Plaid Perfection: 1979 Ford Pinto Wagon

1979 Ford Pinto Wagon

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I’m usually not a fan of late ’70s and early ’80s American cars. Strict bumper, safety, and emission regulations had taken a signification toll on styling and performance. But everyone once in a while I see a car from this era that I truly like. You guys should all know by now that I like oddballs and few things are as odd as a Ford Pinto Station Wagon. Slap some faux wood grain on the side and you suddenly have a car I can really appreciate. This 1979 Pinto Wagon has a lot going for it, including an amazing plaid interior! It can be found here on craigslist in Knoxville, Tennessee for $4,495. Special thanks to Chuck F for this tip!

1979 Pinto Wagon Interior

Even since seeing a beautiful Porsche 911 slant nose with a plaid interior as a kid, I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for plaid interiors. Any car that came with one is alright in my book! Make it an oddity like this wagon and you’ve got something real special. The seller claims this car has only seen 36k miles and given the impeccable condition of the interior I’m inclined to believe them. The seller doesn’t state whether the car is running or not, but they do state that it is a V6 car. Given the condition and mileage, I’m going to guess that it runs and drives, but you will want to have it inspected before spending any money.

1979 Pinto Woodie Wagon

I’m sure some of you are thinking that this is just another ugly Ford Pinto wagon, but when was the last time you saw one in this kind of condition, with faux wood paneling and a plaid interior? If it had a manual transmission, I’d be on my way to Knoxville to pick it up already! I don’t know what it is about the looks of this wagon, but I just can’t help but like it. Who else here is in love with that bright plaid upholstery?

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  1. Vince Habel

    Don’t care for the interior but it would make a great parts chaser. Really like that it has the V 6

    Like 1
    • Kevin Burke

      Had a 75 ( same color ) with the V 6. You had to take the battery out to change the spark plugs on one side. Start of my lifelong obsession with the long roof.

      Like 0
  2. Randy Rush

    I like it, but something wrong with those tires/wheels. They must be oversized.

    Like 0
    • Alan (Michigan)

      My first reaction too. I think the Pinto came with 13″, these appear much larger, wheel and tire cross-section as well. They almost look Galaxie-sized.

      Like 0
  3. Mark in Medford

    What are those, 57 Ford hubcaps ? I would want to dress it up with some wheels from a Fox body Mustang, those would bolt right on.

    Like 1
  4. ed

    two door wagons are always awesome, even if they have plaid interiors …

    Like 0
  5. bill celline

    One of the scariest days of my life was when I was sitting at a toll booth behind a Ford Pinto and in front of an Audi 5000…

    Like 0
    • hhaleblian

      I have to steal that line.

      Like 0
  6. hhaleblian

    Love the fact this Beaverwood ( my kids name for an 88 Poncho with vinyl siding) pics were shot in the rain, but she ain’t no Bo Derek (in her day).

    Like 0
  7. Don Barzini

    Perhaps it’s the wine kicking in but I like this car. It would standout in any parking lot that’s filled with gray/silver/black sedans that all look like a Honda Accord. (Nothing personal against Hondas – I own two of them.)

    Like 0
  8. jim s

    it does look good, but i would switch to different wheels. i did not know a pinto came stock with a V6. be better if it had a manual transmission. again little text and 3 photos are not going to sell this car. nice find

    Like 0
    • vince Habel

      the V 6 was an option by then.

      Like 0
  9. Dr. D

    A Pinto shooting brake! I love the interior. This would have been the Pinto “Squire” model which was the wagon with the faux wood trim and Interior Decor group. They also made a “cruising package” version which was basically a panel wagon with round bubble windows in the rear quarters.

    The original rims on this would have been 13″ (with bias ply tires no less.) This car would look great with the optional “Lacy Spoke” wheels shown on the bottom right of p. 15 of the 1979 brochure. I love how they were sold with the promise of “High-performance styling” (without actually any of that pesky high performance to worry about.)

    Like 1
    • Dr. D

      Hmmm . . . sorry about double-posting this image, this reply can be deleted.

      Like 1
  10. Brian

    If I recall correctly, the increase in hp between the 4 cylinder and the V6 was laughably small, maybe the increase in torque made it worthwhile? Back in the day, I remember doing battle with those horrible, worn out Holley two barrel carbs on the 4 cylinder, shared with the Mustang IIs and early Fox Bodies. When those things got upwards of 100,000 miles on them, they were shot! No amount of rebuilding or tinkering would get them running anywhere near well again! I guess the Weber progressives have made that problem go away?

    Like 0
  11. The Chucker

    My dad was a small-town banker in the late 70’s/early 80’s. During that time, it wasn’t uncommon for him to come home in the latest “repo”. The best ever was a 70’s era military troop carrier…but that’s another story. One day, he came home in a Pinto very similar to this, and at the tender age of 17, he told me that I could have it if I wanted it….plaid interior and all! After begging the keys to the family Datsun 810 station wagon for months, I jumped at the opportunity. The “Pinto Bean” carried me safely through the majority of my high school years until it had an unfortunate meeting with a deer on the highway. Oh, sweet memories.

