40th Anniversary of Ford Pinto Stirs Fond Memories

It’s hard to imagine that one of the most infamous unsafe cars ever made could have fans, but as the candles on the birthday cake total 40, there are some mixed emotions about the Ford Pinto.

Car Talk is "celebrating" 40 years of the Pinto during this week's show and has posted two stories that are definitely worth reading on their site. 

In one, Mark Dowie, the man who broke the story that Ford tried to cover up the exploding gas tank, now believes it to be a decent vehicle … at least when compared to the hard-to-handle Chevy Corvair.

In a column by Jamie Kitman, the attorney addresses how current tort reform may actually lead to another Pinto-esque problem in the future. 

Check out both stories and don't forget to listen to Tom & Ray this Saturday on your local public radio station. 

By David Thomas | March 25, 2011 | Comments (7)



My first car. A green 1978 like the one pictured above. Used more oil than gas but I have fond memories.

Matt C

My neighbor shoved a boss 302 in that thing some how. Kicked the crap out of everyone at the strip. Do people still do that anymore?


We had two Pintos that were passed down through the college kids in our family for many years. They were great cars. We also had two Vegas that literally self-destructed!


As long as you're willing to put an extra $11 of aftermarket parts on your car...


I vaguely remember info on the pinto that stated ford intended for a fuel (safety) cell and drivers side airbag, but they were removed from the production vehicle due to cost.


Ah, yes, the Pinto. My dad owned two different years' versions of them, both with stick shifts, bought new so us kids would have transportation to get around in. At first we all were thrilled. But within the first month of ownership little problems started to pop up like a leaking oil pan, or difficulty starting/running, or brakes pulling to the right. These irritants were fixed under warranty but when it became public knowledge about the gas tank's potential danger, my mom put a stop to us kids driving these time bombs on our congested freeways. My dad traded them both off for a used late-model VW Bug and a used late-model Corona, both which took us all the way through college without any problems. The word Pinto evokes memories of the smell of hot motor oil in the passenger compartment and the smell of a cheap plastic interior. I can still smell it!


I love Pintos. I've owned 6 and am currently looking to get my 7th. They are great cars!

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