There are various ways to mark the passage of time. One sure way is when something that was completely un-cool becomes old enough for us to start using terms like vintage, retro and classic. When something is old enough that it finally becomes cool is significant marker of time’s passage.
With that in mind, let’s introduce the “new” design for the 1979 Ford Pinto! It’s features included the new “gas tank shield,” mileage of 32 mpg and an affordable price. It could be had for $3,787 back in 1979. That would be about $13,500 in 2011 dollars.
When you consider that a Prius goes for about $23,000, you can see that the Pinto was quite the bargain for it’s day and the mileage wasn’t all that bad. I mention the Prius, because I secretly think it was modeled after the Pinto. If you looked online and bought yourself a surviving, used, classic Pinto today, you would look cool. Perhaps a Prius will be cool in 2045. But in 2011 the Prius seems to be the car of choice for the self righteous, vegan who rolls through stop signs. As any pedestrian in San Francisco knows, beware the Prius!
So, if I were to consider car ownership, it would have to be a cool car. Enough time has past that I’d think about a Pinto. Get it refurbished, new paint job, polish the chrome and check on that gas tank shield. A good stereo playing the Partridge Family and the Carpenters and I’d be ready to head out on a road trip. As the TV ads said, “Pinto, a little carefree car to put a little kick in your life.”
In a weird coincidence, NPR did a story on the Pinto today.