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Round 2/AMT 1977 Pinto - Super Loser (out of box)


Faust
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If you know me, then you know my thing is weird cars, the everyday and what I call “loser cars”. One of the most recognized, reviled and joked about loser cars of the Automotive Dark Ages was the Ford Pinto. With a reputation for blowing up like a stick of Looney Tunes dynamite and a design that was a weird mix of practical and impractically underpowered and underbuilt, the Pinto has long epitomized how low things could go.

It’s no surprise then that I was beside myself with excitement when Round 2 anounced they were going to give us our SECOND Pinto reissue. First, there was the Pony Express wagon, followed now by the AMT 1977 hatchback! For Pinto-philes (even sounds gross) and loser-lovers like me, getting a chance to own the second-ugliest installment of Ford’s incendiary blighter was something that had only been hoped for.

I managed to snag one a week and change ago, and I’m really surprised to see that no one else out there seems to have jumped on this one. Of course, that might be because, unlike me, they knew what to expect! Check out my out of box review for this new stain on your modelling display at the link below, and bring your fire extinguishers!

https://adamrehorn.wordpress.com/1-25-amt-round-2-1977-pinto-runabout-oob/

1977-pinto-oob-001.jpg?w=400

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17 minutes ago, Eric Macleod said:

My God! The car in the box art is dark green! Could it be any worse? I celebrate your beautiful loser model and will watch the assembly with interest. 

Hey! I love green cars. :)

You think that's bad, though? Yeah... it can be worse. It can have a vinyl top!! WTF?? On a Pinto? But it is legit! 

A sad kit of a worse car. It's a true epicenter of automotive failure. 

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4 hours ago, Faust said:

Hey! I love green cars. :)

You think that's bad, though? Yeah... it can be worse. It can have a vinyl top!! WTF?? On a Pinto? But it is legit! 

A sad kit of a worse car. It's a true epicenter of automotive failure. 

And people talk about the hobby dying...I mean if it survived the 70s...

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I built the Poison Pinto when I was a brat.  Completely different kit, but it was green!  That '77, with the battering ram bumpers, and aerodynamic grill, that's the epitome of the era.  I knew someone with the earlier year, small bumpers, just a trunk, I had a ride in the back seat, we were laughing the whole time, and it was dark metallic green.  When the all glass hatch was introduced, I thought it was an improvement, could see the gas tank.  :rolleyes:

IMG_8674_Fotor.jpg

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A high school friend had a 77 Pinto as his new/used first car. For the time it wasn't all that bad, definitely better than the equivalent Vega or Gremlin but maybe not as good as a Corolla which I had. I grew up in coastal Texas and the Vega's started rusting while sitting on the new car lot. The Pinto he drove had the bullet-proof 2.3 engine and though not fast, it was fun when driven fast. I'm watching Hobby Lobby and Hobbytown to see if they decide to carry this kit.

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Adam's Top Ten Fantasy List from the domestic manufacturers:

Buick Rendezvous

Pontiac Aztek

Pontiac T-1000

Cadillac Cimarron

Vega Notchback

Ford Fairmont

Dodge Aries

Plymouth Reliant

Mercury Lynx

Mercury Bobcat

How about it, Adam?

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1 hour ago, Motor City said:

Adam's Top Ten Fantasy List from the domestic manufacturers:

Buick Rendezvous

Pontiac Aztek

Pontiac T-1000

Cadillac Cimarron

Vega Notchback

Ford Fairmont

Dodge Aries

Plymouth Reliant

Mercury Lynx

Mercury Bobcat

How about it, Adam?

Jim, Jim, Jim...

You're very close!! :)

I would, of course, build all of those, but the Rendezvous isn't nearly horrible enough. Now, you replace that with a Renault Alliance, and the Fairmont (which is lame, but not terrible) with a Stallion Package Maverick, and we've got something going ON. 

