Not Started in 37 Years: 1974 Ford Pinto Station Wagon

This one got my attention. That’s because my folks surprised me and my twin brother with a new dark blue 1975 Pinto station wagon on our 20th birthday just before we started our junior year of college. It was the MPG model (appropriately named due to the recent OPEC oil embargo that had quadrupled gas prices), so you know it was basic, no-frills, economical transportation like the one featured here, with the same blackwalls and cheapy hubcaps. This particular Pinto wagon is a Deja Vu-mobile, having appeared on Barn Finds a few months ago as part of an estate sale for a then asking price of $7,500. The price has been lowered to $4,000 and is for sale here on craigslist in the Denver, Colorado area. A tip of the cowboy hat to Mark K. for sending this Colorado Pinto our way.

Like the color of the original factory Code 2B Bright Red paint this Pinto is still wearing, a red flag has to be raised due to its Rip Van Winkle story. The seller describes it as a one-owner vehicle that was purchased at Phil Long Ford in Denver in 1974 and was garaged, but has not been started since 1985. As you know, a 37-year deep sleep isn’t good for an engine and other mechanical components of a car, so it’s anybody’s guess what it will take (and cost) to get this pony wagon roadworthy again. The seller describes the exterior as having no rust, no dents, and no body damage. Based on the photos, which appear to have been taken on a street just after a rain storm, I have to agree. (Since it doesn’t run, I’m curious where the Pinto is currently kept and how it got to be parked on the street in front of a house for its “photo session.” So many questions, so little time.) I’m not spotting any rust or bumps or bruises and the panels look straight, The glass also looks good as well as the badging and the chrome finish on those big bumpers. 1974 was the first year of the 5 mph front and 2.5 mph rear bumper collision mandate.

The seller states that there is “no interior damage,” but the one photo (taken through a raindrop-beaded passenger window) shows worn black carpet and ripped black vinyl bucket seats under some red seat covers. Given the poor quality of the photo, it’s hard to assess the condition of the dash and steering wheel and no photos are supplied showing the current shape of the headliner, rear seat or cargo area. No photos were supplied of the engine bay either, only that it is a 4 cylinder and has 77,000 miles on the odometer which could be original. Both 2.0L and 2.3L inline 4-cylinder engines were offered in 1974 and this one has a 4-speed manual transmission.

Even though the Pinto Station Wagon was the smallest and cheapest of Ford’s “Wagonmaster” lineup in 1974, they had more than 60 feet of cargo space and were reliable and economical. I know our ’75 Pinto Wagon was. From a numbers standpoint, 1974 was Pinto’s most popular year with more than 544,000 sold, including 237,394 station wagons, the most popular of the three body styles offered that year. Who knows how many are left. I’ll be curious if this one finds a new home this time around and what the future has in store for it. Hopefully, this Bright Red Pinto Station Wagon will be back on the road again with the driver waving at all the gas stations it passes by.


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Jake Blues: I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Like 11
  2. Ramone Member

    The interior is rough, the paint is faded, but it’s not rusty, and the rear bumper seats five.

    Like 15
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    From what we can see, it doesn’t look too bad, certainly doesn’t have that ‘abused’ look. Apparent lack of rust is a big plus. For the price one has some room to get it running again, and maybe make some upgrades. If I had it I might even keep the cheap hub caps, it fits the car’s persona.

    Like 11
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Bob, my 71 had those same hubcaps. Actually looked pretty good when I added “wide” seventy series tires.

  4. Tony Primo

    Oldest trick in the book, taking pictures of a wet car to improve the appearance of the paint. I wonder if there is sawdust in the transmission to quiet down the gears.

    Like 11
  5. Boatman Member

    That worn black carpet may be a rubber mat.
    Wish we could read the date on that plate!

    Like 1
    • Bick Banter

      Those base plates are from 1982 to 1992 so we know that much.

      Like 2
  6. Joe

    I would love to know what he thinks interior damage would look like.

    Like 4
  7. Psychofish2

    Nice. A good base for a first oldie.

    “MPG” was a recalibrated 2.3, catalytic converter, and a 3.18 rear axle ratio, changes also made to the Mustang II for it’s MPG model.

    Like 2
  8. Harry Allen

    Yes on most all counts I had a 74 Powder Blue Wagon with the 2.3 and 4 speed. I did love that little car because it would carry most anything I needed for work and it was so easy on gas I actually clocked solid Highway 36 MPG. Easy to drive and service NO Air but that was fine I had another vehicle if I desired Air but mainly drove the Pinto It actually went to 275,000 miles I bought it with 30,000 and the service history.

    Like 6

    I owned one exactly like this one but an automatic. Worst pos I ever had. Everything fell apart and build quality was terrible. These were built to be disposable

  10. Jay B

    An orange Pinto with CO plates, nice, but an orange Bronco from the same era would wear those plates better.

    • TheGasHole

      ….and cost 10x as much

      Like 2
  11. Frank M

    The carpet is wore to the backing and the passenger seat is shot. Usually, it is the driver seat that looks like that. I would say that the odometer has been once around the block, and close to the second round. With that said, I had a 1979 Pinto wagon 4 cyl 4 speed and it was fun to drive.

    Like 2
  12. TheGasHole

    Funny to see all the Pintos and Bobcats now showing up on this site. 5 years ago posting a Pinto would get you boo-ed off the stage, now they get more comments than alnost anything else on the day they are posted. Times are changing.

    Like 1
  13. Ben T Spanner

    We used to buy those as ex Purolator Courier cars. The odometer had always rolled over, but the were maintained, and they all had “highway miles”. They were always white. We would add aftermarket fake wood, junkyard carpet, and drivers seat, and the used car lots couldn’t get enough of them.
    I worked for a comapny with a small fleet. Your choice of vehicles was between a 4 door Maverick,and a Pinto wagon. Both had automatice and air. Both got crap fuel mileage. The Pintos always had the pedal to the metal.

  14. chrlsful

    fortunatly – the wagon.
    unfortunatly – gunna need some work.
    fortunatly body on chassy construction (repairds), but therefor – heavy.
    (could go back’n forth here, better stop)
    I like the waggy, Lima motor (put late model Ranger head on) and weber carb (H/W 5200) as it’s a 2v progressive.

    • grant

      Pintos aren’t body on chassis, they’re unibody.

  15. Jwh14580

    Never knew a pinto with a frame….. and I owned 2 of them

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