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.