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Pristine Survivor: 1977 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon

UPDATE 06/10/2023: Selling a classic car can sometimes prove challenging, particularly if that vehicle might potentially appeal to a niche market. That is sometimes the case with the Ford Pinto, although it is generating renewed interest in the market. This is the second time we’ve seen this 1977 Pinto Cruising Wagon, and it failed to meet the reserve last time despite spirited bidding pushing the price to $14,659. It is again listed here on eBay, and its details haven’t changed. It currently sits below the reserve at $10,100, but there is still time for those who find it irresistible to join the bidding party. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Tony P for spotting this wonderful little beast.

05/06/2023: Although it is no longer as common as it once was, dealerships sometimes order a premium derivative of a particular model, adding extras in-house. They parked those cars in their showroom, hoping to entice potential buyers through the door. Should they happen to sell the display car, that was a happy consequence of their approach. That is the story behind this 1977 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon. It is a two-owner survivor that presents superbly. The seller purchased it about a year ago but feels it needs a new home. The Pinto is listed here on eBay in Redmond, Oregon.

The Cruising Wagon was introduced to inject some excitement into the aging Pinto range. Custom vans were a hot ticket during that time, with Ford capturing the moment with a pint-sized version. It was based on the Station Wagon but featured vibrant colors, dazzling stripes, and that oh-so-1970s touch, porthole windows. This 1977 Cruising Wagon presents superbly in Bright Saddle Metallic. It is a two-owner vehicle that is used primarily for car shows. Whether it has ever undergone restoration work is unclear, but its condition makes the idea plausible. The panels are as straight as an arrow, while the paint and stripes look flawless. The glass, including the porthole, shows no evidence of marks, and the trim sparkles as impressively as the paint. The seller describes it as a “dealership special” they purchased from the original owner. They don’t elaborate on the changes or upgrades, but this shot confirms the enormous wheels were one of them. There may be other features I haven’t spotted, so I’ll be fascinated to read the feedback to learn what I’ve missed.

If the exterior looks stunning, this Pinto’s interior serves us more of the same. The dash cover makes it impossible to assess the pad’s condition, but with the rest of the interior looking so nice, the news should be positive. The vinyl and cloth upholstered surfaces are devoid of wear and damage, once again raising the question of whether someone performed some restoration work. The dash and console are immaculate, with the buyer receiving an excellent array of gauges. The Pinto may have received a period radio/cassette player installed at the dealership, but it now houses a more modern version. One aspect of the Cruising Wagon that I would like a clear insight into is the back seat. The lack of glass beyond the portholes makes me feel that it would have been claustrophobic back there. If you have traveled in the back of one of these classics, it will be fascinating to read your comments.

The Cruising Wagon package involved cosmetic upgrades, with the Pinto receiving no mechanical improvements. This one features the 2.3-liter OHC four-cylinder engine producing 89hp. The water gets muddy from here because logic suggests shifting duties should fall to a four-speed manual transmission. However, the interior shots show the shifter and knob aren’t correct for the original four-speed. This Wagon may feature a five-speed manual, improving the vehicle’s cruising ability on the open road. The seller doesn’t mention changes, so this theory comes from my own observations. If I’m correct, it is possible that it was part of the dealership upgrade, but it is a question worth pursuing. Potential buyers will be pleased to learn this Wagon is a turnkey proposition. The seller claims it runs and drives flawlessly, and considering the overall presentation, I find the claim unsurprising.

The Pinto suffered a tarnished reputation due to an unfortunate design flaw that caused a spate of catastrophic fires. The issue never impacted the station wagon derivatives, but every Pinto was tarred with the same brush. By 1977, those problems and growing foreign import volumes affected sales, with Ford introducing models like the Cruising Wagon to inject excitement into a product range that showed its age. We’ve seen a few at Barn Finds, but this could be the best by far. It needs nothing, with its condition suggesting it wouldn’t look out of place back on the showroom floor from which it came. Bidding has been lively, and I expect the action could intensify as the end draws near. I wouldn’t be surprised if it nudges $20,000 before the hammer falls because values have climbed recently. Do you agree, or do you have a different figure in mind?


