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Western Car: 1975 Ford Pinto 3-Door Runabout

I just searched Barn Finds to see if this 1975 Ford Pinto had been shown in the past, and it hasn’t been. It isn’t a huge issue to revisit a vehicle, but given the number of Pintos that roll through the doors here, I thought I’d check. This fancy example can be found posted here on craigslist in Hanover, Indiana and the seller is asking $5,000. Here is the original listing, and thanks to Tony P. for sending in this tip!

Oddly enough, there have only been four 1975 Pintos shown here, three wagons and one custom pickup. The last one, the pickup, was way back in March so it’s been quite a while. I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough Pintos. No, really. My dad had two of them in succession as company cars in the early 70s after the gas crisis put an end to the big Chevy Bel Airs that they used to have him drive.

This example appears to have all the bells and whistles. I don’t know how many of you are fans of vinyl tops, but I like them if they’re factory original. On a Pinto, they’re positively luxurious; and slightly weird. Perfect. Rear window louvers are a nice touch and the whole exterior looks great. Ford offered Pinto customers a wagon, a two-door sedan with a trunk, and a three-door runabout with a hatchback. I wonder what a Pinto or Mercury Bobcat convertible would have looked like…

By 1975, U.S. automakers were in a totally different place than just a few years before. Gas prices and availability were a real thing, and government regulations were cracking down on automakers who would just as soon give buyers asbestos-filled seats and razor-blade steering wheels if it created more profit for them. The green carpet is interesting and I’m assuming not original, I’d want to change that out. It’s great to see a four-speed manual transmission on the hump, but cracks in the dash and steering wheel, not so much. Still, this is a  nice-looking example to me. The fabric inserts on the front seats, as well as portions of the tan vinyl, could use some help, but the back seat looks like new.

The rear cargo area looks nice but the hatchback could use a couple of new struts. Although, that wooden handle makes a good hiking stick and/or weapon, depending on where you live. Sadly, since this is a craigslist ad, it’s not surprising that there is no engine photo. It could be powered by Ford’s 2.3-liter OHC inline-four with 83 horsepower and 110 lb-ft of torque. The seller says that it runs and drives, but not how well in either category, and it’s a western car so hopefully has minimal rust. It sure looks good to me. Any thoughts on this Pinto?

Comments

  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    Any idea of what that “blister” on the left side beyond the Runabout is? Personally, I don’t care for the vinyl top, but everything else is good, especially the manual! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 11
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Moparman, thanks for mentioning that, I saw it but neglected to mention it. Here’s an enlargement of that area.

      Like 6
      • Beauwayne5000

        Even after expanded the pic – I still don’t know what that is

        Like 5
      • Ken Kolodnicki

        Believe it or not I think that the scoop above the gas fill is someone’s brain storm to “fix” the possible exploding upon impact pinto gas tanks. Probably concocted by a wana be engineer who was convinced he was smarter than the thousands of ford staff engineers!! Anybody agree with my guess ?? Kk

        Like 1
      • RoadDog

        When I was a kid, my aunt had a Pinto Runabout & it didn’t have one. I would have remembered it.

        Like 0
    • Richard

      Yeah. My 1975 Pinto was purchased new and at about 20 months old the doors rusted through from the moisture left inside the doors at the factory. The engine “dissolved” at the same time due to weak metal in piston walls. Junk.

      Like 3
      • Bud Fisher

        I bought one new in ‘73 for $2200. Drove the crap out if it for 5 years in Maine and New Hampshire. Even towed a couple of Ski Doos around with it. Never any rust. Never broke down. I put 4 huge retread snow tires on it the last winter. Never had to shovel the drive! Like a little tractor! Loved it!

        Like 3
      • bone

        where did you live, the jungles of Borneo ? I lived on the East coast, right on the water , and Pintos did not rust out in less than two years , and I really doubt anywhere else . The engines were fairly bulletproof as well . Cripes, even a Vega didnt didnt fall apart that fast !

