Article from Popular Mechanics – read more at link below.
The tale of the Pinto is burned deep into American pop culture at this point: Company builds car, car has terrible problem, company ignores it, and people die. It’s a bit more complicated than that, though. The genesis of the Ford Pinto came sometime in 1968, when Ford’s then-president Lee Iaccoca decided that his company would not sit idly by as new Japanese competitors dominated the small-car segment. He pushed the board to greenlight the Pinto program, and by August 1968 the program was underway. It would have aggressive targets: no more than 2000 pounds, not a penny over $2000 and a delivery deadline of just 25 months, a record at the time and still impressive today.