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Detroit Wagon Tails

Detroit Wagon Tails

Motor Trend April 1972

Both the Ford Pinto and Plymouth Cricket will soon be offered in station wagon models to give their respective manufactures a foothold in the burgeoning mini-wagon market.

    The Pinto wagon is a mere ten inches longer than it's namesake, and much of the front end exterior is shared between the two cars. At the rear, the Pinto wagon's vertically opening tailgate provides access to more than 60 cubic feet of cargo space, giving the little wagon a load rating of 900 pounds. This was accomplished by building in underbody rails from the rear axle back to a full width rear crossmember. The 2-liter och Pinto four-cylinder engine is standard as are Pinto's all-synchromesh four-speed transmission (automatic is optional) and front disk brakes. The wagon's rear brake linings are wider than those on the Pinto sedan and finned drums are used for better brake cooling. Rear suspension, of Hotchkiss design, uses high load capacity leaf springs and the front suspension includes a front stabilizer A78 x 13 tires mounted on five-inch-wide rims are also standard. The wagon pictured is the Pinto Squire option with wood grain siding.

Chrysler Corporation's new entry in the mini-wagon market will at first be offered in only one model, four door and in selected market areas. The Cricket, like the Pinto wagon, has 60 cubit feet of cargo space, floor mounted four-speed transmission, front disk brakes (power assist on the Cricket), and a one-piece vertical swing tailgate. The Cricket wagon's engine is the 1.5-liter twin-carburetor version available as an option in the sedan It is rated at 70 SAE net horsepower, an increase of 25 percent over the sedan's standard engine. Suspension is by coil springs on all four corners, the steering is rack and pinion, and 5.60 x 13 bias ply blackwall tires are standard.

Optional equipment available on the Cricket wagon includes: automatic transmission, AM radio, white sidewall tires, luggage rack, vinyl side body moldings for parking lot protection, and an air conditioning system integrated into the dashboard rather than hung below it.

Both the Pinto and Cricket wagons are stepping directly into one of the industry's hottest sales areas; an area dominated by the imports until now. Since many people are now buying trucks to do the job wagons used to do before they got sleek, it will be interesting to see whether these new generation wagons are sold for economical driving or light hauling.