This morning, I was walking the pups back from dropping one of the twerps off at school and ran into this little nugget of automotive notoriety. Behold, the 1974 Ford Pinto! I have special memories of this one from growing up. Mrs. Doyle (Andy’s mom) used to cart us around North Baltimore in a white version during the late seventies while smoking her Benson & Hedges 100′s and sipping on God knows what. I remember how much we used to loved tumbling from the back seat to the ‘way back’ so we could see the trees whizzing by against the sky as she carted us to and from little league, Toys ‘R Us or first grade. Probably not what the folks who created this ad had envisioned.Little did we or they know that the Ford Pinto would go down in history as one of the worst cars ever built. In an effort to compete with the wave of compact cars flooding in from Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen, Ford introduced the Pinto in 1971. Despite numerous crash tests showing that the Pinto would burst into flames with even the most minimal of rear impacts, Ford’s chief, Lee Iacocca, pushed this one into production figuring that making the necessary fixes to the Pinto would cost the company $110,000,000 versus the $50,000,000 it would cost in paying off families who had lost a loved one due to Ford’s horrifically careless engineering.
As you may have deduced from the video you just watched, the Pinto was almost unanimously reviewed then and now as one of the worst cars ever built. J. Walter Thompson actually had to drop their original tag line for the little hot box due to its downward spiraling reputation…”Pinto leaves you with that warm feeling.”