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Author Topic: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!  (Read 4388 times)

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Offline Calicolorado

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1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« on: June 19, 2015, 01:19:37 PM »
Hi Folks,

This is my first post here, though I have lurked and appreciated the solutions I have found to different challenges with my Pinto.

I bought it at the end of March, a one owner 1971 Pinto that was essentially a barn find. It had been sitting since 1992 underneath heavy tarps, in the shade of a large hedge.

This Pinto was purchased new in 1971 from Villa Ford in Orange, CA. Options were: front disc brakes and the 'Luxury Decor Group'. It's a 1600, 4 speed.

Primarily, it was used to commute to San Juan Capistrano where the previous owner worked for the school district. He was a DIY'er so the shop manual contains some of his notes on timing and carburetion tuning which is kinda cool.

When I bought it, all four Montgomery Ward tires were flat and cracked, so the first order of business was to get it on some wheels that could roll. I went to the Pick A Part, found (3) 4x4.25" bolt pattern alloys and a donut spare off a Ford Contour and got it up on wheels. I rolled it down the street to my house and started to take a deeper look.




Offline Calicolorado

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 01:37:04 PM »
Continued...

The interior is in really nice shape, with seats that are darn near perfect. The fronts have had seat covers their entire life, so the vinyl and houndstooth fabric look almost factory original. I carefully cleaned the door and interior panels with Einszett Cockpit Premium, removed the door and window hardware and cleaned them with metal polish. The dash pad has a big crack to the right of the cluster so I'm trying to find a replacement ASAP.

The attached pics show it as found, I'll post some pics of it cleaned up soon.

My wife, daughter and I washed it getting 23 years of fine dirt and dust off it. I got out my orbital buffer and used a cutting compound to shine up the existing paint as best I could. Obviously, it has a "seasoned" finish on the roof and decklid...

With the Contour alloys, it looked halfway decent! The Contour wheels are not possible to run without spacers in the rear as the tires slightly rub on the leaf springs. This was a temporary, get it on wheels solution while I restored the original steel wheels and sourced new 155/80 R13 whitewalls.

Next job was to get it running again....

Offline Calicolorado

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2015, 03:14:14 PM »
Continued...

The first thing I did was to remove the gas tank. There were only about 2 pints of old gas in there, which I used as weed killer. I inspected the inside of the tank and was happy to discover that it was in good condition.  I removed all the existing rubber fuel lines at the tank and in the engine compartment and replaced them. Finally, I cleaned up the outside of the tank using VHT epoxy paint. I installed the tank and went about replacing the ignition parts.

With the ignition parts sourced and new battery in, I gapped new plugs, installed points, condenser, rotor, cap and wires. After dinner on a Monday night, I went out and fired it right up.

Since the brake pedal travelled clear down to the floor, I had no stopping power. Brakes and wheels were next...

Offline 72pair

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2015, 04:51:26 PM »
Like this car, but please put some tires on it! The 155/80/13s are way too small for the pinto wheel wells. If you are set on using original wheels at least try to find some 175 or 185s. Like it lots tho and good luck and good times!
72 sedan 2.0, c-4 beater now hot 2.0, 4-speed
72 sedan 2.3, t-5, 8" running project
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Offline Calicolorado

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2015, 05:37:45 PM »
Like this car, but please put some tires on it! The 155/80/13s are way too small for the pinto wheel wells. If you are set on using original wheels at least try to find some 175 or 185s. Like it lots tho and good luck and good times!

Many thanks! I agree that they definitely look dinky in there. It's an economy car setup, no doubt.  If it was in my budget, I'd find a set of Libras or another cool vintage 4 spoke wheel.

I have already bought some Uniroyal Tiger Paws in the aforementioned size. They size match the rotten tires I took off the car. Maybe I should have gone bigger. The 13" tire options are really limited. I don't remember that from the last car I had with 13's back in the 90's...205/60/13's on my '86 VW Golf/Gti!

Offline 72DutchWagon

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2015, 09:02:29 PM »
your IMG_5829 is a beaut, shiny foal and letters, faded emblem colors,  seaside blue and rusty crust, picture postcard!
IMG 5827 should have a polished wooden pedestal or something...
How to preserve patina, and have a working machine?

