By Michael Petti Note: This feature is in the Oct. TT&C 2013 issue.
Even when Pete is sitting down he has a replica in his hand. In this case it is a First Gear Mack Model L pumper.
The Peterbilt custom that was built by Jim Powers of Extreme Toys.
It is amazing how Pete can cram so many models into a display case.
Thanks to Pete Rinaldi’s philosophy regarding his miniature replicas, “I cannot see spending money on them, if you can’t show them off,” readers get to see his impressive miniature fire engine collection. Pete went on to say, “All of my trucks are displayed in glass showcases, except for the 1:32 scale models.” The shelves are also made of glass and the back walls of the curio cabinets are mirrored. The result is an eye-catching view of every side to a miniature. The wall-to-wall accumulation adds a dramatic presence to the family room. When asked about the approximate number of models, Pete replied, “935 and growing.” He began amassing them in the late ’50s when he was a child. “I started with Matchbox and still have all of them.” Pete began his tour by pointing out the FDNY Mack Super Pumper System. This set of the Big Apple Macks was purchased at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home, Boonton, N.J., Show. Pete mentioned that he saw the actual trucks when they were in service back in the 1970s. Then Pete went over to a cabinet that had wooden fire trucks on the top shelf. He explained that these models came from a catalog during the 1980s. Underneath the wooden fire trucks were four shelves that house a variety of Jim Beam collectible fire equipment. These items were bought at various liquor stores in the ’70s. Amidst Pete’s vast collection he displays Mack replicas. One is a Mack Aerialscope remote control that was acquired at the Fireman’s Convention in the mid-1980s, an E-One tanker and an E-One ladder tower. Pete said that the toy manufacturer Nylint made both E-One Macks. Pete purchased a Ford pickup, Chevrolet chemical wagon, Ahrens-Fox pumper and a 70th Anniversary Seagrave pumper, all at truck shows.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the Oct. TT&C 2013 magazine! Download here: OCTOBER TT&C 2013