or .com by wulinqing

VIEWS: 222 PAGES: 10

									                                                              D      :
                                                       Vipers on Track
                                                       Speed World
                                                       Challenge Car
                                                        I esPe k·
                                                       Hill Climb Coverage

Volume 20 • Number 7
 November 2003
$4.99   us •   $6.99 Canada
                                I	              : Autocross Monster
                         1 1)   ull - ht: Complete Guide to Towing

 o   09281 	01 24I  6

                                  For 	 -nto: Sportier Than You Think
                                      S   00              or .com
   The Pinto Was the
                                 he Ford Pinro has bee n put down and                These qua lities add up ro a car that handily
                                 mocked (sometim es deserved ly so)               outclassed and outso ld its dom estic com peti­
                                 plenry of ri mes. Mocked and vilified            tion and conrrib uted ro some of Ford's best
  Blue Oval's Under­     in its da y, the lowly Pinro broke new ground
                         at Ford and proved ro be a better ca r than mosr
                                                                                  sales years. I n addition, its low weight and
                                                                                  easi ly modified engine provided surprising
                         remember. If yo u're expecting explosion jokes,          abi liti es on the track.
 rated Challenger in     this Story wi ll disappoinr you. Now ir's time ro
                         ralk about the many good poinrs of Ford's first          Ford's Import Fighter
                         answe r ro VW, Toyota, Honda and Datsun.                   The order For the ca r that became the Pimo
the Conlpact Banles         Yes, the Pimo has good points, and quite a
                         few of them: a bulletprooF overhead-cam engine,
                                                                                  came first from Lee lacocca. When ir came to
                                                                                  small cars, lacocca saw the handwriring on the
                         optional disc brakes, nin1ble rack-and -pin ion steer­   wall ea rl y. Between 1962 and 1968, th e sales
    of the Earlv 1910s   ing and srrong, light construction For starte rs.        of imported cars in the U. S. doubled, Fueled
                                                       SY ford
                                                (ourt~e~_~~                       --~---~--~-------~,
                                                                                                                                             his sma ll er ,
                                        photo                    _ __ _ _ _ _ _                                                              record time
                                                                                                                                             about two 1
                                                                                                                                             and COSt $ [ '

                                                                                                                                             Two Enl
                                                                                                                                                 Two diff
                                                                                                                                             initi ally ava
                                                                                                                                             The 1. 6 wa.
                                                                                                                                             Cortina pOl
                                                                                                                                             the famou s
       BRA E                                                                                                                                 goo d for ab
                                                                                                                                             t h a nks to i'
    LU  ICATION                                                                                                                              ca tb . Reliabi
 There are two basic disc brake pad                                                                                                          had been an
 designs, non-shimmed and shimmed                                                                                                            been worke.
                                                                                                                                             was seriousl
 pads. Each pad type requires a dif­
                                                                                                                                                 Th at's pr
 ferent chemical application to                                                                                                              with the Ge
 reduce noises, ensure pl'Oper per­                                                                                                          This four- b,
 formance and minimize the risk of                                                                                                           Ford Capri.
 comebacks.                                                                                                                                  engi ne for rI
 Non-Shimmed pads require the                                                                                                                omycar.Ac
 use of traditional Di c Brake                                                                                                               cross Aow he
 Quiet1'M (DBQ). available from Re                                                                                                           intake and I
 in polymer compound and aerosol                                                                                                             ing. As For,
 form. Simply apply the DBQ to the                                                                                         mainly by the     engine) it "
 back of the pads, let dry for 5-10                                                                    Vol kswagen Beetle and steadily        po rts were r
                                        Many people associate Lee lacocca (left)      growing numbets ofToyotas and Datsuns.                  bolt-on desi
 minutes and install pads.
                                           with the Ford Mustang, but the Pinto           laco cca insisted chat Ford wou ld need co         ea rly OHC
 Shimmed pads require the use of                                                      expand its ptesence in the sma ll- car marker.         and a cast c
                                          was also his baby. He saw Ford's need
 e Re's Synthetic Caliper Grease                                                      He proposed an all- new subcompact, smallet            2.0-liter Pin
                                         for an inexpensive, fuel-efficient car to
 (SCG). Apply SCG to all contact                            hold off the imports.     than the M averick a nd priced ro co mpeee w ieh        freeway mar
 points on the back of the pads, all                                                  Toyoea, Datsun and VW.                                      A Weber
 caliper metal-to-metal contact                                                           I n add ieion to offe ring a domestic aleerna­     eq uipm ent.
 points and mounting hardware.
   RC's SCG is a high-temp synthet­
                                                     order for
                                                   ~~The                              ti ve CO the im pores, the new car w ould help
                                                                                      Fo rd meet the gover nm en t fuel- eco nomy
                                                                                                                                              liter SOH C
                                                                                                                                              rpm and t:
                                                                                      stan datd s looming on the ho rizon . A ll thi s       which was
 ic grea -e that does not contain
 petroleum or silicone bases. It will
                                                 the car that                         h a rdly sounds lik e the genesis of a decent
                                                                                      SpOrts car, but bear with us .
                                                                                                                                              Consi d er rI
                                                                                                                                              h eavier Iv! (
 not damage plastic or rubb T com­
 ponents, burn up or washout, like               became the                               In reerospec t, ehe plan co produce a smal l and
                                                                                      more affordable car so unds like a no-braine r, but
                                                                                                                                              an 11.4-sea
 silicone-based greases can.                                                          if Henry Ford II had gocren his way, the Pinto
 Drum brak es also r quire lubrica­               Pinto came                          never wou ld h ave ha ppened. Mr. Ford simp ly
                                                                                                                                              Pinto whilt
                                                                                                                                              reaching 80
 tion on all shoe landings, metal-to­                                                 wasn' t intereseed in small ca rs and saw no reason         Two trat
 metal contact points and hardware.            first from Lee                         fo r his compa ny co sell them. Case in point:
                                                                                      While the sales of smal l, fu el-efficient imports
                                                                                                                                              taken from
                                                                                                                                              m anual was
 Again, CRe's Synthetic Caliper
 Grease is ideal in this application
 because of its high temperature
                                             lacocca. When                            ba llooned co more than a m illion by 1969, the
                                                                                      once-sve lee Museang had eurned into a big,
                                                                                                                                              C4 three-spl
                                                                                      heavy boulevard cruise r. Th e res t of the Ford        Ameri can <;
 and long lasting properties.
 CRC' SCG should be used with
                                           it came to small                           lineup grew similarly. Obviou sly, fuel econo m y
                                                                                      was th e last thing on the corporate mind.
                                                                                                                                              than capable
                                                                                                                                              and mod est
 every di c and drum brake job
 performed. Additionally eRC's
                                               cars, lacocca                              lacocca persisted , though, and in the end his
                                                                                      scubbo rn reso lve won ou t. The Pinto received
                                                                                                                                              stick was ar
                                                                                                                                              was standar
 Brakleen®, Disc Brake Quiet and
 Synthetic Caliper Grease gener­
                                             saw the hand­                            th e go -ah ead, wi th some c hallenging objectives.
                                                                                      The new car had to be a true subcompact in              Rack-a
                                                                                      size and weight, yet wieh a mo re comforta ble             The Pin
 ate add-on sales with all brake
 parts sold.                                  writing on the                          interior and ride th an the spa rtan comp eei tion.
                                                                                      It had co be inexpens ive co buy, own and dri ve,
                                                                                                                                              A nimble I
                                                                                                                                              borrowed f
                                                 wall early."                         so fuel economy and re lia bility were paramount.
                                                                                      lacocca wanted a car chat weighed less tha n 2000
                                                                                                                                              U.S.-built ,
                                                                                                                                              eeste rs fou o
                                                                                      pounds and would cose less than $2000. Consid­          although ic
                                                                                      e ring the cars co ming out of Dearborn in 1970,        qu alities of
                                                                                      ie seemed like an impossible dream.                        Buile to
                                                                                          T ypicall y, in a car's journey from d rawing       Pimo was
                                                                                      bo ard to sn eet, everyth ing goes a ll wro ng.         considerec
        eRe Industries, Inc.                                                          Goals are co mpro mised, obj ecrives are ch anged       suspen sion
                                                                                      to mee t financial demands, and ultim a tely a          unequal-leT
            885 Louis Dr.
                                                                                      no ble project is all but ruined by th e bean­          to the low
        Warm..inster, FA 18974                                                        co unte rs and n aysayers.                                 O ut bad
      www.crcindustries.com                                                               This d idn't happen with the Pinto. In fac t,       mencw;tS II
          800.272.8963                                                                thanks to ex te nsive use of pa rts -b in compo­        and no ami·
                                                                                      n e nts from ehe U.S. and Euro pe, Iacocca got          seeel wheels