        Like 0
    • Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      If my admittedly faulty memory serves, I don’t think that they came from the factory like that. This piece looks home made, and pop riveted into place, to boot! As to what it does, your guess is as good as mine!

      Like 1
      • Glenn

        Possible gas tank vent, someone’s idea of fixing the issue of getting hot in rear an exploding

        Like 1
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I’m with you Scotty, I like seeing the Pintos. By this time into the Pinto’s multi-year run, it was common to see more dress-up items like the vinyl roof and the wide bodyside moldings. The interior obviously needs work, and based on the skimpy ad, who knows what else. But it is not very expensive and with the 4-speed could be fun little car.

    Like 12
  3. Ian

    In ’75, the 2.3 would have been the sole engine choice. I had a ’73 with the German 2.0 and the four speed, it had some zip, for a Pinto (and a wagon to boot). But I also had a ’76 with the 2.3 and an automatic, and it was a dog.

    Like 10
    • Art

      I had a new 1975 Pinto. It came with the 2800cc 6 cylinder engine. Loved the car.

      Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ian, as Art mentions, the 2.8-liter V6 would have been optional in 1975, but only on the wagon and hatchback/runabout. So, now that I think about it, you’re technically correct in that the 2.3-liter was the only engine choice on the two-door sedan with a trunk.

      I believe the V6 was only available with the SelectShift Cruise-o-Matic three-speed automatic, however.

      Like 7
  4. Timothy R Herrod

    I only drove a pinto once in my life. We had an ice storm, probably a quarter inch and a neighbor was heading home and stopped by our driveway and walked up the hill towards our house. I saw her coming up the driveway with her two kids on foot and my brothers and I went out to see what was up. She said she couldn’t drive anymore it was so slick and asked if we could help. I walked down to her pinto wagon and drove it up the drive to pick her and the kids up and my brother followed us all over to her house and dropped them off. That little car got around really well. Don’t recall ever seeing them ever again.

    Like 10
    • Gary Beard

      I had a ’74 Pinto ‘Squire’ wagon and it did quite well in the snow and ice. I lived in Indianapolis and we had lots of snow and ice. It had a good heater as well.

      Like 6
  5. JE Vizzusi

    For those not alive when these ticking time bombs arrived at Ford Dealerships, Ralph Nader would be mortified today to see a single Pinto still roadworthy. 5k isn’t enough to pay the hospital bills of hundreds of burn victims from an minor rear ender, the unprotected gas tank erupting in flames. It took Nader lobbying in front of Congress to get these terrible cars off our American highways for good. Even if you can somehow modify the gas tank to modern day safety standards, the car itself Is a rattletrap cheaply made mess. And most importantly banned for good reason for reasons of public safety. Now then, whats that worth to you and family?
    jv – smash palace

    Like 5
    • Michael Adkins

      There was NO ‘ban’! The Pinto was sold through the 1980 model year. Replaced by the Escort for ’81. Early model-year cars with the gas tank issue were recalled and fixed, and that ‘fix’ was applied to later model year vehicles like this ’75. Don’t know where you came up with your ridiculous false ‘facts’, but you are 100% wrong.

      Like 0
    • MDS47588

      But how do ya really feel?

      It’s still a piece of American history…same as the Corvair which has also graced these pages more than a few times.

      Like 21
    • Tony Primo

      And then I jacked up the engine, to change rear spark plugs on my Chevrolet Monza V-8……

      Like 14
    • EJ

      Just to clarify it there were 3 deaths (and subsequent lawsuit) and 4 burn victims that got NHSTA involved which lead to the recall. The Pinto was stationary when it was struck from behind by another vehicle traveling 28 mph. Hardly a “minor rear-ender”.

      Like 28
      • Gary Beard

        To verify: That Pinto was driven by two girls who had just filled up the tank and forgot to put the gas cap back on. The Pinto was hit in the rear by a drunk, driving a full-sized van. Like you said ‘Hardly a ‘minor rear-ender’

        Like 20
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      That horse is dead – please stop beating it.

