V6 Power! 1977 Ford Pinto Wagon

Over the last week, we have covered a ’76 Chevrolet Vega and an ’80 Chevrolet Monza, a Vega replacement, and many have opined around the subject of the ill-fated Vega’s engine and what could have been done to ameliorate that dismal situation. The Vega’s competitor, the Ford Pinto, got into the swing of things, power-wise, much earlier than Chevrolet, and today’s 1977 Ford Pinto station wagon find is a sound example of what Chevrolet should have done but failed to do. This Pinto wagon is located in Ocala, Florida and is available, here on craigslist for $8,900. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

The Pinto, like the Vega, started out with in-line four-cylinder engines but in 1975 decided to add a 2.8-liter V6 engine to the line-up. While the Pinto engines didn’t possess the inherent destructive tendencies that annihilated the Vega’s reputation, Ford had other Pinto foibles to contend with. Still, the Pinto outlasted the Vega, continuing on through the 1980 model year, with total ten-year production reaching 3.1 M copies. It was replaced for model year 1981 by the Escort.

The seller of this Pinto claims only 40K miles of use, but offers no documentation, and states, “drives great“. The 90 HP, 2.8-liter V6 engine is really shoehorned into the underhood compartment and appears to be intact with all of its necessary parts in place. The 90 HP output is rather dismal however considering that the 2.3-liter four-cylinder motor was good for 89 net HP. Of course, the V6 should provide for a torquier experience. A three-speed automatic transmission drives this wagon’s rear wheels.

That striped interior is certainly snappy! The listing states that the inside is in “mint” condition and everything works as it should. From what can be seen of the cargo compartment, it looks fine indicating little abuse in the “let’s see what will fit back here” department. As with many cars of this generation, the radio is AM band only but there is working “cold” A/C.

No doubt about it, the exterior shows beautifully. There is mention of one minor rust spot, near the rear stainless trim (which piece?), that has been repaired. The seller opines on about how this Pinto was Ziebarted when new which tells you that this is probably not a Florida original. The deep blue finish, as best as can be represented by craigslist images, shows to be deep and fade-free. Sometimes a color can make a car – and this seems to be one of those times when a pleasing hue lifts an otherwise pedestrian model car from unnoticeable to one worthy of a compliment.

So, where’s the rub? There isn’t one other than maybe the price – that’s a tough one to swallow for a Pinto anything. But Ford got it right with their engine selection and choices – blow that one, and the bad rap can follow you for years – just ask Chevrolet about the Vega. Like it? Yes! Want it? No, but how about you?

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Comments

  1. Stevieg Member

    I personally prefer the 4 cylinder, but nice car none the less. Could make for a nice grocery getter. The price is a bit steep, but that interior does appear to be exceptional. I just can’t get over the price lol.

    Like 13
  2. Sam Shive

    Craigslist Ad Is Gone Already. Nice BUT A Bit Over $$$$$

    Like 8
  3. Howard A Member

    Um, what is that 2nd picture of? If it’s to bolster the fact that Pintos blow up, I’m not amused. We’ve been over and over what a crock that all was, ANY vehicle with a rear mounted gas tank is subject to that. Heck, even my Jeep has the tank right behind the rear bumper. Wagons weren’t part of that foolishness anyway. The V6 helped some, but was still anemic, with add on options like a/c, but made this a nice little car. Working on it was a nightmare, however and it didn’t do well in the snow, too heavy up front, but still a great find.

    Like 9
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Wrong car – it’s the Vega’s hapless engine letting loose – and I was amused.

      JO

      Like 5
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Jim, oh, a Vega, well that’s a different story, I knew it wasn’t a Pinto. I tire of all the Pinto stories, they were good cars. Not great, but I have a lot of experience with Pintos. Some may remember, my old man bought and sold cars that were damaged from auctions after he retired, and Pintos ( and Bobcats) were a dime a dozen. He’d buy one,( or 2) usually hit in the back, or side, it’s odd there were very few front end collisions, never once saw one that burned, have it repaired by one of his body shop buddies, I would tune them up or detail them and they were quick sellers. The Pinto was as revolutionary as the Model T and a lot of people drove Pintos, whether or not they’ll admit to that today.

        Like 5
  4. Bill

    Saw a similar model at a mostly high end car show. IT stole the show! The cars that have disappeared over time grab attention.