Grassroots Motorsports   102
his smaller, smarrer, berter subcompact in
record time, with development only taking
about two years. The Pinto went on sale in                                               Torsen D@ren~ials, 6­
September of 1970. It weighed 1949 pounds                                        Speed Transnzissions, Big Brake
and cost $1919. Amazing.                                                         Kiu

Two Engines Available 
                                                         PHDTE6E: A ll years including
                                                                                Pro~ege5.   1.5, 1.8, 2.0 engines and
   Two different four-cylinder engines were
                                                                                               5 lug conversions~
initially available, either I.G or 2.0 liters in
                                                                                 Su..pension and Body par~s.
displacement, with both sourced from Europe.
The I.G was based on the British Anglia and                   Since 1980 
      Large   selec~ion   ofMillenia Engine,
Cortina powerplants. Although it saw duty in          Larges~ selec~ion, rnos~ knoUlledg­
 Transnzission and Body Par~s.
the famous Lorus-Conina, the I.G was on ly            able -<raffand ~he absolu~e leader 

                                                        in ~he Mazda used paru field. 

good for about 75 horsepower in Pinto trim
thanks to its aging design and single-barre l            4917 Nezu
                                                                                   ZDDIII ZDDHII
carbo Reliability wasn't a problem, as the e ngi ne    Peachrree Road
had been around since 19GG and the kinks had
been worked our. Power, on th e other hand,
                                                        Adan~a, GA
                                                           30341        1-800.221.5156
was seriously lacking.
   That's probably w h)' most Pinros were so ld
with the German-built overhead-cam 2.0 liter.
This four-banger also saw use in the German
Ford Capri. It was a surprisin gly sop histi ca ted
engine for rh e rim e, especially for a lowly econ­
omy car. A cast-iron block was mated ro an iron
cross Aow head featuring big valves ( I. G5-inch
intake and lA 2- inch exhaust) for good breath­
ing. As Ford's first production overhead-cam
engine, it was built for durability. Cam sup­
pons were parr of th e head cas ting, unlike the
bolt-on design used by General Morors for its
ea rl y OHC engines. The engine used steel rods
and a cas t crank wi th five main bearings. The
2.0-liter PintO also had a shon stroke for better
freeway manners.
    A Weber 285 cfm carburetor was standard
equipment. With 9.0: I compression, the 2.0­
liter SOHC put out 100 horsepower at 5GOO
rpm and 120 Ib.-fr. of torque at 3GOO rpm,
which was plenty for the diminutive Pinto.
Consider this comparison: The 220-pound­
heavier MGB GT made do with five fewer
horsepower (at best). Road & Track recorded
an I lA-second zeto-tO-GO run in a 2.0-equipped
PintO while noting that the 1.G had trouble
reaching 80 mph.
   Two transmissions were offered, both also
taken from Ford's pans bins. The four-speed
manual was anorher German unit, designed for
VG -equipped cars ovcrs('as, while the optional
C4 three-speed autOmatic was one used on larger
American cars. Both transmissions were more
than capable ofhandling the Pinto's light weight
and modest horsepower demands, although the
stick was arg uably more fun. A 3.55: I rear end
was standard equipment.

Rack-and-Pinion Surprise
    The Pinto suspens ion also held surprises.
A nimble rack-and -pinion stcering unit was
borrowed from the Capri, making it the only
U.S .-built car so equipped at the time . Road
testers found the Pinto to be a dece nt handler,
al though it lacked some of the "fun to drive"
qualities of the imports.
    Built to mainsrream American tastes, the
Pinto was a bit tOO soft in stock trim to be
considered a seriou s spores car. The front
suspension was independ ent and consisted of
unequal-length arms. The springs were mounted
to the lower arms.
    Out back, a conventional leaf spri ng arrange­
ment was used , with a live axle, staggered shocks
and no anti-roll b3.!s. The Pinto rode on 13x4-inch
steel wheels, while slightly wider five-inch wheels

                                                                                                Grassroots Motorsports   103
                                                                                                             harchback called me Runabou r added 38 cubic feer
                                                                                                             of cargo space and joined rhe lineup midyear.

