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Legendary importer Mel Pinto dies at 97

Published April 1, 2021

ARLINGTON, Va. (BRAIN) — Mel Pinto, for years one of the best-known importers in the U.S. industry, passed away March 28 at his home. He was 97.

Pinto was born in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1923.

He married Barbara Hartling on Dec. 3, 1964. They had been married 57 years when Pinto passed away.

Mel Pinto Imports was one of the first to introduce European race bikes, including Gitane, to the American market.

He also was a founding member of the Federation of Washington Area Bicycle Clubs and revived the National Capital Open race on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., sponsoring the race for 25 years.

On his retirement, Pinto sold his business to Wayne Bingham, who continues to operate it from Purcellville, Virginia.

Pinto is survived by his wife Barbara, daughter Nadine and son Dirk. Funeral services were held Wednesday.  


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