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2015, 09:01:56 AM »
Personally if there's no body rot I'd flat clear that car & keep the patina. Fresh paint would be a shame unless it needs body work.
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Offline Calicolorado

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2015, 12:37:13 PM »
your IMG_5829 is a beaut, shiny foal and letters, faded emblem colors,  seaside blue and rusty crust, picture postcard!
IMG 5827 should have a polished wooden pedestal or something...
How to preserve patina, and have a working machine?

Thank you! Beautifully seasoned by nature, this car is. I can send you a higher-res version of that pic if you like...

I'm a fan of mechanically sound cars with nice trim, wheels and original patina, so that's what I had in mind for this car. I refurbished the original steel wheels and coated them in gloss black epoxy paint. The hubcaps are almost perfect. Chrome is pretty good, though there is some pitting on the rear bumper and front bumper underside. I want to clean up the window trim as it is pitted, but it seems like it's aluminum and is more delicate.


Offline dianne

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2015, 10:22:21 AM »
I think that car is awesome! I would love to see it painted, but people are liking the patina now for some reason. I guess it would look cool keeping that patina on it!
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline russosborne

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2015, 08:11:23 PM »
I second the painting notion, but it isn't my car.
I've just never been a fan of the "used/wore/distressed" look. Not on furniture, not on cars. I like bright and shiny and looking like new.
But that is just me.
This is an awesome find! Congrats!
Russ
In Glendale, Arizona

RIP Casey, Mallory, Abby, and Sadie. We miss you.

79 Pinto ESS fully caged fun car. In progress. 8inch 4.10 gears. 351C and a T5 waiting to go in.
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Offline dga57

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2015, 11:56:22 PM »
I second the painting notion, but it isn't my car.
I've just never been a fan of the "used/wore/distressed" look. Not on furniture, not on cars. I like bright and shiny and looking like new.
But that is just me.
This is an awesome find! Congrats!
Russ

Ditto!

Dwayne :)
Pinto Car Club of America - Serving the Ford Pinto enthusiast since 1999.

Offline pinto_one

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2015, 06:14:26 AM »
The car is too valuable to not paint it , if it is not rusted out or just surface in a place or two I would invest in a nice stock paint job and keep it inside , just think , ten years from now the car will be over fifty years old , half a century
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Offline Calicolorado

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2015, 12:45:56 PM »
Thank you all for your replies and comments! I'll keep posting pictures of it as I work on it. It's an interesting car that is unbelievably rare considering how many were made through the production run. My friend and I were thinking that more exotics are around these days than the Pinto.

I haven't quite decided how to approach the paint/patina question. I really like shiny, restored cars too and would love to see this car that way. The concern I have is that I have very recent experience with a bare-metal restoration on another car that is not back together completely. I did every bit of bodywork and prep on that car ('72 BMW 2002) and painted it myself. It has been a multi year (5) project!

To paint this Pinto correctly, I would have a hard time not stripping it completely, removing the engine and getting into something I can't handle right now. I'm more comfortable with getting it into good running order and restoring the trim, interior and things like that. Would a decent driver paint job be worth covering up the original paint, however “seasoned” the finish is? Also, what could I expect to spend? The estimate I got for my 2002 was $7500 and I said no thank you.

The engine bay is a bit rough with surface rust,etc, but there's no perforation anywhere except for the battery tray. I think it would need paint/restoration to look right if I did the exterior paint....but maybe not..

-Brendan

Offline dga57

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2015, 11:54:27 PM »
I had promised myself I'd stay out of this discussion but, since you've come right out and asked, here goes.... 
Your car appears to be in amazing condition for a survivor.  It is also an excellent candidate for a total restoration but I certainly understand if you can't (or do not wish to) commit that kind of time and/or money.  I also realize there is a new-found appreciation for "patina" in the car collector hobby but my personal opinion is that whatever value original paint would hold will be greatly diminished by the condition of said paint.  All that being said, if it were my car, it would get a decent same-color respray.  It wouldn't have to be show quality; just shiny and smooth.  It would enhance the overall appearance of the car, protect the metal, and shouldn't break the bank whether you choose to do it yourself or have it done by a reputable body shop.  If the color match is accurate, the door jambs and under hood areas should blend in well enough to look good.  It would have potential to be the darling of the local cruise-ins!  Now, that's MY opinion and my opinion only.  We have over 8200 members here and, if asked, probably every one of them would offer an opinion and no two would be exactly the same.  Bottom line, it's your car to do with as you wish, and I wish you well with whatever course you take.


Dwayne :)
Pinto Car Club of America - Serving the Ford Pinto enthusiast since 1999.

