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Pint-Size Woodie: 1979 Ford Pinto Country Squire

In 1970-71, three of the U.S. automakers introduced subcompact cars. That included the Chevy Vega, AMC Gremlin, and Ford Pinto. The latter would last the longest (1971-80) and sell the most cars (more than three million units). Interest in the Pinto began to wane later in the decade as Ford was readying its successor (the Escort). This ’79 Pinto wagon is the Country Squire edition (fake wood paneling on the outside) and has recently been resuscitated after a 20-year slumber. It’s ship-shape now, though cosmetically imperfect, and can be found in Robesonia, Pennsylvania. The little Ford is available here on eBay for at least $5,999 (the current bid).

As the Pinto was winding down in 1979, Ford treated the car to a refresh of its front clip. Rather than looking a bit more like the recently retired Maverick, it took on more of a Fairmont flair aided by rectangular peepers and grille work. Sales for the next-to-last year of the Pinto barely reached 200,000 copies, still a decent showing for a car that had already been in production for eight years. That included a station wagon that could be had with imitation wood siding which had been customary for the Country Squire for many years and product lines.

As the story goes, this Pinto was parked in 2003 due to a bad transmission. Fast forward two decades and it has been rescued and treated to a plethora of mechanical repairs and upgrades. These include – but are not limited to – a rebuild of the automatic tranny, new seals in the 2.3-liter inline-4 engine, brakes, tires, shock absorbers, a flush of the fuel system, and a rework of the radiator. As a result, the Pinto starts, runs, drives, and stops as a proper auto should.

The body may be okay although the seller questions the solidity of the lower portion of the driver’s side door. The paint, which may or may not be original, is far from perfect, but it shouldn’t scare small children away. The radio doesn’t work, and the air conditioning works but not entirely.  There is also a small oil leak at the rear main seal, but there’s no mention if it leaves any kind of a trail. Do you see this Pinto wagon sitting in your garage?


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Recently a friend went to a small show which featured Pintos, Mavericks, and Mustang II’s. Included were a few Squires, in good condition; I’m sure they were a treat to see. In nice shape, they now are fetching solid prices. For this one, the seller uses the word “decent” which is probably an apt description. It looks to have had quite a bit of mechanical work but there are more upgrades which could be done. I like it.

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  2. John

    WOW.. 6 HhhhaaAa thousand HhhhaaAa dollar HhhhaaAa… Yikes.. I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Anyone interested?

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  3. Joe M.

    How is it even possible to tear the carpet near the hand/emergency brake???

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    • LCL

      Perhaps this is a Pinto from the movie Cujo.

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    • CCFisher


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    • JustPassinThru

      There might have been a console surrounding the handbrake. Putting the Mustang II seats in, may have required removal – and it’s probably no loss; plastics don’t hold up well to 35 years of sunlight.

      I have a soft spot for Pintos, but not the square-eyed ones, and not from Rust Country. Hard pass.

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  4. LCL

    Those seats look comfortable!
    Are they factory?
    I had a Pinto Pony, the very lowest model, and the seats were worthy of an economy air line coach section seat. The leg room was limited too. Just horrible.
    We called the car the Rolling Tiger Cage.
    But like all my cars, I thought it was swell at the time.

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    • nlpnt

      They look more like the Mustang II Ghia upholstery but it’s possible Ford used up the upholstery on Pintos. I suspect they were swapped in, though, the usual cloth trim for the Pinto deluxe lowback seats was a bright, loud ’70s plaid and the rear seat isn’t shown.

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  5. LCL

    Is there any connection between Pinto engines and a racing class I recall as named Continental?

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  6. Blake, does my opinion really matter ???

    I’m pretty confident that those front seats came out of a Mustang 2 Ghia. I don’t recall seeing that sew style with buttons in any of my extensive collection of old Pint brochures. I always liked that dark green metallic on the 79-80 Pinto’s (and other Fords). In felt it classed them up just with color.

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  7. CCFisher

    Looks like someone has painted the lower body dark green or black. Either way, rust repair is a strong possibility. Take a magnet.

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