Sprint Décor Option: 1972 Ford Pinto Runabout

A few months ago I sold one of my prized possessions that I have had since I was a teenager, a 1971 Gibson Flying V Medallion Edition #21. I had it for 35+ years and since it had been more than three decades since I was in my last rock band, it was just hoarding to hold onto it when someone else could be enjoying it. I only mention that because I still miss it and because it was also made to commemorate the 1972 Olympics just like this 1972 Ford Pinto Sprint was. This rare special edition can be found here on eBay in Tehachapi, California with a $3,000 buy it now price or you can make an offer. Let’s check it out.

I didn’t think of asking Jesse and Josh if I could list the guitar on the Barn Finds classifieds section since it’s not a site for things other than vehicles and I didn’t want them to feel that they had to do that. I bet that there are a lot of guitar players out there among the car fanatics, though, and what’s better than classic cars and classic guitars?! When I saw this cool special edition Pinto, it called my name. Not to mention, what I sold that rare guitar for – almost 10 times what I paid for it and I should have held out for more – I could almost nut-and-bolt restore this Pinto. We’re using the money for the new-garage-fund so at least it isn’t being wasted. Back to this car. It looks like it has a replacement hood, it should have a dual blue wide stripe down the center but maybe it’s just been painted.

I hadn’t heard of the Sprint Décor Option Fords but they made versions of the Mustang, Maverick, and Pinto. They aren’t all crazy’d up with graphics and overly-red, white, and blue like I would have expected, Ford sure held back on them. The US flag shield decals are missing from the rear quarter panels which is unfortunate. I’m assuming that this car has been painted in the past but maybe someone peeled them off or sanded those areas or something, who knows. The red stripe above the blue on the bottom portion of the car appears to have faded to a dull gray.

The tires, wheel covers, and trim rings look like the real deal and the seller has this listed as a 39,000-mile car so they very well could be. They say that it’s a “very solid “barn find” car that was in storage for more than 10 years”. It does look solid other than surface rust and oddly-faded-yet-bright-in-spots paint. And, the missing flag shield stickers on the quarter panels. I don’t see any glaring issues that a few weekends of sanding wouldn’t take care of. It’s not like a rare guitar where you don’t want to refinish it because it’ll kill the value.

I wish we could see under those seat covers, the front seats should look like the back seats in a wide-ribbed blue pattern with white around the edges. The steering wheel and Olympic-sized-swimming-pool tachometer would be gone in the first day under my ownership, but I’m funny that way. A full interior restoration is on the agenda here for sure. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the top of the dash but I’m assuming that it’s cracked.

According to the VIN, this car was made in San Jose, California so hopefully a lot of the rust that we would see in the upper-Midwest or Northeast has been kept at bay. Speaking of bay, this engine bay is filled with 2.0 liters of inline-four goodness. Ok, with just 86 hp it can only be so good, but the seller says that this car “starts and drives” which is a good sign. A bad sign is that they have salvage title listed on the eBay specs but in the description, they say that they that it has “a clear title and it has a Non-op status with DMV”. Have any of you heard of the Sprint Décor Option? And, even more importantly, are any of you fans of both cars and vintage guitars? If so, what’cha got? I’ve got two Gibsons left and I’m holding onto them as long as I can.

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Comments

  1. TimS Member

    If I had something like that guitar it would be sold after I died unless someone was offering mid 6 figures. My family had a 72 Pinto like this in black/black and I think this combo is sharp. If it was an auto I’d restore it and use it as an in-town driver.

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  2. Howard A

    Why do these sellers automatically think everybody is stupid except them? 39K miles, you’ve got to be kidding. I guess it’s not going to end here. Tach, header, 4 speed, sport wheel, somebody drove this car pretty hard. 39K miles( chuckle), good grief.

    11
    • Chinga-Trailer

      Yeah, one should ask the seller just how many times it’s been a 39,000 mile car. A nearly 50 year old car with only 39,000 miles will have more problems than one with 239,000 or more miles, but at least we know this guy will say anything to get the sale.

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      • dweezilaz

        Just like my 13,000 mile 63 Valiant in 1980. 113,ooo minimum or 213,000 more likely.

        Still low mileage today !!!! 62,000 miles now !!! /s.

        And yes, cars do rust in the desert, folks.

        2
  3. jpvogl

    Always thought these first-gen Pintos were simple, honest cars, nicely styled, no quarter-vinyl tops or opera lights needed. Friend of mine in high school had one, slot mags, good-looking car. When he broke his left foot, he used a chunk of 2X4 with a big rag tied on the end to operate the clutch. Worked pretty well, considering!

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  4. Dave

    1972 wasn’t a great year. Watergate, the Olympic massacre, the last NASA moon landings, a huge FCC raid on area CBers, the guy who helped me get on the air was run over and killed by a drunk driver, the kid who sat across the lunch table from me was run over by a car and killed while crossing the street. The fall was the beginning of my senior year of high school.

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    • Chinga-Trailer

      Hadn’t thought of 1972, but you’re right, I was shot by a truck driver in Montana, then a few months later cracked my skull and suffered a traumatic brain injury but before the year was out I’d learned to walk, button a shirt and find my mouth with a spoon.

