Launched in 1971, the Pinto was the first subcompact car produced by Ford in North America. Initially only available as a two-door sedan, it was the smallest American Ford since 1907. In 1972 Ford introduced a station wagon, as well as a Runabout two-door hatchback. The cars were incredibly popular with Ford producing 352,402 in their debut year of 1971 and 480,405 in 1972. Lee Iacocca had championed the launch of the Pinto at Ford. As the leader of the company, he wanted a fuel-efficient economy car to compete with the Volkswagen Beetle, the Chevrolet Corvair and Vega and AMC’s Gremlin, as well as the plethora of models being introduced to the US by Japanese auto makers.
The Pintos were rear-wheel drive with a unibody construction. Buyers had a choice of either a 1.6L or a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine from 1971-1973. A larger 2.2L engine was introduced in 1974 and a six cylinder was available from 1975-1979. The standard equipment included ventless door windows, bucket seats, vinyl upholstery, two-pod instrument cluster, glovebox, dome light, floor mounted transmission controls, rack and pinion steering, hot water heater, Direct-Aire ventilation system and 6.00 x 13 rayon blackwall tires.
The popular compact cars unfortunately received a lot of bad press from an article published in Mother Jones in 1977 that claimed a faulty fuel tank design made the Pinto unsafe. It blamed the flaw for several fiery crashes and stated that Ford had known that it was an issue. History however has been kinder to the beloved Pinto with several studies and investigations questioning whether the design was any more dangerous than the other vehicles on the market at the same time. Because these were economy models, they were thought of as somewhat disposable. Therefore, not many have survived and certainly very few have survived in the condition of the vehicle being offered today.
This stunning, low-mileage, preservation example was purchased new at Foothills Ford in Glendora, California on August 1, 1972. The couple who purchased it negotiated an AM radio, body side moldings, as well as wheel well moldings. They paid $2,575.65 out the door. A work order from Foothills Ford then shows the car had a 4000-mile service on July 19, 1973, for $22.44 and a wheel alignment was completed at Montgomery Ward in March of 1978. Vehicle registrations from 1973-1990 are included in the history file. A vehicle inspection was complete in September of 2000 and shows 42,392 miles on the odometer. The Pinto then traded hands in 2009 with a couple from North Carolina the new owners. In 2011 the carburetor was rebuilt, and the valves adjusted. The car was then sold in 2020 before being purchased by the seller.