The Pinto..? Did you really have to go there Dre'...?
the ford Pinto
So hot, it was Explosive!
The truth is, this formula has been used many times before by automakers. Building a small car that was attractive and frugal for not a lot of money was the thing that made the Pinto one of Fords best selling cars ever.
In 1971 Ford introduced The Pinto. Liking it's size, spunky attitude and the fact that it was different from anything else on the road the public gobbled it up, and the fact that the base price was $1919.00 to just over $2000.00 for the Runabout.
Soon after it's introduction, sales went through the roof and with gas prices topping out at an almost too expensive to talk about 29 cents a gallon, the four cylinder 34mpg Pinto was a sales hit to say the least. Ford Motor Company introduced the "71" Pinto in August of 1970, and by January of 1971 they were already building the 100,000th car. The 2.3 liter (Lima) engine was tuned so high, you needed to hold your foot on the brake after the initial shift into drive, otherwise the car would quickly take off by itself.
(My own engine was replaced at 65,000 miles)
This is actually a picture of my very first car, a 1976 "babyblue" Ford Pinto.
"Hi, I stay in the shop!"
With an interior that was 70's comfy.
pre-dual climate controls and pre-cellular phone...
An AM-FM Radio, 8 trac and air conditioning were the only options.
How in the hell did we ever get from point A to point B.
Here comes the BOOM...!!!
It seems that in the race to bring the Pinto to market, as well as the cuts made to engineer the little Ford so as to be as light as possible, the engineers made a deadly flaw. They totally neglected to reinforce the rear of the car between the fuel tank and the rear bumper, as well as the rear passenger compartment.
The bringing together of this mix created an instant death trap where the bumper pins crushed the fuel tank causing fuel leakage on the hot rear end and thereby igniting. If the crash was severe enough, the rear of the car would be bent downward slightly, causing the doors to jam and locking the occupants hopelessly inside.
As it turns out, the Ford brass was totally aware of this flaw, yet still sold the car. Putting Profit over safety, a secret memo was sent out and was to be kept quiet until the end of the run of the car, or the re-design of the Pinto. Luckily, the memo was leaked by Mother Jones Newspaper and after 180 deaths, 2200 burned out cars, examples, re-enactments, lawsuits and some good old fashioned bad press, Ford finally killed the Pinto in 1980.
The end of an era!
Thanks for checking us out and until next week this is Dre' at autoFrenzy.net, reminding you to keep your hands on the wheel, and your feet on the gas! ("Just watch yo back..!!")