      8
      • Dave

        I almost forgot about Hurricane Agnes. It sat and spun and ruined June and early July for most of the Northeast.

        3
    • Brent

      Ya think all that is bad. Year I married ex-wife.

      14
  5. Trent Poole

    They were just basic transportation….Sis had a Pinto . Mom had a Bobcat . Same car, same story . Everybody comes up with the explosion stories . Gas tank was in the same position on the vehicle as a first Gen Mustang and Falcon from the earlier days . (Yes, the highly praised Mustang was an offspring of the Falcon .) The difference between The Pinto and The Mustang / Falcon ? Position of two bolts.

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    • dweezilaz

      And eventually found to be no more of an fire/ explosion risk than other small cars of the period.

      6
  6. Matt G.

    Unless you owned one, you don’t know what they were. My first was a medium lime metallic (think Kia soul alien green), I loved it, drove 60,000 miles in commuting through Chicago to get my BS Ind. Ed. Never less than 20mpg best was over 35 highway without cruise control manual transmission. Nice four seat economy car, before a lot of emission controls and 5mph bumpers. Oh,I took it in for the recall, so it wouldn’t leak gas when hit from behind. The best $2450.51 new car anyone could buy. Oh I had a lot of fun with it at autocross.

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  7. Will got fired

    First job at a Ford dealership around 1975 and vaguely remember these editions. My first assignment was to install the recall parts on pintos for the tendicy to go up in flames, so I was the sacrificial lamb in anything went wrong. And it did. A pinto I preformed the repairs on was parked in the road in front of the owners house with a just filled tank of gas and as normal in a small town at night when the bars closed every drunk drove themselves home and one clipped this freshly repaired pinto and it went up in flames. Went to work As normal and one day was told that I could be in trouble for not repairing said pinto properly and Ford was investigating. Eventually I was cleared as Ford could find no issues with the recall parts installation. Went on to work on Ford products for 35+ years and last year criticized Ford for their poor quality and cutting their losses by slashing payment to us that correct their mistakes and they made sure this time I would pay with my job.

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  8. Bob_in_TN Member

    Seen in the “Display Only” area of Mustang Club of America show in Pensacola, Florida in 2017. This one was in very good shape.

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    • Wayne Williams

      Hi my name is Wayne Williams in North Carolina I am looking for a Pinto sprint if you know anyone that has one for sale I’m very interested I have the Maverick and the mustang would like to have the Pinto thank you my number is 919-770-9287

  9. Bob_in_TN Member

    more

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  10. Bob_in_TN Member

    another pic

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  11. Bob_in_TN Member

    interior was nice too.

    The owner also had a Mustang version at the show. It was in much poorer condition.

    I always thought these were pretty cool looking.

    10
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for adding the great photos, Bob! I doubt if they’d take three-grand for that one!

      4
  12. mark

    “Seller says it starts and drives”. I wonder how well it drives on those 2 flat tires?

    5
  13. Miguel

    I don’t think those are seat covers. They look like they were redone with a cheap plain material.

    7
  14. Jeff

    Wow does this car take me back! A kid next door to me bought one when they were brand new. I think it was about three weeks old when it he started having problems with it not starting in the morning. I remember thinking at the time it was a cool looking car, but I would have rather had the Mustang or maybe even the Maverick, LOL.

    4
  15. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Sorry about your loss Scotty. Thats one nice axe. Glad you have two Gibson’s to fall back on. I kind of know the feeling. I am trying to bring myself to sell my Black Beauty Les Paul Custom. I bought it new in 73, but she mostly sleeps under the bed now. I hope your therapy is going along well, I will probably see you in group soon. Best of luck on the new garage, take care Mike.

    5
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha. Thanks, Mike. I was going to mention you but I wasn’t positive that you were a guitar guy. I thought that you had mentioned it a while ago. It’s like selling a favorite rare car that you know you’ll never be able to afford ever again, it’s pretty sad. Not to mention the memories associated with “the band days”. My ’66 Firebird (Gibson not Pontiac) was the one that I played the most so I’ll keep that one for sure. My first was a Univox Les Paul and I’ll keep that one, too. A black Les Paul, dang. Nice.

      6
      • Beatnik Bedouin

        Given the choice of a special edition Flying V or a special edition Pinto, the Gibson would win every time! ;-)

        I think the others have picked up that this particular Pinto is not all that wonderful…

        Seems we have some musicians in this group – cool! I have a very early production Les Paul Jr that I’ve owned since 1966. It got stolen in ’92 and when the cops gave it back to me, the thief had sanded down and disassembled the poor thing. Seeing it in that state broke my heart and I haven’t touched it ever since.

        I do have this two-owner ’66 Vox Wildcat that gives my arthritic fingers a workout from time-to-time. For years, it was the main axxe in my studio.

        5
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I’ve been bitten by the guitar bug too, but only recently. I decided I needed a new hobby, so I started learning, and collecting.

