Naughty and Nice: 1976 Ford Pinto Turbo

Other than that hood scoop you’d never know that anything was lurking under that chestnut metallic hood, but there is. This 1976 Ford Pinto Turbo is listed for sale by our friends at Hemmings for an undisclosed asking price, you’ll have to get in touch with the seller to find out more. It’s located at a dealership in St. Louis, Missouri. This is a California and Arizona car so there is very little if any rust to deal with, thankfully.

Ahhh.. that’s the Pinto that we all know and love: regular, normal, unassuming, meek, and mild. Clark Kent sans the blue spandex and cape. Those whitewalls don’t give anything away on this one and if that hood scoop wasn’t there this would really be a sleeper. This is a nice-looking car in great condition, even the underside. But, there are a few chips in the paint from regular use, and possibly from some pavement-pounding abuse. But, it’s really nice for being a 40-year old Pinto. Naughty and nice.

There’s that hood scoop again. I can’t take it anymore, let’s look at what’s under that baby!

Zinnng! Yes, you are correct, that’s a Ford 2.3L four-cylinder turbo from a 1988 Thunderbird! It would have had 190 hp from the factory, but this one has been modified even further, although there isn’t much info given on what has been done to it. It sure looks un-Pinto-like under that cut hood! It has an 8-inch rear end but I’m not sure of any of the specs on this one, I think it’s from the T-Bird Turbo coupe that gave up its engine and transmission for this car. This is Clark Kent in almost full Superman mode, at least compared to a regular Pinto, no?

Ok, back to the normal part of this Pinto. Hey wait, is that the 5-speed from the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe and a full bank of gauges? So much for the interior being normal, but it’s not as much of an eye-opener in there as it is under the ol’ bonnet. The front seat covers tell me that they may “need replaced”, as they say in St. Louis. The seller says that the “tan recovered seats are in good shape” so maybe they’re just protecting them? The usually perfect rear seats show a huge split, so who knows about the interior. You wouldn’t buy this car for the interior anyway, you’d buy it for showing SUVs how to merge onto freeway traffic and for surprising 1980s and ’90s Camaros and Mustangs, and most likely a few dozen other hot car drivers who think that you’re a librarian on your way to a book club meeting. Would any of you like to own a naughty and nice Pinto Turbo?



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  1. Howard A Member

    Whoa, Ho, buddy, you’re walking on thin ice here. Which would be entirely possible even though it’s below 0 today. Is this cool with the big “H”? Let me explain. Hemmings, one of my favorite sites, but had slipped to #2 after BF’s because, they used to have a comment section with these cars featured from their listings. Well, some people, idiots really, had to shoot off their big mouths about how bad this or that was, or how over-priced, after repeated warnings, lead them to stop all the comments. Unlike BF’s ( I think) these listings pay their salary, so I URGE you to be nice with this.( actually, we should be nice to all sellers,,,except the bogus low mileage claims, of course) Personally speaking, I think this is the coolest Pinto to come down the pike, in somewhat stock form. I wonder if the hood scoop is more for clearance than air intake. With the long brake pedal, this was an automatic originally. Bet this is a fun car. Imagine the surprise. Mom’s Pinto didn’t set me back like this. Better hang on!!!

    • RayT Member

      Howard, I’m betting it’s EXTRA fun with those stock-size whitewall skins on hubcap-bedecked wheels! Kinda makes you wonder if the builder paid any attention to brakes, shocks, springs, antiroll bars, etc….

      The wiiiiiide brake pedal in a three-pedal setup would drive me nuts, but it wouldn’t take too much effort to correct, I suppose. Things like that make me wonder about how well the engine/trans conversion was done.

      But pay no attention to me. In the same position, I probably would have broken out a saw and welding torch and thrown a 289 in there!

    • 16V

      I’ve seen many T-Bird turbo swaps over the years, it’s rather rote, and there is at least one kit manufacturer in the US, and one in Oz. A quick search shows there’s at least half a dozen for sale right now.

      I had hoped this was one of the actual AK Miller dealer (Huntington Ford) installed turbos from waaaaayyyy back in the day. As a 1 of 50 car, that might be interesting. Or a Pangera….

  2. Van

    I remember seeing a pinto at the hot rod show in Chattanooga in 1979. That car had a blown big block and wheel tubs.


      I had a ’74 Pinto Wagon with a 327 Chevy in HS (Class of ’81) So fast I had Wheelie Bars on the back!!

  3. Mike H. Mike H

    I’d swear that the steering wheel came from a 1970’s vintage Konami arcade game. It’s always funny to me that people put so much effort into certain aspects of a build, then polish it off with a $49 Grant steering wheel from Pep Boys and a $99 3-gage cluster screwed to the bottom of the dashboard.

    So close. . .

    And Howard? While there’s snow coming today here in Minnesota I was pleasantly surprised to see that a heat wave brought the temp up to 9°F on my drive into work this morning. First morning all week where there wasn’t a little minus sign preceding the temperature in my Civic.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      I forgot. . .