    Like 9
  5. Edselbill

    As an owner of a fully restored 77 Pinto Squire, V6 – I can tell you that whenever I attend Cars & Coffee events — teaming with every species of Corvette, Mustang, Ferrari & Porsche, my little tan Pinto, with her orange plaid interior stops people in their tracks.

    Everyone had one, ridden in one, or knew someone that owned one. While they are mostly gone to dust by now, seeing one in show quality original condition brings hoots, hollers, and thumbs up to just about everyone who sees it. The personalized plate “KBoom” helps a bit too. LOL

    (And, yes — I know the facts about the tank issues, the plate is just a joke and brings smiles to peoples faces)

    Given what it costs to restore one (my wallet is still in pain), the asking price does not seem out of whack, AS LONG AS THE FLOORS AND COWL are not rusted out. The trouble spots for Pintos.

    The only drawback I found with the engine/trans is that the 3spd auto runs out of steam at about 55, and driving any faster really runs up the RPM to uncomfortable and probably unsafe levels. So I swapped in a T-5 manual and it REALLY woke he car up and she now cruises at 75mph without breaking a sweat.

    Like 22
    • Rick

      The Pinto was once described as a car nobody loved but everybody bought.

      Well, there are many Pintos I would love to own, and one with the V6 tops the list.

      Like 6
  6. Indyguy

    I had a Pinto coupe in high school and college. The first was a 71 with a zillion miles on it. close ratio 4 speed and the 1600cc aluminum engine. A hoot to drive (compared to what everyone else had in 1980). Off to college I blew the motor on the interstate, and learned that a great high school car was not a great college car. Every trip on the highway lead to something rattling loose, or off. But, thanks to a gas crisis, sold it for more than I paid for it. That hasn’t happened with any car I’ve owned since. :-)

  7. Rob Hunter

    Be sure to turn off the A/C for acceleration. That’s a big York compressor for that little engine.

    Like 1
    • Geebee

      I got a ’74 hatchback, in 1977. It had the 2.3 litre.
      If I’m remembering right, it cut out the air conditioning, by design, on long, steep grades.

  8. Daniel Soukup

    I purchased a 1975 Pinto MPG wagon new with a 2.3L four cylinder and four speed and got 30 MPG at 60 plus MPH. Pretty good car for $3000.00.

    Like 3
  9. alan hubbard

    GM and Ford 4 Cylinder motors were all God Awful Piles of Crap. A symphony of slow moving destruction as they ate themselves alive after 50,000 miles. Chrysler avoided this by tossing 318’s, VW-Audi 1700’s with ill running lean burn carbs, and of course the 225 leaning tower of power in their cars, not that it mattered, because Chrysler’s sheet metal rusted like toilet paper in the rain.

    Like 1
  10. Steve Clinton

    I owned a 1973 Pinto wagon that I took on my honeymoon in ’75, it ran like a top and I wish I still had it. (I sold a ’68 Corvette roadster to buy it…and I wish I still had it, also. My wife STILL is unhappy.)

  11. Greg Williams

    The beauty of the Ford Pinto was the Rack and pinion steering. I’ve had Hemi Cudas and Superbirds but I loved my Pinto hatchback that I won in a card game. Not sure if it was a good car I decided to really yank on it hard the first night I owned it and the next day realized it only had one quart of oil in it.!. In 1982 I was 18 and decided to make a one time woods buggy out of mine. Took a hammer and screw driver and cut the roof off. Then the hood snd then the fenders. But when I removed the doors but both bumpers hit the ground!!that’s when Me and my friends decided to take it as deep into the woods as it would go and then leave it there to camp and walk out. Unfortunately no matter what I did I couldn’t kill it until I drove it off a cliff where a pile of rust still exists which was once tge engine block. True story. Greg W from W.Mass.

    Like 1
  12. Tobt

    Guess the price wasn’t too crazy as it looks like it moved pretty fast. Deleted ads on cl means ‘sold’.
    College roommate had one I could borrow on occasion. Slow as molasses, but it got me wherever I needed to go.
    Nice V-6 wagon. Lots of potential.

  13. chrlsful

    nother 1 I’d only want the wagon. The Lima and 32/36 progressive are both very nice. I’d take them w/o the car too.

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