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In the Garage: 1977 Ford Pinto
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1977 Ford Pinto wagon owned by Dominick Speziale
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
The subcompact Pinto -- built in sedan, hatchback and wagon versions for model years 1971 through 1980 -- managed to suffer through a gas tank fire controversy and a subsequent recall to sell over two million copies during its lifetime. Speziale’s white ‘77 pushes the buttons of two current collecting trends: a heightened interest in wagons and an attraction to ‘70s American cars among younger enthusiasts who grew up with them.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
“I bought this a few years back as part of my ‘great unloved cars collection,’ which includes a ’67 Corvair, ’77 (AMC) Pacer, ’80 (Mercury) Bobcat wagon and an ’84 El Camino,” says Speziale. “You see, I love the two-doors. They just have more style.”
WHERE HE FOUND IT
“I found it online at a dealer in Pennsylvania called ‘Cheap Heaps,’” he says. “It was traded in by a 92-year-old. I guess it was time.”
Speziale’s Pinto sports the original red interior, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. “It is in pretty good condition for an original, 35-year-old car,” he says.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“My advice is to buy a Pinto wagon,” he says. “They are just so unusual and have a flair not seen since, well, the ‘70s.”
“What’s it worth? Who cares? I’ll drive it as long as it’s fun and when it goes, someone else will decide what it’s worth,” he says. The NADA Guides places a “high retail” value of $3,762 on a 1977 Pinto wagon.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“This Pinto may be one of those lasting memories of first cars and first loves,” Speziale says. “You know it’s cool when even your 14-year-old daughter says, ‘Don’t sell that car,’ and Danielle is usually right.”