                                                                                                             The New Model T
                                                                                                                Shordy afrer its 1970 imrodu crion, Henry
                                                                                                             Ford II was quored as saying rhe Pinto was rhe
                                                                                                             "new Model T' rhanks to irs simple construcrion
                                                                                                             and reli ability, which may have been overstating
                                                                                                             rhe case jus r a li[[1e bir. Bur ir is rrue rhar the
                                                                                                             Pimo was a good deal simpler than rhe common
                                                                                                             car ar rhe ti me, having about 1700 parts as com­
                                                                                                             pared to rhe average of more rh an 2000.
                                                                                                                Fres h ou t of th e box, rhe Pin to proved very
                                                                                                             popular, wirh Ford selling its firsr 100,000 copi es
                                                                                                             in a lirde more rhan 100 days. Even an early recall
                                                                                                             for engine fires (caused by a badly design ed air
                                                                                                             cleaner, which cou ld collecr gas vapors) didn 'r
                                                                                                             dem rhi s popul arity.
                                                                                                                Jr's nor hard ro see why rhe Pimo racked up
                                                                                                             sales reco rds at rhe starr. Ir compered wirh rhe VW    o
                                                                                                                                                                    T ng can I
                                                                                                             Beede, Chevroler Vega, AMC Gremlin , Darsun            a V8hicle s
Whether dressed up                                                                                           1200, T oyora CoroJla and Opel Kaden. Aga insr         lubricalion ~
                                                                                                             this grou p, the Pimo was mu ch more civilized         sho~e n a '.1
   in sporty mags or                                                                                                                                                slra nded. 11
  plain hubcaps, the                                                                                         chan mosr of me imports, and was eve n consid ered
                                                                                                                                                                    developed 1  0
Pinto had some cool                                                                                                                                                 overhealing
 features, including                                                                                                                                                heat re lated
   a sizable interior,
  choice of available
    engines (the 2.0­
 liter four is shown)                                                                                                                                                    Call   I
    and independent                                                                                                                                                   for a To
   front suspension.
   The Pinto engines
became wildly pop­
ular in motorsports,
       while the front
  suspension can be
     found grafted to
   many hotrods and
              kit cars.

                                                                                                                                                                     kits mi


                                                                                                                                                                     3M'" i
                          were available as an oprion. Also oprional were from disc brake"
                          whose 9.3-inch rorors made a world ofdifference over rh e nine­
                          inch drums rhar were sCJndard. Road eft" Track reporred "neurral"      plusher rh an the Vega, which was more expensive and imended        ships I
                          handling and praised rh e disc brakes, which made rhe Pimo             to compete wirh the larger Mave ri ck anyway. Comparisons ro        yours
                          considerably more drivable.                                            the Vega also showed thar rhe Pinro's SOHC engine was qui­
                               ro rd's smallest producr ro date came wrapped in an all-new       erer rhan Chevy's aluminum-block engine, plus less expensive
                          unibody. Th e Pinro was a long-nosed, fastback coupe with a            and more rei iable. The base-model 1600 gor good marks for
                          1970s space-pod look that managed ro be cute wirhout being             besting the Vega's fuel economy and reli abiliry.
                          as awl0"vard or outre as simil ar atrempts from AMC.                      The Pinto boos red Ford's sales to rh eir highesr level
                               The Pinto was longer, lower and wide r rhan rh e Corolla          since [h e Musrang's second year. Tn \ 97 L Pinto produc­
                          an d Beede, but its 94-inch wheelb ase and \63-in ch overall           rion ropp ed 352,000; ir wou ld conrinu e ro rise for rh e
                          len!,;rh were hardly rh e sruff of the average Yank Tank. To           nexr roree years .
                          keep rh e weighr down, rhe Pimo fearured a one- piece "halo"              A handsom e f\vo-door wagon was added to the lineup in
                          roof cons rru ction wi rh srrong supporrs around rhe sides and         1972. Ten inches longer th an rh e coupes, rhis Pimo wago n
                          a thinner rop panel. It improved headroom, roo.                        could swallow 60.5 cubi c feer of sruff and had a 900-pound
                               Simplicity was emphasizcd. Publicity comesrs showed how           ca rgo ca pacity. The 2.0-lirer engine and disc brakes were
                          e l.lY ir was to perform romine mainrenance, as well as di:;assemble   srand ard on rh e wagons, and they quickly became famili ar
                          and reassemble Pinro components. Road & Track cal led rhe Pimo         sighrs in rhe suburbs. A woodie Squire model also joined
                          "rord's besr design since rhe 1961 Cominemal-bom handsome              Ford 's larger wagons in rhe showroom. (Coll ectors will nore
                          and rational." Plus, ir looked cool with the oprional roof rack. A     (har there were a few woodie co upes as well. ) Run about and

