Pinto Day would not be complete without a Mini CC version. And luckily for you, I do indeed have one in my fleet–this white-over-red variant by Motor Max’s “Fresh Cherries” line. And this is no garden-variety Pinto either, but a full-zoot Iacocca-approved Luxury Decor Option variant!
Okay, technically it was the Luxury Decor Group on the Pinto, but these fancy-pants option groups are commonly known as the LDO, and were actually called such on the Maverick/Comet versions. Ford was all about luxury trim in the ’70s–witness the success of the LTD (does it stand for Limited or Luxury Trim Decor? No one knows for sure), Granada Ghia, Gran Torino Brougham and Mustang II Ghia.
So what did you get with this trim package? Among other things, special upholstery with your choice of pleated vinyl or houndstooth cloth inserts, woodtone handbrake and shift lever, deluxe door trim panels (with a little chrome Pinto on a sea of woodgrain) and deluxe woodtone (notice a pattern here?) steering wheel.
Outside, rocker panel moldings, wheel reveal moldings, full wheel covers and bright window frame and belt trim set the deluxe Pinto apart. The Squire wagon was basically the longroof version of the LDO, with the addition of a cargo light and, of course, the Di-Noc wood sides.
Briefly in the 2003-08 period, diecast model maker Motor Max introduced an intriguing line of 1/64 and 1/24-scale ’70s “misfits,” including an AMC Gremlin, a Vega, a LeBaron T&C wagon, Dodge Diplomat, and of course this Pinto.
I remember seeing this Pinto at the local Wal-Marts pretty regularly in burnt orange and olive green (’70s Green), along with the Gremlin and Vega. At the time (2003-05) I was more into 1/18-scale, so never picked one up. But I finally decided they were worth buying at about the same time they started disappearing from stores.
I was fortunate to get this one during a Christmas shopping trip to Iowa City with my aunt and uncle. I had never seen one in red, and really liked it. I regret never picking up a Gremlin. For lots of pictures of these cool ’70s toys, this site has a review of some of the 1/64-scale versions.
Since then, it seems that Motor Max has given up on the Fresh Cherries line, as no new models have turned up since the LeBaron in about 2009; the last one I was able to buy was a light blue T&C on clearance for $5. Too bad, because I think these are far more cool to collect than the ever-present ’65 Mustangs, Chevelle SSs and Tri-Five Chevys that clutter most department store toy aisles. Come on, Motor Max, I want a Cordoba!