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Very Clean and Very Green: 1978 Ford Pinto Runabout

As a former Pinto owner (my twin brother and I received a new, rather stripped down, Pinto MPG Wagon in 1975 from our generous parents because we were going away to college), it’s hard at times to realize that the cheap, basic transportation vehicle we shared is now a collectable to some people. The Pinto was a popular alternative to the VW Beetle and Ford sold over 3 million of their subcompacts during its 10-year run that started with the 1971 model. You used to see a lot of them on the road, but like many utilitarian econoboxes, they were “rode hard and put away wet” as they say in Cliche Land. Well sir, here’s one little Pinto that wasn’t rode hard, has been garage kept, and appears to be in downright great shape for a 45-year-old vehicle – especially a Pinto. This 1978 Ford Pinto Runabout is located in San Andreas, California, and is for sale here on craigslist for $7,500. (It was featured here on Barn Finds back in February for a $9,500 asking price.) Another thanks to Rocco B. for sending this impressive Pinto our way.

There’s no history shared about this car other than “it’s in amazing condition, is senior owned, and has been garage kept.” The seller states that he’s listing the car for the owner and that you must call a landline phone number and leave a message on the answering machine – no texts, no emails – because as he says, “we’re old.” That’s old-school funny. Based on the photos, even though the water hose is visible on the driveway from a just-completed washing, this appears to be one clean, well-preserved little Pinto. Thirteen paint colors were available in 1978, and the Medium Jade paint on this Runabout (which might be original) looks very good and shiny. This isn’t a stripped-down Pinto because it’s equipped with a Valino grain half-vinyl roof as well as what Ford called their Exterior Decor Group (color-keyed body side moldings, bright window frames, wheel lip and rocker panel moldings, and full wheel covers). The car’s glass (including what Ford called their All-Glass Third Door), bright stuff, trim, badging and everything I’m seeing looks very good.

I hope the next owner likes Medium Jade Green, because it’s carried over into the well-preserved interior where practically everything, even the headliner, is green. According to the Pinto sales brochure, the front bucket seats and the “bucket-inspired” rear seat are finished in the optional Ruffino Vinyl and the rear seat can be folded down to provide 29 cubic feet of carrying space. There’s a little bit of wear visible on the driver’s seat’s piping and the seat bottom is smooth instead of having the indented rectangular button or whatever that is in the middle. The door panels and instrument panel look very good, but the original green carpet appears faded to a light aqua in spots, but overall, this is an impressive looking interior. Again, for a 45-year-old Pinto.

I’ll get on my soap box again and say that I can’t understand why sellers don’t include photos of a car’s engine and engine bay. In 1978, Pintos were powered by a 2.3 litre OHC 4-cylinder engine (that Ford described as being very thrifty) or the optional 2.8 liter OHV V6. This one has the 4 cylinder under its Medium Jade Green hood that’s paired with a 4-speed manual transmission. The odometer is listed as “9999999,” but one of the photos shows a partially obscured odometer that looks like it reads 68,000. Based on the overall condition of the car, it’s plausible this survivor only has 68k on the clock. The seller says the little 4-banger “runs great and smooth.” The seller closes the ad by saying “Pictures tell the story.” I’ll agree with him and rocker Rod Stewart. These pictures tell a story. Again, for a 45-year-old Pinto.


  1. Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

    Wow. Im not a Pinto guy….. But….. This looks great in this color, and it appears to be in solid condition. Id consider very seriously buying it. The older generations used to take care of their things, even if it wasnt the most expensive. Its a shame that that mentality is going away. Hooe it goes to a great home and that they continue to take care of it as well as the these folks most certainly did.

    Like 20
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    … and, in addition to being featured earlier this year, I believe it was featured in 2022. Same (unsuccessful) seller, or just changing hands?

    Looks like a nicely equipped Pinto in good shape. The manual transmission would help with the fun factor. But you need to like green.

    Like 17
    • Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

      Unless there are 3 mint condition green Pintos all featured here on barnfinds……
      Nope…. probably not. Nice catch Bob.

      Like 5
    • Ron Denny Ron Denny Staff

      Bob, if Miss Piggy nods her snout in approval, Kermit should jump on this little green Runabout and buy it. These had decent leg room, too.

      Like 8
  3. Yblocker

    “Looks good for a 45 year old Pinto” Looks pretty dang good for a 45 year old anything. Somebody really took care of this little gem

    Like 23
  4. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    I carpooled to my Sophomore year of college in a 1972 example of one of these, as my car pool pal had one in a dark forest green, a.k.a. British Racing Green, with a light green interior. His was much more well used, however, as it was already six (6) years old in 1978. Maybe not at “beater” status yet, but certainly “middle aged” in car years at the time, LOL!

    This example is best described as “Turquoise”, with a Turquoise interior, but as stated originally, in exceptional condition for a forty-five year old example! I almost wish it wren’t so nice, because this one is too nice to mess with, but if it weren’t in such fine condition, I’d seriously consider dropping in either the Turbo version of the 2.3L, or an Eco-Boost crate motor! This one I’d probably keep bone stock, though, as a time capsule! It’s only original once!

    Like 0
  5. Nelson C

    Great looking Pinto. The colors are great and you won’t have to look at the missing seat button which you’re driving. Stick with either motor is going to make the drive much better.

