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1974 Ford Pinto Wagon

10/25/2019
Tad Burness
First released during 1970 for the 1971 season, Ford's subcompact Pinto enjoyed a 10-year run, eventually being replaced by the 1981 Escort (which also replaced the 1978 to 1980 Fiesta in the United States).
 
During the early 1970s, Pinto gained ground, saleswise, and when gas prices suddenly escalated in 1973, along with shortages and long lines of impatient folks at the pumps, small economy cars grew more popular than ever! As a result, Pinto enjoyed its greatest sales year in 1974.
 
 
The only cloud on the horizon was the growing number of lawsuits resulting from collisions in which the stubbier two-door runabout Pintos were hit from the rear, bursting the vulnerable far-back fuel tanks, resulting in fires, and fatal results in some crashes. Ford Motor Company took steps to better protect Pinto gas tanks. (The non-wagon types had gas tanks that were located too far back to be proved safe.) The issue of those fiery collisions and the flurry of litigation damaged Pinto's otherwise-good reputation, and sales declined in the later 1970s.
 
In 1975, sales of the Pinto wagons had dropped from the 1974 high of 237,934 to only 90,763. And by 1980, Pinto wagon sales had fallen below the 40,000 mark. Now, of course, the Pinto is getting scarce and collectible, as none have been made in nearly 25 years.
 
By the way, in 1973 I visited the Ford Motor Company factory in Milpitas, CA and saw the new Pinto wagons coming along the assembly line. Startled to hear most of the line workers loudly and vigorously hooting and hollering as they performed their specialized tasks, I asked a supervisor what was going on. "Oh, they make all that noise to keep from getting bored," he explained. As if the mechanical din of the moving assembly line wasn't enough, apparently, they were trying to drown it all out with their own yelling.

 
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