Stranger Things: 1974 Ford Pinto

It’s not pea green and it’s not a 1976 model, but Joyce Byers could have just as easily driven this 1974 golden brown Pinto Runabout. In fact, this color might be a better match for her weary, working mother persona. Being from sunny Santa Monica, CA means this one has a lot less rust than the one on the hit TV show, Stranger Things. Find it here on craigslist for $4,500.

If you haven’t seen the hit Netflix show, you are missing out on a cornucopia of 1960-80s vehicles. Every now and then a later model vehicle will pop up (the show takes place in Indiana in 1983), but for the most part the vehicles are what you would find in small town America back then. Winona Ryder is frequently seen tearing up the back roads in her trusty green Pinto. We even get to see it burn a little back right tire rubber in season two! Of course it was on wet dirt, because the 2.3L four paired to a three speed automatic couldn’t peel the top of a Snack Pack pudding! My 1981 Granada L had the same set up and was taken by a school bus once!

This little Pinto Runabout is in great condition for a vehicle that truly defined disposable. Inside, the all vinyl seats still look new and are stitched to look more expensive than they are. The dashboard is a bit sunburned and the carpet is faded, but all of it is still functional and belies the fact this is a forty year old economy car. Ford put less plastic in its interiors than GM, so expect less chalky and crumbling panels than a similar Vega. The woodgrain and chrome really spruce up the place, but get use to those wind up windows as AC doesn’t look present.

Those bumpers could double as picnic tables and benches! Nice that the filler panels are still intact and that grill has all its teeth. Said to run as good as it looks. The paint still looks shiny and the styling screams 70s. All four hubcaps are still clinging for life, California blue plate is a nice touch, and not having a passenger side mirror is just plain cool. All this Pinto needs is a great bumper sticker, something with a warning about following too close. Love that a few of the pictures in the ad show vehicles that would equally be at home on Stranger Things. Orange VW Beetle, white K-car, old truck with camper, shoot, this could be where the production staff got the cars for the show! Better wrangle this clean little pony before it too becomes a star car.


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  1. Wade Anderson

    My wife had red 74 when we got married I tried to move it one day using my 442 to get it farther back in the yard and not having any bumper guards on either car the Olds went right over the Pinto and busted out the grill .The Pinto was her choice over what her dad wanted her to get she thought his choice was ugly because it was blue and had a pointy nose and a sky high spoiler on back and it was a Plymouth

    • DrinkinGasoline

      And who’s fault was that ? Ever heard of placing a bare tire between bumpers? I have to agree with her taste concerning the Plymouth also….LOL ! With the money choice at her disposal between the Pinto and a Superbird….she made the right choice but surely had more options to choose from in more ways than one…..hmmmm.

    • Marvin

      Now you’ve done it. Got us all trying figure out what Plymouth has a pointy nose and spoiler…LOL

      • DrinkinGasoline

        Dang those Superbird’s and Daytona’s !! The Coyote should have won ! Go ACME !

  2. DrinkinGasoline

    I’ve had a few Pintos over the years. A Pony with a 289 transplant, A Runabout with a 302 transplant with hacked up front inner fenders to accommodate headers and a 2.3 wagon with a factory stick that would rip tires with a clutch dump in 1st and second gears. Not a one of them had a fuel tank issue and served me well. I would still like to give Ralph Nader a good sock in the nose. I would rather have this over a Kia Soul. I’ll provide the hamsters TYVM.

  3. Dirks Bently

    Exploding upon impact was the lil pinto by Ford !

    • VegasEMT

      Nah…..just typical media sensationalism:

    • Marvin

      Actually…I owned a ’71 and a ’72 with no issues. My father was driving the ’72 and was rear-ended at a stoplight by someone doing 55. No fire, no ruptured gas tank. Blown out of proportion.

      • Dirks Bently

        Do you want to gamble on life! Only takes one hit at the right angle and my little pinto goes boom :-(

        Swap the tank with one with a bladder to avoid torching one of the family tree!

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Here we go again,,,

      • Bobsmyuncle


    • RP

      Explode on impact, the check is in the mail and I will respect you in the morning…………….. Uh huh, I have a little TRUE story for you. I wrapped a bright orange ’74 Pinto COMPLTELY around a telephone pole after hitting black ice in 1978. The impact actually forced the paint off the roof in one sheet. Not only did I walk away without injury, but I had to shut the thing off before I got out because it was still running. True story, February 1978 in Baltimore County Maryland. After that I owned four more Pintos, and loved every one of them.

  4. JW

    The Mustangs of the time had the same issue with the gas tank since it was the floor of the trunk, especially if you had a trap door to the passenger compartment like our 70. All it took to remedy this was some guy who developed the TANK ARMOR which bolted right over the top of the gas tank and would deflect gas from a ruptured tank downward instead of in to the car itself., It cost me $150 and a couple hours installation.

    • Dirks Bently

      I agree on armer as I have a classic mustang convert and the problem like the exploding pinto was the tank is the trunk floor and upon impact it could give a nice bath of fuel awaiting igniting :/p

  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    It’s a Pinto. It’s brown. It’s $4500. Steee-rike 3!

  6. dm

    Once co-drove a 24 hour straight-through drive from San Diego to Dallas in a ’74 Pinto. It wasn’t an XKE but it got the job done.

    Like 1
  7. mark

    $4500 for a Plane Jane Pinto? Subtract a zero and it is priced about right.

  8. grant

    taken by a school bus! ha!!!!!

  9. Curt

    If remember correctly the tank is separate from the bottom of the trunk.on the 60s mustang and falcons they were that way,the reason the pinto would explode is because the tank got pushed into the rear diff and muffler….

  10. Mlaw

    Joyce who?

  11. dan

    Rather check out the Beetle next to it

  12. Snotty

    Her dad wanted her to have a SuperBird!!!! “Really” He should of bought the over the top bird for himself.

  13. chad

    like a hatch (esp ‘American’).
    Rather a Pinto waggy…
    Excellent carb (webber progressive) – Turbo it?

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