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Sneaky Survivor: 1972 Ford Pinto

1972 Ford Pinto

This Pinto is showing 60k on the odometer and is claimed to have been off the road since at least 2002. It appears to be in amazing condition too! Well, for the most part at least. The first few photos presented in the eBay listing make the car look very nice, but as you progress further into them you realize that this survivor has some corrosion concerns. If the bidding stays low enough though, it might still be worth some consideration.

Rust Showing

Rust is always the enemy when dealing with classic cars. The nasty stuff appears here in areas where the paint has chipped and there are a few bubbles starting to form down low. You have to give the seller credit for taking honest photos, but with all the use of seemingly trendy keywords (survivor, estate car, barn find, expected patina?), one has to wonder if they don’t have big expectations and a high reserve for this one.

Wheres The Manual

The seat is torn, the dash is cracked, and the headliner is loose. Things cleaned up pretty  well in here though. Personally, I’d rather have a 4-speed in my Pinto. Automatic transmissions may be well-suited to big V8-powered cruisers, but manuals are the only way to go with small four-cylinder engines like that found in this car. By shifting your own gears you are able to keep the car in the correct power band for the task at hand. That can make the car seem faster and it’s a whole heck of a lot more fun!

Patriot Ford

Speaking of speed, this Pinto is fitted with a 2-liter engine. That may not sound like much displacement when you are talking about American cars, but it was enough for the countless race, rally, and production cars that used the same engine. It came from Ford of Europe and was a durable lump that produced decent power. It may seem strange to hear, but the engine has been popular with kit car builders and hot rodders for many years. In fact, Josh would be tickled pink to find one to drop into his Blakely! Too bad the seller doesn’t include a photo.

Pinto Hatchback

This Pinto seems a little scruffy for a survivor to me, but perhaps I’m focusing too much on the flaws. The seller does present an interesting conundrum. The car looks good, but the rust is an issue. So, do you restore the car and fix the rust or do you leave it alone and claim that it’s a survivor? That’s a tough one, but I suppose the decision will ultimately be up the next owner. What route do you think would you take though?


  1. piper62j

    LOL.. I’d like to know where the seller got the word “patina” from.. Appears to be a female selling it and overalll, not a bad find.. Average condition for the year and mileage especially coming from Mass. I’ve worked on a lot of these Pintos and owned several also.. Good cars regardless of the bad publicity. People still buy them, so there’s definitely a demand..
    Good car, great find.

    Like 1
    • BillB

      The 2000cc was mandatory with the C3 automatic.

      Like 0
  2. grenade

    Yep, I agree. Cool cars. I’d stuff a Raptor engine in it just to see what it would do!

    Like 0
  3. JW

    Decent car for a DD, cheap on gas but with that 4 banger and a automatic it won’t be no tire fryer. IMHO his bidding has surpassed it’s value of 2K. Just my opinion for what it’s worth.

    Like 0
  4. Zaphod

    Why why why?

    Like 0
  5. piper62j

    You’r correct JW.. It’s not worth 2k in it’s present condition, but as you know, there is an increasing demand for Pintos lately.. Easy to maintain and cheap to drive.. Fun too.. The 4 banger has enough power to weight but is no super star for burnouts.. LOL

    Like 2
  6. jim s

    this same seller has the tempest wagon that was posted the other day. if rust is not to bad and the seller removes the reserve this would be a daily driver. interesting find.

    Like 0
  7. TBall

    Come on folks, Pinto I4’s were never intended to burn tires so why comment? Still had plenty of power to get it down the road – had one that wouldn’t quit not matter how much I abused it in my youth. And what Pinto (especially in MASS) didn’t have rust issues? Bottom line, not a bad car, hard to break motor, great gas mileage. But please sellers – understand what an odometer that only has 5 digits means – despite overall good condition, hard to believe only 2k miles per year. Nice little mini Maverick. Used to know a guy that mounted one on a bronco chassis with a 351 – thing would climb a tree.