      Like 35
    • Chris Cornetto

      Never knew anyone incinerated in one as I handled literally hundreds in the 80s while running a wrecking yard. I had many acquaintances that drove them including my high school shop teacher and a buddy that shoved a 351 Cleveland in one and drove it daily. It’s all good but hey I drove a Corvair for years that I still own and one of those horrible X framed 59 Impala convertibles with every option but seat belts, and yup, still riding and still here…WHAT EVER!!

      Like 21
    • Brother John

      Ralph Nader can go to h3ll. He’s a weird little gadfly who’s made a career out of fiddling figures and creating hysteria where there should be none. Better we toss these commies from helicopters than let them dictate policy.

      Like 33
      • Greenhorn

        20 thumbs up?

        Like 12
      • Chris Cornetto

        Ralph would be great today..

        Like 1
      • Robert Atkinson, Jr.

        Well, ol’ Ralphie boy was just doing what businessmen do, drumming up business. You see, Ralph Nader was a product liability lawyer, and by raising hell about product faults, he was drumming up business for himself and his fellow ambulance chasers! He not only wrote books and testified before Congress, but he founded an association of product liability lawyers, which offered tips on how to drum up new business (lawsuits), and win them for big bucks! Don’t forget, every time a lawyer wins a lawsuit for his client, he gets half of the money! If he loses, he gets nothing! So to stay in business, a lawyer has to win!

        Like 6
      • RoadDog

        At least he’s finally given up on running for president! 😁

        Like 0
    • George Member

      This particular car was produced after the design defect had been repaired.

      The Pintos affected are 1971-1973 Sedans and Runabouts. All wagons have a different fuel filler neck. Most of all, the Pinto did not go around exploding right and left. The gas filler neck was not a ticking time bomb.

      The design could have been better, and when the problem was discovered late in development, they calculated in cold hard cash the cost of fixing it before launch vs defending Ford in lawsuits. This looked awful to the jury, but it a type of calculation made routinely in industry.

      There were approximately 25 “excess deaths” in terrible car fires in a very specific type of rear-end collision. All lives are precious, but if relative mortality risk among subcompacts for sale from 1971-1973 were available, I would be pretty sure that the overall fatality rate for Pintos would probably be better than much of its competition.

      I would rather be in an early Pinto in any random accident than the beloved VW Beetle with its fuel tank in my lap, or any Datsun B210 or Toyota Corolla.

      Like 22
      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Thank you for adding that very important piece of information, George! It comes up every time, especially in the comments on social media, that every Pinto ever made would blow up instantly if you ran over a banana peel…

        Like 15
      • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

        George

        Excellent comments, including the “type of calculation” information. Maybe we could just ask if you would post your comments every time a Pinto gets written up. Or maybe start the comments with “no need to beat the exploding gas tank dead horse” ?? ??

        Like 12
      • Rick

        The gas tank fix applied to the 1971 through 1976 sedans and hatchbacks. None of the station wagons, sedan deliveries or the Cruising Van were affected due to their different tank and filler design.

        The 1977 through 1980 models had the update built in at the factory.

        In 1978 I was a repair tech at a Ford dealership when the Pinto gas tank recall campaign began. If there’s any doubt as to whether the fix has been performed on a 1971 through 1976, remove the gas cap and look at the filler neck fasteners. If there are Torx fasteners, that’s the first sign the job has been done. If there’s a plastic shield on the front side of the tank, that’s the second sign. There were also shorter bumper mounting bolts and a longer filler tube but they would have to be compared to the originals to discern the difference.

        Like 4
    • Big C

      Ah, still reliving those “horrors” of yesteryear. This story gets better with age. And with almost every Pinto that appears on Barn Finds.

      Like 9
      • Jack M.

        The replies to Scotty’s Pinto write ups are the only way to properly calibrate my BS meter!

