Wednesday, February 3, 2016

V8 Custom: 1975 Ford Pinto

The poor Pinto.  Always the butt of every other car joke.  It was the Pontiac Aztec of the 1970s, the Rodney Dangerfield of the automotive world, the Bill Cosby of date rape jokes...but not today. This Pinto has drank its gallons of milk, eaten its Wheaties, and signed up for CrossFit's all grown up now and ready to pummel all challengers (Camaros and Mustangs too!).  Find this 1975 Ford Pinto V8 Custom here on eBay bidding for $8,600 reserve-not-met with a few hours to go, located in Lakeland, FL.

The seller is a regular eBay seller who claims that this car was built into a V8 monster back in 1988, but it sat in a garage for years.  It has only recently come out of hiding and has only 800 miles on the odometer since the rebuild. 

Gone is the original wheezy 4-banger and in its place is a Ford 302 cubic inch V8 from a 1970 Torino that breathes through a mild cam and a 4-bbl Holley carb.  It isn't the beefiest build in the garage, but it doesn't need to make much more than 250 horsepower or so to make the little 2200 lb Pinto move like a thoroughbred.

The V8 is mated to a C-4 automatic transmission, which won't give you the control you might want for a canyon carver...but who are you kidding...this is a 1975 Pinto and better suited to impressing the kids in the high school parking lot.  

 See another car that doesn't get any respect?


  1. Were these built on a shorter version of the Maverick/Mustang/Falcon? I know Mavericks can be built into really quick, nice handling cars just by spending a few evenings with a Mustang Performance Parts catalog. Maybe there is hope for this Pinto, which has already begun the journey.

    1. Supposedly there was some Maverick in the floorpan, and it's as wide as a Maverick though considerably shorter. Otherwise, no, I don't think there's any actual suspension parts in common (the rear is similar in design, a generic leaf-spring Hotchkiss; the front is totally different).

      The earlier Pintos were quite successful Showroom Stock and sedan-class racers in their own right with the EAO 2-liter SOHC four. Simple cars, durable, could be stripped down to fairly light weight. By the time this thing was built they'd been fattened up with the big bumpers, the heavy 2.3 four or a 2.8 V6 that in that era wore big cast-iron accessory bracketry and, if so equipped, a big nasty reciprocating AC compressor, an 8in rearend out of the Mustang/Maverick parts bin, and so on.

    2. While I'm feeling lugubrious...a '71 Pinto and a '71 Vega are very much a compare-and-contrast exercise. The Pinto was a design phoned-in by its engineers, mechanicals pulled randomly from the Euro Ford parts bin, in concept a crap product but simple (too simple, Ford had been using the fuel tank as the trunk floor for a decade in Falcons, Mustangs, Mavericks, etc. and it finally bit them) and durable.

      The Vega was a gorgeous little baby Camaro and almost everything about it was brand-new, from the engine design to the manufacturing process. But the development schedule and the bean-counters got to all the new stuff and none of it worked.

    3. My 1973 Pinto with a few simple mods handled better than my Audi 5000 Quattro that has independent rear suspension. It was a blast to drive the slow 1.6 Kent 4-speed fast.
      This heavy V8 maybe not so good.
      I use every Pinto opportunity to share this this Pinto reel in Porsche 914 and even 911's.
      And yes, I still owe DT my homework. I should have more time as my team heads out for Chinese New Year.

  2. Don't pintos and mustang IIs have the same front suspension, and isn't Mustang II front suspension sort of the SBC of front suspension? Why is it the ubiquitous answer to "what shall we use for the front end of our kit car, hot rod, or motorized outhouse?

    1. Yes, they do, in general terms. The rod guys embraced it because it was about the right width, it (mostly) bolted to a single crossmember that could be removed intact and installed on whatever they wanted to plop it on. It wasn't particularly attractive, and in original configuration had a trailing locating strut-rod for the lower arm that needed a separate bracket.

      The aftermarket gradually started replacing the lower arms, then both arms, then the crossmember, so you can buy 'Mustang II IFS' kits from half a dozen different vendors and they share maybe the upper arm.

      The Jag XJ front suspension is similar in being a bolt-up unit, in the Jag case both upper and lower arms bolt directly to the crossmember but you need a separate shock mount.

      It's quite a bit too wide for the typical '20s-30s rod, and (unlike the Jag IRS that can be narrowed easily) it's impractical to change the width, but it is a reasonably common swap on '50s and bigger '40s hardware.

  3. This is all I can think of when I see this particular car:



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