I know, a Pinto. It’s funny. But think about it. Just like Mustangs, or Broncos everybody has a Pinto story. And today a good Pinto is far more rare than any of those- which is probably why people go nuts when they see one.
This particular example comes from our private collection. Few cars we’ve owned generate more thumbs ups, waves, smiles, and conversations than this little bugger! It came to us as a one-owner California car, and we have kept it registered in California to maintain its original Ca. Blue Plates. Better yet it currently has only 39,000 original miles from new. It is completely original with 100% of its original paint, interior, and all trim. Even the original assembly line exhaust is still in place and mint. There is absolutely no rust nor has the car ever been hurt. It has never even been detailed, it was so clean no “fluffing” was needed. Check out the engine compartment photos that show all the original paper tags, ink stamps, and factory markings in place. And the mint undercarriage with zero rust or undercoating, just factory orange paint with an honest coating of dirt. A good detailing would really make it sparkle top and bottom but I think having it untouched helps tell the cars story better.
Beyond the obvious attribute of being orange with orange houndstooth interior it also has the desirable 2.3L four cylinder with factory air conditioning (that works!) and a 4-speed manual transmission. Other options include factory mag wheels, roof rack, rear defrost, remote mirrors, and radio. It is essentially the ultimate spec for a Pinto.
Upon our purchase I had our ace Ford tech, who worked on these when they were new, completely service the car from end to end. All brake hydraulics are new, all fluids fresh, new tires, new gas shocks fitted all around, and the engine was “super-tuned” using vintage Geraghty Super Tune specs from Car & Driver. This included re-curving the distributor, re-jetting the carburetor and other tweaks that really woke up the emissions-era 2300. As a result this Pinto runs and drives better than new. It is a car you can hop into and drive anywhere with confidence or even put into service as a daily driver. The only noticeable flaws is the clear plastic coating (like contact paper) is peeling from the “wood” trim (not the actual woodgrain panels), the woodgrain on the rear air deflector is faded, and there are a few dings, chips, and the light wear on the exterior you’d expect from 42 years and 39,000 miles. There is a company that sells new vinyl to re-wrap the trim with but again, I chose to leave it in its original unrestored condition. The interior is like new with the exception of one crack in the dash pad. Everything, and I mean everything, works as new from the radio to the HVAC. And again, it runs and drives better than new thanks to careful tuning and dialing in that Ford wasn’t allowed to do under the watchful eye of the 1974 EPA- especially on a California emissions car.
There is no question that Malaise Era cars are emerging collectibles. And why not have one of the poster cars that is not only great fun to drive but also quite practical? Judge it by any measure, especially bang for the buck, it would be hard to beat the fun offered here. Oh, and it even comes with the license plate frame!
To Be Sold At Mecum’s Monterey Auction August 18th 2017. Details here:
- Year: 1974
- Mileage: 39,000 mi
- Condition: Exceptional Unrestored Original
- Exterior Color: Orange
- Interior Color: Orange Houndstooth
- Transmission: 4 Speed Manual
- Final Drive:
- Engine: 2300CC 2V I-4
- Drivetrain: RWD