Started Out As A Beater: 1976 Pinto Wagon

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Oh wow! A lime green two door compact, now on the market here on craigslist for $13,000. Pat L. sent us this tip for the 1976 Ford Pinto MPG Wagon, which awaits a new owner in Los Angeles. I personally wouldn’t buy a car priced at an unlucky “13” number, but maybe the seller would take $12,999. Maybe less. If you meet his demand, you’ll be getting into top-Pinto-money territory. Perhaps the work done to the car justifies this, though. You just need to decide whether the level of fit and finish matches your expectations.

What you have here is an extremely detailed owner who has taken five years to put this car right. He’s done body and paint work (back in 2018), eliminating what rust there was at that time. There’s still some value to be added, though. The front seats are noted as being ripped; the dash pad is cracking but covered; the carpet needs attention due to fading and ripped under the driver’s feet. Kind of makes you wonder whether renewal parts are available. If they are, and given the laundry list of work and parts thrown at this car (see below), why not put a dash pad, carpet set, and seat skins on the Pinto?

The Pinto now has just north of 70,000 miles on the odometer, and thus on its 2.3-liter engine and chassis, but the engine runs fine at 60 mph, and other mechanical elements have been renewed, including cooling system components and various elements that might otherwise be leaky, like the radiator hoses, water pump gasket, and wheel cylinders, just to grab a few items from the detailed list offered. The car has also been treated to a long list of tune-up parts. In short, it looks like the current owner has spent considerable time and money getting this Pinto, which came out as the 1970-80 model years run was just past halfway, into shape. The MGP model designation, described here, was a product of the mid-70s gas crunch, and an attempt by Ford to defend against the incursion by fuel efficient import nameplates.

The year of manufacture should tip you off that, this being a California car, it’s not smog exempt. But the seller makes clear that he has taken the time and expense to get the Pinto into smog compliance, and that it has an up-to-date smog check documented. That means that, if you live in the Golden State, you can pile on the miles for two years before you’ll need to recertify the car. In that time, you could pack some camping stuff into the back area and head to the desert. Then do a weekend in Huntington Beach. Why not make a trek to the mountains next? A new-to-you car makes the world seem full of possibilities.

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  1. KC JohnMember

    Started as a beater. And? A repainted beater emerged from the cocoon?

    Like 31
    • Rex Stacy

      I’ve owned 2 paid $100 for one the other I got free drop one zero on the price is still too much for a beater

      Like 1
  2. CadmanlsMember

    Should have kept beating on it. 13K now he’s tripping.

    Like 34
    • Tim

      Right? 13k is better elsewhere

      Like 3
  3. jrhmobile

    More like smeared mud on it and spot-painted it. And not a single shot of the interior either. Not even worth rolling by to take a look.

    Like 13
    • jrhmobile

      I take it back. There’s one shot of the headliner. I’d still pass for half the price he’s asking.

      Like 5
  4. John

    13,000 for bondo repairs? No interior photos, no engine photos? No underside photos. No high quality outside photos? I know cars like this were not built with excellent gaps between panels but what shows here looks worse not better lines at seams or body lines. 13,000 for a car like this is means the current owner either wants to keep it or someone will likely be “blessed” with buyers remorse.

    Like 10
  5. mike

    April fools day again….sorry seller

    Like 9
  6. Greg B Greg BMember

    Appears to have a lot of bondo on that rear quarter panel? My paint-less repair man could have worked 98% of it out then have the body shop use just a light amount of filler. No pics of the interior is not helping but I do appreciate all the work done that was noted!

    Like 5
  7. Cooter CooterMember

    “Cruising thru town…in my green Pinto….with my windows tinted so…my friends won’t know”

    Like 9
  8. Maggy

    13k is way too much.I’m thinkin 5k obo should have left it a beater. Neat little car though.Stayed at my buddies grandparents place at the Huntinton commons condos in 87 very close to the ocean.Beautiful place probably a million dollar condo today.Trekked our rented 86 Lincoln towncar across the desert to Vegas where his parents timeshare was at with digital speedo blinking at 85mph with cruise on doing probably 100 110.Man that was a fun trip.

    Like 2
    • Davey Boy

      I would give them seven or $8,000 for it. Just because of the actual mechanical work they put into it the low miles on it and the fact that it wouldn’t take that much for me to tear out the Shawty body work and do it right and then do the interior the way I wanted done and painted the color I want I had a green Pinto not a big fan I had a red Pinto with a bright yellow stripe that looked really cool for an old California Cruiser but what I really want is all Blues and porthole windows so I think it would be a great start

      Like 0
  9. Angus Mustang

    13K, really?
    People asking this kind of money are insane, and people that pay it are brainless
    $3500 tops

    Like 6
    • Harry 1

      They just have more money than sense. 13g for any Pinto Geesh! Its never going to gain a lot of value! Its a PINTO!