Grassroots Motorsports      104
Potent Pinto                                                                                            wagon models outsold h
                                                                                                        the Pinto 's life cycle. t e Coupes for the rest of
   Longrime GRM readets may have seen Brian Walsh's 1971 Pinto beFore , as ir has
been around rhe block- and rrack-a Few rimes. This car has been a racer since day one,
participating in the IMSA Baby Grand Series From 1971 ro '73 with Brian 's dad, Jerry
                                                                                                        Smog EDters the Picture
                                                                                                             fn 1973 ncw cr,\·1             d'
                                                                                                        b "           "      . ,S I test an emissions standard,
Walsh , at the wheel. In 1973 the car was sold to Lee Wiese, who ran it until 1990, when                   e"an ro take rhel[ roll on the US              ' d        .
Brian broughr ir back intO the Family.                                                                  and I'k       I                         .. auto In ustr}'
   Brian has been running it at SCCA Regional and SVRA vintage events ever since, and the               '1, PI e Ot ler .small cars ' the I'l'ntosu fir d might '
                                                                                                        I}. OWer ratlllgs For the 2.0-liter SOHC                  .­
Walsh PintO is still pretty much as it was when it was swapping paint wirh Gremlins and                 dropped from 10() h .                              " engllle
                                                                                                          h                         orsepower to 86 in 1973
Vegas back in the early 1970s. AFre r running a 2.3-lirer engine for a while and compering              tanks to lowered c o m '                                    ,
in rhe GT3 class ar SCCA events until rubeFrame cars outclassed ir, the Pinto now has a 2.0             sions r c '                    pression ro meet emis­
                                                                                                           ·        gu/atlOns. The unpopular I 6 , .
back under the hood, making ir legal For F Producrion.                                                  d Isappeared in 1'}73'b                         . engllle
   Going to less displacement doesn't mean less perFormance. The 2.0 has an Isky 505b                   hav~ b          b   .     ,POSSI Iy because it would
                                                                                                              , cen a our as p         • fi I    I
camshaFt, Ferrea oversized valves and Aatrop Wiseco pisrons with Total Seal rings. Crower               the tim' F d            . ower u as a awnrnower by
                                                                                                                 · c or gor It smogged.
Sporrsman rods are srock length, and the crank is also srock. There's a Kenr Cams adjustable                 In /[s place a d ' II
cam sprocket, along with a Four-inch crank pulley From Racer Walsh. The head has been                   liter SO ~ ,' . omestlca y rnanuf.1Crured 2.3­
                                                                                                        I           HCenglllC]olned the2.0in 1974 It .'
ported and polish ed by Paul Bond.
   Fuel is mixed by a pait of 45 DCOE side-draft Webers and a TWM intake maniFold. Down
                                                                                                                                                    .      . waf'
                                                                                                        r.eS5 powerful tha n rhe 2.0 ' and fiue/ economy su ­
                                                                                                          ere.' too. Automaric-equipped Pinros                . kl
below, a seven-quart oil pan From C-Line improves cooling, as does the Griffin radiaror. Walsh          acqUirFed a. reputation For nor being ab/(~~c y
has updated rhe electronics as well, with MSD plug wires, coil and an MSD 6AL ignirion.                 our 0 rhelr own way.                                    get
   Even though the Pinro has been a racer all oFirs liFe, the chassis contains a surprising number           To further muddy the waters, a 2.8-/iter V
of srock Ford partS. The eight-inch rear is a direcr bolt-in From a Mustang rr. Brian says that         option was offered in 1975 Th 97 h .                 6
both eighr-inch and nine-inch Ford rears can be swapped in, with a variety of inrerchangeable             .       . h .                 .  e , - orsepower
                                                                                                        SIX, WI[      ItS two-barrel carb and add"           I
ratios available. The Pinro's original 6 3/4-inch rear en d is not as adaptable.                        weight, was launched righr into the r~~~~na .
   Brian 's car uses ea rly Pinro disc brakes and calipers in the Front, and thanks ro its relarively   a fuel cmlS, and available only in the stario~~
light weighr, he has no rrouble wirh Fading. Pinro wagon drums have been ins railed in rhe rear         wagon ~v/[h an automatic. Pcrforrnan               '
because they're wider than the coupe's drums and are finned For bener cooling.                          ImpreSSive. The V6           'd           ce wasn t
                                                                                                                         .     provt. almOSt as unpopular
   The chrome-moly roll cage stiFFens the car enough that Few suspension modifications are              as rh e anemic 1.6 had bcen .
necessary. Brian doesn't run a rear anti-roll bar. A one-inch Front bar and urethane bushings              . ~ornpounding the pOWn r bl
are rhe only modificarions above srock. The PintO has 700 Ibs.lin. coils in the Front and srock         nSlng weight Th P'                   P 0 ern was
leaves in rhe rear. With 13x7-inch wheels, the Pinro is serio usly over-tired For irs one-ron           fi                 .    e IntO grew sh elf-like
                                                                                                           ve-mph bumpas in 1974              d'       .
weight, so grip is never a problem.                                                                     b a II oone d by 345 pound ' F ,an . Its weight
                                                                                                                 ·                    s. ord tne d to draw
   A 22-gal lon Fuel cell is original 1970s-vintage race equipment. The hardesr part abour              Jt:e~tlon away from the lirrle car's declining
running rhe PintO is finding body parts , Brian says , so he has a co llec tion of donor cars           perrOI mance by pun ·1 .
in rhe garage.                                                                                          b       II h              c ling up rhe optiom
                                                                                                          ~J[ a . I' C comfort and luxury items dro~~
   Brian compares the handling ro thar of an AlFa GTV. Both cars handle "like overgrown go­             t e weight even higher By 1974 h 'P'             ,
kam-rhey go where yo u point 'e m," he says. The Pinto's indestructible engine and "rocker                '.          F' . '                     )t   e   In to ~
box" transmission serve it well on rhe vintage circuit, where it can outlast the comperirion
                                                                                                        ~1::I~enln"~d ~rd s lIlexpensive, lighr and simple
                                                                                                                  e   rorgorten .
that it can't ourrun.
                                                                                                        E~d of theliDe
                                                                                                        p' rhe eXl)losion d e b· Ie t h at created rhe
                                                                                                             , t               ac
                                                                                                        h 1Il~0 S ~lfortunare legacy was rhe firsr and
                                                                                                          ar esr. ow of the one-two-three unch
                                                                                                        rhat ultimately rook th" P'
                                                                                                                        .         ,
                                                                                                                                               Pf the
                                                                                                                                     111[0 out 0
                                                                                                        gal11.e permancn rly.
                                                                                                        P' Simply pur, crashing inro rhe rear of
                                                                                                            10[0 prodllced ~pecracu/ar and often deadl ~
                                                                                                        results. ThiS was due to the COIIIb'      .     f}
                                                                                                             .                                lOatlon 0 a
                                                                                                        rear- mo ulltc.d fud tank, a badly located fill
                                                                                                        n~ck and a differential who e boil'S could r~r
                                                                                                        t .eI rank Wide open in a crash C,0111 b'Ined     P
                                                                                                                                        < ••

