Joe's Pinto Page


Below is a photo essay of my 1974 Pinto Restoration project.

I was originally going to use this car as a parts car for a 1973 sedan I was restoring. When the State of California

changed the emissions laws so that everything 1974 and older was exempt, I deceided to restore this car instead, as it was rust-free,

and already had the 2.3 and 4 speed in it. The engine was blown, so my first job was to get another engine and just get the car running.

I found a used engine in San francisco for $100 and went for it.


Out with the old!!

My next job was to get rid of those big ugly 1974 bumpers and put on the 1973 bumpers which looked a lot better!!

In 1974, Ford extended the frame of the Pinto to fit the longer 2.3 engine, so I had to make some adjustments to get

the 1973 bumpers to fit. The lower valance panel had to be modified which is easier to see in later photos

The rear bumper was fairly easy, but I had to drill new holes for it. The rear leaf springs are longer in the '74, so I had to cut notches in the '73 rear valance to give the spring shackles clearance.

I found a nice set of original Ford "Pony" mag wheels on Ebay. These wheels were available in 1975 on the Pinto, Mustang II and Maverick. I also added some B F Goodrich TA's.

The next project was the interior. The original interior color was brown and light tan, badly burned by the California sun. Some of the plastic panels in the rear virtually crumbled from sun damage. I scored a nice complete set of black interior plastic parts from another car (previous photo under the car cover). I decided to do the interior in black and charcoal grey. I ordered a new headliner from Autokrafters as well as a new windshield gasket. The windshield had a crack in it and changing the headliner would be easier with the glass out as well as repainting the top of the dash.
You may notice the Mustang style shifter. Before finishing the interior, I went ahead and swapped in a T-5, 5 speed transmission.
T-5 is on the left, old 4 speed on the right. Although the bellhousings look different, the block had holes for both bolt patterns.
After taking some measurements, the T-5 was 1-3/8" longer than the stock trans, so I had the driveshaft shortened by the same amount. The shifter location came through the interior approximately 2" forward of the original, so a little sheet metal trimming was necessary.
The T-5 bellhousing (below) is from a 1992 Mustang and uses a cable clutch release, similar to the Pinto, but has a bellcrank mechanism to control the clutch fork. I added a small spring to the small cable that attaches to the clutch fork. Having the spring there insures that the fork will release completely when your foot is off the clutch and maintain some freeplay. The original mounting location for the Mustang cable doesn't work for the Pinto as it will conflict with the frame crossmember. Some people notch the crossmember. I just made a metal bracket which attaches to the original mounting hole in the bell, and relocates the cable about an inch and a half above on an angle, so it lines up with the attachment point on the bellcrank. Works just fine with no binding.
The car drives pretty well and the speedometer is only about 2 mph fast. I'll be adding larger diameter tires which will fix that. I cleaned up the front and rear valances in the photos below. The seats will also be changed out for Recaros or similar. This is where the car stands as of 8/5/2007