I always felt the story was a bit "overblown" (sorry for the pun) by the media. The Pinto didn't seem that different from other Fords or other cars of it's day in the gas tank area. Very interesting read.
Obligatory Pinto Gif...
Yeah the common piece - humans. As a group humans tend to act/behave the same no matter what century. As a Post Script to the above, the Oregon dealership mentioned above is no longer in business.