                                                                                                        Wit 1 a passe.nger comparrmenr whose Aoo
                                                                                                        ~ou/d spllrIn a rear impact, rlw Pinto was
                                                                                                          our wheels on the way t 0 a d'Isaster.
                                                                                                        " nex~/lCably, Ford stubbo rnly dra ed
                                                                                                        /[s feet 10 a~know/edging rhat there g\~as
                                                                                                        a senous safety probl em Th.                   ,­
                                                                                                           II d                      .     e company s
                                                                                                        \ eg~. reluctance to spend money ro fix
                                                                                                        ~ r Into placed a big red t<lrget on the
                                                                                                        car s back, even though dI e J>illto cou e
                                                                                                        and Runabout weren't the only                p
                                                                                                          h .                                   cars ar
                                                                                                        ~ ~. ~I~ e whose gas tanks were mounted
                                                                                                            e 110 [he rcar axle and rhus vu/nerabJe
                                                                                                        to rear· Impa'rs. C onsuiller safery advo­
                                                                                                        cates lumped into the fray . d
                                                                                                        ex I d'        p'                  ,an Soon
                                                                                                        A po Ing .ntos wne narional news.
                                                                                                                1977 Nfother jone,. arricle by Mark
                                                                                                        DOWie rook Ford harshly to r ·k
                                                                                                               ..    h "                     as , sug­
                                                                                                        f!;e~[Ing I' at r~e borrol11 line ruled, and
                                                                                                        Illh a:nmable ,:lI1tOS kept rolling our of
                                                                                                        t e .actoncs.
                                                                                                               \Vherher Dowie was righr .
                                                                                                            o I         '.                    01 nor.
                                                                                                        P pu ar OpllllOn leaned in the               .
                                                                                                        d' "                                    same
                                                                                                            IrCUlon , and Ford's sales skidded
                                                                                  $CoH r. 'eat photos                                      a
                                                                                                        not lusr For the Pinto , bLlr ,cross t he'
  p/1<)lo (Durtesy for!!


                                                                                                                                        Toward the end of
                                                                                                                                        the model run, the
                                                                                                                                        Pinto had put on
                                                                                                                                        some weight as               5. FOI
                                                                                                                                        the options were
                                                                                                                                        piled on to distract
                                                                                                                                        buyers from its
                                                                                                                                        deteriorating per­
                                                                                                                                        formance. Today,
                                                                                                                                        the cars can be
                                                                                                                                        found circling the         BIG PI(
                                                                                                                                        track in both his­
                                                                                                                                        toric and modem                  1i

board. After a drastic 21-percem sales drop , Ford quietly inrroduced an
inexpens ive plastic baffle ro pro tect th~ Pimo's gas tank in 1977, followed
                                                                                   lefs Go Racing                                                                  Contaci
by a recall of Pimo gas tanks in 1978. But it was far too li[[ie, far roo
                                                                                       N ot many pe op le seem ro remember that th e Pin[Q actual ly                1135 R
                                                                                   enjoyed a moderately successful racing career. Although not par­                      F
late. Public-interest grou ps were now howling for Iacocca ro do tim e for
                                                                                   tic ularly sp orty cars [Q begin wi th, their reliability a nd simplicity           Pall
"co nsum er homicide."
                                                                                   se rved them we ll on th e trac k.
    T he second blow ro the Pinro's surv ival came in the form of improved
                                                                                       Because th e Pinto entered the market at the same time as Chevro let's
co mpeti tion, not only from other manu fac turers bur from with in as
                                                                                   spOrty Vega, the old Ford-Chevy rivalry naturally pitted the two small
well-the Pin to's position as Ford's economical, ye t sporry, little car was
                                                                                   cars aga inst one another. Borh competed in IMSA 's Baby Grand series
taken over by th e Mustang II in J 974, and the imported Fiesta's arrival
                                                                                   for low- bu dget racers and in other small-bore racing classes.
in 1977 further diluted the Pinro's appeal.
    Meanwhile, the newly imroduced Chevroler C heverre was providing much
sriffer competirion than [he Vega had offered, and the imporrs from Japan had
                                                                                       Pintos cropped up in rop-l 0 and rop-20 fin ishes in the SCCA Trans­
                                                                                   Am's under-two-liter class throughour the early 7 0s. IMSA had its share of        Dr
                                                                                   Ford's lirrle ponies as wel l, wirh class-winning Pintos mal<ing appearances.
gorren betrer as well, wirh Honda joining rhe fray. A face-lift in 1977 gave the
Pinro a softer, shapel ier nose and there was now a cool all-glass hatchback on
the Runabour, but neither cosmetic did anyrhing ro im prove sales. Nor did a
new insrrument panel or a rev ised fro nt suspension ro improve handli ng.
    The year 1977 was also the first year for Co rporate Average Fuel Econ­
omy (CAFE) srandards, which was the Pinto's deathbl ow-although after
the gas-rank debacle, it could beseen as mo reof a mercy killing. Ford had
a new subcompact in the wurb- · the Escort- which had been designed
ro help th e company meet CAFE standard s, so as th e Esco rt's 1981
int roduction date approached , the Pinto received onl y detail changes. A
second sheet m eta.l redesign in 1979 gave the Pinro a square, ugly face,
and the unloved V6 was dropped. Sales enjoyed a slighr upward twirch,
bur ir was n' t nearly enough ro keep the model going.
    By the time rhe Pi mo disap peared in 1980, ir had strayed far from
its original mi ss ion. Even rhe most stripped-down Pinro coupe weighed
abo ur 2400 pounds by then, an d th e price had swo llen to $3781, a far
cry from Iacocca's 2000-po und , $2000 vision .
F urth ermore, rh e Pinro had received no su b­
stantia l mecha nical changes during its 10-yea r
run , so by J 980 it was ho pelessly o utdated. The
explosio n debacle pur rhe name Pinro on ly a
slot above Edsel on the li st of nameplates li kely
ro be revived by Ford. Top execut ives brea thed
a sigh of reli ef whe n the Escort "world car"
made irs deb ur in J 9R l.
    It's easy ro forget the good things abour rhe
Pinto, in light of rhe rear-impacr da nge r and rhe
porky, sl uggish latc cars. Bur the simple and reli­
able coupes were in rac t good cars, so long as they                                                                                                                   Undc
weren ' r trying to be luxury auromo biles. Besides,
a Pimo is srrong, cheap, eminen tly modifiable
and easy ro work on. How could you ask for a                                                                                                                             Dr
more perfeC startin g poi nt for a race car)
               T                                         rQZ rosintoski photo                                                                                      CAUCIOB4

Grassroots Motorsports       108
                                                                                  Thanks to a light­
                                                                                   weight shell and
                                                                              rear-drive layout, the
                                                                               Pinto became a pop­
                                                                                 ular starting point
                                                                                    for many hotrod
                                                                                     projects. Jimmy
                                                                                Trevarthen bolted a
                                                                                1952 flat-head Mer­
                                                                                 cury V8 into a 1979
                                                                                   Pinto wagon. His
                                                                                 wife, Bobbie, runs
                                                                               Bayside II, special­
                                                                                izing in used parts
                                                                                      for older cars.