My only question is: HOW DID YOU GET IN MY HEAD!!! Oh, and how are you going to get out... it's messy in there! :)

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Adam,

My older sister had a Pinto, followed by a Nova, then a Thunderbird, and then … a new 1984 Alliance! 

The Tinmont (my buddy's name for his new 1978 Fairmont 2-door sedan) was actually a pretty rugged car.  He attended a party in Downtown Detroit one night and didn't quite make the turn from one freeway through the sharp turn onto the next, bouncing off the retaining wall.  He kept driving for about ten miles or so and called me from a pay phone around 3 in the morning after the radiator gave out!  I picked him up and drove him home.    The car was towed to a collision shop near my house.  The front passenger tire and suspension were bent up several inches off the ground!  Yes, he had driven on 3 tires for over ten miles.  That's one heck of a car!   

The Stallion Maverick is another rarity that I saw once, maybe twice.  Hopefully someone makes a decal set and you pick up the Jo-Han kit or promo to at least partially fulfill your fantasy. 

You are now contemplating what foreign losers  I will come up with.  Let's try the Toyota Echo, Renault Fuego (my cousin had 2 of these), Renault Le Car, Honda Insight, Toyota Tercel, Yugo, Datsun B-210, Fiat X/19, Chevrolet LUV, and Kia Soul. 

Edited by Motor City
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My sister's first car was a '76 Pinto Runabout that my Dad bought for her new right after high school when she was starting college in the fall of '75.  It lasted until 1980, when she and her husband drove it from Ohio to Arizona towing a small uHaul trailer.   It arrived in Arizona with no grille, the hood mashed in and a door bashed in--it had been hit twice in McDonalds parking lots on the way cross country.    She traded it on a '78 Datsun 280Z.      

Always wanted to do replica of the little blue Pinto, i remember riding in it as a kid. 

My brother briefly had a '71 or '71 Pinto that was black back around 1974, but I don't really remember it (I was 4 then)> 

Edited by Rob Hall
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The front nose on the '77 and '78 Pinto IMO were just plain ugly. By far the worst looking Pintos ever. That said, I can't wait to get my hands on this kit. As you guys know, I have a soft spot in my heart (or that in my head?) for these loser cars.

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I'd hardly call the Pinto a "loser", if you take into consideration the sales figures.  As far as the gas tank deal went, the Vega wasn't much better in that regard, and the '78-up downsized GM intermediate cars were bad too.  The frames on those would rot out behind the rear wheels, leaving the rear of the frame disconnected from the rest.  The station wagons in particular were bad in that regard.

That said, of the three US subcompacts, the Gremlin had the other two beat by a mile.  It was basically a sawed-off Hornet: Hornet suspension, brakes, engines, and transmissions.  The Gremlin was a bit bigger and heavier, but it was overbuilt compared to the Pinto and Vega.  I had an AMC Spirit (Gremlin with a hatchback body) and put over 200,000 miles on it...great car, if the right one came along I'd buy it.

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The Pinto along with the Vega both were rather poor offerings from major automotive manufactures as a quick fix for gas prices that were going up fast along with some big economy problems of the day. The could of and should of done better but they went the cheep route and buyers suffered because of it. A true story while driving to work one morning in about 1975, I was listening to the "morning drive channel" on the AM radio, remember those ? Anyway the DJ had his mouth going about a 100 MPH and his brain was still parked. This is when everyone had their shorts in a bunch with Pinto's catching fire when rear ended and Firestone 500 tires coming apart at freeway speed. So the DJ goes into some sort of dialog about the bravest person in town had just run the light at the main part of town in a new Pinto with Firestone 500 tires. Remember his brain is in park. The story goes that his main sponsor was the local Ford dealer who called the radio station and withdrew his sponsorship. The truth of the matter was that if some yokel didn't plow into a Pinto driving a full size sedan there was no problem. As for the Firestone tires?, well when was the last time you checked your tire pressure ? Both cases of pilot error. Sometimes we can't be saved from our selves.   

