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Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Fri Dec 01, 2000 2:06 pm

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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Fri Dec 01, 2000 2:22 pm

Wasn't it this topic that Ralph Nader cut his teeth? The exploding Pintos?
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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Fri Dec 01, 2000 2:34 pm

All I know is that it didn't sell well in Brazil because Pinto is a Brazilian slang for "Tiny male genitals"
I heard there was a safety problem with the fuel tank at the rear.

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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Fri Dec 01, 2000 2:34 pm

I like them. There no Pacer, but I would definately drive one. There is one in my neighborhood in mint condition, orange w/white interior. If I am ever rich I am going to have the worlds biggest "gas crunch" car collection.


RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Sat Dec 02, 2000 12:04 am

Ford Pinto: the car that blew up and burned people to death when they were rear ended.
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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Sat Dec 02, 2000 12:46 am

CPCDC10- actaully Ralph Nader got started on the Corvair by Chevy.

The Pinto was in production from 1970 to 1980 and included 2 door sedan, 2 door hatchback and 2 door wagon models. Most had a 2.3 litre 4cyl engine though a V6 from the Capri was available( but not popular since reliability was attrocious compared to the 2.3). It was marketed bascially as a commuter/ecnomy car geared to singles and small families. The Wagon was the most practical version, offering alot of room for cargo especially with the back seat folded down. Back seat space on all was an afterthought but useful for short runs. Noteable was it's attractively styled body (compared to the "dumpy" AMC Gremlin) and the many optional trim and appearance packages(such as the Stallion, LDO, ESS packages). The Pinto Squire was a junior version of the full size LTD Country Squire wagon, right down to the "wood" sides and roof rack. It was also somewhat more relaible than Chevrolet's Vega, whiach had an all aluminum engine that was troublesome on early models.

We had 1975 Pinto. It was a fair low cost "hack", sufficient for commuting. It wasnt too powerful (2.3 litre 4cyl-especailly with the automatic transmission, power sterring and air conditioning ours had.). However, it always started and ran, had attractive styling (ours had a glass hatchback, "road wheels", and an "interior/ exterior dress up package" that consisted of some extra chrome, dual body colored mirrors, contrasting lower body paint, a vinyl semi roof, cloth seat inserts, test tube wood on the doors and dash and an AM/FM radio).

It wasn't the most practical or comfortable (the "belt line" was high and seats low so sometimes it felt like you were sitting in a bath tub) but was enough for Mom, Dad and I. It suited us well since it got good gas milage (for the time) and was a good commuter car (the other 2 cars we had; a 1973 Dart Custom 4 door (Mom's)sedan and a 1974 AMC Ambassador (Dad's guzzle, guzzler). The Pinto was a company car but we ended up buying it when its lease was up and kept it until 1985 when it finally quit at 124,000 miles.

In all it was a first generation American economy car that sold well, especially after the first gas crunch.

As far as its blowing up, Lee Iacocca said in his book that a saftey expert told him "it really isn't any worse than other cars, but it has more of an image problem than anything else....".

I don't think I would buy a used on now  
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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Sat Dec 02, 2000 4:31 am

My first car was a 1974 Ford Pinto!
I got it in 1990 when I was 16.
It ran on regular gasoline, not unleaded.
It was green and everyone laugh at me but it was a fun car.

I have a few friends that still drives there Pintos.

Believe it or not, my boss who makes well oer $200,000.00 a year still drives a 1975 white Pinto Station Wagon!
Bring back the Concorde
Stretch 8
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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Sat Dec 02, 2000 4:36 am

it was an awful piece of junk. The Maverick, especiially with the V-8 engine, was a much better car.
Maggs swings, it's a drive deep to left! The Tigers are going to the World Series!!!

RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Sat Dec 02, 2000 2:01 pm

Pintos are great- if they don't blow up on you.

I swear, if you *look* at the damn thing the wrong way...  
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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Sun Dec 03, 2000 5:46 pm

I have never been much of a Ford fan, my affiliations leaning more towards the GM stable. I drive two Chevrolet Corvairs (the early model having been slated by Ralph Nader as being "unsafe at any speed") amongst a collection of French, German and Japanese cars.

A owned a Ford once for three months. It was a Cortina 1.6 Mk 4 and I hated it with such passion that I did much to try and destroy what was in effect a brand new car. Anyway sanity prevailed and I traded it in at the first opportunity on a Volkswagen Passat.

Anything negative about a Ford product was read and gloated upon and when the Pinto story hit the press, the negative publicity was saved for prosterity and I have here before my eyes those original press cuttings.

"$128m award against Ford"
"Pinto, Vega Fire danger"
"Ford on trial for reckless homicide"
"In dem USA wurde Ford wegen fahrlässiger Tötung angeklagt"

On January 7, 1980 The Ford Motor Company went on trial on one of the most serious charges brought against an American corporation - reckless homicide - after being indicted by an Indiana Grand Jury two years earlier on charges of building the Pinto with a dangerously faulty fuel tank "in reckless disregard" of the passengers safety. The company was charged with "reckless homicide" and "criminal recklessness".

