Page 1



VOL. 14





FEATURES 16 | Travails and Triumphs The Tale of the Triumph TR


34 | Tuned In Jada Throttles Up Its JDM Tuner Series

22 | The Shape of a Future That Never Came to Be Best of Show Triumph TR7 Drophead Coupé

46 | F1 Car Collection

26 | This ’80s Icon Still Rocks

A Scale Retrospective of Grand Prix Luminaries

Sun Star 1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

58 | Diecast Hall of Fame

30 | Mad Aussie Muscle Taken to the Max

Class of 2017

AUTOart Ford Falcon XB “Interceptor”

38 | Sant’Agata’s $2 Million Birthday Present Maisto Exclusive Edition Lamborghini Centenario

42 | One-of-a-Kind Barn-Find Hemi Mopar Auto World American Muscle 1970 Plymouth Superbird

50 | Reventlow’s Revolutionary Roadster Replicarz 1959 “Nickey Nouse” Scarab Mk II

54 | Highline Series Hauler Delivers Big


Diecast Masters Caterpillar 745 Articulated Truck

60 | Long-Hauling into the Future First Gear Volvo VNL 760 with 53-Foot Trailer



64 | Hot Wheels Highway

49 | Fire Replicas Columbus Fire Sutphen SPH 100 Aerial Platform

The Collector Generation

31st Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Convention Cars!

57 | Best of Show 1961–62 Ghia 6.4L

10 | Showroom

66 | Rear View

New Releases & First Looks

Alpine Racer: The Rally-Bred A110

UP FRONT 7 | Editorial

63 | AUTOart Honda RA272 Ronnie Bucknum 1965 Mexican Grand Prix

Die Cast X (USPS 017-276; ISSN 1551-854X) is published quarterly by Air Age Inc., 88 Danbury Rd., Wilton, CT 06897 USA. Copyright 2017, all rights reserved. Periodicals Postage paid at Wilton, CT, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40008153. CONTRIBUTIONS: All materials published in Die Cast X magazine become the exclusive property of Air Age Inc., unless prior arrangement is made in writing with the Publisher. Descriptions of products were obtained from manufacturers or their press agencies and do not constitute an endorsement by the Publisher or guarantee their safety. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Go to our website: Rates one year (4 issues): U.S., $19.95; Canada, $23.95, including GST; all others, $27.95. All international orders must be prepaid in U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. EDITORIAL: Send correspondence to Editors, Die Cast X, Air Age Inc., 88 Danbury Rd., Wilton, CT 06897 USA. Email: We welcome all editorial submissions but assume no responsibility for the loss or damage of unsolicited material. To authors, photographers, and people featured in this magazine: All materials published in Die Cast X become the exclusive property of Air Age Inc. unless a prior arrangement is made in writing with the Publisher. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: To make sure you don’t miss any issues, send your new address to Die Cast X magazine, P.O. Box 420134, Palm Coast, FL 32142-8685 USA at least six weeks before you move. Please include an address label from a recent issue, or print the information exactly as shown on the label. For faster service, go to, and click on the customer service link. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Send address changes to Die Cast X magazine, P.O. Box 420134, Palm Coast, FL 32142-8685 USA.



Executive Editor Matt Boyd ›› Editorial Director/Surface Group Peter Vieira ›› Copy Editor Suzanne Noel ›› CONTRIBUTORS

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The Collector Generation


s collectors we all know what we love to collect, but have you ever stopped to think how that came to be? As I looked at this issue’s lineup, I was ruminating on which cars really spoke to me—and why. Many had no obvious similarities—in genre, brand, or even price/detail level. They’re good models to be sure, but what’s so interesting is that they’re not all based on great cars, objectively speaking. But several of them are keyed to a certain stretch of formative years in my developing passion for the automobile. I fall smack in the middle of Generation X, so I first became aware of cars in the dark days of the mid-1970s, and by the mid-’80s, my adolescent brain had locked in on them as my primary interest. As a kindergartener, I remember thinking the Triumph TR7 was one of the coolest-looking cars on the road (or at least broken down on the side of it!). As a teenager, my head would perk up when I heard some guy peel out in his IROC. And long before any grade-school teacher ever showed me Australia on a map, I already knew that was the place with the coolest police cars, and the best one was driven by a guy named Max!

