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08 Sep 2007 - Gerard Forgnone(geewhiz427), Pinto Showcase




The Ford Pinto was introduced in 1971, when I was a 10 year-old working in my fatherís Chevron service station in Salinas, California, near Monterey. I never really paid much attention to the little economy car until my best friend Bill started driving a green 72 Runabout 2.0/4-speed handed down from his father. Bill would drive the tires off his little car, eventually adding a tubular exhaust header, wide tires, and interior. It was really impressive how the little car ran, and how economical it was to operate.

The gas shortage of 1979 arrived, and I saw the writing on the wall for my two V8 gas guzzlers, a 57 Chevy with a highly modified 283, and a 68 Ranchero with a stock 289. Even though my father owned a gas station, it was time to move off to school, and I needed a more economical car. A search of the classifieds led to a nice blue 72 Runabout with a 2.0/4-speed, which was purchased for $800, a handsome amount for a seven-year old car that sold new for about $2000. But, economy cars were in demand at the time, and the car was in excellent condition.

A new interior, tubular exhaust, mags and wide tires, and a new paint job went into the car within the first 3 months of ownership. Soon, a 4-barrel intake and carburetor were installed along with a mild cam, and the little car was flying! I drove my Pinto to automotive school in Phoenix and engineering school in San Luis Obispo, California, from 1980 until 1986, and only had a few minor problems.

At about 215,000 miles, the original engine had a minor problem with a melted piston, due to over-advanced timing and hot weather. A friend was selling a complete 74 car with a modified 2.0 and new radiator for $250, and so my car got a fresher, more modified engine in 1992. The car now has 246,000 miles, and looks and runs better than new. It is becoming so rare that I quit driving it daily, and now use it for special occasions such as car shows, where many young people see their first Pinto. I'll never sell my carÖitís been too good to me!

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