May 27, 2011: In math, 40 plus 100 equals 140.
In this case, it equals one — as in one eclectic event.
The Ford Pinto is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year,. And event though it has been off the production line for about 30 of those years, fans of the automobile have organized the Pinto Stampede.
The event is a cross-country rally of Pintos that are still road legal. It will run from May 28 - June 2, making several stops en route to the Carlisle (Pa.) Ford Nationals Car Show.
The big one: May 31 in Indianapolis to as part of the celebration for the 100th anniversary running of the Indy 500. Pintos will take a victory lap at the iconic Speedway, and Pinto drivers will also activate in other ways to raise awareness for the 40th anniversary.
A more important goal of the Pinto Stampede Tour is to raise funds for the Wounded Warriors Project, which provides assistance to veterans injured while serving. Donations can be made on-site or via the Pinto Stampede Web site (here).
Rocker Ted Nugent is also part of the Wounded Warriors aspect. He has autographed a guitar and donated it as part of a raffle, with proceeds going to the veterans group.
Some observers are questioning the purpose of the Pintos still in existence. They specifically cite an infamous past that included a gas tank situation which led to numerous deaths—the exact number varies depending on how the logistics and legalities of the situation are retold—and cause Ford to cease production in 1980 after nine years on the assembly line.
However, the Pinto Stampede, organized by Pinto enthusiast Norm Bagi, is intended by participants to be a celebration of the estimated 5,000-10,000 of the three million Pintos produced that still remain.
Ford itself has embraced the event. Among the sponsors are the Ford Performance Group.
The Pinto Stampede is expected to include about 35 Pintos will take part in the event. Some will drive only part of the route and two trucks with trailers will also join the caravan in case of an emergency.
The first stop will be in Denver on May 29, followed the next day by the Kansas Speedway in Salina, Kan., where cars will take a victory lap in anticipation of the bigger stage two days later at the Indy 500.
The Pinto Stampede is scheduled to hit the following cities over the next week:
May 29 — Denver
May 30 — Salina, Kan.
May 30 — Columbia, Mo.
May 31 — Indianapolis, Ind.
June 1 — Cambridge, Ohio
June 2 — Carlisle, Pa.
For more information, view a live Web cast and to sponsor a Pinto, visit www.Pintostampede.com.