                                                                              Race reportS from Lime Rock and Watkins Glen              light weignt made it popular for ministock racing,
                                                                              show Pintos coming nome ahead ofAlfa GTAs and             wnich means thac a lot of Pintos nad cheir front
                                                                              Datsun 51 Os, A Pimo fini sned 38th at the 1975 12        ends chopped off and their bodies gutted to
                                                                              Hours of Sebring in the under-rwo-liter class,            become super-modified stockers, Divide that by
                                                                                 Pintos proved even more popular with drag              the number of cars tnat have rusted into oblivion
                                                                              racers and in regional ministock oval-track classes,      and it adds up to OEM body pans for PintOs
    I'ttVIIlfIl 81                                                            where their lignt weight and robust construction          being pretty scarce, However, many body bits are
    8portE.gi•••                                                              gave tnem an advantage over contemporary                  available from tne growing cadre of Pinto racers,
                                                                              impom, A legion ofcnopped-up, dirt-track Pintos           wno quickly learn tnat it's a good idea to keep a
    4 Cyllnder
    2200 HiFio ST Sport ..... .. .... ..( 155 HP) ...... ... $ ~495           carried che racing flag cnroughout the 1980s, Far         parts car or tnree around.
    24(l(11 Hf"l o ST Sport... . ... ...( 170 HP) ........... $4995           outnumbering tnose seen in road racing,                      The good news is tnat mecnanical pieces are
    6 Cylinder                                                                   Now tnar tney' re eligible for vi ntage racing, a      considerably more durable and generally not at all
    3500 HiFio ST Sport ............. .. 1260 HP) ... ........$4995           few road-racing Pintos are resurfacing, If prop­          nard to find, Engine components for tne 2.3 are           claimed 110 H
    "00 HiFlo ST SpOIL.... .. .. .. ..(170 HP)..... ..... .55995
    39()() l /il- 0 ST Spon         .. .(28i HP)..... .. .. . $x495           erly cared for, they' re jusr as competitive as they      cnorough.ly common, as Ford's Fairmont, Ranger,           Pangra was am
    Baby Six                                                                  were when new, able to keep up witn contempo­             Must ang/Capr i (including Muscang SVO),                  that offered StJJ
    2900 HiFlo ST Eoa . J2J i E<orly ..( 190 liP) .... ..... $499 5 
         rary Alfa Romeos and orner small sedans.                 Tnunderbird Turbo Coupe and tne hoc German                 fixture in VW,
    2900 l-liFlo ST 125i. 3 231 Laoc ..(105 HP) ........ .'14995 

                                                                                                                                        M erkut all used versions of the engine, openi ng the     founding £uhe
    2400 HiFlo ST......... ...... .......... (210 HPJ ...... .... $5995
                                                                              Buving One Todav                                          door for 200-norsepower Pintos wirn little invest­        to Pinto peefol
    2500 HiHo 5T..                .. ....... (2 35 HPI ........ ..57495          Tnanks to tneir economy-car status, many               ment. Conversions to later engines wicn fuel injec­           Companie
    M5&M6                                                                     (if not mosr) Pintos were more or less driven             tion and even the turbocnarged powerplants are            California's I
    37()() HiFioST... . .             ....... 0 10111') ........ .. lI4 95    to deatn. More seem to nave survived tnan did             almosr bolr-in swaps, Suspension components are           making Pintr
    J 900 HiFio ST...                   .. .. D'\O lfPJ . .. .....5 10995
                                                                              contemporalY Vegas, Corollas or Cnevettes, but           similarly plentiful. Racers will nore that 1971-'73        Esslinger will
                                                                              a cherty Pinto is a rare animal indeed,                   Pinros use smaller spindJes, calipers and conrrol         liter engine 0 1
                                                                                 In addition, tne Pinto's 	                                                        arms than rhe larer cars.          Want mol'<
                                                                                                                                                                   In 1974, the Pinto began       302,351 or c
                                                                                                                                                                   sharing more robusr            it inro a drag­

