Porthole Pony: 1979 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon

This is probably the icon of the already iconic Pinto series, a 1979 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon! This porthole pony is on Craigslist with an asking price of $5,595. The seller says that the only thing not original on this car are the wheels, those unfortunate slotted mag wheels. I would want to source a set of factory-correct mags for this one. A car as classic as a Pinto Cruising Wagon deserves only the best. Thanks to JCWJR for sending in this tip! This cool cruiser is in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.

Boom, there it is, what a classic feature! I absolutely love that Ford took a risk and made this car, companies don’t usually do wacky things like this anymore. Ford knew a thing or two about cruising with both the Cruising Wagon and the Cruising Van in their lineup. They also made the Cruising Wagon with both “special graphics”, such as seen on this car, and more sedate “standard graphics“. How cool would it be to have one of each? Ok, I’m dreaming again.

Isn’t that cool? I love these things. I prefer the pre-1979 models with round headlights, but beggars can’t be choosers; I would not kick a square-eye Cruiser Wagon out of the garage. I would even add a porthole window to the garage if I had one of these cars. Ford offered the Cruising Wagon package from 1977 until the end of the Pinto run in 1980. The seller says with enthusiasm that this car “has absolutely NO RUST!! The underside of this car is immaculate!!” Two thumbs up for that, no question about it.

There is only one photo of the interior and, as you already guessed, zero engine photos. But, in looking at the photos that are included, this car looks like it’s in great condition and would be a perfect car to restore. Restore a Pinto?! Hey, this dude did just that. He bought his brand new 1978 Cruiser Wagon in 1979 (someone ordered it and backed out of the deal). He drove the heck out of it and thought enough of it to restore it a few years ago. Kudos to that gentleman for preserving a cool little chunk-o-history. With no engine photos of this particular car, and the seller mentioning that it’s a “4 cylinder engine bolted to a C-4 automatic transmission”, we have to assume that it’s a 2.3L inline-four with a touch less than 90 hp. The automatic does this car no favors in wringing out those 88 ponies, but there’s something to be said for just putting it in “D” sometimes. And, hey, this thing is for cruising, not racing! It’s not a Pinto Racing Wagon it’s a Pinto Cruising Wagon! Can I get an amen on that? I didn’t think so.

Now that’s an interior! Or, it was an interior, it looks like it could use some help, but that seat pattern is fantastic. And it’s an automatic but, hey, that’s what most people drove back then and that’s what the vast majority of people drive now so I don’t know why I’m always surprised and disappointed to see an automatic. The back of this double-port-pony should look something like this. It’s not nearly as posh and funky and cool and hippy-like as I would want in a late-70s Pinto panel wagon with a pair of porthole windows in the side. But, there’s a lot of room for the band equipment back there and that’s really all that matters. A show of hands for those who hauled band equipment around in a pinto wagon? Hmm.. not many. I used a Dodge van, myself, so I guess I can’t blame you, but I still love these Pinto Cruising Wagons!


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  1. dirtyharry

    See what happens when the auto brass decides to do something to re-package what they have to sell. I am not a Pinto fan, but this is great nostalgia. I must admit I owned a similar custom van and it was great fun. Long live the 80’s!

    Like 2
  2. rustylink

    always had a thing for these – I am sure you can make it interesting drive on the relative cheap should you find a Tbird/Mustang SVO 2.3 turbo motor in need of a new home.

    Like 1
  3. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    These were rare even when new. Pretty neat to see one from ’79 in this good of shape and coming from CA it probably lives up to the Seller’s description. I like what is sitting to the left in the background of Image #1 too.

  4. Rock On Member

    Looks good in white. I don’t know if they ever came in brown from the factory, but here is one currently for sale with a stick.

    • HeadMaster1

      That is just a 74 wagon that somebody added side panels to. The REAL cruising wagons started in 77. Not only did they have the side panel with portholes, but they also had a front chin spoiler, and full factory gauges……Ford made a sedan delivery version also, not sure what equipment they had

  5. Tim M

    302 along with suspension and drivetrain from a Fox body Mustang would work great with this.

  6. rando

    Fomoco offered a mag wheel similar to that for the Pinto. I knew a woman with one of those back in the 80s. Her hubby was a drummer and drove a hearse to haul his stuff. Pretty cool. THe hearse and the Pinto.

  7. JW

    Had a friend who had one of these sitting in his backyard, I always wondered what I could do with it but after my divorce from the first wife I lived in a apartment so no where to keep it. Lost track of my friend and that car.

  8. boxdin

    The Crusing Van was the only factory (big 3) van interior. All others were done by converters.

  9. nessy

    Oh boy do I dislike Pintos, except the Cruising wagon.

  10. ckkurtz Member

    For me, this fits firmly into the “So bad, it’s good” category. I have never wanted any pinto ever, but this would be fun and weird. NOT as an only car though. That’d be kinda creeper.

  11. Rustytech Member

    As everybody here knows I am not a Pinto fan, but this is so nice I could be tempted. I remember a customer that bought on of these back in the day, he used it as a flower delivery vehicle. It was the only one I ever saw in person. This looks like it could be a fun drive, too bad it’s not a stick.

  12. Ck

    Are we sure those aren’t factory 5 slots.FOMOCO put those on every thing back in the day.I may be wrong but I think Shelby made aluminium 5 slots for ford .Then later on mass produced them for every one they were called Shelby Cal 500’s I have a set that has a chevy bolt patern.Im sure one ofthe Ford guys will set me straight FOSHO. LOL.

  13. John

    Is this the same one that sold a few months ago? Maybe it was on Bat?

  14. Ronald Wheeler

    Have a 77 painted black. Original color under it is Silver. X would not ride in it, called it a herse for children. Now it just sits. Wheels are steel with caps. Have a new set of dinky tires for it. Ran just fine before being parked. Aluminum bumpers?

  15. chad

    repeat comment on the fox-bodies – 1 can tell this is where the frnt end 4 them came frm

  16. djkenny

    Way too much money. $3500, I can see if nice and no rust. $5500? No. I love these, btw. The pre 79 Does look better.

  17. Ronald Wheeler

    You hit a fair price, maybe a litle lower. Don’t know what to do with my 77? Leave it stock or find that turbo motor? Wonder if a V-6 would fit?
    Well, other things as usual come first.

    • djkenny

      I agree, probably a little lower than $3500. To be that much it would need to be a really nice example.

      I would leave the engine stock with some hop up parts if it’s Sound, myself. Of course making sure all the seals are renewed and it was tuned properly, running sound before upgrading.

      An RV Cam, Header, Flomaster exhaust, maybe some head work. The Pinto V6 is actually not as good of an engine, the 2.3 is a better engine to modify as well.

      Add some KYBs, aftermarket springs, swaybars, better front disc brakes (I think you can swap from a Merkur or Thunderbird Turbo).

      IF the Motor was in serious Need, I like the 2.3 Turbo. It would not add weight like a 6 cylinder and can be tuned to make serious HP.

  18. Andrew

    Holden Australia used to make a similar beach and surf wagon.

  19. Andrew

    Holden made these again the last few years, but this has come to and end also unfortunately. Farewell, good-bye.

  20. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    Ford put the same wheels on the 78 Mustang Mach.

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