and around 120 pound-feet of torque when new. Presumably less than that now, but you’re not buying a Pinto wagon to win stoplight drag races with the local Mustang and Challenger crowd.

Where this car shines is similar to the life philosophy that follows the Fiat 500: la dolce vita. The sweet life. Carefree summer days going up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, with the windows down, just enjoying life. It’s not fast, it’s not sporty, and it’s not cheap at nearly $11,000 for what basically amounts to a forty-year-old Ford station wagon, but it’s probably cheaper than the therapy that most everyone needs after the last couple of years, and will provide its new owner a much-needed respite from the world of pandemic-fueled solitary confinement that’s all too common today. And maybe having that included matching surfboard will inspire the new owner to get out of their comfort zone a bit and ride the waves.


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  1. Dan August

    That parking brake needs to adjusted…

    Like 9
    • 4spdBernie 4spdBernie Member

      That was my first thought as well, lol. Rear shoes could be worn to the rivets.

      Like 3

      Yeah it is, Dan. It’s an emergency brake, not an interior light…ha,ha.

  2. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    I wouldn’t pay 11K for it, but I must admit it is definitely 70’s cool! For some reason I’m diggin’ the green paint and those seats, lol.

    Like 10
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Really nice Pinto wagon. The green exterior with the green/white striped upholstery suits its time period perfectly. The four-speed would make it more fun to drive. Not cheap but not many around in this condition.

    Interesting that the seller is using the appeal of cruising the west coast (complete with pics) as an emotional ‘hook’, including the surfboard. Ben appropriately picked up on that theme.

    Like 5
  4. nlpnt

    Over ten grand is top dollar for a Pinto, it would be nice to see some engine and underside pics and what the dash looks like under that toupee for that ask. What we can see is gorgeous though, along with being manual and a great period color inside and out.

    Like 4
  5. MoragaPulsar

    These are/were kinda like VWs of yore – no a/c, no power windows, no power brakes, no power steering and of course slow – but very little to go wrong. It didn’t feel like a big deal back then, just driving – but now I wonder if a little too basic to really enjoy? Fun to look at, but rarely driven – I think, or I hope that I have learned this lesson.

    Like 4
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      A friend of mine had a brand new 76 Pinto – with factory AC. Damn cold too.

  6. Terrry

    Too bad this doesn’t (most likely) have the 2.8 V6, as the only Pintos to have one were some wagons. Then this would have some zip to go with the looks.

    Like 2
    • Matt

      Sorry Terry but alot of the later pinto’s had the v-6. Owned 2 myself

      Like 1

      It is a beautiful wagon, though & I wouldn’t want any other color. The color does resemble a turtle; given its performance attributes….good thing it’s a manual. If the price weren’t so ” up there” , I’d definitely consider it. As the model line wound down toward the end of the 70s, the v6s were VERY available. I had friends in school whose parents bought them the 2dr, wagons & the Mercury ‘ Sister’ car and the full-length rear backlight was amazing !!


      Terry, I think the wagons did have the larger 2.2 ltr engine
      as standard equipment. I think even the Mercury Bobcat had the 2.2 ltr in its last few years. My girlfriends Bobcat did have the 2.8 V6 ; but not really much more on power…
      105 hp I think. Another friend had the Mustang II fastback V6 w/5spd manual…..that was fun !!

    • MarveH

      The 2.3 is infinitely tunable and all paths are well worn from basic intake, carb, and exhaust to turbos and aluminum heads.
      A 2.3 Duratec swap would be just abut right.

    • DON

      My friend in college had a yellow v6 coupe with woodgrain and aluminum rims ; I’m sure not many coupes were equipped that way !

  7. Euromoto Member

    The surfboard staging is all wrong. In 1978, the antithesis of cool would have been a Pinto wagon.

    Like 3
  8. David Zornig

    Gumby green and it’s a stick.
    I’m in!

    Like 8
  9. alphasud Member

    If I bought this I would need to seek out a orange pinto with matching interior. One must have balance in life. Cool car and worthy of its asking price if it’s as nice in person as pictures suggest. The squire option would be the cherry on top.

    Like 1
  10. Bick Banter

    Two women for every guy

    I bought a ’78 Ford wagon and we call it a Pinto

    Surf City, here we come

    You know it was very costly it’s an oldie and a rare one in this condition

    Surf City, here we come

    It’s got a mint back seat and code matching windows

    And it still gets me where I wanna go

    (Though a bit slower than our CR-V)

    Now we’re goin’ to Surf City gonna have some fun yea we’re goin’ to Surf City ’cause it’s two to one we’re goin’ to Surf City gonna have some fun now…

    Two women for every guy!

    Eh…no. Ugh. But perfect for today’s California I suppose.

    Like 5
    • Matt

      Why back put some crap comment on there like that. What a waste of time to read and just nasty.

      Like 2
      • Bick Banter

        Because I felt like it? If you don’t like it, how about you don’t read it instead of posting a smart a– comment about it?

        Like 3
  11. t-bone BOB

    Located in Malibu, CA

    Like 1
  12. Howie Mueler

    Yes very cool, $10,500 now.

    Like 2
  13. JudoJohn

    My brother-in-law had a 1974 Pinto wagon. I drove it a few times, and as I recall, it was a decent car for an economy car of the day. It seemed like the quality was decent (for 1974), maybe a little better than VW. Certainly, better than the Vega. The engines were decent and reliable. They got a bad rap due to the coupe’s gas tank woes.
    Not sure it’s worth 10K yet.
    And they did have power brakes.

    Like 2

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