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Very nice, and very cool in its own way. Looks to be in great shape. That pic, I’m assuming of the salesman back in the day and showing the same wheels, is fun to see. Nothing subtle about the interior either; I don’t remember that upholstery but I’m not sure. The instrumentation package and sport steering wheel also help dress up the interior. I agree, looks like it has a 5-speed.

    A warning: if you buy this car don’t expect to go anywhere without people stopping to talk to you about it, which to me is half the fun.

    Like 32
    • Poppy

      I think that’s a staged modern photo colored to look old. Radial T/As didn’t come out until mid ’80s

      Like 5
      • $ where mouth is

        70s actually

        Like 15
      • 19sixty5 Member

        1969 actually. BFG raced three 1970 Trans Am Firebirds using the radial T/A tire, first time out got on the podium with a 3rd place. They competed in additional races and home class wins, pretty impressive for street tires.

        Like 8
      • Poppy

        You guys are right. The article I saw said they were 40 years old, but I neglected to notice the article was dated 2010! So they are now 53 years old.

        Like 5
    • Gerald

      I can’t take my 73 wagon anywhere without people wanting to come over and reminisce about the one that Mom, Dad, Grandparent, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, friend or neighbor had one “back in the day” and the journeys they took in it. LOTS of people had a Pinto somewhere in their past and they seem to draw more attention than just about any other car that people use as a daily driver.

      Like 12
  2. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    This has to be the best looking Pinto Cruise wagon in BF!! This is so cool. And yes that’s a 5 speed shift knob. Imagine put in a SVO engine with trans in this Pinto😄! That would be soooo cool. I would not mine having this at all. But it’s a cruise wagon not a go wagon 😂! The engine looks great! I always felt this engine had potential for setting it up just right for getting way over 100 horsepower! Good luck to the next owner. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 15
  3. Steve

    Ford tried to copy the success of port-holed vans with the Pinto Cruising Wagon. They weren’t very successful.

    Like 5
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Steve: They also sold a cruising van set up the same exact way.
      Here is a photo.

      Like 9
  4. TheOldRanger

    I have to admit, they did a very nice job on this one….

    Like 14
  5. Big C

    We still can’t have a post about Pinto’s without the obligatory mention of the fire myth. It just can’t be achieved. Amazing.

    Like 13
    • scott m

      It’s not exactly a Top Secret

      Like 8
      • Danno

        .ereht did uoy tahw ees I

        Like 4
    • Dave Suton

      Same goes for Toyotas famous unintentional acceleration and engine sludge coverup or Hondas takata airbag deathtrap.

      Like 7
    • Steve

      Fire myth? Don’t you mean fire legend?
      My first car was a new 1971 Pinto. 17 years later after moving to York, PA the back cover of the local phone book contained the ad for the local lawyer who was the first one to successfully sue Ford Motor Co. on behalf of his client whose Pinto caught on fire because of the gas tank catching on fire after being rear ended. Unfortunately, he became greedy and lacked ethics, resulting in a stint in a federal prison. I only recall his first and middle name, Mark David?

      Like 4
      • Tai Shan Li

        I now recall the first lawyer to win a Pinto suit against Ford Motor Company was Mark David Frankel, since disbarred.

        Like 4
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Slick car all the way around! If Ford had put some of this bling on the complete Pinto line they might have been more successful with them saleswise.

    Like 6
    • Big C

      Right. They probably would have sold close to 4 million, instead of the over 3 million that Ford sold during the Pinto’s run.

      Like 7
  7. Steven Stanley

    This classic just looks amazing. I owned a 1977 Pinto Wagon but wasn’t the cruising wagon. I have alot of memories in that car which my dad bought me in high school. Sadly, I lost it by someone plowing into me from behind (no explosion).

    Like 8
    • Big C

      My ’74 Pinto coupe was rear ended by some bozo in a Dodge Dart. I had not heeded the recall that put the piece of plastic in front of the gas tank. I drove away with a dented bumper. They towed the Dodge. I waited for years for that car to explode. No luck.

