The One, The Only Ford Pintochero

1980 Ford Pinto Truck

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, and no, Ford did not make a factory Pinto truck. Someone decided to, though, I’m guessing out of a Pinto wagon, and it looks like they did a pretty darn good job of it. This Pintochero (Ranchinto?) is located in Rutherfordton, North Carolina and is available for only $2,000 here on craigslist.

1980 Ford Pinto Truck Bed

I have seen a lot of really bad examples of cars converted into pickups, and only a few nice ones. But it looks like someone really tried to do this one correctly. The rear tailgate from the wagon has been halved, with the top portion used to finish off the roof and the lower portion used as a tailgate (no idea if it was made functional or not). Side rails, bright trim and what looks like a spray-in bedliner have been used to finish off the bed.

1980 Ford Pinto Truck Engine

Under the hood we find the robust but not particularly powerful 2300 cc OHC 4-cylinder just like the one in my Mom’s Mustang II that I took my driver’s license test in the Monday after I turned 16. This one is the beneficiary of a recently rebuilt cylinder head and new carburetor. The engine is attached to an automatic transmission. New tires, quiet exhaust, good brakes finish out the package. The seller notes that the valves may need adjusting since the cylinder head has just been replaced. I found the procedure here and it doesn’t sound too bad. I don’t see an air conditioning compressor, although I’m sure a system could be found and retrofitted.

1980 Ford Pinto Truck Interior

Moving to the inside, I think I would have chosen a different color for the outside given this interior! But the seats and carpet look passable and even the dash looks pretty good. I’m feeling a guilty pleasure—I really like this little Pintochero! I have fond memories of using my late first wife’s Pinto hatchback as a truck to haul MG and Triumph parts back and forth when we were in college together. This car-truck would work even better, and I’m still hauling MG and Triumph parts around. And it wouldn’t take much to swap in the V6 from a Mustang II or the turbo 4 from the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe or Merkur XR4TI. Oh, I’m getting enthusiastic just thinking about it and this isn’t that far from me. Stop me before I actually go buy this thing!


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  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I’m still trying (unsuccessfully) to convince myself that going after this car/truck isn’t a good thing! I can see it now, painted up as a support vehicle for our Austin Powerless Racing team… :-)

    • Mark E

      I like it! Paint it in team colors and it would be a good support vehicle!

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Yup…we’re white with twin purple stripes right now…would be somewhat appropriate!

  2. boxdin

    One and only…. NOT. There have been lots of these over the years. Google pinto pickup and see.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      You’re right :-) But I still like this one…

  3. cruisintime

    That is sweet for two grand,if it were closer it would already be mine.

  4. Howard Member

    This is a pretty novel idea, however, pictures and up close could be 2 different things. You’d think there would be a call for something like this, but I’m reminded of the Dodge Rampage (or Plymouth Scamp) that was not a big success, and dropped after 2 years.

  5. Vince Habel

    Any snowbirds can drop it off at my place when they come north.

  6. Charles

    I have never been a fan of the Pinto. I was in high school when those explosive little turds were new… The joke around our high school was that if your parents hated you, they would buy you a Pinto for your first car. One car had a bumper sticker on the rear that read, “do not bump.”

    One has to give credit to the person who designed and executed the body work on this conversion. I too have seen lots of truck conversions over the years. Usually there is no forethought, with lots of fiberglass and bondo in a vain attempt to cover up a whole truck load of mistakes. The most pitiful conversion that I remember was a Chevy Nomad wagon that the owner cut down into a pickup. He fiber glassed the original rear window to the rear of the cab, and painted the car with latex paint with a brush.

    At least the person who did this work can be proud of their efforts.

    • Joe Howell

      I disagree. The exploding Pinto that gained fame was sitting still and was rammed from behind by a Chevy van at an estimated speed of 55 if I recall correctly. Most cars of the time wouldn’t stand that either. I had a Pinto wagon and a car and liked them both and never felt any more at risk then anything else I ever drove. Had Ralph Nader’s favorite car and one of the Chevy pickups like then one that was rigged to explode for a TV story. Never lost any sleep over either of those.

  7. jim s

    since these are not body on frame i have to wonder if it was a good idea. if extra bracing has not been added i think there might be some issues. but it does look nice in the pictures.

  8. Ken G.

    Too bad Ford didn’t have this vision of a mini Ranchero. It worked pretty well with the old Falcon design being incorporated.

  9. Denny T

    I had one also, that I made from a 1st generation Pinto, I think it made a better looking pickup than this later version. My wagon was dark green with woody sides, so we called it the country Squirt (instead of Squire). The tailgate worked fine, hanged at the bottom and foam filled for strength, complete with chain stays. There were actually kits sold to convert the wagon. This may have been made from one of the kits as the bed liners, particularly the front, are molded. Denny

  10. Don C

    I did the same thing with a 1962 Corvair station wagon. Used the tailgate the same way. The window half attached to the cut off top and the lower half made into a tailgate. A piece of the removed top was made into the lower part of the cab below the window. It was unique. With the engine under the rear floor the empty under hood area confused a lot of folks. I have pictures if you are interested. I sold the car/truck long ago.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @DonC, love to see the pics, you can upload here in the comments :-)

      Like 1
    • Vince Habel

      I would like to see pictures of it. I had worked on one years ago. I am near Lancaster PA.

  11. pontiactivist

    My dad is doing an early pinto wagon paneled out with a t-bird sc 5spd swap. Gonna be his parts chaser for his inspection garage. He also has a later cruiser wagon he is talking about teying to do a 95 taurus sho motor and ranger 5spd swap in it just for something different.
    Being a wagon fanatic and loving the oddities i cant wait to see either one done. For that matter I cant wait to see my LeMonster done. Lol.

  12. CharlieG

    I did the same thing to an old 67 Plymouth Fury II a relative gave to me. Best darn short errand truck/car I owned. Joined the front and rear frame with 2×4 rectangle tube, added a pair of air shocks and the load cap was a little better. Finally scrapped it after 10 good years. Kept the drivetrain for another Fury I had picked up. With the El Camino’s, and Ranchero’s of the 70’s, makes one wonder why Chrysler didn’t make one from the Charger/Cordoba line of vehicles. It would have been a good looking vehicle.

    Like 1
  13. Ranco Racing

    Install a 2.6 liter V-6 and 5 speed manual.

  14. jefr

    these were kits….Hemmings did an article awhile back. there is a old guy in town that has one.

  15. Vince Habel

    I was in the service with a guy that had a 57 Plymouth done this way.

  16. Joe Howell

    @DonC would love to see your converted Corvair pics, I have weak spot for “Vairs. This Pinto looks well done, it’s a shame Ford never offered it. I liked my Pinto wagon and Runabout and would have definitely considered a Pinto pickup. My wife had a diesel VW pickup that was a handy little truck and went well in the snow, she loved it but it rusted to death. I used to kid her about putting in the bed of my Chevy pickup. I think a small auto based pickup would be a good niche for someone to fill.

  17. John S

    In Australia, someone has had the same idea for a Porsche 928. Finish someone else’s dream, or nightmare, for only $600 AUD…

  18. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

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