      I have nothing vintage or valuable, but I like getting ahold of different models, cleaning them up, upgrading them, taking them for a musical spin now and then, etc. Kind of like having a collection of old cars but taking up MUCH less space and $$.

      What you guys own are treasures. I love visiting reverb.com and dreaming.

      2
  16. Jay E.

    Lets not forget Viet F#$^%&G Nam, The draft that was hanging over our heads. I wanted to fly Hueys so bad I was already trying to sign up, but was too young. Ignorant youth, I probably wouldn’t have lived through the first month.
    I recall these Pintos, they actually looked pretty nice as far as Pintos go. Girls were a lot younger then. Still have my Yamaha FG650 sitting in the closet waiting for a strum, I agree, there are a ton of memories associated with a guitar. Has a Dead sticker on the case, wonder what that is worth.

    5
  17. Cobra Steve

    The Mustang II shared the same front suspension and it was plenty solid. So solid, in fact, many street rods and Cobra replicas used the Pinto/Mustang II front suspension set up.

    2
  18. Healeymonster

    I always love Barn Finds for a drive down Memory Lane!
    It helps to ease the pain after walking by a mirror wondering who that old fart is staring back at me..

    9
    • Jay E.

      Time to get rid of mirrors!

      3
  19. dweezilaz

    Scotty, as part of my parent’s estate was my Dad’s Martin guitar from the early 40s. He was in a band where he met my mother, a singer.

    It was eventually put on consignment via an antique instruments store and went for over $30,000.

    Sad to see it go, but it was part of the estate.

    A lot of time doesn’t make it any less hard to part with. But for a garage !!!!!??? That should take the sting away.

    As for the car, these were common sights as I was in high school at the time. Much better looking than the “Stallion” trim group offered at some point.

    Saw a Mustang II in the JY with this option some years ago. Immaculate interior at that time the car was probably 15 or so years old.

    I love these for the simplicity, they even came with a tool kit and manual that explained how to do simple service tasks.

    4
  20. Will Owen Member

    Victorville, which is a fair bit south from Tehachapi, has a fairgrounds with a dirt track, where some years ago we would go with a friend to the Saturday night races. While they ran most of the stock-car classes, our favorites were the Mini-Stocks, which always featured a lot of small cars driving their little hearts out … and almost all of them were Pintos. And all of the winners were Pintos. The reasons were obvious: they all ran well on top of the dirt, wet or dry; they got a good grip and ran faster than anybody else, and they handled beautifully. Having a Pinto would not guarantee a win, but having anything else guaranteed no wins ever.

    And then I understood where all those Pintos had gone to! Kinda glad this one got away …

    2
    • Bob_in_TN Member

      And, weren’t both 4 cylinder powertrains considered to be fairly bulletproof? I bought my 1973 when it was three years old with 39K miles. It was already rusty. But after some initial carb work, I had no other mechanical problems. I sold it five years later with over 90K miles. During those years I worked to keep the rust at bay but by then it was starting to be a losing battle.

      1
  21. Jerry S

    Had one of these in 73. Offy dual plane intake and headers woke it up and recurving the distributor helped. Then the 55 mph speed limit came along and had to rework it all.

    1
  22. Cobra Steve

    If I recall correctly, the 1.6 L engine was a Kent block. Or at least many items will interchange with a 1.5 L Kent block.

    Years ago I had a 1973 Lotus Europa twin cam special, not the John Player special. I had to rebuild the engine due to items the machine shop had overlooked such as resizing three of the four connecting rods. The extra displacement was attributed to the fact the deck is about a half inch taller. The original engine was a pushrod engine Colin Chapman converted and I recall having an extra spacer upfront around the timing chain area. Ran like a scalded dog and was very reliable!

  23. Del

    Chinga’s real name is Jack Reacher.

    Sorry. Could not resist.

    I love this little Ford Hand grenade.

    If I was closer I would buy it.

  24. Mike W

    Cars and guitars have gone together since Ike Turner sang about a Rocket 88 and Chuck Berry sang about a Coffee Coloured Cadillac in “Nadine”… I’m a bass player, and while a car has 4 Fenders, I have 3 – Fender basses, that is… I think the relationship is pretty clear, and it’s always great to roll up to the gig driving something cool…Dust off your guitars and play ’em, that’s what they’re for!!

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  25. Saul

    Not to nit-pick, but are we sure this edition was called the “Sprint” and not the “Spirit” edition? Seems odd they would do this in 72 for the Olympics, and yes we all got a lot of red, white and blue dealer options come 1976!

    Saul–
    automotive and stringed instrument obsession since 1961.

    3
  26. Foobarski Member

    “I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
    Tehachapi to Tonapah
    Driven every kind of Pinto that’s ever been made …”

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    • Mike

      Nice,, just how Lowell George wouldve sang it!

      1
  27. JJ Baney

    So 72 hand-me-down pinto was my first car. My brother-in-law had this one that is pictured. Is this thing really for sale? What is this guy asking for it? It is supper rough but a handy person with a lot of spare cash could rebuild it. First time I have been on here. Can I get some education on this site?
    Thanks

    1

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