Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						406Ci Pinto Squire5
406 ci Squire

406-powered Ford Pinto Draggin Wagon

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

Some Craigslist ads generate more questions than answers, and that’s the story with this oddball — allegedly a 1,000 plus hp Ford 406-powered ’74 Pinto wagon. Yes you read that right, Pinto wagon… Let’s dive in.

Found rarely in the wild, the Ford 406 ci FE engine marks a turning point for Ford and a big step up for the Blue Oval’s commitment to the horsepower race of the late 1950s and early ’60s. The engine has its roots in the 390 FE, which was a working class hero, designed to power cars and trucks on the street, but able to crest 400 hp out of the box in race trim. But just months after the introduction of the 390, buyers started going crazy for engines over 400 ci, which left Ford with one clear course of action — overbore.

The new 406 hit the mark with buyers on the cubic inch front by upping the bore dimension to 4.13 inches while retaining the 390’s 3.785-inch stroke. Unfortunately, pushing the bore to new dimensions required a new block casting, and Ford threw in cross-bolted main caps while they were at it. New for 1962, 406s were rated at 385 and 405 hp, with sky-high 11.4:1 and 12.1:1 compression ratios.

The new 406s had the beans to handle anything on the strips in the early 1960s, but racers found the Galaxies they were offered in to be a bit too heavy to topple the lighter Mopars and Pontiacs of the day. The 406 was only offered for two years before Ford introduced the all-new 427, and the Blue Oval wised up by that time, placing their top tier engine in the smaller Fairlane to take on the lighter competition.

Now that we’re up to speed on the 406, it’s clear just how clinically insane you’d have to be to wedge one of these in a 1974 Ford Pinto. Possibly the oddest car to be dubbed the Draggin Wagon, the Pinto allegedly has a built 406 sticking through the hood, but the seller’s ad has us a bit skeptical given the lack of information. It makes all the difference on this one whether this is an original 406, as overboring a 390 is a somewhat common way to build a cheap bootleg 406. But since the 390 doesn’t have the 406’s other enhancements, the 390 would be worth less than an original 406.

All we’re told is that this engine allegedly has 14:1 compression — insane, but not out of the question given the 406’s 12.1:1 specification when new. The owner’s sign also touts 1,000 plus horsepower, but I’m putting my money more in the 600 range. The engine is also fit with an Edelbrock intake, six two-barrel carburetors and a “full race” cam. Also, that exhaust must be absolutely deafening.

I want to believe that this is an original 406 that some mad man dropped in this Pinto Squire wagon, but I have more than a few reservations. If you’re adventurous enough, the wagon asks just $8,500 and could be hiding an ultra-rare FE under the hood.

See it here on South Jersey Craigslist.

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