How bad do things have to be to drive this?


The State Patrol/Department of Public Safety has posted details of the seizure of this car in Koochiching County this week.

It’s a Ford Pinto, which should have been enough justification to impound it and cite the driver for unsafe equipment.

But the spare tire and gas can rigged to the engine was a dead giveaway…


Not to mention — although I’m about to — the rusted out floor…


We don’t know the circumstances surrounding why the driver had to drive this car, but unless there was an unnatural love between a person and a Pinto, it can certainly be assumed that the answer is this is the car the person could afford.

On a day in which big charts and data are explaining a bad economy, this might be the best illustration of all.

You can find more pictures here.

  • Bob Moffitt

    When I first met my wife, I was driving a rusted out, purple AMC Gremlin. I was in the Army, and It was all I could afford.

    She married me anyhow.

  • You know, not quite as bad as this, but I did notice and pay attention to an awful spate of cars in a bad state while driving back from uptown yesterday.

  • bsimon

    By moving the gas tank, didn’t they correct the original Pinto design flaw?

  • andy


    Well, one of the design flaws at least.

  • Tim

    While I don’t know if it’s the reason why in this case, I do know that the used car market is pretty horrible right now, and there’s not much out there for cheap cars that aren’t total piles of junk. I had a hard time finding something under $2500 last year that was driveable.

    I think there’s a number of reasons for this. Cash for Clunkers was definitely a contributor; it look a lot of older stock out of the market permanently. Plus, people are just holding on to cars longer now and aren’t buying new ones until they have to.

  • Justin H

    I had a car, also a Ford, but not a Pinto, that the floor rusted out in, but not this bad. Wow. I also fixed it. Pressure treated plywood works pretty good as a floor replacement.

  • I grew up in Koochiching County, one of the largest MN counties by area but one of the smallest by population, and I have to say that sparse population and resources make this a little less surprising than if it was, say, in Hennepin County.

    The most important detail is left out: did the radio work?

  • ajdem

    I know people who make decent livings and chose to drive their P.O.S. cars until they can no longer squeeze a single drop of life out of them. Sometimes thriftiness causes us to drive things like this … especially when the alternative costs four or five figures.

  • Tom K

    I’ve sold two cars on Craigslist over the past couple of years for under $2500 and both were well-running, good-condition, low-mileage cars that happened to be 10-15 years old. They weren’t flashy but they were affordable.

    One sale was from a family from Thief River Falls, they came down for the day to look at as many Craigslist bargains as they could.

    When I asked why the long trip for a car, they said the there weren’t any affordable used cars in their area so they needed to come down here where the market was larger.

  • tony

    The average car is now nearly a dozen years old. More support for the “we’re fcuked” economic outlook going forward fo r th 99.9% of the rest of us.

  • tony

    Isn’t this the county where they arrested the guy in a Briggs and Stratton powered La-Z-Boy for DUI a few years ago? Just sayin’.

  • David G

    No matter how good it gets, there’s always going to be someone for whom this is what they’ll be able to afford.

    Likewise, no matter how bad it gets, there’s always going to be someone able to afford that high end Lamborghini, Ferrari, etc.

    The gas tank mad me think maybe it was Red Green’s car, but then, I suspect he would have taken a stab at the floor board (unless that was his brake fix).

  • Jim Shapiro

    Wasn’t the Pinto nick-named “the flaming sled”?

    And Bob -“unnatural love between a person and a Pinto”? Haven’t you ever heard of “auto-eroticism”? I think it’s rather common.

    And where in the Bible does it say “Thou shalt not lust after your neighbors ride”?

    Boy, quite a few of us would be saying 17 dozen Hail Marys if that one was in there.

  • tboom

    Up in Koochiching, the real question is: is it a good winter starter?