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Inspiration Material: 1974 Ford Pinto – Okay, This Ain’t Bad At All!

Inspiration Material: 1974 Ford Pinto – Okay, This Ain’t Bad At All!

I’ve managed to grow up past the old “kaboom” jokes and other one-liners about Ford Pintos. Looking at them subjectively, if it hadn’t been for the discovery of what is known as the “Pinto memo” (the cost-benefit analysis that Ford used to justify not making a $11 per car modification because it cost $137 million, versus the cost to society (read: deaths and injuries and associated other factors) that only added up to $49.5 million), that the Pinto would’ve probably been the shining jewel of the 1970s: a small subcompact that showed that Ford was sincere about moving into the smaller car market instead of building a rolling pipe-bomb that would be comedian fodder for generations afterward. Sadly, once you’ve earned a reputation, it’s pretty much game over and that’s where the Pinto lay.

From a hot-rodding perspective, the compact designs actually are kind of appealing. Other than being an inch narrower than a Mustang II, the Pinto’s front suspension is the same one that hot rodders adore. Cramming a 302 into a 2,000 pound car made sense the moment someone figured out how to make the proper shoehorn to get the Windsor to fit between the shock towers. Shove V8 into Pinto, and you’ll spend the rest of your days either treating the throttle like a hair trigger or holding onto the seat without using your hands.

This one, though…this looks like someone put just a bit more thought into it besides “small car go fast”. Hunkered down on four-lug Cobra R wheels, caged up, with the subframes tied and harnesses, someone put some genuine thought into this Pinto. The Mercedes color is alright, but whoever flipped the Mercury Comet tail lights had an eye…from the back, it looks like a shrunken 1974 Javelin, and I mean that nicely. This isn’t just a quick doll-up, someone gave this little Ford some proper thought.

We still want to rip the rear skins off of it.

Facebook Marketplace link: 1974 Ford Pinto

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4 thoughts on “Inspiration Material: 1974 Ford Pinto – Okay, This Ain’t Bad At All!

  1. W L Russell

    Absolutely love this Pinto. I bought a new Pinto in 1973 with the standard 1.6 liter Kent pushrod engine rated at 54 net horsepower. I dreamed of having the 75 horse 2.0 liter OHC that was available at the time. Whenever I see someone stuff a V8 of any type into a Pinto, I can only imagine how much fun it would be to drive.

  2. Mike K

    They were an absolute ball to drive with the V8. Unlike the article would have us believe, a 289 or 302 could be swapped in and ready to drive in a weekend, where the author’s shock tower comment came from is anyone’s guess because Pintos didn’t even have shock towers.
    Best thing beyond how easy they were to build is how well they drove, except for the huge increase in performance they drove just like they did before the swap.
    It’s almost as if the engine belonged in there in the first place.
    Ultimately Ford realized it too, the Mustang II was an evolution of the Pinto and was offered it’s last few years with the 302 under the hood.

  3. steve pearce

    The best Pinto I have ever seen! The pinto 4 cylinder motor found huge success in the UK appearing in everything from Transit vans to the RS2000 and is still popular today – but the V8 is the only motor for ultimate power!

  4. Bigdlm

    I had a 1973 Pinto and, let’s be honest, it was a turd. Even if you wedged a 454 BB in there, it’s still a Pinto.

    I also had a 350 SB Vega. That car was so much fun it should have been illegal


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