Restoration Required: 1978 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon – SOLD!

by | Jun 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Wagon Wednesday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

June 18, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Even the most unloved rides typically have one very desirable model.  In the case of the Ford Pinto, our vote goes for the two-year-only Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon. With its typical side windows replaced by a solid metal panel supporting a custom van round porthole window, the Pinto Cruising wagon was Ford’s attempt to cash in on the custom van craze with budget-minded consumers.  This 1978 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon originally listed in May 2022 on Craigslist in Cincinnati, Ohio is deserving a restoration. The current color scheme appears to be a repaint that we would like to see returned to what the factory offered in 1978. Specifically, a Marti report for this Pinto would confirm whether this Cruising originally came equipped with the standard or optional graphics package that year:

Currently offered for $4,000 or best offer, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is at the very low end of this guide’s five-year results summary for all models of Pintos.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you make an educated bid on the car we are featuring for auction here:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #4 “Fair” estimate of $3,325 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $6,100.

Ford’s first foray into the North American subcompact market was the rear-wheel-drive Pinto launched for the 1971 model year. Ford offered Pintos in three body styles:  a two-door fastback sedan with a trunk, a three-door hatchback, and a two-door station wagon. Ford produced over three million Pintos over its ten-year production run, outproducing the combined totals of its domestic rivals, the Chevrolet Vega and the AMC Gremlin.

For the 1977 model year, the Pinto received its first significant styling updates with slanted back urethane headlamp buckets, parking lamps, and grille. The tail lamps were revised except for the wagons. Runabouts offered an optional all-glass rear hatch for the first time. While Ford’s ubiquitous overhead cam 140 cubic inch (2.3 Liter) inline-four powered the vast majority of Pintos by this time, wagon buyers could opt for Ford’s 2.8L V6.

Hoping to cash in on the popular custom van craze of the late 1970s, Ford offered a new option package on Pinto wagons.  Dubbed the Pinto Cruising Wagon, it was the sedan delivery version of the Pinto styled to resemble a small conversion van, complete with round side panel “bubble windows” and a choice of optional vinyl graphics. All Pinto Cruising Wagons featured steel side panels with bubble-glass portholes, dual color-keyed sport mirrors, front spoiler, four-styled steel wheels with trim rings, and carpeting on the inner quarter walls and load floor.  Despite the sedan delivery type blocked side design, Pinto Cruising wagons still came equipped with a fold-down rear seat.

The Bionic Disco YouTube Channel features this 1978 Ford Pinto Wagon Commercial:

A bit rough around the edges, as far as we’re concerned this 1978 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon deserves a restoration or even better, a restomod treatment with a modern Ford power train.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This 1978 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon is a driving car that runs idles and shifts perfectly. New battery, distributor, wires, brand new tires all around. Brand New calipers, rotors, and brake pads. Had these things done to make the car safe to drive. I have been taking this car on back roads on the summer weekends. Both windows rolled down cruising at 55 makes for a pleasant drive. Power steering works responsively. Speedometer works. Odometer works. Wipers work. Hazard lights, tail, and brake lights work. Aftermarket headlights have all wiring intact but need to be connected to a switch. Brand new engine air filter. The car is quite solid for 1978. Needs cosmetic attention on the interior. Has rust in a few spots on floor pans (not rocker panels) spare tire well, and rear bumper. Floors need patching not replacing. Has an oil leak when parked after running but checking the dipstick doesn’t indicate rapid oil loss. Suspect it to be a leaky pump seal. Like any car from 44 years ago, it has issues but it’s cool and extremely rare. For any additional photos or info feel free to call, text or leave a message.

Restore or Restomod: What would you do with this 1978 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon for sale?  Please comment below and let us know!

2 Comments
  1. Anonymous

    Yeah that was MY car for a brief time. The one in the picture? Yeah I owned that. It looked great. Looking good unfortunately was the only positive thing I can say about that car. Being the idiot I am I payed what the seller was asking because I always wanted one. I should have been more thorough in my inspection of the vehicle as the seller claimed it didn’t leak any oil but boy lemme tell you that was not the truth. As it turns out it was not an oil pump seal, it was the REAR MAIN seal. Meaning in order to resolve that issue I would have had to pull the engine out of the car. After more than 15 minutes of driving the car I would park it and come back later to discover it had an oil puddle underneath it about 3 to 4 feet in diameter. It just needed too much work than I was initially under the impression that it needed or could afford. Immensely disappointed with ALOT of buyers remorse afterwards. I came to the conclusion that the vehicle was not fit for the road .It stalled frequently and would not start up again when hot. But that’s on me. I ended up cutting my massive losses and selling it for an extremely small fraction of what I payed for and invested in it just to find someone to take it off my hands. It’s somebody else’s problem now. I’ll never do that again. Buyer beware, just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean it’s true. Anyone who will lie, will also steal.

    Reply
  2. Jerome

    I have a all numbers matching 1977 Ford pinto bubble window I’d like to sell. It’s in fair condition. It has the 2.3 with a/c.

    Reply

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