Contrary to popular belief, the Ford Pinto and the Mustang II don’t share that many components. However, this fact usually serves owners of the pony looking to crush the usual misconceptions about their machines. What about the subcompact? Sure, we’ve seen V8-swapped examples that could take on illustrious muscle cars anytime, but the 2022 SEMA show brings us a different flavor. Enter a 1977 Ford Pinto Wagon animated by a heavily massaged modern-day 2.3L EcoBoost turbo-four.
Between the fuel tank fire fiasco and its maximum factory output of 103 hp—from a V6—it’s not easy to push a Pinto into enthusiast circles. And that’s precisely what makes such builds rewarding.
Well, as we prepare for Day 1 of the SEMA show, some of the wacky custom rides debuting on the Las Vegas floor have already turned heads during the Day 0 preparations. And quite a few of those who were present were captivated by this Pinto Wagon, whose still-understated nature will make its rowdy tech reinvention a big surprise.
The vivid cabin should be a warning to potential rivals: the tech side of this Pinto Wagon is uber-solid
During the Pinto’s stint (1971-1980), a 2.3L was the largest four-pot on offer, but this made less than 100 hp, since it was only turbocharged later on, never making it under this subcompact’s hood in forced induction form.
However, built by California-based Pullman Fabrications, the 1977 Pinto two-door wagon (there was no four-door) is now motivated by the 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder that animates multiple contemporary Blue Oval models, Mustang included (even the 2024 Mustang will pack an updated version of the unit). The engine is mated to an automatic, even though we’re not sure about the exact nature of the gearbox.
And, to make sure this lightweight machine can run with present-day muscle cars, the specialist fitted the EcoBoost with a custom turbocharger supplied by Turbonetics and a dry-sump lubrication system. So taking this “cruising wagon” (their words, not ours) to the track won’t lead to oil starvation, no matter how hard you push the thing.
Speaking of which, in the second instagram post below, which comes from the said shop, you’ll get to see the belly of the beast. And with this level of custom frame and suspension work, plus those generous brakes, we expect the Pinto Wagon to have no issue with an occasional circuit stint.
And if the old-time stripes adorning the mostly grey exterior are to your liking, you have to check out the retro-tastic interior, which mixes a red leather finish with a textile pattern that takes us decades back (lens tip to Bobby Ullmann aka Rabbitmeister on Instagram). Don’t worry, though, with the reasonably-sized screen now adorning the center console, you’ll know when you are.