        Like 5
    • RIX260

      I happen to be one of those alive when the Pinto first came out in 1971 and I call BS on this entire comment. I bought a hatchback for my wife to taxi our kids around town to their lessons and games. Between her, and my daughter, they put nearly 200K miles on that little warrior. The only expenses for maintenance were tires, brakes and batteries. The car ran like a dream. Never an issue. She had the car for 10+ years. Everything Ralph Nader said about the Pinto did not apply to her car. The Pinto was one of the most reliable cars we ever owned. And yes, it was worth every penny to her and our family.

      Like 20
    • 454rat Member

      You are too young to comment on something you quite obviously know nothing about. You sure never owned one or you would not make the comments you make about them. I never saw or heard of all the burn victims you speak of. And I also NEVER saw or heard of even ONE of the Corvairs with the engine falling out. Maybe I have just led a sheltered life.

      Like 5
    • DON

      They were never banned , just discontinued after a 9 year run , for the efi fwd Escort – which until 1985 was a real piece of junk

      Like 1
    • Woofer Woofer Member

      Then in that case, JE, my max bid will be $4,500. Nothing more…

      Like 0
  6. Craig MacDonald

    In ’75 I drove a ’72 hatchback, base model. I survived. I also survived driving a ’67 Beetle with a gas tank 6″ from my knees and a windshield 10″ from my face. Those were different times and people were allowed to make choices, even if some of them were high risk. Now we have 14 airbags, ABS, lane departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking if a squirrel crosses our path. Those are some of the reasons my daily driver is an ’83 with crank windows and headlights I have to turn on.

    Like 2
  7. Victor Cook

    Had a 1974 2.3 liter runabout would carry my skis inside go up the new england mountains with just radial tires and some weights over the wheel wells, was very fun to drive, modified the engine some and got 1st and 2nd gear solid burnouts plus a squeak from 3rd but had to change out the rubber timing belt every 6 months or so if you drove it like that, but zero clearance engine so got to where I could change the belt out in a parking lot took a few hours but back to fishtailing the little car again

    Like 0
  8. Beauwayne5000

    5k$ for a car when traded in on our lots we’d credit the customer 500 bucks & send it to the crusher.
    U.S. has lost the plot behind the car market.
    Irony is all these IC cars you guys been investing in will be regulated off the roads in a very few short yrs & only govt tracked & controlled self drive EVs will be available.
    Even Farm & industrial equipment will be regulated to EVs
    I really don’t understand the bizarre psychology of thinking a PINTO is worth 5k$.

    Like 1
    • Big C

      It’s OK, Beau. No one’s chiding you for your stamp collecting. Nice and safe. But, why the hate on our hobby?

      Like 13
      • Jeff

        I’m trying to figure out what Beau is holding in his hand up to his ear. Is it an old gigantic cell phone or a corded phone or…???

        Like 4
    • Chris Cornetto

      Again, as Kahn said to Chekov. “Why are you here?” no doubt if you got ahold of it, you wouldn’t sell it for 500.00 bucks. As for the gubberment ev stuff, that may come but in reality, I will be on the otherside chatting with Harley Earl. The government can’t do anything without screwing it up and there has to be enough graft to push it and even though I like Teslas. The technology is in its infancy. I don’t see the technology, I.E. distance, temperature issues and infrastructure being up to par for at minimum of 2 to 3 decades. It takes da gubberment decades to fix a bridge. If you think they can force us into self driving regulated, electric jellybeans in less than ten years, you are kidding yourself. Considering what’s in charge, I think Pintos will wander about for quite a while. People liked them, I knew many that had them. You don’t think this car is worth 5k, well I don’t think a 12 year old Toyota with 250k is worth 15,995.00 but we see that quite a bit. If what you say is correct I pity the poor fool that buys a 100k suv with ten year payments. He’s the one in the dump. The 5k Pinto will be just fine.

      Like 0
  9. Davey Boy

    I’ve owned a few Pinto’s in my life. My 78 wagon being the best but my 72 runabout was by far the funnest in the snow. I had a set of 13″ 10 inch 4 lug deep set cragers on the back with BFG 50’s and for some reason just couldn’t get that thing stuck in the snow. And I never blew up either.

