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Scale Auto Classic Kits: MPC 1975 Pinto

A kitbasher’s delight, this 3-in-1 kit provided parts unavailable anywhere else
Model: MPC 1/25 scale 1975 Pinto 
Kit No.: 1-7512    
Introduced: 1974, never reissued in this form
Present Value: $60

Those of us who grew up during the golden age of the American automobile, generally defined as the 1950s through the early 1970s, tend to be dismissive of the cars of the mid 1970s and later. But for those who grew up 10 or more years later, those 1970s cars carry a much higher level of interest and appeal. That same level of increased attention and respect also applies to model car kits from that time period. One example is MPC’s 1975 Pinto annual kit.  

While popular culture today dismisses the Ford Pinto, back then it was a popular car. Yes, the then newly federal 5-miles per hour (aka “railroad tie”) bumpers visually disfigured the car starting in 1974, the basic appeal largely remained. AMT committed the Pinto to annual kits for the 1971-1977 model years, and MPC joined the party in 1974 with a Pinto sedan that repeated through 1978, along with a second Pinto kit featuring the wagon body style that ran for the 1977-1979 model years.  

Among all these kits, I picked the MPC 1975 Pinto not only for its appealing box art, but for the great kitbashing parts found inside. The three kit versions were merchandised as [showroom] stock, rally, and drag. The stock Pinto featured Ford’s OHC four-cylinder engine and a reasonably well detailed chassis and suspension. The interior was built up in a platform format rather than the interior tubs found in many other annual kits. The rally version added wider Goodyear Polyglas tires, racing-style bucket seats, additional front driving lights, and a slatted rear window overlay. 

Most kit buyers were interested in the drag version. Here the goodies included a 351 V8 with a deep sump oil pan and a choice of four-barrel or turbocharged induction. While turbocharging is commonplace today, back in 1975 it was still a new and somewhat unknown technology, and this MPC kit included one of the most comprehensive set of turbocharger components to be found in 1/25 scale at that time.  

Inside the drag version Pinto, a roll cage joined the racing buckets, while on the outside, traction bars and Mickey Thompson “Cheater Slicks” wrapped around deep, offset, slot-style mags. Underneath you could hook up header mufflers or dual pipes that exited on the driver’s side ahead of the rear tire.  Externally, an offset hood scoop (for the turbo version), a trunk spoiler, and period decals completed the theme. The full front and rear roll pans were an added touch — just the trick to replace those ugly, railroad-tie bumpers.  

Speaking of kitbashing, this Pinto annual kit shared much of its content with two of MPC’s very best Pro Stock Series kits: its Don Nicholson (No. 1-1760) and Gapp & Roush (No. 1-1762) Pintos. These two drag racing kits are valued at two or three times the going rate of the 1975 Pinto kit, making the annual kit a more affordable source for replacement parts if you’re restoring one of those Pro Stockers.    

At a time when AMT annual kits were growing ever sparser in content, the MPC 1975 Pinto kit made for a veritable cornucopia of building options, and all those extra parts helped top off your burgeoning model parts box or expedite your latest kitbashing project. Much the same observation could apply to other annual kits from this period. Maybe they, too, deserve a closer look at your next NNL or kit swap meet. 

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