Sunday, April 21, 2013

Eugene Parking Lot Find: 1979-80 Ford Pinto Runabout

The Ford Pinto, along with the AMC Gremlin, are perhaps the most familiar and most loathed cars of the Malaise Era, and the Pinto will forever be remembered as the "firebomb", the "barbecue that seats four" and similar names due to a cost-cutting measure on 1970-76 Pinto and Mercury Bobcat sedans and runabout hatchbacks. This cost-cutting measure created catastrophic fires upon high-speed impacts (the most notorious of which, a case in Elkhart, Indiana in the mid-70s, killed 4 people, a railroad tie-bumpered Chevrolet G20 van hit a rusty 1971 Pinto sedan with no gas cap at 60mph and then backed away, killing all four occupants, but the G20 drove home with a cracked bumper, bent grille, one broken headlight and a scorched hood after the driver's questioning).

Most surviving, non-wagon 1970-76 Pintos and Bobcats will have had the brace and baffle between petrol tank and rear bumper and baffled petrol tank installed by the dealer, and that is a good thing since Pintos are finally starting to be taken seriously as a collector car.

Aside from being dirty, this appears to be a nicely preserved stock example of the final Pinto, with the two-year-only front-end design that appears to hint toward its replacement's styling as well as nodding toward its European cousin, the Cortina. 

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