When you think of classic cars, the Ford Pinto might not come to mind. But if you were around in the 1970s you probably knew someone who had one.
You may have owned one yourself, as they were inexpensive and got good gas mileage.
Today, about a dozen Pinto owners from all over North America converged on Nashville in what they call “The Pinto Stampede”. Their cars will remain on display on Second Avenue this Monday evening while their drivers visit local Nashville landmarks.
Pinto Stampede organizer Norman Bagi says this is their seventh year together.
“I started this seven years ago in 2011 in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary for the Ford Pinto, and it was supposed to be a one-year thing. But we had so much fun everybody just kept going, ‘what are we doing next year? What are we doing next year?’ We’re in our seventh year and our eighth event. And we always try to find good places to drive. Because these are pretty reliable cars.”
Ed Manges drove his 1973 red Pinto station wagon from Texas and says Pintos are reliable cars.
“I wanted something reliable. I don’t like new cars. I wanted simplicity, reliability, economy. I hang out with a bunch of guys in Texas. They have ’56 Chevys and ’55 Chevys, and everything is chrome. And every time we go someplace together, the Chevys break down and I dig into my toolbox and have the stuff to fix their Chevys. And my Pinto just keeps on going.”
Norman Bagi says that when people see a Pinto it usually brings back memories.
“When you’re driving a Pinto, there’s no road rage. Nowadays, people are a little bit crazy out there sometimes on the road. But when you’re in this car you get a whole different type of a Zen thing going. People wave, they beep, they smile. You can take a beat up one and park it in a gas station, and twenty people flock to it. And they all start telling you stories.”
Bagi says The Pinto Stampede is also trying to raise awareness for all of the good that 4-h Clubs do for young people around the country, and encourage people in every town they visit to donate to their local 4-H Club.
“With outlets like this, we can at least bring awareness. So people at home, we recommend that they go to their local 4-H chapter and donate. Because it’s for the kids. We live in a time where there’s a lot of violence going on with the kids, whether they’re getting it from video games or just being too complacent. The 4-H Club gives them an outlet, teaches them responsibility, gives them a little more respect for human life and gets them prepared for what’s ahead of them.”
Tuesday, the Pinto Stampede heads for Chattanooga in what they are calling the “Smokey Mountain Run”. To find your local 4-H Club to donate, click here.