Every year it gets harder and harder to stand out among the cars and trucks displayed at the annual SEMA show. This year it seems like 25% of all the new Ford Broncos sold were customized and at the show, and the 1969 Camaros must have numbered in the hundreds. Even with a (car? van? wagon?) vehicle as obscure as the Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon, the one featured here was not the only one in Las Vegas for the 2022 show in, but as far as we know, the other one did not have our brakes.
The Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon was a solid attempt from the folks at Ford to sell their economy car to people interested in vintage sedan deliveries or custom vans. They were introduced for the 1977 model year and sold until the end of the Pinto line in 1980. All Pinto's were two doors, including the regular wagon, but the Cruising Wagon had metal panels where the rear windows would be. Then, Ford added hip, trendy, multi-color striped paint jobs and a porthole window to the side, then upholstered the interior walls.
The specific car from SEMA shown here is a 1977 Pinto Cruising Wagon built by Pullman Fabrications out of Walnut Creek, CA. This car was one of the finalists for the battle of the builders, sport compact/import category. Under the car is an Art Morrison custom chassis with four-wheel-independent suspension and Wilwood brakes. Power comes from a 2.3-liter four-cylinder, but not the original Pinto Lima motor.
Instead, Pullman dropped in the turbo EcoBoost 2.3 liter motor and six-speed automatic out of a modern Mustang, which was already rated at more than 300hp when it left the factory. Then they replaced the stock turbo with one from Turbonetics for even more boost. Finally, they added a dry sump system to help keep the center of gravity and hood low and maintain oiling while using the increased corning potential of the custom chassis.
Wilwood makes many options for the Ford Pinto/Mustang II front suspension, but we wonder if any original Pinto is left in this chassis. Looking at the bare Art Morrison chassis on their Instagram account, it appears to be the Wilwood's ProSpindle, a variation of the Mustang II spindle we engineered to facilitate bigger, better brakes. Under the 17" Magnum 500 wheels, Superlite six piston calipers grip 12.88" GT slotted rotors (P/N 140-9919).
You can find all the brake kit options for the Wilwood ProSpindle (regular or 2" drop) right here: Wilwood ProSpindle.