Yes, this is what you think it is
Any comedic responses coming?
[ED: Additional recommended CC Pinto reading: The Pinto’s Brief Life As An Airplane]
That’s what she said.
So true and so typically overreactive of the US population and media.
I personally knew 2 girls, just out of high school, back in the mid 70s, who were stopped at a stop sign in their Pinto and were rear ended, the gas tank burst, they were trapped in the car, in flames, the end result wasn’t pretty. They survived, and got a healthy settlement out of Ford, but nothing could pay for the pain and disfigurement they suffered. Would it have happened if they’d been in a different small car? Was it totally unique to that particular accident? I don’t know, but I do know that it DID happen to them in a Pinto, so yeah, they did blow up. and there was no humor in it. There is a reason ‘exploding Pinto’ became a “thing”. Hardly “overreacting” when it’s personal.
Before I even clicked, I knew it would be the scene from Top Secret.
I named my Texas Pinto Squire, my Houston Ghetto Cruiser….”Blazing Saddles.” And I put a gasoline placard on the rear of it.
Wish I’d had a photograph of it; but I was so poor I couldn’t afford Polaroid pictures, even.
The Pinto engine was pretty good though,I had 2 Cortinas and a Sierra
Agreed. My folks had 3 Cortinas and a Sierra while I was growing up (and Subarus since Ford stopped building mid-size RWD wagons) and I had 3 Sierras. The Pinto engines in all of them were quick (for the the time) and when not being hustled along they all regularly returned 7L/100km.
I got into cars during the latter half of the Pinto’s product cycle, but despite all of the news reports, never actually heard or saw anyone first hand affected by the gas tank explosion thing. It is interesting, because as many people know, the gas tank design of the early Mustang’s was as poor if not worse than the Pinto’s. I brings up other similar situations like the infamous Chevy truck fuel tank incidents of the late 80s, the unintended acceleration incidents of Audi in the late 80s, and even the same thing on the Toyota’s in the 00s that usually involved a small grain of truth but evolved into ‘death trap stories’. Many cars get pilloried for real or perceived problems but usually at a level wholly unrelated to any actual problem.
With that said, GM & Ford sold about 6.5 million Pintos and Vegas (not including variants) and the Pinto, at least, gave us the 2.3 I4 which turned out to be an excellent motor.
An aunt of mine, ironically the same aunt that I mentioned in the Toyota Corona piece, who happened to love small station wagons, had a Pinto wagon prior to purchasing the Corona wagon. It was pea green with wood sides and green vinyl interior. She had a Buick Century wagon in the 1980s and then eventually moved onto minivans of which she has one currently. It was always a curiosity to many her choice of cars because she married later than average and never had children, thus had an excuse to buy something more fun and sporty.
I gotta snicker at that, because at the time of launch, the Lima Bean engine wasn’t all that excellent.
I had three different Pintos. Two had the 2.0 and one had the 2.3. Which was the weakest? Give ya three guesses and the first two don’t count.
Which one had the lowest mileage?…and which one burned the most oil? Yep…the low-mileage was the one chugging Pennzoil and laying down a smoke-screen. And it was the Lima unit.
My rust-free Texas toy, with the Cologne 2.0, got to 122,000 miles with oil pressure within specifications called for after a rebuild (I had the Haynes manual – and no, I didn’t have it overhauled). It used effectively no oil; and had as much power as my old man’s Horizon. It was running strong when I sold it…had a new Escort to go with the new, good-paying job.
Sure…with time the 2.3 four became a mainstay and actually something of a performer…but the time to do engineering work is typically BEFORE launch, not AFTER.
She’s letting guys know up front, before they try picking her up in the local supermarket parking lot. Poor gal’s IBS is out of control.
I do believe in the present day, the wording on the posterior of this car would be considered a terroristic threat.
my biggest fear in this ‘era’ was to be stuck at a NYC Toll-Booth with a Pinto in front of me and an Audi 5000 behind!