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I drove a 1977 Pinto wagon for a summer in the 1980s.  My brother in law had asked me to sell it for him and I drove it daily during the process. I found it to be a nice little car to drive.  I was sad to see it go when it finally sold.

Reading the article in Mike's post,  we all knew that Detroit had been caught with their pants down as small cars took over the market. Instead of rushing the Pinto and Vega to market both companies should've gone to their International subsidiaries to pull in a car that was already vetted out in the market.  They could've taken a Euro Escort, Cortina or German Taunus and Americanized it and manufactured it here for a lot less than developing those cars from scratch.

image.png.a26a4aba42e1f9d1f0074e3a271fc8bf.png

I already have a pinto kit set aside to build this one....

Edited by Tom Geiger
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53 minutes ago, Tom Geiger said:

I drove a 1977 Pinto wagon for a summer in the 1980s.  My brother in law had asked me to sell it for him and I drove it daily during the process. I found it to be a nice little car to drive.  I was sad to see it go when it finally sold.

Reading the article in Mike's post,  we all knew that Detroit had been caught with their pants down as small cars took over the market. Instead of rushing the Pinto and Vega to market both companies should've gone to their International subsidiaries to pull in a car that was already vetted out in the market.  They could've taken a Euro Escort, Cortina or German Taunus and Americanized it and manufactured it here for a lot less than developing those cars from scratch.

Uh-uh.  Chrysler did just that: remember the Plymouth Cricket?  Underpowered POS that they stopped bringing in at the end of '72 because they couldn't get it to pass '73 emissions standards.  GM didn't fare any better with the Opels either.  Good cars in their home market, not so hot over here.

The Pinto wasn't bad: the mistake Ford made was in letting it go through with the known gas tank fiasco.  They had the fix available but chose not to implement it, thinking it would be cheaper to pay off the anticipated wrongful death claims than implement the fix.

GM had the fix for the Vega engine problem at hand: dump the aluminium engine in favor of the Nova four-banger, which they were still making for Mercury Marine and AMC (for postal Jeeps).  Fix the rust issues, problem solved.  The Vega actually was a nice riding car, one of my brothers had three of them.  GM went with the aluminium engine because they had invested in an aluminum foundry to make Corvair engines.  With the Corvair gone, the investment was too great to ignore.  So the Vega got an aluminium engine.

Still, the Gremlin beat both of them hands down.  If AMC had thought to offer a four-cylinder engine (six minus two, like they did later) they could have made it even better. 

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Long lead-time on vehicle development was also an issue . The Pinto was in R&D in c.1968 ; the Vega in c.1968 as well ---- a good 4-5 years before escalating gasoline prices . Add the component of the ever-moving target of then-new EPA standards (esp. California ! ) , and the annual safety update / upgrade standards , and the death mask was cast .

Chrysler's 'problem' was with the "right car at the wrong time" all-new 1974 C-bodies ( Monaco , Newport , et al. ) being introduced mere months before the 21st October 1973 OPEC Embargo , and the recipe for disaster was boiling on the burners ... "Badge Engineering" was bourne-out of this (e.g. , the Royal Monaco vs. the B-Body 'Monaco' [ formerly badged as a Coronet through 1974] , and the Fury vs. Gran Fury [ formerly "Satellite" through 1974] ).

The Vega and its companion "H-Special" models were destined for failure because they were rushed-into production ---- at a tremendous cost of line workers ! The edict of "One [Vega] Built Every Minute" caused the plants to go-through employees like I go through Marlboros !  I worked with a couple of guys whom worked at the South Gate ( Ca. ) Plant when the then-new Monza ( H-Special ) was slated for production at that facility (whose mainstay was full-sized cars) . The tales they would regale us with ; everyone was on , shall we say , "second-party-performance-enhancers" just to get through the insane amount of energy required to slap those cars together . More than one time the line was stopped because the guy whose job it was to drop the engine-transmission assemblies into the cars was so "performance-enhanced" that he had slung the engine-trans combos straight-into the windshields !