      Like 19
  8. Davey Boy

    STUNNING. Had one but mine was a wagon someone had welded sheet metal in. No portholes. Sedan delivery like. Sold it to a kid for his first car. Trashed it. Real bummer. Regret that decision. May buy this one if the price doesn’t go to the stratosphere.

    Like 6
  9. jrhmobile

    I’d be willing to wager that this 2.3 puts out more than 89 horsepower.

    That’s a 350cfm Holley two-barrel on an Esselinger Engineering oval track manifold. That intake setup would drown a stock Lima engine. And a seriously prepped Esselinger 2.3 could put out an easy 150-170 hp. That could be a lotta fun.

    Like 11
  10. mike

    Very nice but would love more info if this owner even knows it.

    Like 3
  11. Troy

    I wanted one back when they were new I thought they were cool when I would see them around town but I was to young to drive so I was riding in the back of moms 64 mercury wagon without a seatbelt.

    Like 8
  12. chrlsful

    no, no figures in mind @all (as to M/M/Y). As far as classic or whatever mrkt this 1 would be in it’s out of that due to transmission change. I’d keep it tho and use as a driver.
    Might even put on the tucked bumpers ofa earlier model, tig over the ‘port hole’ so there’s that of my opoinion to your ‘clastraphobic’ question. This is not a ‘family’ car or one to have alota passangers. May be a occupant ‘shotgun’ (to the right of driver in mericanieze).
    I’d also put era correct ‘turbines’ as these seem cheb (too many ‘spokes’, trade for the ford/dodge of abt 11 or 15). I actually like them (on vehicles “from then”). Go up to 14 -17 inch tire as I dont think turbines made in 13″ back then.
    Love the Lima (may B swap to the late ranger head w/D shaped ports) and oem weber progressive (1v till 1/2 or 3/4 throttle, 2v after). Re-jet?
    Check deeper for handeling/hauling suspension options. This a mite small for my usual SCCA livery designs for the mid-sz mrkt (fox bodied is better @ carring the sm block 415# range). Not checked the pinto for the 3.3 or 4.1 i6 (l o n g crank) but it would be an excellent candidate if so.
    Fun w/cars~

    Like 3
  13. dan

    My dad had be. The stereo typical silver color scheme with the stripes starting in the back and going to the front. They were also available with the paint scheme pictured here, and without stripes. The one pictured has had the seats and doors recovered. The console was never available from the factory. Owner or dealer did it. Shift knob was out out another Ford product. Pintos always had a simple black roundish knob with white letters. Deluxe models would have the fake round woody knobs. Saw a V-8 swap one for 10k and a blue one like this recently sold at auction for 12k. V-6’s were available but they are harder to find now. Fun car.

    Like 3
  14. Dennis Gillenwater

    I have a 78 with 2540 stroker ,5spd 9 in rear…5 lug all wheels…blow thru turbo….this has ranger style cast exh.manifold and essli ger I take 350 holley…..needs a battery strap ,not a bungee cord….console is sawed off mustang 2…never came in a pinto….floor shifter hole has to be cut out 5 in. Back for 5 spd shifter also

    Like 7
  15. Daniel Mix

    The car interior shows day two mods…either by the dealer or the first owner. The console it has is from a Mustang and the cloth inserts were added. The interior door metal portion are typically painted one color to match the door card. This pictured car had black paint added. As for the exterior, the turbine wheels are clearly an aftermarket type. Nevertheless, it’s in a nice shape…good luck!

    Like 5
  16. Charles Scott

    I had a 1974 pinto station wagon with a 2300 cc engine, automatic transmission, that was dam good car to have, back in days, had adult motor route delivering newspapers with that car, I had alot of fun with it,

    Like 3
  17. Tom

    Just saw one similar at the last SEEMA meet in Vegas. Spent quite some time checking it out and surprisingly it fit right in with the resto-mods and other classics in the surroundings. Always liked the Pinto wagons and these were a step up from them. Great, fun looking car!

