Model: Motormax Plymouth Reliant & 1970 Ford Pinto
Release: unsure. Can be found in the “Fresh Cherries” and “American Grafitti” packaging as well as a regular window box.
Why I am featuring it: I’ll level with you, I don’t know a huge deal about the K-body cars or Pintos, or indeed Motormax as a brand. These 2 are in my collection for the same reason lots of other models are: because they’re seldom if at all replicated in diecast. And anything that is different gives it a certain quality to me, and catches my eye instantly.
I first saw these models on the Facebook group Malaise Motors, a fantastic group celebrating the unloved and often derided vehicles of the US Malaise era, defined by the group as 1973 to 1995. The Reliant sits firmly in that era, and Hot Wheels Aries Wagon (and the sister Motormax Aries) aside, I don’t think there’s many other K-Body diecasts out there in this scale, certainly not any other Plymouth Reliants! That gives the Motormax car an edge right away. It’s also well proportioned and faithful to the real thing. I love the wheel and colour choice here too, it’s a neat little model. Unfortunately the finish leaves a bit to be desired. There’s evidently poor quality control at the factory as there’s paint flaws visible and slightly ill fitting plastic parts but I am prepared to overlook things like this due to to the exclusivity of the casting.
As for the Pinto, well this one being a 1970 model means it just sits outside of the Malaise era but the Pinto was definitely a car that I associate with that period. 1970 was the first year of production for the smallest US market Ford since 1907. The car subsequently became embroiled in a huge safety scandal that blackened its reputation for life. Due to uncertain regulations the fuel system on the car was somewhat poorly designed, and the Pinto had a tendancy to catch fire in an accident if hit from the rear.
Diecast wise, I really like this one. It’s not quite as strong as the Johnny Lightning Pinto but it’s nicely modelled and the colour is brilliant. This one had come off the line with a better finish than the Plymouth, and the decals and details are right where they should be.
Motormax also have a few other rarely replicated 1/60 scale American diecast in their back catalogue; a Chevette, Pinto wagon, Dodge Diplomat, Chevy Vega, AMC Pacer and a Chrysler Town & Country Wagon among others (though I’d avoid the Chrylser, it’s got proportions like a badly packed parachute) so they’re worth a look if you’re into the more left field of the diecast world, or indeed if you’re a member of Malaise Motors!