As far as the Pinto fuel tank ; from what I'd heard through the years was that a 'simple' TSB was issued to the dealerships , as a fix had been devised ( I could swear that I'd seen bags of those 'fixes' around in the parts department --- their part number was to the effect of "D3TZ ---" or perhaps "D5TZ --- " ) , but no Recall notices were sent to the consumers . 

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17 hours ago, Motor City said:

Adam,

My older sister had a Pinto, followed by a Nova, then a Thunderbird, and then … a new 1984 Alliance! 

The Tinmont (my buddy's name for his new 1978 Fairmont 2-door sedan) was actually a pretty rugged car.  He attended a party in Downtown Detroit one night and didn't quite make the turn from one freeway through the sharp turn onto the next, bouncing off the retaining wall.  He kept driving for about ten miles or so and called me from a pay phone around 3 in the morning after the radiator gave out!  I picked him up and drove him home.    The car was towed to a collision shop near my house.  The front passenger tire and suspension were bent up several inches off the ground!  Yes, he had driven on 3 tires for over ten miles.  That's one heck of a car!   

The Stallion Maverick is another rarity that I saw once, maybe twice.  Hopefully someone makes a decal set and you pick up the Jo-Han kit or promo to at least partially fulfill your fantasy. 

You are now contemplating what foreign losers  I will come up with.  Let's try the Toyota Echo, Renault Fuego (my cousin had 2 of these), Renault Le Car, Honda Insight, Toyota Tercel, Yugo, Datsun B-210, Fiat X/19, Chevrolet LUV, and Kia Soul. 

Wow... I thought only the Brits and Japanese had Three-Wheelers! :) Impressive, though!

Darn.. that's a heck of a list! I have a Toyota Vitz (which is the domestic Echo/Yaris), as well as that brown Civic I did, and a couple of Kei Cars. I would LOVE a Fuego!!! I think those are cool looking. They do suck, though. Maybe there's a Burago in 1/43? I do have a Burago Renault 9 I could do as an Alliance... By Tercel, I hope you mean one of those ugly 4WD "station wagon" ones. You forgot the Fire Arrow!!! I know it's a Dodge, but it isn't... :)

I do have a Trabant, if you're looking for Euroloser.

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6 hours ago, Tom Geiger said:

I drove a 1977 Pinto wagon for a summer in the 1980s.  My brother in law had asked me to sell it for him and I drove it daily during the process. I found it to be a nice little car to drive.  I was sad to see it go when it finally sold.

Reading the article in Mike's post,  we all knew that Detroit had been caught with their pants down as small cars took over the market. Instead of rushing the Pinto and Vega to market both companies should've gone to their International subsidiaries to pull in a car that was already vetted out in the market.  They could've taken a Euro Escort, Cortina or German Taunus and Americanized it and manufactured it here for a lot less than developing those cars from scratch.

 

Funny thing is, the Taunus was a car that Ford had already for the American market, but they changed their minds.  Otherwise, Ford would have had a FWD compact on the market here in the early '60s, before the Japanese invasion really started to ramp up.  Ah well, hindsight is 20/20.

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5 hours ago, Faust said:

Wow... I thought only the Brits and Japanese had Three-Wheelers! :) Impressive, though!

Darn.. that's a heck of a list! I have a Toyota Vitz (which is the domestic Echo/Yaris), as well as that brown Civic I did, and a couple of Kei Cars. I would LOVE a Fuego!!! I think those are cool looking. They do suck, though. Maybe there's a Burago in 1/43? I do have a Burago Renault 9 I could do as an Alliance... By Tercel, I hope you mean one of those ugly 4WD "station wagon" ones. You forgot the Fire Arrow!!! I know it's a Dodge, but it isn't... :)

I do have a Trabant, if you're looking for Euroloser.

