One-Owner 1977 Ford Pinto Squire Station Wagon

The Ford Pinto is a car that should never have existed. That wasn’t because it was a bad vehicle. The fact was that there were many members of Ford’s Board of Management at the time who were vehemently opposed to the concept that Lee Iacocca was promoting. Amongst the most vocal of these opponents was Henry Ford II, who couldn’t see any market benefit that the Pinto could provide. However, the car eventually went into production, and today, they have become something of a niche classic. This 1977 Pinto Squire is a tidy one-owner example, and taking it to the next level should be a straightforward proposition. It is located in Stafford, Virginia, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $5,000, but the reserve isn’t met.

Lee Iacocca was a man who came from a sales background, and “selling” the Pinto concept to Ford was probably one of his greatest achievements. It is interesting to read the story of this model’s development, because Henry II, in particular, could see no tangible benefit in compact or sub-compact vehicles. However, the Board eventually granted the go-ahead, and the Pinto went to the market after a whirlwind 25-month development program. This stood as a record at the time for the fastest model development in automotive history. This might not seem that spectacular today, but it needs to be remembered that this took place in the days before CAD/CAM technology. Every prototype component had to be hand-drawn by designers and produced by skilled craftspeople. It left the way open for mistakes and problems to find their way into the design, but all things considered, the Pinto was a remarkable achievement. This Bright Yellow Squire is a solid example that needs some cosmetic attention. It does have a few areas of surface corrosion, but there is no penetrating rust. Its cause has been aided by the fact that its sole owner has kept it garaged for its entire life. The original paint is generally quite reasonable for a survivor, and I think that it might respond positively to some polish. There are a few small dings and dents on the panels. These could be the most likely cause of heartache for the buyer. Several of these are under the woodgrain, and repairing them will almost certainly damage the finish. However, the woodgrain is looking faded and tired, and replacing the lot would be a wise move. With that thought in mind, that would also provide the opportunity to treat the exterior to a repaint. This would ensure that the Squire presented perfectly once the restoration work was complete. Otherwise, the chrome and trim appear to be in good order, and I can’t spot any problems with the glass.

The interior of the Pinto is a pleasant surprise because there isn’t a lot wrong there. I believe that the dash pad might be cracked, but if it is, then it isn’t severe. The buyer might simply choose to throw a cover over it. Getting it repaired would not be that expensive. An adventurous owner might decide to tackle the job themselves with a product like Polyvance. The process is a bit fiddly, but the results have to potential to be quite good. The upholstered surfaces present well, and the carpet appears to be in respectable condition. One big plus point with this Squire is that it features air conditioning. This is said to blow cold. The only other real nod to luxury is an AM radio.

The Pinto isn’t going to cause anyone at the local drag strip sleepless nights. Under the hood, we find the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is backed by an automatic transmission. With a ÂĽ mile ET of 19.2 seconds, this is not a fast car. However, the small physical size and automatic transmission would make this a brilliant little commuter vehicle. This would be especially true in heavy traffic conditions. The good news here is that the Squire is original and unmodified. The owner has replaced the battery and the fuel pump, but everything else is as it left the factory. He claims an odometer reading of 28,000 genuine miles but doesn’t indicate whether he has evidence to support this claim. What he does say is that the Pinto runs and drives perfectly. It seems that this is a classic that is ready and raring to go.

Over the years, the Pinto has gotten a bad rap. The reality was that they weren’t a bad car, especially when compared to their local competition. However, foreign technology and development overtook these little cars, and they steadily lost ground on those foreign offerings with each passing year. Henry Ford II couldn’t see any value in these cars, but they sold in incredible numbers. More than 225,000 sold in 1977 alone, and over three million found homes during the Pinto’s production run. They were a cheap car and were treated as a disposable item. Owners drove many of them into the ground and then drove them to the nearest junkyard. Finding good examples today is still possible, and this Squire doesn’t seem to be a bad one. There is no reason why it couldn’t be driven and enjoyed as-is. However, it could also represent a great DIY restoration project for the right person. Bidding has been subdued to this point, but I hope that someone does return it to its former glory. It might not be the most desirable wagon on the planet, but if it has survived for this long, it does deserve to be preserved.

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    No, it’s not a muscle car. Or a truck. Or a Bronco, or VW Bus, or its big brother the full-size wagon. Or anything else which might be “hot” in the collector car market. But what it is, is a good representation of the common car of its time. We need those in the hobby. They weren’t bad cars, they did their job fine.

    And with three million built, there are lots of people who had experience with one. Take it to the local cruise-in and enjoy the conversations with folks, as they recount with laughter how they abused one as a teenager, or when they used chewing gum and baling wire to fix a problem, or when their Pinto came to the rescue during a family emergency.

