1979 Ford Pinto Reviews

1979 Ford Pinto 2.3L from North America

Model year1979
Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1979
Most recent year of ownership1989
Engine and transmission 2.3L Don't Know
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired24 miles
Most recent distance135000 miles

Summary:

Cheap. Fairly reliable

Faults:

2 camshaft replacements - $600 each time.

3 alternators - $120 to $200 each time.

AC died after 6 years. Too expensive to fix.

General Comments:

This was my first car, bought brand new in 1979. I bought it because I needed something economical and cheap, and that would be fairly reliable. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Actually, considering I drove this car for 10 years, it was pretty reliable. The camshaft replacements were my fault, as a result of not changing the oil very often and letting it run low on oil frequently. For a while, I was only changing the oil ever 15k miles and checking it maybe once every 6 months. I'd add oil when the engine light came on, and by then it was down 2 quarts.

It was a gutless car. Perfect for a teenage boy. My friends that had cool cars all wrecked theirs in a year or two, while I drove this thing for 10 years.

For a Pinto, mine was well equipped. It had power steering, power brakes, AC and automatic transmission.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2009

1979 Ford Pinto Pony 2.3 4 cylinder. from North America

Model year1979
Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1979
Most recent year of ownership1987
Engine and transmission 2.3 4 cylinder. Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10
Distance when acquired10 miles
Most recent distance137000 miles
Previous carChevrolet 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne

Summary:

A great little car that was a victim of some very poor decisions by it's creators.

Faults:

The battery ground wire broke off the side of the engine block in 1983. I would guess the mileage at well under 50,000 miles.

The fuel tank apparently had something floating in it late in my ownership experience, because at a quarter tank of fuel or lower, going uphill the car would starve for gas.

Replaced the clutch, pressure plate and throw out bearing sometime after 100,000 miles.

General Comments:

A great, "old school" simple car! Rear wheel drive, upper and lower A arms, front disc brakes, shocks on all four wheels.

I feel like many of the cars made by FoMoCo, the Pinto's worst enemy was the very decision makers who created it.

It was a fun car to drive, easy to work on, very reliable and I didn't cut mine much slack! I'm looking now, twenty-one years later, to buy another one as an inexpensive hobby car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th March, 2008

1979 Ford Pinto Sport hatchback 2.3 litre 4 cylinder from North America

Model year1979
Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1995
Most recent year of ownership1998
Engine and transmission 2.3 litre 4 cylinder Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired180236 miles
Most recent distance199400 miles
Previous carPlymouth Duster

Summary:

An oldie, but a goodie

Faults:

During the 3 years I drove the car I replaced a valve cover gasket. That set me back a whopping $10.

General Comments:

I bought this old Pinto as a "beater" to drive to and from the university when I went back to get my counselling degree. There was a lot of theft and break-ins at the campus parking lots, so I wanted an older car that didn't scream "STEAL ME" or "I HAVE VALUABLES INSIDE". The Pinto filled the bill very nicely. I bought it from a little oriental lady who used it to haul her 5 kids around in. That's what you call "togetherness" in such a small car.

The old 2.3 performed flawlessly the entire time I owned the car, as did the automatic transmission. I did blow out both rear shocks getting airborne over a really bumpy railroad crossing at 55mph, but I never bothered to fix them. It actually made the car ride SMOOTHER!!

In the 3 years I owned the car I spent NOTHING on it except the above-mentioned valve cover gasket, which was leaking out enough oil to make it financially sensible to spend 10 bucks on a new one.

I never once gave a second thought to getting blown up. That was fixed in 1975 and was a VERY MINOR risk anyway. It got blown out of all proportion due to the media coverage of a couple of high-profile lawsuits.

It was a blast passing BMW's at 100mph on the freeway in this old Pinto, and it got a lot of attention from our upper middle class friends. When I ceased going to the university I sold it for exactly TWICE what I paid for it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2007

1979 Ford Pinto 2.3 from North America

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.3 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.5 / 10
Distance when acquired98000 kilometres
Most recent distance106000 kilometres
Previous carDodge Pickup

Summary:

Cheap, comfortable, all around good car.

Faults:

Valve gaskets, under $20.

General Comments:

It is a very nice car, cheap to run and good performance, more then enough to blow away the kids in their acura's. (stock engine)

Very versatile, I've carried a drier and a couch home in it on seperate occasions.

There are two kinds of people those that have had a pinto in the past and like them and those that have never had one and laugh as you drive by.

It won't blow up!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2004

11th Jan 2005, 12:05

I have owned several Pintos and I can tell you that you are not going to blow away any Acuras with a 2.3 liter and automatic.

Unless the Acura has something seriously wrong with its engine and/or driver.

8th Mar 2005, 04:13

I have a pinto and I don't know how you could fit anything other than people in it, but I can agree that it won't blow up, my engine needed a rebuild for over a year and I still had great gas mileage, and the other comment about not beating acura's is dumb, I beat almost everything with a nearly wasted engine, although its common knowledge that a manual will always beat an automatic unless driver error, my pinto was a manual

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 4 reviews