Is The Ford Pinto The Most Dangerous Car Ever Made?

You may or may not have heard of the Ford Pinto already. If you have, you likely have a good idea of how dangerous and even fatal this car can be. It has made it onto lists containing many of the worst and dangerous cars in the world; but is it the most dangerous of them all? Let’s explore the Ford Pinto in more detail.

The Exploding Car

Ford Pinto is an exploding car. It probably wouldn’t have exploded while you’re driving it, but there’s a huge chance it would have exploded if you were involved in a collision while driving it – even a low impact one. Many of the fuel systems were defective, and because of the placement, it wasn’t unusual for it to blow up.

Anybody that knows anything about car failures and the Ford Pinto will know that the fuel tank is one of the biggest failures in the automotive industry. Not only did the fuel tank easily rupture, ford failed to add reinforcements; many say that it was a car that truly deserved to fail. It’s actually astonishing how long the company ignored the faults with the Ford Pinto. Lots of people died before the issues were actually acknowledged.


Even in a low speed rear end crash test, the Ford Pinto showed several flaws. Not only was the gas tank positioned behind the rear axle and in the front rear bumper, the neck tore away from the tank upon impact. This caused fuel to spill underneath the car. In fact, one report said that the entire content of the tank leaked out in less than one minute. Although the team came up with a few solutions that could have worked and stopped the fatal fires from taking place, they decided that their main goal was to get the car out of the door as quickly as possible. They decided that damages would only cost them $49 million, while adding the necessary changes to each vehicle at $11 a pop would cost $113 million. That’s when the car went into production in September 1970, and many car accident lawyers like Desalvo Law were inundated with calls soon after. You can actually see a breakdown of Ford’s costs online and how they justified that their ROI was more important than the safety of their customers.

It took until 1977 before the car was actually realised to be a serious risk to the public, when a man called Richard Grimshaw was awarded with $125 million in damages after a low speed accident where his Pinto set on fire.

This was a disaster for ford who suffered in terms of reputation for years as a result. Ford now builds some of the safest cars known on the road, although it was a very expensive lesson for them to have to learn.

Do you think the Ford Pinto was the most dangerous car ever made, or do you know of something even more horrific? Some people even like to cause controversy and say that this car wasn’t as bad as people made out – but the stats and explosions don’t lie. Leave your thoughts below.

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About Sean Mackay

Sean writes about cars, golf and events going on in British Columbia, Canada. He is also the editor for The Automotive Review - an automotive publication bringing a West Coast flavour to its editorials.
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