Basing the Gazelle on the Pinto was a smart move. Everyone else was using VW Beetles and even Chevettes sometimes, but the ever-reliable Ford was a sturdy, well-built, rear-wheel-drive chassis that delivers decent performance. The engine is a fuel-injected 2.3 liter inline-four, which won’t win any drag races, but it’s bulletproof and you have to remember that they took about 800 pounds out of the car when this body was dropped on top. Parts are plentiful and it’s easy to service, with good access under the tilting hood. A 3-speed automatic transmission makes it easy to drive and you’ll quickly find that it starts when you turn the key and zips through traffic with ease. Front disc brakes have decent stopping power and with the light curb weight, power steering isn’t needed. As a ground-up build, the undercarriage is quite tidy and there’s a chambered muffler that gives it a muted sound that doesn’t give away any secrets. Shiny chrome wire wheels really dress it up and carry 185/75/14 Goodyear whitewall radials all around.
Fort Worth, Texas, United States