                                                                                 c"a.~i6l1 ~"i'i""~    ".          . estreetsbetwecn 1972 andl ?75,
                                                                                                                                                                   components witn rne
                                                                                                                                                                    Musrang II,
                                                                                                                                                                                                  conversion ki
                                                                                                                                                                                                  PintO perfom
                                                                                    A number ofspeCIal edlt10ns h~~ (h ka' es and did not offer addluonal
                                                                                                                           ,                                            Tnose wno rnink           Snowcase at
                                                                                               . \ .. peanddecal pac g                          d                   of rne Pinto only             Tn e weigh t •
                                                                                 These were simp y t.1.              f' terest to collectors to ay,        .                                      Pinto a diffici
                                                                                   erformance, although they are 0 m S finc stripe package was avall­
              as a four-wneeled
                                                                                  p In 1972, tne red, white and blue , P, k ' The later Stallion was 
               incendiary device will           Tne Pinto'
                                                                                                                 nd Mavenc s,                              .                                      department \\
                                                                                  able un PintOS, IM ustangs ,a       d Mu ·tang with a more aggreSSiVe              be surprised to lear n
                                                                                                   'h h ' Mavenck an         s     ,	                                 rhar go-faster parts        ening lip for
                                                                                    .  shared Wit t e, ' b ld specla I g ',     raphl'cs                ,             abound for Ford 's          and ncavy an
                                                                                   black and silver pamt)~ al               was an attempt to cash tn on
    U lljro Ul~    1
                  1. 2.4 Sp lluil " .
                                  1fJ                                                                                                                                 little pony. Tnanks             Ford offere
                                                                                      The 1977-' 80 Cru1S1ngdWbalgokn d-uut rear panels with groovy
    VltimalC 241. ~ Sp '77 " .. .,....
                                                                                                       d feature     an e 	                                           to rhe ubiquicy of          as a dealer-ins
    Ultima", 245, 5 5 1' 'SU - 'H2 ..                                              che van craze, an               'Id      e stripes,                                                            absorbers, a fr,
    Ultilnalc 140. 5 Sp 'S3 on ..
    MM S""" OlD 5 Sp 'HO Oil
                                                                                   shaped windows as well as W,I ~ap d rhe European SportS Sedan                       tne Ford 2,0- and
                                                                                        n the Pinto's final years, It s ad
                                                                                                                         reG        da The ESS featured                2.3 -engines, cne          and leaves ror (
       'y linder UI.l imale Transmissions                                             I                    F'     n t an       rana,                                                               kepc the open
    Ultima •• 262, 0\ Sp - "1 9...                         . ...... 5 1295          moniker wich the <llrmo ' I ortS interior with exrra gauges                         Pinto is as em i­
    UIL 26S. 5 ' p'SO -'R2. 'RS, ~11 .. .          ........ ........ \ 1995         blacked-out trim and ~ specla ~p 
                                                  nenrly modiftable         as both tires sr:
    UI. 260, 5 Sp '83 - ' ~4.. .. .. . ... .. .. .................. .$ 1K?)                                                                                                                       sion unloaded.
                                                                                    and a chree-spoke steenng whee , 
                                                  as any Civi c. Even
    ~:: ~,~~ S;~~~ R,;; ,~
             f                                        .      . li rg;                                                                                                   tn e lowl y 1,6-licer     suspension in
    MM Sport 100.\ Sp          'xu on ,~   M:\... .       .. . ... ...$2695
                                                                                                                                                                                                  the Pinto's atti
                                                                                                                                                                         engine can be tuned
                                                                                   photo courtesy ford
                                                                                                                                                                         to Lotus-Cortina          resulring in COl
                                                                                                                                                                         specs, if one is so      Mulholland 0
                                                                                                                                                                          inclined,                   Tnese day:
                                                                                                                                                                              Hotrodded            made for tne
                                                                                                                                                                          Pin cos        were     category as to.
                                                                                                                                                                          common in the
                                                                                                                                                                           '70s, and the tricks   APinto 1
                                                                                                                                                                            rney used are still      Wh.ile the
                                                                                                                                                                            applicable tOday,     popular cars i
                                                                                                                                                                            CAR Corpora­          are now beco
                                                                                                                                                                            rion offered a        of performan
                                                                                                                                                                             turbocnarger kir     lng racing p(
                                                                                                                                                                             fo r the 2,O-lirer   $1919 when
                                                                                                                                                                             engine caJled che    be co nsider<
                                                                                                                                                                              Boss Pinto tnat     American au

Grossroots Motorspor/s                      110
                                                                                                     Refreshes old dry tires
   The ford PInto
   www.peocities.com/MmorCItyI                                                                       Extends tire life
   Pinto information                                                                                 For slicks and DOT tires
   The Ford Pinto Showcase
   Pinto information
                                                                                                     Keeps ti res sticky until
   Race Engineering                                                                             ___~the rubber is gone
   (561) 533-5500
   performance parts                                                                                                                                  <\llv4CI'Il    <\UTc)"'c)TlV~NC.
                                                                                                                                                            (                       -F"
   Racer Walsh Co                                                                                                                                   3712 Hillview St.
   (800) 334-0151
   www.racerwolsh .com                                                                                                                          McKeesport, PA 15132
   Ford performance                                                                                                                                   (412) 754-4444
                                                                                                                                                                Other Dealers:
                                                                                                                                                               TMS: 916-638-7223
claimed 110 horsepower at the wheels. Mini Car's                                                                                                            Pegasus: 800-688-6946
Pangra was anorher turbocharged, body-kirred Pinto                                                                                                   Ikke Sa Hurtig: 913-827-5143
that offered srarr.ling performance. Before becoming a                                                                                                         Jeg's: 800-345-4545
fixture in VWand Honda tuning circles, Neuspeed's                                                                                             Racer Parts Wholesale: 800-397-7815
founding father, Bil! Neuman, also was no manger                                                                                                 Tri County Buggy: 866-800-6002
to Pinto perfurmance some 30 years ago.                                                                                                      American Power Sports: 440-564-8100
    Companies like Racer Walsh in Florida and                                                                                                          JC Specialty: 570-837-0042
California 's Esslinger Engineering have been                                                                                                        So uthern Auto: 336-373-1151
making Pinws go faster since the 1970s. Dan
Esslinger wi ll even build you a brand-new 2.3­
liter engine out of aluminum, if you'd like.
    Want more than that? It's possible ro dwp a
302,351 or eve n a 460 V8 into a Pinw w rurn
it into a drag-s trip cruise missile. Mowr mount
conversion kits can be found through li nks on
Pinto performance Web sites like the Ford Pinto
Showcase at www.bob2000.com/pinro2.htm.
Tne weignt of tne V8 teportedly makes tne
Pinw a d ifficulr sneet driver, nowever.
    Tne Pinto 's biggest weakness in tne hand ling
department was a sq uasny suspension, but tight­
ening up for track duty is easy. Stiffer sp rings
and neavy anti-roll bats definitely help.
    Ford offered a heavy-duty suspension package           Extinguishing Systems
as a dealer-installed option that added new shock          for all types of raCing
absorbers, a front anti-roil bar and additional coils      • DOTfTe apprOYed cyInders                       • Rre protedion systems can be either B
and leaves for the suspension. The improved traction       •Pull. push ()( pnamalic actuation                    removable type of extilguishef or an
                                                           • Halon or F500 ex1ilgulshing agent                     installed svstem thai can protect all
kept the open differential happy during cornering,         •LigI1t weight carbon Tiber cylnders available     vital areas of !he car. Installed systems
as botn tires stayed on the ground wnen the suspen­        •3, 5, 10 and 20 pound systems                        have the ac1uation method mounted
                                                                                                                                   directly on the seat
sion unloaded. Car andDriver tested the heavy-duty
suspension in J 974 and teponed that jt improved
the Pinto's attitude but made the car a bit rail-happy,
resulting in controllable driErs. Spearco and Interpart
Mulholland offered aftermarket pam.
    These days, most Pinto suspension parts are
made for tne later cars, and fall under the same
category as Mustang II modifications.

