When you say Ford Pinto, I say Mercury Bobcat. Then I’d say rear-end collision, gas tank explosion, litigation and tort reform. Eventually I’d say Dodge Omni, Chevy Vega and finally AMC Gremlin. But the last thing I’d ever think of after you said Pinto, would be bike racing.
Well the official car of the 1971 Tour of California was the Ford Pinto. As you can see, I’m holding the souvenir program in my hand as we speak. It features full-page ads for Shimano components, Raleigh, Gitane and Nishiki bikes. As well as various smaller ads for random bike shops and Phil Wood hubs.
The cover price was $2($2 in 1971 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $12.86 today, an increase of $10.86 over 50 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.79% per year between 1971 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 543.15%). I was curious to see if anyone like me is selling one of these on eBay but my 7-second google search turned up very little. However it reminded me to remind you that the guys in this 10 stage, 685 mile race were wearing wool jerseys and reaching down to shift onto one of their 5 cogs in back.