While driving an Isetta?
no, my 1981 Accord LX hatchback! Nearly as bad crunch-wise!
I recall seeing a Pinto with a custom license plate that simply said “KA BOOM”. At least the owner had a sense of humour.
Hey, a Pinto that used to haunt the Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle back when I lived there in the 80s had those exact same vanity plates. It was blue with a flame paint job on the back…. I bet we’re talking about the same car.
FORD: Flames On Rear Denting
“I want to look like a Charlie’s Angel, but I’ll take a Company with deep pockets instead”
Although it has nothing to do with explosiveness, there’s a small late-model four-door Suzuki (“SX4”?) near me onto which the owner has stencilled, along both driver and passenger sides, the words “DON’T BUY A SUZUKI!” Never seen anyone getting in or out of the car, so I’ve never been able to learn what their complaint(s) is — but whatever it is, they feel it strongly enough to deface (and thereby depreciate) their own vehicle. .
It’s always interesting to me when somebody hates their car enough to advertise that hatred to the world.
Maybe it’s to keep people from buying an orphan car? Perhaps dealership support has been poor since the decision to pull the brand out of the U.S. Same thing happened to Isuzu.
If anyone noticed, this post was from a newly-minted contributor who was inspired to become a contributor from this recent quote by CC contributor Jason Shafer:
“If you have ever considered the idea of a contribution – DO IT!!!”
It is always a pleasure to see a fresh face bringing new content. Welcome!
Thank you. It’s good to have you aboard. And, from an egotistical standpoint, it’s good to know I have inspired somebody. May your creative spark ignite like gasoline in your favorite engine.
Thanks (for the welcome/applause and the metaphor).
Maybe it goes unsaid because everyone knows, but Ford did issue a recall in 1978 and (hopefully) installed shielding to make all the 1971-76 cars safer. I’ve assumed that all of the Pintos/Bobcats running around have the shields, but I guess it’s worth checking if you’re considering one!
A great sign to wear if you ever go to prison (groan).
I did some research on the Pinto not long ago for a forthcoming book (101 Things I Learned in Engineering School). The Pinto was at least as safe as other small cars, according to a study by one Gary T. Schwartz in the Rutgers Law Review. Annual occupant fatalities for the Gremlin, Vega, Pinto, Corolla, Datsun 510 and 210, and Beetle averaged out to 330 per million vehicles registered. The fatality rate for the Pinto was below the group at “only” 310. Compared against all registered cars, the Pinto seemed to have an average safety record, as its registration rate was about equal to its fatality rate.
But… I still wouldn’t be caught alive in one.
Shameless self-promotion switch now returned to OFF.
Everyone know this by now, right? 27 deaths, not the 100s or thousands Mother Jones predicted.
I had one in the early 80s (a 72), fun car.
Actually, Tim, I don’t think everyone does know this, although it’s good to see from your link that the Schwartz paper has gotten around. I see the myth repeated all the time, including in the NY Times a few months ago.
If you are old enough to have been there and have been through a divorce with the kids at stake you will understand the following (I got custody and both are now great adults).
The soon to be ex-wife decided she did not want the old fashioned four door car in the settlement. I then found her a red Pinto, with Firestones. She liked the car, I liked the settlement: although she still owes me fourteen years of child support. (This second tactic works wonders when the other party threatens to take you back to court, it focuses their mind and you never see family court again.)
Based on taillights and the vinyl roof, I think this car is a Mercury bobcat.
I think the Bobcat had wider taillights, like twice as wide. And there appears to be a “Pinto” nameplate on the front fender.
Definitely a Pinto the Bobcat taillights looked like this in the chrome bumper era. Although they are much wider the areas between the backup lights are all reflector/unlighted. The aluminum bumper cars had taillights similar to the Pinto and did not require a unique rear panel.
Those Bobcat taillights look real good on a Maverick in my opinion. (not my car)
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