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Pinto Stampede Takes Vintage Auto Enthusiasts to Hell and Back

The July 18-20 promenade of the much maligned Ford Pinto through southeast Michigan will raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, which raises money for veterans who have been through their own hellish experiences.

The much maligned Ford Pinto has a loyal following of collectors, many of whom will gather in Dearborn for a car cruise to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. (Patch file photo)
The much maligned Ford Pinto has a loyal following of collectors, many of whom will gather in Dearborn for a car cruise to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. (Patch file photo)
Organizers of the fourth annual Pinto Stampede aren’t talking about horses – or even that much horsepower – to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project.

The caravan of 50 vintage Ford Pinto economy cars will travel from Dearborn, where they were produced from 1971-1980, to Hell, MI and then back again July 18-20. Along the way, they’ll stop at  the Henry Ford Museum, the Ford Product Development Center, the Ford & Mercury Restorers Club Car Show and other landmarks.

“The Pinto Stampede enables Pinto enthusiasts to celebrate our cherished little cars while doing something meaningful for others,” said "Trail Boss" Norm Bagi, founder and organizer of the Pinto Stampede. “We want to keep raising money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.”

To date, $38,000 has been raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists  soldiers returning from overseas deployment with disabilities assimilate back into their lives. Donations may be made through the Pinto Stampede web site and go directly to the Wounded Warriors organizations.

The first Pinto Stampede was such a success that participants demanded it be continued, Bagi said.

Tagged by CNN Money as one of the most “questionable” cars ever manufactured because of problems with fuel tank combustion in rear-end collisions, the Ford Pinto, nevertheless has a loyal following.

Though urban legend attributes “thousands” of fatalities to the compact car, the actual number was 27, Bagi said.

Pinto owners from as far away as Texas, California, New York City, Alabama and South Carolina to participate in the Stampede, first organized in 2011 as a

In 2011, enthusiasts of the Ford Pinto, which sold more than 3 million units from 1971-1980, established a unique way of recognizing the compact car's 40th anniversary by organizing a charity drive entitled the Pinto Stampede.  

Along the way, the compact cars have done laps at Kansas Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and most  Pinto owners have driven across the country.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Friday, July, 18

  • 9 a.m.: Pinto Stampede leaves leave the Comfort Inn (Greenfield Village,20061 Michigan Ave., Dearborn) under police escort
  • 9-9:15 a.m.: 50 Pintos will make their way to the Ford Product Development Center (20901 Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn) to take a place of honor amongst Ford's most impressive cars.
  • 9:15 a.m.-2 p.m.: Ford Employee Car Show
  • 2 p.m. through evening: Pintos head to the Henry Ford Museum.  (20900 Oakwood Blvd. Dearborn)

Day 2 – Saturday, July 19

  • 9 a.m.: Pintos visit the Roush Collection, a museum of famous Ford racing history.  Normally closed on Saturdays, it will open to give a private tour to the Pinto faithful. (11851 Market St., Livonia)
  • 10:30 a.m.-noon: The Gates of Hell, located 30 miles from Detroit, open to the Pinto Stampede The ‘Highway to Hell’ will be filled with 50 Pintos ready roll into the small town.
  • Noon: Lunch at the Dam Site Inn. Norm Bagi will be made honorary Mayor of Hell. (4045 Patterson Lake Rd. Hell)
  • Dusk: Pintos visit the Ford Drive-In Theatre. (10400 Ford Road, Dearborn)

Day 3 – Sunday, July 20

  • 8 a.m.: Pintos roll into the Ford/Mercury Restorers Club Car Show and conduct  a fundraising raffle for the Wounded Warrior Project. (20501 Old U.S. Hwy 12, (I-94, Exit 159) Chelsea). After the show, Pintos head home to parts all over the country.

Ford Pintos By the Numbers

Number of Ford Pintos built and sold from 1971-1980: 3,127,322

Membership of the Pinto Car Club of America (P.C.C.A.): 6,500+

Number of Pintos left: Approximately 5,000-10,000 road-worthy Pintos. (Estimated at 100-200 per state)

Years in production: 10 (1971-1980)

Fatalities: 27 total as of 1976, including those not tied to rear ending the gas tank – fewer than the thousands per year as portrayed by some of the media in the 1970s.  (The numbers were comparable to the results of other compact cars of the era.)

Amount of money raised by The Pinto Stampede for Wounded Warriors to date:$38,000+

RON Ostrodamus July 11, 2014 at 12:28 PM
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