    Like 3
  18. Don

    That is a 5 spd shift knob & the shift lever looks like the one in a friends SVO Mustang. Seats have been redone. I loved my ’73 squire 2litre 4spd. lots of fun after mods. hated my ’78 2.3 auto, gutless. This one looks like fun.

    Like 3
  19. Jay McCarthy

    This is a car that would benefit tremendously from an Ecoboost

    Like 2
    • JustPassinThru

      Given that it’s the lumpen Lima slug powering it…I agree.

      The Pinto Fires meme had to come out. Some factoids:

      –The wagon design was never involved.

      –The “flawed” design was corrected two years in on production.

      –Statistically, the Pinto was as safe as other domestic/Japanese subcompacts, and SAFER than the Volkswagen Beetle/Super.

      –That one lawyer won a huge settlement out of one jury, one location, proves little. Plenty of stories of silly or ignorant jury verdicts, in many cases. McDonalds hot coffee, anyone?

      I like this one, but given that my memories are tied to pre-bumper Pintos (while I’m partial to the wagons) I’ll not be bidding.

      Like 5
      • KH

        My first wife had a 72 we bought new. $1950 out the door. Drove it 150k miles, broke the timing belt and it wasn’t an interference engine. New belt, then away we went.

        The fuel tank fix was the dealer putting this plastic shield in between the tank and the lower shock mount as I recall.

        Like 1
      • KH

        PS: I had the 2.0L not the 1.6 (or 1600)

        Like 1
  20. Dan

    Thank you! Also, statistically, the Vega and Gremlin had more rear end deaths than Pinto. This was made clear in the Trial.

    Like 5
  21. Robert Holt

    That’s a super cool little wagon, I can see it in a wide variety of colors that would compliment the porthole style side profile, but a mill under the hood would definitely be in the plans… my brother in law had a ’78, not a wagon, but he shoehorned a mildly tuned 351 Windsor and a 4-speed manual into that little car, and it was hard to keep the front wheels on the ground! A super fun, albeit a little unnerving ride! I’d love to get this one and fix it up right, I have visions of it after completion on one of those old Truckin cards…

    Like 3
  22. FrankD Member

    needs a frame with a Coyote engine.

    Like 0
  23. Dana Lambie

    Cruisin Wagon’s claim to fame was as the car that Mad Max’s wife and kid drove. Had a 71 sedan; trunk no hatch. 2.0L w/C4. It had 4wheel drum brakes. It survived because it couldn’t stop fast enough to get rear ended and burst into flames. Still have some pieces left. Recently sold the retrofit anti-fire kit for $50. Looking at a 72 wagon w/rebuilt 2.0L 4spd. Header, intake manifold and Weber 32/36 carb. Many Mustang II and early fox body stuff provide factory upgrades. I had a set of 15” Fittipaldi wheels w/205/60-15 Michelins, KYB shocks. No rub ever. The Mustang II Cobra II rear diff fits. Many were posi. Two things about the 71 and early 72 model years: 1) no heater control valve, it was all done with the blend door. 2) at the bottom end of the steering column there is a short length of braided wire that bows out just a bit. This makes those cars the ones to accept the V8 conversion much easier. The lack of a heater control valve was actually a bonus as the heater core was always in play to help the cooling system. Especially good for those cars w/auto trans and in warm climates. I’ll take a clean Pinto over many of the new econo offerings out there. Call me a glutton for punishment but I owned a 71 Pinto, 72 Vega, 73 Gremlin, two 73 Mercury Capris, 71 Celica and a 69 Corona 4dr 4spd all at the same time. They all rode on BFG T/As at one time or another. Of that collection the Pinto and the Corona were my favorites.

    Like 0
  24. Blake, does my opinion really matter ???

    Wow, 2 Pinto articles recently. The web sites with the Mother Jones article are making a fortune off of pop up ads right now! Thank you for clarifying the wagons were never involved in the recall. If memory serves me right (it sometimes does for the old fart I have become) the wagon model outsold the sedan and runabout for a year or two. I may be wrong on that.

    Like 0

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