Minto Pinto: 1980 Ford Pinto Survivor

Andrew TannerBy Andrew Tanner

Readers, I have to be honest with you. I have been a lifelong Pinto naysayer, however in my recent time writing for Barn Finds I have written up several and grown to love them. We have featured some really nice, and some really okay, examples. They seem to get progressively nicer every time someone sends one in, and Rocco B. really delivered on this fine example. Pintos may have once been economical cars to be disposed of after use, however they are now old enough to draw a crowd. Having covered just under 70,000 miles, this example can be found here on craigslist in Ohio with an asking price of $4,000. 

Though I haven’t seen it in person, based on the photographs and the information provided by the seller, this is the worst part of the car right here. Having seen both use and maintenance, the driver’s seat has suffered the most. If the rest of the interior is as nice as it looks, then this seat could perhaps be recovered in matching material and the rest of the interior be left alone. Brown was popular during this time period, much like silver and gray are popular in vehicles of today. Though I won’t say I love this interior color, it is markedly less utilitarian than the gray cloth of comparable modern vehicles.  It also has an 8-track player!

Under the hood sits a 2.3 liter four cylinder engine. Though Pintos were available with several different engine options over the years, by 1980 the V6 was discontinued and the 2.3 four cylinder became the only engine available. The seller states that this car has been a reliable daily driver for the last two years and has never left the seller stranded. This car is cheap enough that for a vintage car enthusiast, this could be a good “modern vintage” driver while the less-daily vehicles sit safely in the garage.

Out of all of the Pintos/Bobcats I have written up, this is in the top two nicest I have seen. The factory slotted wheels really do a lot for it, and this car would be the perfect candidate for a vintage driver. The seller states “Can be kept as is as a very clean survivor, or could be a great starting point for the Pinto hot rod of your dreams.” I’m not sure anyone dreams of making a hot rod Pinto, but I sincerely hope this car remains nice and original. I would absolutely  daily this car. Would you?

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  1. Daniel Beaulieu

    Not Lynxes, Bobcats 😉

    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

      Thanks! I don’t know why I mix those two up! I’ve fixed it now.

  2. Rock On

    I think you meant to say Pinto/Bobcat Andrew. The Lynx is twin to the Escort.

    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

      Aw jeez! Thanks for that, I don’t know why I always mix those two names up!

  3. Vegaman Dan

    I had a Pinto wagon only long enough to sell it. During the two weeks I had the wagon, it was a thoroughly okay car. Not exciting, not desirable, and completely forgettable, but very okay. And sometimes that is what is needed.

    This one has been stanced, probably with coil spring twist in spacers. It doesn’t look terrible and drop in a V6 or V8 and you could have some fun times. Or just leave it as it is and drive it for what it is.

    There is one very unusual feature on this car that was not commonplace on the Pinto- this one has a rear trunk instead of a hatch. The normal Pinto had a huge hatchback like a Vega or Civic. This one has a fixed rear window and a tiny trunk. That was pretty much the worst combination possible. A sedan trunk, hatchback look, and limited access. A normal hatchback or the wagon was much more versatile.

    Brown was very popular for cars in 79-80. Porsche, MG, even Triumph had chocolate brown cars. It’s rumored that the brown cars didn’t rust. I think it’s just that people didn’t want to be seen with the cars so they were garaged more.

    • Karo


      The non-hatch version (called “sedan” by Ford) was actually the original design; the hatchback (called “Runabout” and identified as such by a small emblem on the c-pillar) debuted halfway through the 1971 model year. Later on (I want to say 1977 but in that range) the all-glass hatch became available as well.

  4. pajones1972

    I had a 1971 Pinto, white. Drove it for a number of years. The only problem I had with it was that it shook such that the starter bolts would come loose quite often. Had to eventually put lock washers on the three bolts to keep it from coming off.

    Drove well and got good gas mileage. Eventually sold it to a friend of mine in 1977 while in the Army.

    It also had the regular trunk and not too bad of a size for the size of the car.

    • marvin

      My father bought a Maverick new in 1972, it had a 302, and had the same problem. I remember it being a fast little car and in the shop quite a bit also.

  5. RichS

    Too bad it’s a slushbox. I’d throw a turbo coupe motor and 5 speed into this and leave the exterior as-is.

  6. ROAR

    Pintos make decent road racers, they had an optional handling package, the station waggon had excellent ratios and the whole package was bomb proof. there are racing classes using these engines. A BIG point is: when you need a part, it’s cheap and easy at your local parts store, try that on your bimmer! Road and track or s similar mag had a big article on how to prep your pinto and racing one!

  7. Jim S.

    I had a ’74 wagon in the same color. The 2.3 liter engine was gutless to say the least. It threw a rod crossing the bay bridge one morning and I sold it a week later for $750.00 to a guy who was building a collection of Pinto wagons.

  8. JW

    Update the drivetrain to a 347 stroked 302, 5 speed, rearend out of a mustang II Cobra then tub the rear for bigger meats and have some fun.

  9. Leon

    Burnt !!!! Orange with a charcoal grille ! I had same one but 79 with hubcaps My first car at 16. I miss that car

  10. Stu

    That blue smoke billowing out of the tailpipe is of no real concern. Just add a quart of cheap oil every 100 miles.

  11. Shelli Anne

    I bought a new base Pinto sedan in March of 1980 for $3995. on the road, it was the cheapest new car I could find. The build quality was terrible, the dashboard was mounted so far to the left I had to slam the door shut. The side body panels welds were uneven, the side windows would not roll up tight,there were globs of adhesive hanging down from the headliner, the hood flew open on the way home from the dealer. When I went back to the dealer the very next day with my list of complaints the very same salesman that sold me the car just sneered and said “What do you expect for a cheap car anyway ?”. First and last new Ford I ever bought .Should have kept the 1970 Mazda 1800 sedan I traded in ,it had 145,000 miles and required less repairs than the Pinto did in 20,000 miles. I’d sooner pay $4000. for a 1970 Mazda than $4000. for this 1980 Pinto ! The Ford dealer detailed my Mazda and sold it for $1500.,they told the buyer it had a low 45,000 miles on it.

  12. Howard A Member

    Still looking for a wagon ( that isn’t halfway around the globe) The Pinto wasn’t any worse than any other American car in the 70’s. Thing was, I read, there was such a demand for these, they had the assembly lines cranked full tilt, and would ship cars that didn’t pass inspection and let the dealer sort it out. It wasn’t any different at GM, Chrysler, or AMC. There were many good Pintos, if strict maintenance was followed, which many owners didn’t do and with 4 cylinders being somewhat new, compared to what Americans were used to, they burned them out. Pinto was a good ( not great) car.

  13. Dan D

    My wife had a brand-new 1979 Pinto, in that chalky dark-ish blue. Same as this car – trunk not hatchback – but with a 4-speed. I relearned how to drive a stick on that car (having originally learned about 5 years earlier on a 3-on-the-tree Plymouth Duster). The Pinto was an ok car but terrible on the Kancamagus Highway in NH at night in a snowstorm with no snow tires.

  14. KevinW

    I have owned four of these over the years. Basic reliable car that was easy to fix when needed. I still wish I would have kept one of them.


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