Offline russosborne

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2015, 01:18:52 AM »
I agree with Dwayne.
The original paint on the car is garbage to me.
Personally, if it was me and I didn't have the time or money to do a full blown real paint job, I would take as much off the body as possible and take it to a Maaco type place and get as close to the original as you can.
Heck, I would even just primer the thing if nothing else. I hate hate hate the "patina" look.
But that is just me.
Do what it takes to make YOU happy with it, no one else's opinion really matters.

Russ
In Glendale, Arizona

RIP Casey, Mallory, Abby, and Sadie. We miss you.

79 Pinto ESS fully caged fun car. In progress. 8inch 4.10 gears. 351C and a T5 waiting to go in.
74 Pinto Wagon.  To be or Not to be a Pinchero, that is the question.

Offline dianne

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2015, 11:22:42 AM »
You know my opinion and I think it should be painted. If you can't get to the engine bay, do it later and paint it black. Sure they were painted the same before, but I do mine in black because I like that color in the bay...

Good luck with it and again it's your car :)
Vehicles:

- 1972 Plymouth Duster (To be a Pro Street)
- 1973 Ford Pinto wagon (registered ride 195)
- 1976 Mustang II mini-stock
- 1978 Mustang King Cobra II
- 1979 Ford Pinto Runabout
- 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
- 1997 Suzuki Marauder

FORD: Federal Ownership Respectfully Denied

Offline HOSS429

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2015, 12:31:16 PM »
did the luxury decor group include the bumper guards ? i didn`t think 71`s had them ..

Offline Calicolorado

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2015, 02:31:03 PM »
did the luxury decor group include the bumper guards ? i didn`t think 71`s had them ..

I'm not an expert, but this car has both. My impression after going over this car is that it's completely stock/original aside from the passenger side exterior mirror that the previous owner had installed.

Offline Calicolorado

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2015, 02:42:54 PM »
Thank you Russ and dga57. I value your opinions here because you're infinitely more familiar with the Pinto than I am. I have a big decision to make with this car and I'm not sure what it'll be yet.

The carb needs a rebuild and I need to check the valve clearances, then it'll run a bit more smoothly. Maybe having that done will help me decide. If Maaco could do a decent paint job for a few grand I might go for it, but I can't paint another car myself right now.

Best Regards,
Brendan

Offline dga57

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2015, 03:39:52 AM »
I know things tend to cost more in California than they do here (I'm in Virginia) but Maaco should certainly be able to do a paint job within that price range. Don't overlook private shops; particularly if there's one that you normally do business with.  About ten years ago I purchased a super-nice '79 Continental Collector's Series.  Super-nice, that is, except for the paint.  The car was low mileage, mechanically perfect, and like new inside.  It had been a garage-kept one-owner for 23 years, but the second owner stored it in a parking garage attached to his condo in Myrtle Beach SC and protected it with a car cover.  Big mistake!  The salt water in the breeze got under the cover and essentially destroyed the paint.  He was so heartsick that he gave up and sold the car (to me)for almost nothing.  I took it to a privately owned body shop near my home.  At that time they gave me two options: $12,000 for a show quality repaint scheduled during their normal working hours or, if I was willing to let them keep the car and work on it "between jobs" and "during down time", the same paint job for $3500, but spread out over 6 - 8 weeks.  I was in no particular hurry so that second option was the one I accepted.  It was disassembled, every tiny imperfection repaired, stripped, primed, painted, clear coated, and it ultimately came back to me looking like a new car.  That car would have taken approximately four times the amount of product your Pinto will require, and a lot more labor.  It was also a paint job that I think far exceeds what you're considering for your Pinto.  Of course, prices have risen over the years, but I tell you all this to make the point that a private body shop offered me a deal that a chain like Maaco could never offer.  Collision repair is the bread and butter of pretty much all shops unless they specialize in restorations or customs only.  Their workers though, enjoy working on vintage cars and they all got involved on some level.  When I eventually picked up the car, I received a photojournal documenting the entire process, and a basket full of 8-track tapes the employees had scrounged up from their attics, closets, etc. as a gift.  Just food for thought.


Dwayne :)
Pinto Car Club of America - Serving the Ford Pinto enthusiast since 1999.

Offline Runabout75

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Re: 1971 Pinto 1600, back to life!
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2015, 12:42:41 PM »
Glad you found this little survivor. You've got the knowledge to put it back on the road. Enjoy it.
Runabout75