The charges were brought in connection with a fatal car accident in August 1978, when three young women in a Pinto were burnt to death after their vehicle was struck from behind by a van.

The prosecution maintained that the company and its employees were aware that the Pinto's petrol tank posed a hazard to life when the vehicle was struck from behind, but did nothing to correct the situation. The law-suit argued that Ford documents showed that the rear end of the Pinto had failed five crash-tests before being sold to the public.

In years of debate over the safety of the Pinto's fuel system Ford vigorously defended itself against charges from consumer groups, the Government and lawyers who represented victims of accidents involving Pinto fuel-tank explosions. The fiery deaths of 32 people had been attributed to the Pinto fuel tank problem by September 1978.

Ford said that the fuel systems under attack were as safe as those of its competitors and always complied with United States law.

The company lost many of the civil cases brought against it in connection with Pinto fire deaths and faced about 40 more such cases at the time. The outcome of the trial was expected to have far-reaching implications on the company's future.

Clearly, they survived the ordeal.

In an earlier case The Ford Motor Company was ordered to pay $128 million in damages to a boy who was badly burned in a controversial Ford Pinto explosion in 1972 which also killed the driver. Investigation showed that the fuel tank had a faulty weld which could have caused the tank to rupture. The court was told that the company sold Pintos with the faulty tanks even after their own tests had revealed what was wrong. A second jury reduced the damages to $6.3m following an appeal.

My Thoughts

I don't hate current Fords - I know that they build much better cars now than twenty or thirty years ago. Having said that I do find a '62 - '65 Thunderbird quite appealing. As for the Pinto - it's styling was good and probably had a lot to do with sales in excess of 1½ million, although the original stock wheels looked awful. The check interiors on some models was equally awful. The car certainly lent itself to being customised and Ford eventually offered jazzed up models with stripes and fancy wheels.

It served its purpose as a cheap reliable runabout and occasionally in history lessons had to be learnt. The Pinto was one of them.

Behind every "no" is a "yes"
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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Wed Dec 06, 2000 8:09 am

Ralph Nader's book was "Unsafe at Any Speed." It wasn't just about the Corvair. It addressed the rear engined VWs and Porsches too- and negatively. Today Compaq advertises using a green (for Green Party probably) Corvair van.

I too have owned and operated Corvairs. I have only one now but I've had three.

Chevrolet and Ford competed in late 1959 each with a small economy car. Ford's was the Falcon, a conventional car with unibody design. Chevrolet's was the Corvair, an unconventional car with unibody design, rear aluminum & iron air cooled engine and fully independent suspension. They both sold well. At first the Corvair practically outsold everything.

More than a decade later the two were at it again with the Ford Pinto and the Chevrolet Vega. The Ford was again more conventional than the Chevy. The Ford came with an in-line 4 with the cam in the block (standard) or an in-line 4 w/overhead cam (optional). Later toward the end of the production run Ford offered v-6s in a Mercury version that used a common body with the Pinto. Eventually both the Ford & Merc version had a 4 and a v-6 available (I recall).

The Chevy entry was only slightly unconventional- having been punished by Nader to attempt anything so interesting as the Corvair. The Vega, which became much more criticized than the Corvair ultimately, came with one engine design- an in-line 4 with overhead cam. Some remember the engine as an all aluminum creation. However, it was not. This power plant incorporated an aluminum block and an iron head. Unlike the Corvair the Vega's piston rings slidd directly on aluminum cylinder walls. The Corvair's were hard cast iron (extremely long lived). The vega design was similar to the Porsche 928 but not as sophisticated. This design lent itself to overheat discussions and miserable lawsuits. GM found themselves guaranteeing the engine for 100,000 miles while in the renamed Vega (the Monza) body. They could do it with a healthy engine cooling system.

The Vega wasn't particularly stylish, although I liked the car at the time. The Pinto had a football sectional view- with a Camaro like profile. The Pinto grew to be somewhat trouble free for their first owners. When purchased used they often lived in shops. Their options and interiors were extraordinary. The carpets and sound systems were a cut above the Vega. The Vega had a better air conditioning system available, I recall. The Vega handled much lighter than the Ford. I think the Vega wagon looked better than the Pinto wagon (a personal opinion).

Neither car came close to the handling, torque and driving mystique of my 65' turbo Corvair Corsa convertible.


Ps-cars don't blow up very often. Often people use this term incorrectly I perceive.
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RE: Your Thoughts On The Ford Pinto Made In The 70's?

Wed Dec 06, 2000 8:14 am

My mom's first car was a 1971 bright orange Pinto! She said that car could plow through heavy snow like a semi!

Nader got his start suing GM over the Corvair.
My views as expressed above are my views alone and do not constitute the views of my employer.

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