APinto for Youil                                            Hand Held
                                                                                                                                                                • SFI Approved
                                                                                                                                                                •Available in many
   While tne Pinro was once one of the most                Extinguishers                                                                                        •Styles for all
popular cars in the country, nice, clean examples                                                                                                                   ITlOklrSpot1s
                                                           '1.25 & 2.5 pound Halon                                                                              •Custom
are now becoming a little rare. It's a car witn lots        extinsuiShers with aJurnirom
of performance potential, plus it has an interes r­         or stainless steel cylinders
                                                           •Bile! heads and brackets available
ing racing pedigree. And at 1949 pounds and
$1919 wnen introduced in 1970, it can also
be considered a milesro ne for the
American automotive industry.
                                                          I www.safecraft.com ..4!riWl.hI:I.I.lt.I.ti..te1l
                                                                                                                                                     Grassroots Motorsporls          III
                                       The Pinto's legacy: Its Engine
                                           The Ford Pinto may not be a common sight th ese days, but the engine that moved the car is
                                       still prevalent in motorsportS. Ir ca n be found powering everything from SCCA road racers to
                                       oval-track stock ca rs ro dune buggies.
                                           While the original 197 1 Pinto was powered by the I GOOcc British-built Kent engine- rhe bas is
                                       for a wide range of Locus-tuned powerplants as well as the sta ndard requiremen t for Formula Ford
                                       racing-ir was eventually replaced by 2.0- and 2.3-lirer offerings.
                                           Available in th e Pinto from 197 1 rhrough '74, the German-built, X-code 2.0-liter engine was
                                       joined by the 2.3- lirer for the 1974 model year. The 2.0-liter engine was also co mmonly called
                                       rhe "OHC" or "P into" engine; thanks to a 9.0:1 compression rario, the 1971 version produced
                                       100 horsepower in facrory trim. An S.2: I com p[(.:~s ion ratio eventually became standard, however,
                                       knocking horsepower down ro SG . The 2.0-liter Pinro engine is still required for SCCA Formula
                                       Continental and SportS 2000 cars, althougbt partS are getting harder ro find these days. Pegasus
                                       Racing is reproducing heads and other sroc k pieces using the original Fo rd casrings.
                                           Eventually, U.S . emissions laws caugh r up with the 2.0, and something a litde bigger was needed
                                       ro cope: hence, the U.S.-built 2300cc engine. 'While the engines are si milar in design, nothing
                                       interdla nges between them. Thanks ro more displacement and large r production numbers, the
                                       2.3-liter engine remains popular in many mororsportS circles. If racing rules don't require the
                                       2.0-liter engine, then go with th e 2.3.
                                           Since its original showing in the 1974 Pinto, the 2300 has appea red in millions ofFord vehicles,
                                       including the Mustang II, 1979-'93 Mustang and Fairmont. Ford also used wrbocharged versions
                                       of the 2300 in the Thunderbird, Merkur XR4 Ti, 1979-'S2 Mustang and Mercury Ca pri. T he
                                       high-wate r mark for the factory-tuned engine was the turbocharged, intercooled Mustang SVO.
                                           The 2.0 and 2300 engines look si milar ro th e casual viewer, making sa lvage-yard shopping a
                                       bit tricky. "The 2.0-liter just looks smaller," says Pinro racer Brian Walsh. However, Walsh says
                                       that pulling the va lve cover and counting the cam towers is a good way to tell the engi nes apart:
                                       the 2.0 has rhree cam towers, while the 2300 has four.
                                           The Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz were also powered by a 2.3-liter Ford engine, but the
                                       design is rotally different, removing them from the donor list. Their pushrod-equipped "HSC"
                                       (high-swirl combustion chamber) engines have little, if any, perfotmance potential.
                                                                                                  A healthy aftermarker allows today's enthusiasts to
                                                                                               build the 2300 ro nearly any scate, \\~th [he engines
                                                                                               particularly common in minisrock oval-track racing.
                                                                                               Different formL~as are required depending on the series
                                                                                               n~es, and prices can range accordingly. Ford perfor­
                                                                                               mance house Racer Walsh offers the 2.3-li rer engi ne in
                                                                                               different levels of rune, with several shorrblocks retail­
                                                                                               ing from $1250 to a lirtle more tban $2000.
                                                                                                  An honest I GO- ro 190-horsepower 2300 race
                                                                                               engine---ou pan ro valve cover-can r'Un abour $3400,
                                                                                               whiJe a good 140-horsepower srreet engine builr with
The only ignition sy tern to provide                                                           name-brand pans wiU run close ro $2000.
                                                                                                  Esslinger Engineering also builds rhe 2.3-lirer
      apowerful econd park                                                                     Ford for mororsportS use, usi ng modifi ed origi­
 throughout the entire RPM range!      For more than 30 years, the Pinto has
                                       donated engines for nearly everything
                                                                                               nal-equipment pieces as well as rheir own cus rom
                                                                                               aluminum blocks and heads. "If rhey weren't
                                       from hot street cars to open-wheel racers.              resrricred by rh e rules, I'd slap on an aluminum
                                                                                               head," advises rhe com pany's Cary Maruyama ,
                                       explai ning how rhar's an easy way ro add 35 to 50 horsepower. Esslinger Eng ineering offers several
                                       different CNC-machined aluminum heads available wirh borh Rar rapper or roller rockers; figure
                                       abour $2000 for the Rar tapp er head or around $2500 for rhe roller model.
                                           \Xiirhou r resorting ro tu rbochargers, Esslinger has produced more rhan 400 horsepower from tne
                                       2.3-lirer Ford engine, wirh turbocharged versions surpassing rhe 1000-horsepower mark.
                                           \Vhile pro-builr powerplanes are priced accordingly- budger abour $15,000 for a 270-horsepower
                                       2.3-lirer Esslinger engine suirable for the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series-low-buck options
                                       definirely exisr. Used engines can eas ily be found in rhe $100 price range, alrhough somerimes ir's jusr
                                       easier and cheaper to buy the entire donor caL (Finding a 19S0s-vintage four-cylinder Musrang for less
                                       rhan $500 isn'r rhat hard, whi le the rurbocharged Merkur XR4Ti can also be a great project donoL)
                                           If the srock Ford head needs ro be run , rnen Matuyama recommends the oval-port mod els
                                       used in rhe pre-'SO 2.3-liter PintOs. For modified applications, he'd go wirh a D-porr cylinder
                                       head found on 19S0 and larer Ford producrs. The Ford Ranger came wirh a 2.5-lirer version of
                                       this engine, and Maruyama says that running rhe tru ck's stroker crankshafr ca n be a low-buck
                                       way ro build more rorque.-David S. \X/allens

Grassroots Motorsports   112
                                        gbrdon I. jolley photo

To top