September 11, 1970 – Ford introduces the Pinto

The for-some-reason iconic Ford Pinto was introduced to the masses on this day in 1970. The subcompact car was developed to compete with the influx of other small cars, particularly imports. The vehicle was produced for model years 1971 – 1980 and throughout its run more than 3 million were manufactured. However, it wasn’t the fact that the Pinto was the first mass produced car to feature rack-and-pinion steering that put it in the headlines. The explosive news coverage the car received throughout the 1970 can be attributed to an ill placed gas tank. The vehicle became known for its amazing ability to burst into flames if it were rear ended at speeds above 20 miles per hour. The sad thing is… it was found that Ford knew about the problem and still continued with production. An internal cost-benefit analysis prepared by Ford found that it would cost $11 per car to fix the fatal problem, which totaled $137 million. Ford compared this to an estimated $49.5 million in potential lawsuits that came about due to the fiery mistake and the report deemed it “inefficient” to fix the problem. The report stated that Ford would likely have to pay $200,000 for each death predicted to result from the issue. Ford’s decision to continue producing the Pinto caused a massive uproar and it 1978, a California jury awarded a record-breaking $128 million to a claimant in a Pinto case. Pics1973 Ford Pinto – By Joost J. Bakker from IJmuiden1977 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon

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