    Nice write-up Adam.

    Like 21
    • Dave

      You need cars like this for filming movies. Next time you watch “Hidden Figures” take note of how many times you see the same cars. Whoever was the vehicle wrangler did a poor job.

      Like 6
    • Hale Irwin

      I owned one as a back-up to my Lotus Europa🙄

  2. RGSmith1 Member

    I agree. I’ve always loved these. Very underappreciated. Would love to have this one for a daily driver.

    Like 12
  3. art

    LOL. This Pinto does not have A/C. Plain old heater is all it has…blows cold in winter.

    Like 6
  4. Dean akers

    Well Bob I’ve got lots of tales I could tell about the misuse and abuse of the well known to explode at the rear collision of the the Ford Pinto.
    However, my best and most realistic testimony of the Pinto stories would be the crash of the 4-2-9 1/8 mile drag! 1977 GRANDVIEW DRAGWAY!

    Like 1
    • David Montanbeau

      I worked on that case at Ford’s legal department. Was not a normal accident. The car was hit from behind from a 21/2 ton van doing 90 and the Pinto was doing 5mph. She just filled the tank and forgot to put the gas cap back on. You know the outcome.

      Like 7
      • james mindy

        As a young Ford salesman I sold bunches of Pinto’s. Loved them. Bought one for my wife and years later my kids had them. They got a bad rap which persists today. Toyota had similar problems but the press was against American cars back then and seldom mentioned their exploding cars. Can you imagine a commuter for $1995? What a deal.

  5. Bert Amos

    Put a 351 Cleveland in it & a 9 inch rear-end with a doug nash 5 speed & live the good life!

    Like 3
  6. Phlathead Phil

    I already had one. Bought it NEW in 1975.

    Green with a 2.5 OHC. A looser of a car. I couldn’t BUY a date in that thing. Sold it QUICKLY and bought a Camaro.

    After that I had one chick for every night of the week!

    Women LOVE cars too! Just NOT Pintos.

    Too high at any price.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      I am going to assume you mean the famous 2.3L engine. I have never heard of a 2.5L Ford in a Pinto.

      Like 2
      • Keruth

        There was a v6 available, maybe the cologne.

      • Phlathead Phil

        Correct. Too long ago to remember.

      • PatrickM

        The V6 was 171 cid. Translates to 2.8 L. I had one with a 2 bbl and automatic, wagon. Loved it. So very sorry I got rid of it. If anyone trashes a car, any car, it becomes a rolling trash heap. Take care of it and it might get the transportation job done fairly well. Sure wish I had that one back, again. Sigh.

        Like 3
    • 370zpp

      Sorry Phil, but I had one around the same time, but not new – it was a 71 wagon and it was great for hauling band gear, quarter kegs, and best of all, impromptu socializing.

      Never any complaints from the ladies either. (Well, at least not about the car..)

      Like 2
    • Joe

      It didn’t come with a 2.5 Liter. I had one and with the rear seat down it had plenty of girls there. Maybe I just dated a better quality of girls who the person meant more than the car they were driving

  7. Arby

    Sometimes cars are a “1 owner” because nobody else wants them…

    Like 1
  8. alphasud Member

    My Grandma had the same year model except hers was beige. It had a little over 20K on it and was always parked in the garage. Funny story about her car. One day I was visiting them and she kept going on about the fact the car wasn’t driving right. They had taken it to their local garage several times and the shop couldn’t find anything. I was a tech at the Saab/ Alfa dealer at the time. I asked her to let me drive it. First time I hit a bump the ass end side stepped and I just started laughing. She had radial snow tires on the back and original bias ply tires on the front! I said grandma go to Sears and buy 4 new tires. I became her new hero:)

    Like 5
  9. Ben T.Spanner

    We used to buy earlier Pinto wagons from Purolater Courier Corp. They were white with automatic, and an AM radio. No AC. They had lots of miles but often had a new engine, transmission, and or rear end. They all ran well.

    We would clean them up, and add the fake wood paneling decal, but not the molding. We replaced the driver’s seat and junk yard sourced front carpet, or not.

    Cheap used car lots couldn’t get enough of them. Most made decent transportation.

    Like 3
  10. Bruce

    I had a red one with the manual transmission and for the day it was not bad. Known as the COUNTRY SQUIRT it fit almost anywhere and could carry a large load and even lumber for the house we were building with the back lid open. I can not say we abused it but we drove the wheels off of it. I never broke needed brakes from time to time and a couple of clutches but nothing was difficult to work on.

    The demise was rust. Paints of the time were not even remotely as good as those today. Being the low cost car the Pinto did not even get the best of paints available at the time. Rusty door, fenders, rear panels and floor boards. Once it got a good hold the car just seemed to dissolve. Sad as this and the Chevrolet NOMAD are some of the very few two door wagons ever made. Not perfect but real fun.