There is a resin Fuego available in 1/24 by AirTrax. My sister had a Fuego Turbo, and the best feature of the car was the front seats! Comfortable, and plenty of adjustability. A friend and I found a Fuego in a wrecking yard, and scavenged the seats from it. My friend turned his into an office chair, while I installed mine into my work vehicle (a Chevy cube van) for a much cushier driving position. 

There is also a Tercel kit available in 1/24 from Imai. It's the original SR5 hatchback, but with big IMSA-style flares. 

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Way back when, I had a book titled New Cars '71 put out by Petersen Publishing. In it was a story about how Chrysler was developing a subcompact to compete with the Pinto and Vega; the writers extrapolated some preliminary data and figured out that the cars were going to be like Gremlins - based on a shortened wheelbase Valiant/Dart platform with chopped-off tail. It was being referred to as the "25 Car" - as in the basic design would last 25 years. I wonder how far that project got, and if any styling clays (full size or scale) were done?

ETA - just found this reference in the August 1970 Popular Science:

https://books.google.com/books?id=kgEAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=chrysler+"25+car"&source=bl&ots=91QVey9oV6&sig=ACfU3U0MX0nBVsOW4ion0FVUFDkGyYl1zw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwii6JDEhaDjAhXYHM0KHaXwBXEQ6AEwC3oECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=chrysler "25 car"&f=false

Edited by ChrisBcritter
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17 hours ago, Mark said:

Uh-uh.  Chrysler did just that: remember the Plymouth Cricket?  Underpowered POS that they stopped bringing in at the end of '72 because they couldn't get it to pass '73 emissions standards.  GM didn't fare any better with the Opels either.  Good cars in their home market, not so hot over here.

 

12 hours ago, Richard Bartrop said:

Funny thing is, the Taunus was a car that Ford had already for the American market, but they changed their minds.  Otherwise, Ford would have had a FWD compact on the market here in the early '60s, before the Japanese invasion really started to ramp up.  Ah well, hindsight is 20/20.

Mark, note that I said;

"They could've taken a Euro Escort, Cortina or German Taunus and Americanized it and manufactured it here for a lot less than developing those cars from scratch."

These were all proven reliable cars in their home markets.  The Cricket was British and was fairly troublesome.  Chrysler's later partnerships with Mitsubishi  went better, and the original Omni / Horizon was basically a VW Rabbit under license.

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1 hour ago, Tom Geiger said:

 

Mark, note that I said;

"They could've taken a Euro Escort, Cortina or German Taunus and Americanized it and manufactured it here for a lot less than developing those cars from scratch."

These were all proven reliable cars in their home markets.  The Cricket was British and was fairly troublesome.  Chrysler's later partnerships with Mitsubishi  went better, and the original Omni / Horizon was basically a VW Rabbit under license.

The original Omni/Horizon was a shortened Alpine designed by Simca in France.  Chrysler then sold their European holdings to Peugeot, while retaining North American rights to produce the car out at Belvidere Assembly.  The Simca engine was initially replaced by an engine block from VW that had a Chrysler designed cylinder head and intake bolted to it until 1981 when the K-Car 4 banger became available.  The last thing Chrysler would have wanted to do was build a licensed VW Rabbit given the build quality out of the Westmoreland plant (which is about 13 miles away over yonder) was so poor VW abandoned the plant.

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The German companies like to think they "invented" everything; listen to a Mercedes-Benz ad for example.  VW had a Rabbit ad with a "everybody's following the leader" theme, with a Rabbit in front and the Omni, Renault 5, and Chevette behind it.  The Simca version of the Omni came out around the same time as the Rabbit, while the Chevette first appeared in England and Brazil before the Rabbit.  I'm pretty certain the Renault 5 beat the Rabbit to market also.

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Ford sold Cortinas and other Britsh Fords in Canada until 1973, though I remember the constant gripes about Cortina quality.    Likewise, GM did a healthy trade in Vauxhalls until about the same time.  I don't know why they didn't sell a few on the other side of the 49th while they were at it.

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