CC For Sale: 1973 Ford Pinto – 73K And Some Film Pedigree

A couple of weeks ago I posted a ’77 Vega for sale in San Salvador, with an unusual Toyota 21R engine transplant. I thought it was a fun enough curiosity to share, and most agreed the 21R was an improvement on the original hardware. But enough of those San Salvador ads for now.

Why not look around my old home state, California, and see if I can find something to balance out that non-stock Vega? What could I find on Craigslist?

Well, that wasn’t too hard. Here’s a base Pinto being sold in Southern California, looking quite original, and selling for the rather steep price of 12K. Then again, the car seems to have some film appearances, which I guess adds to that markup. And also, when was the last time you saw a base Pinto in one piece? If you ever wanted to re-experience early ’70s US-built econo-compact non-thrills, here’s your chance.

To be honest, I originally hoped to capture a similar vintage Pinto I had seen roaming San Salvador’s streets. I had caught a glimpse of that bulbous wonder wandering around my nearby Walmart, but never caught it parked. However, it’s been a while since I last saw it, and I suppose it just finally fell apart.

But back to this Oh-so-70s brownish-mustard-orangey Pinto for sale. In fitting Southern California style, the car seems to have played supporting roles in a few films and shows; The Nice Guys, The Astronaut’s Wives Club, This Is Us, and a few more. And appropriately, even if a bit low-res, the seller has staged the little Pinto in a rather cinematic desert setting.

About that film pedigree, if there was just a way to check…

Oh, that seems to be it! Right behind the Caddy! From a frame of The Nice Guys found at IMCDb!

The car is a base Pinto, with 73K original miles and carrying a 1.6L engine. The seller claims to be the 4th owner and has performed some work on the car since purchase; nothing too major – spark plugs, new battery, radiator restoration, new fuel lines and filter, new tires, new battery and a new voltage regulator.

No photos of the interior, but according to the ad, a new headliner is needed and the seat inlays are not original.

The paint appears to be all original and “looks better in pictures but it’s not bad in person.” As for its driving, the seller says it’s slow. That was actually a non-brisk 15 seconds from 0-60, back in 1971. What does this one feel like 50+ years later? Nonetheless, it’s a good warning for folk with modern expectations. Transmission is the slick-shifting 4 manual. So this base Pinto has that going for it.

I’m not up to date with prices on Detroit’s early econo-boxes, but I’m not sure I would plunk 12K for one. Then again, the income from those movie appearances may make up for the difference.

For those curious enough, the Craigslist ad is HERE. 


Further reading:

Curbside Classic: 1971 Ford Pinto – 1971 Small Car Comparison No. 4