      While this is certainly a cool car, and God knows that I love me some Pinto, I’d rather have this car instead:

      Let’s see. . . Longroof, Di-Noc, factory alloy wheels, houndstooth seating surfaces, awesome orange paint? Add to that the Geraghty Super Tune spec? It certainly ticks all my boxes. While I COULD liberate the $12k for it I’m not currently interested in searching for wife #5.

      At least, not yet.

      • ccrvtt

        That’s One Sweet Pinto wagon. I don’t think it can meet the practicality of my beater Chrysler minivan however. I suppose a roof rack adapter would handle the 4×8’s in a pinch.

        Unfortunately the minivan is paid for and this one ain’t.

      • Joe Howell

        That’s a sweet wagon alright but the price makes me choke. I ran a family hand-me-down 72 wagon (non Country Squire) into the ground that only cost $2500 new. My brother bought it new to haul his band stuff. My dad bought it from him when he got a new Trans Am in 1974. Later when Dad went to trade it on a new 1981 Chevy pick-up the Chevy dealer didn’t want it in trade as it had 89,xxx miles and a little rust. He got a better cash price without it and gave me the Pinto. I had a 79 Chevy van at the time so I welcomed the Pinto for it’s hauling capability and good gas mileage. You could haul 4×8 sheets of plywood in the back with the rear seat down and the tailgate strapped down. I ran it for 10 more years and another 70,xxx miles before rust rendered it unsafe. I keep the shifter emblem and fender script when she was finally scrapped. They are proudly displayed with my Porsche show trophies :)

      • Scat Pack

        Holy cow man you’re on # 4 already? You get like an award or something.

      • Mike H. Mike H

        An award? For bad choices?

        I may have gotten it right this time, but I still would pay twice for the Pinto.

      • Scat Pack

        For bravery man. Most guys would cash in after 2 maybe 3 max (I myself stopped after 2). But to wade back in after 3 well you’re a braver man than I am.

  4. Bingo

    Paint the gas cap and the hood scoop body color, a little interior work and you have a nice $6,000 car (I’m going to contact the seller later this morning).

    FYI -20 in Minnesota on Saturday. I’m going to intentionally leave my new GMC outside for a little cold weather test.

    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      -31 C here in Winnipeg.

    • ROAR

      Now I understand why my dad left Minnesota for California, It’s 67 and sunny here 3 miles from the central coast.
      Comeon over, we need people like Minnesotans to counterbalance those from the other big M state.

  5. JW

    Awesome car, kind of like the hood scoop as others would think your bluffing till you blast by them. The Chestnut Metallic is a great color but I’m wondering about that blue dash pad or is that just a dash cover. 35 degrees today in KCMO with possible freezing drizzle. No Mustang cruising today.

  6. Joe Howell

    I love Pinto’s. The hood scope is probably needed for turbo clearance so I’m guessing you’re stuck with it. The factory disc brakes on the front are probably up to the job and using Mustang II high performance chassis upgrades are possible. I only found out last year that the local road racing track ran a Pinto class for years. I was there for a track day and one of the instructors had his old Pinto racer there. Gutted out and fitted with Hoosier slicks, a full cage and fuel cell it made neat little racer. What a great way to waste money I missed out on :(

  7. MikeG

    Hope that far righthand gauge isn’t too important, you’d probably drive off the road trying to read it.

  8. Chebby

    Hmm on one hand it looks so good, but that janky clutch pedal and those seat covers don’t say good things….that’s the easy stuff.

  9. CapNemo

    I’ll bet it’s a ton of fun to drive! Although the Naughty and Nice scenario is cool, I kinda like to go the All Naughty route lol! Thinking of selling this thru this site.

    • CapNemo

      Built and raced in 70’s-80’s in California.

      • CapNemo

        Ok sorry guys, won’t let me put pic up.

  10. HeadMaster1

    If it was a 77-78 cruising wagon I’d be selling a kidney to go get it. The 5-speed T-Bird powertrain is a bolt in for a 2.3 pinto. My 1st car when I was 16yo was a 76 Pinto MPG handed down from mommy, it was this color, which I thought was called “Medium Bittersweet”….Anyhow, I drove it for a year, then bought a 72 Pinto Wagon, 4-speed with a RayJay turbo system….what a blast…This was 1985, so a 5.0 Stang or an IROC as the car to beat, and my little wagon could spank them every time……

  11. ROTAG999

    Right color for a TURDBO…

  12. Ski

    I’ve always loved the little Pintos. My college roommate had a ’73 that I loved driving.

    The only problem I have here, is that it’s at Hemmings; so you know it won’t go cheap.

  13. Mark PRND

    Love it…

    White walls, Hubcaps and a built Turbo engine !!! Should be a good sleeper !

    Even if they left it at 190 hp it would be somewhat quick..

    Wonder what it would run the 1/4 in…Love it !

    • ROAR

      It would probably burn through the donuts before it got to the end

  14. Rustytech Member

    I don’t know what it would do in the 1/4 but that’s about the only place I’d want to fast with this car!

  15. JimA

    The engine compartment looks just about like the 72 pinto I had after the 302 was stuffed into it. Loved that car.

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