    Like 1
  11. Wm. S. Stokes

    The non wagon Pintos and the Bobcats(upgraded Pinto) made great dirt track race cars.

  12. Louis Chen

    This would be a good ‘Shag Wagon” project…the old school shag carpeting and a small bed behind the front seats and killer stereo sound….”I’ve got You Babe!”…remove the “Squire” option and paint a killer mural painting and put on some wider wheels and off we go! “If this bod is rockin’ don’t bother knockin'” Catch my drift dude! Ahhh such memory of the LOVE MACHINE!

    • Jim

      Glad to see that bad taste never goes out of style.

      Like 2
  13. Chris Weichler

    Moms Wagon was Identical to this one! I was in HS at the time and fake furred the backend and ran speakers into the Hatch Plastic…
    When I finally got a job, a friend sold me his Pinto Cruzing Wagon… It had a 327 Chevy in it and would Haul Gas, Grass and Ass!

    Like 3
  14. Jack Benny

    This would be a candidate for a life size version of Hotwheels Poison Pinto. My mom bought brand new in 73 a fastback, which I then purchased from her for $400. Was a great car, pretty reliable even though I totally abused the poor little car

  15. Willowen Member

    We and one of our friends used to drive up to Victorville, on the edge of the desert, to watch the dirt-track stock-car races on Saturday nights when a friend of our friend, an Army reservist, was driving his Reserve-unit sponsored Late Model. My favorite events there, and locally the most popular, were the four or more Mini-Stock races each night. That’s when we discovered where all of L.A. County’s old Pintos had got to: If you wanted to win on dirt in that class, you drove a Pinto! Of course you’d be one of a swarm of them, but we never saw anything else place better than third, and I think that was just once.

    Aside from being both light enough to stay up on the track surface, they clearly handled better than anything else, carved their turns with no plowing or running wide, and in general went where they were pointed regularly and reliably. I’d seen them on Nashville’s paved quarter-mile mini course, where they always did okay, but in Victorville they just flat won.

    Like 1
  16. Dashco

    Actually, the wagon did not have the problem with collision explosion issue. It was with the hatchbacks. The problem with the explosion was found during final testing. Engineers could solve the fuel neck problem for $ 15 a unit pushing the base price to $2010.00 from $1995.00. Volkswagen Beatle was priced at that and they were advertising its car for less then the price of hamburger at that time was $1.00 a pound and the base price of the VW was $1995.00. Ford’s big push was the car was US made and wanted it priced at VW’s price. Management and the lawyers assed the cost of potential law suites and work out that by the time car ended production the legal costs would be less then the cost of the safety modifications. We know the rest. Overal the car was average for the time and was fairly easy to work on. Much more dependable then the Vega and better looking then the Gremlin.

  17. rustylink

    the ramps show Pinto can still manage to climb steep inclines….

    Like 1
  18. Roy Blankenship

    I owned one of these briefly. It was called an MPG and they had geared it for gas mileage, a little odd that you never had to shift out of second until you got on the freeway. Mine had been owned by a postal delivery person and had over 100k and a noisy wristpin. I loved it, it actually was reliable (we didn’t abuse it), but my girlfriend at the time backed it over something and put holes in the gas tank. The mechanic I sold it to ended up buying his wife a new one they loved it so much. Great little utilitarian car and my 6′ 4″ frame actually fit in it, the best part seeing people laugh as I unfolded myself out of it. It is too bad these and the Vega wagons were abandoned. What a concept, a simple, domestic, easy to repair utilitarian vehicle that can hold large people.

    Like 2
  19. John Oliveri

    I don’t believe this has a/c the control panel is heat, defrost that’s it, can’t see a compressor nor lines in the firewall, curious why the seller said a/c unless the seller is a flipper who doesn’t know cars

  20. Bhowe Member

    I honestly love the color. Just spent a couple hours cruising thru local car dealers and nowadays nothing but dull, drab, and duller. Would get lots of attention in this at most shows.

  21. Headmaster1

    I have a 78 Cruising Wagon in my garage right now, and a zero mile 2.3 turbo waiting to boot into it. 190hp and 2,400lbs should make for a nice, fun computer wagon

  22. Omer Durfee

    I want it!

  23. chrlsful

    lub da Lima motor, weber 32/36 progressive carb, auto, room of the wagon, safety of the waggy, condition, tire replacement cost, heck, this is my car. Too bad it went for 6,7K$. Drop in the 2.5 “Ranger” (’01)? the X-Flow/Valencia? Use the rear mount 5 speed transaxle? Frame stiffeners? Lower it…

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