    A testament to people’s character is the all glass hatch. Don’t leave anything of value in that car.

    Like 6
  6. Chris Cornetto

    The car is nice but I would go for the black Mustang II a rew listing away.

    Like 3
    • George Member

      That’s like going to a Chinese restaurant and ordering a Wiener Schnitzel

      Personally, I’d rather have a Facel Vega.

      Like 2
  7. Autoworker

    Having owned a ‘71 runabout, I have a fondness for these cars. Mine was blue (and rust) and was used more as a truck than a car. Actually drove it to the boneyard to dispose of it. Nice looking Pinto.

    Like 6
    • JoeJ56

      That’s the ultimate “ran when parked”! XD

      Like 5
  8. Big C

    Our family has owned 7 Pinto’s. But never a hatchback. Green’s not my favorite color, but I could definitely change my mind for this one! The price is right. It looks fantastic, has the required manual shift, the luxury(for a Pinto)interior and….It’s 3000 miles away from me…again.

    Like 9
    • Big_Fun Member

      If you really want this, check in to Uship for shipping quotes. Other Barn Finders may have other great shipping companies they use. The extra $$ you spend may hurt at the time, but I don’t think you will regret it. I haven’t.

      Like 5
      • Big C

        I like to personally see the vehicles I buy, prior to the purchase. I guess I’m not that trusting of a person, anymore.

        Like 4
  9. Thomas L. Kaufman

    Did they fix the Gas Tank Explosion problem?

    Like 2
    • Rick

      The gas tank problem affected the 1971 through 1976 hatchback and sedan models. The factory fix began with the 1977 models.

      The problem never affected the station wagon, the sedan delivery or the Cruising Van.

      Like 5
      • George

        Not only that, the problem is grossly overstated in the press. Don’t get me wrong, all human life is valuable, and Fort made a big mistake by choosing a slightly cheaper filler neck design that one that would’ve prevented an issue.

        The cars did not go around exploding. I think there were about 50 excess deaths because of it, and the couple of million pintos sold.

        I don’t think that such data exist, but I would bet large sums of money that the total passenger deaths per mile were significantly lower in a Pinto for all types of accidents than they were for a VW Beetle or a Datsun B210 of the same era

        Like 4
    • Riffraff

      @Thomas L. I had a 74 hatchback. While driving in the winter one night with my wife and baby girl, we were rear ended hard by a guy going way too fast for conditions. I seen it coming and warned my wife to be prepared to escape the burning vehicle. The impact sent the rear seat to the front seat backs. To my surprise no explosion, no fire, and thankfully no injuries.

      Like 9
      • George Member

        To read the press, you would think that each Pinto was a potential Hindenburg, awaiting a collision with a butterfly to open the gates of the inferno.

        The exhaust filler neck was already developed, when a suggestion was made to use a better design. Under production deadlines and the extreme cost constraints Detroit faced against Japanese imports, they found it would cost quite a lot of money for a modest safety improvement. In their calculations, they included the cost of defending lawsuits concerning “wrongful deaths,” and to the jury, this looked appalling because these calculations were made in writing. Of course, similar calculations can and must be made every day in every industry.

        All life is sacred, and in retrospect they made a poor decision, but I think it is something like 50 excess deaths, when you might have expected 25, and you were not going to get zero.

        And I still would be willing to wager that the passenger deaths rate per mile travelled would be much worse in a VW Beetle or Datsun B-210, or God forbid a Honda 600, Subaru 350, or worse, the beloved VW T2 Mini Bus, “with all of the crash safety provisions of an aluminum folding lawn chair.”

        Like 7
    • Big C

      LOL! There it is! I knew we couldn’t make two Pinto’s in a row, without the obligatory gas tank story. Thanks Tommy!

      Like 7
  10. Troy

    Nice ride but I just can’t bring myself to pay that kind of money for it knowing how many of these I scraped

    Like 2
    • George Member

      Not only were those scrapped in worse shape, each one junked reduced the supply for dedicated Pinto lovers, at least those who have had their medications adjusted to a rate that allows them to stay out of institutions, increasing scarcity in a type of car with a naturally low survival rate.

      Supply and demand stuff, and cars have moved from the “embarrassing stuff on the lawn with the old sofa stage” to “vintage and collectible mid-century industrial design

      Like 4
      • Troy

        Some cars have not pinto

        Like 1
  11. Rw

    Would like to own, had several over the years never gave over 200 bucks..

    Like 2
  12. bull


    If you gave me most any Pinto that’s for sale AND $7,500 I could not make the POS Pinto anywhere near this nice!

    Like 2
  13. ALKY

    Wow…. don t believe I have ever seen one in this mint condition before . My friend had one way…. way back in the school days and you had to lift the driver
    s door to close it and it always sounded like it was running on two cylinders.
    This one is unbelievable !! Should sell no problem.

    Like 1
  14. Ken

    I see two other interesting cars in the background. One being a 52 Ford, the other being one of those funky Chevys from the early 90s.

    Like 1
  15. Eric

    Nice photos. Always wondered what our “bought used cheap” powder blue pinto bean would have looked like before the rust set in.

    As a kid, this was as cool as a chevette or VW beetle in our circle. All three were liked because they didn’t ask for all your nickels at the pump..

    Nice car, but not the nostalgia I would pay money to revisit.

    Like 0

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