2022 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1971 Ford Pinto 'Milton Adey' 351 V8 Drag Car
Result: PASSED IN
|Engine||351 cubic-inch V8|
|Gearbox||2-speed Powerglide automatic|
|Body Work||2-door sedan|
This lot is no longer available
The Ford Pinto, Ford’s first sub-compact American offering, was conceived by marketing genius Lee Iacocca as a challenger for the Volkswagen Beetle. Unfortunately, the production car is now best known for its inclination to burst into flames when hit hard enough from behind to rupture the fuel tank. Although the engineers were aware that there was a problem with the design of the fuel tank, it seems that no-one was prepared to incur Iacocca’s wrath by raising the issue – the executive being notoriously dismissive of safety: ‘Safety doesn’t sell cars!’ Ford was successfully sued (Grimshaw V. Ford Motor Company, 1981). Despite being branded unsafe, the Pinto found favour with street machiners and drag racers who reckoned its compact size and sleek styling provided a great starting point for motorsport. In Australia, Milton Adey, arguably Queensland’s best known drag racing exponent in the 1970s and a prominent force in the Summernats from the 1980s onwards, was already renowned for his performances in his ‘Hawkeye’ Anglia, acquired a Pinto and built a new ‘Hawkeye’. Adey campaigned his Hawkeye Pinto with much success on the strips of Surfers Paradise and Castlereagh with a best time of 10.22 seconds in SS/A. Unfortunately, a crash on route to the final meeting at Surfers saw his tow car, borrowed trailer and the Hawkeye Pinto written off. Shortly after Milton Adey’s death in 2010, A keen enthusiast (like Adey a Brisbanite) learned that a mate had the remains of the Pinto in his backyard and reckoned it would make an interesting addition to his car collection. He struck a deal and then spent several years restoring it. He was determined to make his newly acquired basket case as close as possible to its 1980s Hawkeye incarnation and undertook extensive research into its history. While stripping back the paint, he found evidence of at least five bad taste liveries, before uncovering the remains of the striking combo Milton Adey had chosen – white with blue, red and yellow stripes and Hawkeye graphics on the doors.