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My pandemic project!

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Two scores and three weeks ago,ummm,oh, yeah, this is a Pinto website not a Lincoln  one! My bad...

Anyway, I purchased my first Pinto as a high school senior, a 1979 station wagon with the exterior decor group (not a woody) with a 2.3 liter 4-banger and a stick shift. It had the paint option of Medium Red Glow. I purchased it from my dad's colleague at Hancock AFB when it was a year old, as he got himself a bigger car. It proved to be an awesome car for a kid going away to college! It carried all of my worldly goods back and forth between home and the University every summer recess. Not to mention all the road trips up and down the coast to visit college chums, girlfriends, and road trips on spring break!

Needless to say, I ended up trading it in for a Toyota Corona, which was also a great car...but that's another story for a different day! Since then, I regretted selling the Pinto as it was my first car...just like your first love! I have kept in touch with my friends over the years, and without fail, they would bring up my Pinto! We all had great times and memories!

Two years ago, I started looking for my first car and was not surprised that it was no longer around being a car in the Salt state of New York. Therefore, I did a national search across the country using many websites and search engines of reputable car clubs and magazines like Hemmings. My first car color was no where to be found! I did come across two. One was a basket case Runabout, and the other was a hot-Rodded Wagon with a blank Cruising Wagon panels.  I have nothing against retsomods and hot-rods as they are unique and mostly well-crafted, but I wanted a stock wagon just like my first car...I finally expanded my search to include all colors and did inquire on two...a red wagon in Michigan and a brown one in Palm Beach, and had both inspected by a classic car appraisal firm.

When both inspections passed my standards, things became rather challenging! The red one was priced at 6000 and it was restored as new. As I made an offer, I learned that he decided to consign the car with a classic car dealer. The price doubled. As I attempted to meet them half way between the old and new price, another classic car dealer in Sarasota brought it as I called to finalize the deal. That car price is now nearly $16,000 and still remains for sale there. A nice car, but I bowed out. I moved on to the Hemmings Motor News ad in Palm Beach. Nice guy, but he was firm with his $15k asking price and the inspection shown that I would need to do additional work (weatherstrippi ng, tank draining, minor mechanical work like a tune up). I decided to bite the bullet and said that I would do the deal...he would not do escrow that I wanted to do to protect both sides. He may be honest, but after hearing so many horrific stories, I withdrew.

I was in despair thinking that I would never find one...and ready to throw in the towel...when I decided to look again and to my surprise I found an ad of a private sale of a 1980 Pinto Squire Wagon in Venice, Florida several miles from my dads house. I called my brother and sister in law to take a look at it. It was priced reasonably leaving lots of room for any additional work it may have needed. Long story short...the seller lived a hour from me here in Ohio and the car is her Florida car in Venice. I tried to upload 4 pictures for your viewing, but the box popped up saying it does not allow JPEG. How do I convert it from JPEG to JPG format???

It is in very good condition as I purchased it from a 86 year old lady who inherited it from a 91 year old friend who died. It spend its life in Florida as a snowbird's winter car after the first year in Ohio. The body is amazingly rust free, and the interior is nearly immaculate other than the faded carpet. I plan to either re dye or replace the carpet and the vinyl sidewalls in the cargo bay as they are really faded. The color is Vaquero (H2) which is sort of reddish brown and impossible to find the carpet in that color. I was able to locate the carpet with SMS Auto Fabrics in Canby, Oregon.

I was amazed that I found NOS wood siding at Green Sales in Cincinnati. I plan to strip the faded siding and replace with the new one. The paint is in really good condition so I plan to leave it as is (Bright Bittersweet 2G). Mechanically, it runs well when warmed up...but when started cold, it sounds like an old geezer with COPD! I think I am spoiled by fuel injection these days so it was like a shock at first! I had to retrain myself in starting procedures as unlike a fuel injection engine, I have to turn the key on, not start, and pump slowly three or four times and then start. Its starts right up and you don't have to do the steps to start the car again until the next day as it starts fine as a warmed engine.

I completed a tune up, replaced all the fluids, gaskets, filters, PCV, and the like. Hopefully that will improve the cold starts. As it was a Florida car, the previous owner's mechanic bypassed the heater core, as they apparently don't need heat. I plan to reinstall it and hopefully there is no problem with the heater box as there must be a reason of bypassing it? I plan to replace both if needed be in the Spring while doing the AC recharge/conversion.

As the auto-shipping firm damaged the lower front valance panel loading or unloading the car, I faced the task of seeking a replacement. I was unsuccessful in doing so with dismantling yards, eBay, NOS parts retailers, and the like. It was frustrating as the panel as whole was in very good condition with the bolt holes on one side broken off. I saw on this Pinto website about Showcars Unlimited in Foxboro, Ontario. I contacted him and he sells spoilers but had no valance panels as he was unable to find one that was not damaged to create a mold. I explained about mine, and he was excited as he wanted one to create a mold of. He said that he could try to rebuilt the bolt bracket piece and then create a new mold. I agreed and shipped him the panel. I will keep you updated as that might become a source for you to replace your damaged or missing valance panels of your 1979 or 1980 units if he proves successful in replicating it by making fiberglass molds. Fingers crossed!

Another area in need of my attention is the powered rack and pinion steering rack as it is leaking from the boots. It seems to steer just fine, so I am wondering if it could be rebuilt or should I simply replace it with a new unit? That'll be my summer project in 2021.

The tires...OMG! I thought that would be an easier item to locate. 165/80-13 wsw are rarer than hens teeth! I have a set on back order with Coker Tire, and just been notified it will not arrive until Jan 2021!!! I already had one tire go flat due to dry rot, so I replaced it with a trailer tire so I can move it around or drive it locally. What are you folks doing for tires on yours?

Oh golly, I yakked your ear off enough already!

Happy Motoring!

As I know that some of you have been following my project under the General Pinto Talk section of the forum, but it appears that this is where I should post my pictures. Thanks to Matt and Wittsend in showing me how to reduce the sizes so it can be added. Fingers crossed!

The first few is when I purchased the car in Florida, and these were taken at my brothers house before the car carrier shown up to take it back up to Ohio. The exterior shots include three sides. The last picture is from a brochure that looks like an identical twin to mine!

Happy Motoring,

Now, the is in remarkable good condition other than fading of the carpets and plastic pieces. The dash is crack-free as well with a period-correct GPS (compass) LOL! The sunvisor needs to be redone due to the previous owner clipping on so many pieces, including vanity mirror, garage door opener, and guardian angel icons. I have located tier vinyl fabric from SMS auto fabric in Canby, Oregon to restore it including the inner padding. I enclosed a snapshot of the fabric samples. I also ordered the carpet from them as well. They contact with ACC carpets but using the original template and special ordered color of Vaquero (Ford color code HZ). They just arrived, so I hope to have it installed next week while Im on vacation. I will post the after pictures. Here's the before pictures:

Fabric samples from SMS auto fabric Inc.

Cargo Bay..see the side panels, it has faded and scratches. It will be redone using SES interior paint dye. Cargo Bay Carpet was covered with a blanket for its entire life, so I plan to keep that while replacing the faded carpet in the passenger area.


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