    Like 6
    • Rw

      Had 78 wagon 4cyl, automatic with air,tall 14in. Studded snow tires and little weight in back,went as good as my XJ does now.

      Like 3
  10. Gil Davis Tercenio

    I had a ’76 trunkback Pinto. Mine was the MPG model and would get 32 MPG. It was a good little car.

    Like 6
  11. 454rat Member

    We got a brand new 74 model, 2 door hatchback with the 2.3 and automatic. Very nice and dependable car. NOTHING junky or cheap about it but the price when we bought it. The only time it failed to go in the snow was when the snow got about 6 inches over the front bumper here in Kentucky during the big snow in 1978. I’m a Chevy guy and when I beat my buddy in his Vega I had mixed feelings. He jumped me out of the hole but the big ”long-stroke Ford” got him at the end. I never heard of one getting rear ended and blowing up, and I watched the National News nightly. Good cars.

    Like 3
  12. Michael Tischler

    In 1981 my 73 Torino 351 Cleveland was killing me on mpg so I bought a used 80′ Pinto 4 -speed with 12 k miles,dove it up to 95 k trouble free miles and in 86′ traded it in on a 87′ Ranger.The Ford dealer put the Pinto out on the lot for sale.

    Like 4
  13. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    The taillights and door handles match the ones on my 1972 Maverick! The door handles also appeared on the first generation Mustangs. Coincidence? I think not!

    Like 1
  14. chrlsful

    nother where the wagon’s really the only one to look at or own.

    Just a slight bit small and heavy (for a monocoque) at 2,900#. Frnt WD would help it seem larger w/’the hump’ removed. Love the Lima (put on the ranger head w/D shaped ports) and Weber 32/36 2v progressive carb. All models have fair to good looks to me but never the 850, karmen ghia, miata, etc. Way safer too (despite the nader raps. A lill too much “political” fora car site).

    Like 3
  15. Philbo427

    My brother had a 79 Pinto ESS. I thought it was a cool little car. I never got to drive it as I was too young, but it looked cool. I have a soft spot in my heart for these little cars. Love to see them with mags and customized. I have several models of Pintos. They certainly served the purpose in US automotive history.

    Just to add some levity to the situation, anyone remember the movie “Top Secret”? Do an Internet search for “Top Secret movie Pinto scene” for a giggle.

    Like 2
  16. K. SMITH

    I can say beware of the ealy 2300′ they had a soft cam shaft and the connecting rods were not drilled to oil the cylinders. Both were only warranted if you caught them early on. Ford did not put out a notice to the owners. I still have the cam shift from our 1975 3 door. The lobes are almost rounded off. Besides those two issues it served my family well for many years.

    Like 0
  17. chrlsful

    Nother 1 in the ‘believer’ column !:
    “…it looked cool… (L)ove to see them with mags and customized…”

    Like 0
  18. chrlsful

    “…Love to see them with mags and customized.”
    Nother 1 for the lill pony. I think ford did well gainst the “off shores” (falcon on the vedub Bug wasa better shot than – pinto on Japanese) up grading it’s F” series in mid 70s w/lux0boxes (’22: “…America’s bestselling truck for 46 consecutive years and bestselling vehicle for 41 years….”). Last yr (or was it this?) declaring right before opening a new Division (Bronco ) “We’ll no longer make cars” was a mistake tho. Sedans & coups will be needed in the EV world & I’d like to see them compete. There’s been nuttin in my mind since ’97 prius for the masses. Let’s hope SOME merican co can beat it in sales #s and popularity (2 mil by ’16, last yr I have stats). Elon (& others) gotta get more durable and masses-priced or never get there. Let’s Go ! USA! USA, us…

    Like 0
  19. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    After 22 days, this Pinto is somehow still for sale.

    Like 0
  20. chrlsful

    Hanover? All I know is thats the general area folks go when coal mines close (Cincinnati, from Kentuk & West By God). May B some kids from the semi famous college in town would like it for easy money?

    Like 0

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