    Like 0
  12. Barry

    Holy Cow! You need sunglasses on to view that interior. I bought a Pinto wagon new back in 1973 and it was one of the nicest cars I’ve owned. Mine was a dark green w/o faux wood sides, I had radials put on it before it left the dealer so it handled ok and it had 4 spd manual. Quite decent gas mileage for back then.

    Like 1
  13. cory

    Funny, I was just talking about pintos last night with a friend who had no clue they made a wagon. To me what is funny about the pinto is how so many good parts make such a bad car. The front subframe was a standard for street rodders, and the “formula ford” engine under the hood found many new uses. Which brings me to another story, I was commenting last night how my son just turned 13, and has no interest in cars. When I was 13 I used my birthday money to buy a 37 ford and a 73 pinto, for my first project. Mom was so excited. But, I agree with josh. I am a sucker for the plaid interior. I get irritated everytime I see a golf with some black and red plaid only to learn it is a European only option.

    Like 0
  14. RickyM

    Love that ever-so-70’s interior and fake wood. Brilliant. But why have a family wagon (estate) with only 2 doors? Not sure of the logic behind that idea. Great condition car and nice find. I would have it. Just because of the interior……

    Like 0
    • Barry

      I think the answer to why a two door wagon is that for many guys like me it was tough enough to trade in a convertible because I began a family and my wife did not think the convertible was practical and the last thing I wanted to drive was a four door car. I really do not understand why people seem to think the Pinto wagon was such a dog as the “73 I had was a nice little car which gave me no trouble at all.

      Like 1
  15. Dutch 1960

    Our school student driving program had a ’76 Pinto, donated by the local Ford dealer, probably because they could not otherwise get it off of the lot.

    Bright orange with a trunk lid, not the hatchback, and the four cylinder engine mated to a four speed manual transmission. White vinyl roof. Dog dish wheel covers. The topper was the orange and white houndstooth upholstery inserts. Even in the seventies, it stood out as probably something an old, doddering person would think was seventies-cool. The dealer likely had to accept it from Ford in order to take delivery of one or two of the more desirable cars of the day, as that was how things worked back then.

    Like 0
  16. grant

    wow. memories. ours was red on red but this same wagon body style. made it about 180k then the drivers door literally fell off…..

    Like 0
  17. Joe Howell

    Love it!!! They were great vehicles. The oversize wheels would have to go. I had a hand-me-down white 72 Pinto wagon that after 20+ years rusted it’s self to death but the engine was still going strong at 160,000 with the original clutch. Wagons came with the 2000cc engine standard in place of the 1600cc car engine. If I lived in the south west I would still be driving it :) My brother purchased it new in 72 to haul his band equipment around and then sold it to my Dad when he joined the Navy. In 1981 Dad bought a new Chevy pickup and they didn’t want the slightly rusty 89,000 mile Pinto in trade so he asked me if I wanted it to keep commuting miles off my truck. I took it as a cheap DD and put another 71,000 miles on it over the next 10 years. Only failed to start once when the timing belt snapped with no damage done. It was good in the snow as well. Wish I had a new one sealed in a time capsule. One more new Pinto wagon would serve me as long as I will probably be driving.

    Like 0
  18. gunningbar

    Love the Tartan (!) Interior!
    I think I had pants back then that were even “louder!”

    Like 0
  19. Jake

    wow, what a waste of email space!!! Don’t think this qualifies as a barn find in my book!!!
    Had a pinto during the 70’s gas crisis and it was the biggest piece of junk car i have ever driven and owned!!!

    Like 0
  20. chad

    like to hear more bout the bent6, I don’t think they had em…

    Like 0
  21. Chevy Chase

    Man, y’all seem to be enamored of this thing….Yeech! Let’s see if I can enlighten you on a few key Pinto points to ponder…First off, read a book by David Halberstam called “The Reckoning”. He spent years researching Ford and comparing it to an equally- sized Japanese company. (Nissan). Anyway, Nissan had junk in the 50’s and 60’s, but by the 70’s their cars got better. Ford, to put it mildly, got alot worse. So what was wrong with the Pinto? Howz about premature rust? Did you know Ford invented rustproofing in ’58 but deemed it too expensive? It took Lexus and Infiniti in the 80’s to shame the Americans into using their own galvanization process. And the list for the Pinto doesn’t stop there. Sorry guys, I lived through this era. As we all know, Ford was sued because leaked internal memos proved that they could have prevented the deaths of over 100 people in fiery rear-end collisions simply by installing an eight cent baffle plate between the gas tank and the gas filler. Yes, you read that correctly: eight pennies more invested in each car…I think my favorite Pinto story, however, has to do with my buddy Colin and his honeymoon. Blessed in his marriage by the presence of an orange ’78 Pinto, Colin and his lovely bride departed from the wedding reception amid a hail of rice krispies and the unified shouts of well-wishers calling out for a safe voyage. Colin and Heather waved goodbye to the crowd, jumped into the car…and traveled all of 50 yards before the engine sputtered and died. Was it, perhaps, some prank pulled by the groomsmen? No, sadly, it was just a ’78 Pinto driving true to form. And so Pinto lovers, I’ll let you go back to your forum as I end this rant and gaze longingly at the photos of my pea-soup green ’73 Plymouth Scamp…

    Like 0

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