Cars come in almost as many shapes, sizes and colors as models. Each successive year brings everything from newer features for existing models, to the same model without any changes as the previous year or entirely new models. Yet no matter how many models or changes automotive companies make, one element they might not fully anticipate, and sometimes seem to not appreciate, are the fans and future-fans of their cars.
People are attracted to cars for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s the styling of the car. For others, it’s the reputation of the manufacturer. And for others, it’s the memories the car evokes. Such is the case with the head of the Pinto Owners’ Association on the West Coast, Alberto Massarotto. Now living in Santa Clara, Alberto said he got his first Pinto, a 1979 Wagon, in 1996. His description of the car’s condition as he drove it away doesn’t exactly sound fascinating, yet that car is now fully restored and some would say, is better looking than some new cars being sold today.
Alberto’s attachment to the much-maligned Pinto came from the experiences he shared with his grandfather who drove a 1974 Pinto. “For me, the Pinto has a history and a sentimental value. A Corvette, Lamborghini or Ferrari won’t just be given to you. A Pinto is the type of car with a soul that people who own those exotics will purchase because it is a Pinto and it evokes memories of when they were younger and probably had one when they were growing up.”
Asked if there was a downside to owning the cars, Alberto responded, “You have to have a thick skin because some people insist on reminding you about the bad reputation of a car. Fortunately, others will give me a thumbs-up and want to know more about the car. At the annual Fabulous Fords Forever Car Show, the number of Pintos at the show continues to grow. In 2002, we had about 11 or 12 cars and the numbers have been growing ever since. Over the years, Ford built approximately 3.3 million Pintos, but today, there are approximately 5,000 left. A fully restored Pinto can sell for upwards of $25,000. One of the nicest things about owning a Pinto is you get to meet people because of the car, some that you might not have met otherwise and many of whom become close friends.”
Marque: Ford Pinto
Members Nationwide: approximately 7,000
Members in Northern California: Approximately 50
Regular Meetings: None.
Events: Events are arranged online and anyone can suggest an event. Typical events include BBQs, 1-2 hour cruises and an annual Christmas Party.
Cost to join: There is no cost to join, but charter memberships are available for $20 per year with the money going to help maintain the website.
For more information on the Pinto Owners’ Association, please visit their website or email Alberto at email@example.com.