    Like 1

    One of my best friends in school drove one of these. His dad had a used car lot and he would always get his choice of the fresh trades. His car had wide aluminum slots and 50 series tires on all four corners. It was green like the featured car. He painted black stripes on it and for an otherwise stock Pinto was pretty cool. It was a good driver and held up pretty well for him. He had a way to drain what little life was left in his dads old trade ins. After he got them only place left when he was done was the salvage yard. First time I went over 100 mph was with him in an old Chrysler with a weak battery and bald tires. Those were good times.

    The featured car may look rough to many but is actually in fantastic shape for what it is. They didn’t look this good in the 1980’s The 1970’s American cars had horrible build quality and looked thrown together and were. They were not made to last and no one seemed to care. The condition is consistent with someone taking care of it (or at least trying) Hopefully this has had the fuel tank liner retrofit done by Ford to prevent the dreaded rear end collision explosion. Not too bad. I appreciate the honest condition. Great that the seller avoided squirting spray and shine all over and fluffing the ad as many do as if finding a dinosaur bone in the back yard!

    Like 0
  9. Marco

    Not to be a wet blanket- but as AMCFAN just pointed out, this car was notorious for frying its passengers/victims in gas tank explosions if hit in the rear. No Thanks!

    Like 0
  10. Tom

    I owned a Pinto with an auto and it went pretty good. Not sure which engine 2.4?

    Like 0
  11. kenny

    The 1.6 and 2.0 are both great… when mated to the 4 speed. I would mildly modify the engine with intake, exhaust, cam.

    Trouble here is the rust and other little details of wear. The car was not indoors enough and clearly came from the rust belt.

    $1500, TOPS. Yes, remove the rust; and I guess one would need to repaint it. That’ll cost ya.

    To note: I sold a mint condition 1974 Saddle Bronze Pinto small trunk model with only 26k orig miles (I bought it with 15k miles in 1999 for $1150) back in 2007. For $1780.

    It had: No rust at all, CA car it’s whole life, stored mostly in garages, 1 crack in the dash and a little ding. Carpet was a little faded in front. Its till had factory tape on the rear leaf spring. I added new tires, tune up, decel valve, new alternator, and a rebuilt carb for $500.

    It took over 8 months to get that $1780. I was asking $2150 with no bites.

    Like 1
  12. Ron (Florida)

    Even with the rust and the interior issues, I think this car is in really good condition considering that these were throw away cars. There is a dark green one around the same year for sale about a mile from my house, I think I want to go take a look at it now, it’s in a bit better shape and is a Florida car.

    Like 1
  13. Joe Howell

    Dearly loved my 72 Pinto wagon with the 2300cc engine and 4 speed but it rusted to death after 20 years and 160,000 miles. A cherry 1976 Bi-Centennial Pinto I picked up years later with 16,000 original miles had an auto and was such a dog compared to my old 72 that I sold it. A friend bought it and used it for years. His dog loved to ride under that nice large rear window. They were good cheap transportation, no more prone to flaming than any other small car. The Pinto that started the whole exploding thing was struck from behind while stopped by a Chevy van going 50-55 MPH. That could cause a lot of car to explode. I had one of Chevy’s exploding pickups and never lost any sleep over driving it either.

    Like 0
  14. Wayne Thomas

    Perfect EcoBoost swap for an ultimate sleeper!

    Like 1
  15. Neil Sorensen

    My ex came with a ’73 Pinto which was basically a shrunken LTD. 2 ltr automatic cars were slugs. The Ford engineers chose a WAY wrong torque converter for the poor things, and they had about as much power from a dead stop as a Yugo running on two cylinders. The good side was the damned thing was stone reliable. We kept it seven years (she got it new), and in that time it got a water pump, an alternator, a distributor and a timing belt. It was, unfortunately, proof of Neil Young’s theorem, “rust never sleeps”.

    Like 0

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