      Like 0
  10. Russ Ashley

    Well, that’s not my dream car, and although used cars are selling high right now, I’d be surprised if anyone pays that price for that car. Judging from the list of what all he’s done to it and considering what he paid for it, he may very well have his asking price or more invested in it. He obviously saw more in this car than most of us see to have done all of that work and spent that much on it, so I hope someone will come along who will appreciate it and take good care of it. GLWTS.

    Like 2
  11. Frog Man

    5k max but trip to cali never on my list

    Like 1
  12. 1st Gear

    Dear seller, please discontinue ingesting the mood and mind altering chemicals you’ve been partaking in. $13k ? Yeah, right . . .

    Like 2
    • Reginald Grover

      I will buy a Pinto the day Amelia Earnhardt lands.

      Like 1
  13. Dan

    So, if you aren’t already aware, the MPG models did get better gas mileage than their non-MPG peers. How? Ford put very tall gears in the rear end. Yes, they did get better mileage but they were even slower than the non-MPG models! The fact that this is a wagon (the heaviest if all models) made it even worse. Also, this was the second year of full smog equipment like the smog pump and catalytic converter etc. This also made it even slower. If all of these items are still present, a school bus would be a whole lot faster than this wagon. I have had a number of Pintos and Bobcats. The price here is very high. You can find a nice original one for this price range. If you went up a little more in money, you’d be paying what a dealer wants for a nicer one. This is a “no sale.”

    Like 4
  14. C Force

    $13,000!!!??Might want to call a doctor because i think someone may of fell and bumped their head….

    Like 1
  15. Matt

    Oh look, you can in fact polish a turd. I kinda like it.

    Like 0
  16. Yblocker

    Could be worse, could be a Vega.

    Like 3
  17. JOHN N

    At the end of the day, it a Pinto. Not a Mustang or even a Maverick. I don’t think there’s ever been a Pinto worth $13k… although at the current pace of inflation, who knows.

    Like 1
    • Yblocker

      At the end of the day, has there ever been a dozen eggs worth $7? Has there ever been a gallon of gas worth $5? Has there ever been a house worth $500,000? Has there ever been a convertible Hemi Cuda worth a $1,000,000? Why certainly, it’s called living the American Dream Lol

      Like 5
  18. Big C

    I see the “esteemed” klassic kar dealers are advertising Pinto wagons for around $20,000. Complete beater coupe’s sprayed in resale red for $15k. No wonder this guy out in LaLa land wants $13,000 for this heap. Craziness is a disease that’s spreading throughout the hobby.

    Like 0
  19. chrlsful

    turboford dot org may havea post on the AOD behind the Lima. That would make this “My” rig (they call me ‘wagon man’ round here). Luv the lima, its weber carb (progressive) & more. Just nota fan of body wrk…

    Like 0
  20. BCB42

    I honestly tought this was satire.
    I was sadly mistaken.

    Like 1
  21. Davey Boy

    Shame I was going to say didn’t only thing I want more than this is a 71-72 Vega wagon. Sheet metal the back windows closed on the sides with some diamond shape portholes or at least box shaped tip to tip and a smoked glass and then all the blue colors you could use put a really nice set of FAT tru spoke 15″ wheels and tires on it some fat 60s on the back skinny 60s on the front raise it up Pro Stock. Put an ls 6.0 motor( about 500 horsepower) and make it super fast my dream car almost the only thing I would trade that car is for a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner any big block 383 440 Hemi but we all know the Hemi is really the one I want ;-)~. “Thank ya Jesus!” 😁👍 OOHH OOHH OOHH OOHH OOHH ( he says in a very Gruff voice) 🤣

    Like 0
  22. JoeNYWF64

    Higher mileage from a 2.3 with 4 speed manual & 3:18 rear & heavy 5 mpg bumpers front & rear? How?!
    Would not a ’72 wagon with much lighter bumpers/brackets, no heavy restrictive cat converter & 2.0 get better MPG?
    I would think someone could recreate those “MPG” decals.

    Like 0
  23. Dan

    Joe, It wasn’t 3:18 gear ratios. They were extremely tall. Something like 2:45 to 1. As for the decals, the MPG was a an option that was offered on the Pintos and Mustang II ‘s for a few years in the mid-70’s. Just google up some old commercials and you will see them advertising them.

    Like 0

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