CHASSIS NO: 1R10W107005
• First year of the Pinto; 50th Anniversary of Ford’s first subcompact
• California built and owned; early UK “Orange” block engine
• Cosmetic restoration; mild upgrades; mechanically sound and highway ready
1.6-liter OHV inline four-cylinder engine, 75 HP, single-barrel Motorcraft carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with rack and pinion steering, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 94”
In 1960, Ford brought out its first domestic compact car with the Falcon. It was wildly successful and in this new market niche, Falcon was the sales leader. In the Spring of 1969, a second-generation compact was born with the Maverick. Building on its success and with the American car buyers accepting smaller import models, the industry started to look at even smaller cars and the subcompact market was born. Ford turned to experienced designer Virgil Exner Jr. to come up with a car that would fit within its tight parameters and the final product was pure genius. Exner borrowed as much as possible from existing Ford models like using the headlights and taillights from the Maverick, while engineers were sourcing the drivetrain from their British lines employing the feisty little 1.6-liter Kent four-cylinder engine. This is the same basic engine that had powered the Lotus engineered Cortinas to victory in many European rallies. When the Pinto was released, it was embraced by the masses and Ford scored another win in the sales race with over 350,000 sales in the first season which bested its nearest domestic competitor, the Chevrolet Vega by over 80,000 units.
This wonderful little coupe is an early production Pinto assembled at Ford’s San Jose assembly plant. It was sold new in California and migrated to Las Vegas, Nevada, where our consignor discovered the car. It was, as he told us, “baked, but solid!” The sheet metal was prepped for a quality repaint in its original red and the basic black vinyl interior was replaced. Little was done under the hood outside of a tune-up, as this sound little car and retains its original UK produced Kent engine still wearing its distinctive orange paint. When Ford started to install engines produced in the USA, they were painted the traditional Ford blue. The Dagenham four-speed transmission on this little Pinto goes through the gears easily and it is about as trouble free as a 50-year-old car could be. It features its original push-button AM radio and heater-defroster unit. One upgrade was the installation of a set of mag aluminum wheels sourced from a 1974 era Mustang II. A few years ago, our consignor showed this Pinto at an event that honored the design talents of Virgil Exner Jr. During the show, Exner was talked into autographing the inside of the deck lid of this Pinto. After which, he declared he had never signed any car, making this little Pony one-of-a-kind. The interest from collectors of these early subcompacts is growing as many reflect on their first motoring experiences being behind the wheel of a simply fun little car called Pinto.