Beyond suicide doors, retro kitsch is another good reason to look at and buy old cars. Who doesn’t at least crack a small smile at the Pierre Cardin AMC Javelin, the Frank Sinatra Imperial coupe, or the Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon? With the kustom van craze in full swing, the marketing types at Ford thought, why not make this easy on people? How many people want to go to the trouble of applying wicked stripe schemes, airbrushing murals, and fitting heart, diamond, and bubble windows to the back? All that work is so messy, even if it is in the name of getting in good with the ladies. So they came out with the Ford Cruising Van, and for the fuel-conscious ladies’ man, the Pinto Cruising Wagon. Being a throwaway car, there are few survivors, but if you can’t resist the call of the van, check out this 1977 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon, for sale for $2750 in San Jose, CA.
There were at least three versions of the Cruising Wagon – the plain (customize it yourself!), the standard with light graphics on the side panels, and the extra-stripey version with angled stripes going down the side panels to the front of the rear wheel well, along the side panels to meet the a-pillar, and then diagonally up the fender and straight across the hood. Wow, that’s a mouthful. Our feature car appears to be the customize-it-yourself version. Since there’s no dash shot, there’s no telling if it got the Sports Rallye Package, with extra gauges, upgraded suspension (what? they found a way to improve on the suspension?), and higher axle ratio with the 2.3 Lima engine. And by the way, is that an exhaust pipe under your bumper or are you happy to see me?
Who doesn’t like those sweet 4-spoke steelies with white letter tires? And below is the engine, which looks like it could use a little dusting. That almost looks like body shop dust, complemented with some overspray – perhaps there’s a recent paint job on this honey? The car is said to run well and look good (subjectively?), and features the 2.3 with a four-speed manual. It’s said to have no rust, and if one Cruising Wagon is not enough for you, the seller has another.
With the various modifications people have figured out over the years (XR4Ti engine anyone?), it should be easy to make this into a tolerable or even fun driver with some unique style to boot. Sure, you’ll have massive blind spots, but the ladies will flock to your wagon, and to paraphrase the late, great Raul Julia, what’s around you won’t be important when they’re checking out the lipstick red interior!