OK, so that explains the Gen-X cars. The Scarab needs no such justification—it is objectively one of the finest sports racers ever built, and our dear friend Bill Bennett returns to the DCX fold to share his expertise on Replicarz’s brilliant new model of it. We take a look at Auto World’s crazy ’70 Superbird, which is a spot-on re-creation of the car that won the Barn-Find category at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals show. Maisto goes upscale in a big way with its Exclusive Edition ode to the Lamborghini founder’s 100th birthday: the jaw-dropping Centenario. And fans of 1:50 industrial vehicles get a double-dose of goodness this issue with First Gear’s gorgeous Volvo VNL 760 big rig and the Caterpillar 745 articulated dump truck from Diecast Masters. In the features category, we examine a new collection of 1:43 models from Panini spanning

more than 50 years of Formula 1 (page 46). Hot Wheels guru Mike Zarnock gives us the lowdown on the special-event cars from this year’s L.A. Hot Wheels Collectors Convention, and we salute the inductees into the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all the other model news we have to share—on these pages, online, and via social media.

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Don’t Forget to request a Free Catalog with Your PurChase!

1981 Airstream Excella 280 Turbo RV 1:43 Scale - $26.95 - New! GL86312 - (Stainless Steel w/Blue Stripes)

1981 Chevrolet Z28 Yenko Turbo Z

1:18 Scale - $59.95 - New! GL12999 - (Red)

1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z T-Top 1:18 Scale - $73.95 - New! SS1940 - (White)

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe 1:24 Scale - $13.95 - New! MA31512-BL - (Blue Metallic)

Ad Code DCX2018 $9.95 Flat-Rate SHIPPING

1951 Ford F-1 Pickup Truck 1:43 Scale - $16.95 - New! GL86514 - (Blue/Weathered)

1967 Shelby GT-500 2+2 International Scout Terra 1:18 Scale - $84.95 - New! Pickup AMM1111 - (Nightmist Blue) 1:25 Scale - $49.95 - New! FG49-0407 - (White)

1964 Winnebago Travel Trailer 216 with Awning

1:24 Scale - $19.95 - New! GL18430-B - (White/Teal/Brown)

1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Hard Top 1:18 Scale - $113.95 - New! SS5484 - (Jet Black/Mocha)

2014 Chevrolet Corvette 2018 Chevrolet Silverado Stingray Z51 LTZ Centennial Edition 1:18 Scale - $49.95 - New! MA38132-RD - (Red)

1:27 Scale - $21.95 - New! MM79353-BL - (Blue)

Dept. DCX2018, 3005 Old Lawrenceburg Rd. Frankfort, KY 40601 • Phone Orders: 800-718-1866 M-F 9am-5pm EST • Info (502) 227-8697 Mention Ad Code DCX2018 $9.95 Flat-Rate SHIPPING Don’t Forget to request a Free Catalog with Your PurChase!

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham (Nairobi Pearl) #SS4012 - $73.95 - 1:18 Scale

1973 Dodge Sportsman Van (Green Metallic/White) #NEO46942 - $89.95 - 1:43 Scale

1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z T-Top (Red) #SS1941 - $73.95 - 1:18 Scale

1964 Dodge W Power Wagon Pickup Truck (Red) #NEO46715 - $91.95 - 1:43 Scale

1963 Dodge Travco Recreational Vehicle (Brown/Beige) #NEO46308 - $124.95 - 1:43 Scale

Caterpillar D11T Track-Type Tractor Caterpillar 390F L Hydraulic Excavator Elite Series Elite Series #DM85537 - $57.95 - 1:125 Scale #DM85538 - $57.95 - 1:125 Scale

Caterpillar 797F Mining Truck Elite Series #DM85536 - $57.95 - 1:125 Scale

1993 Ford Mustang Cobra “King Snake” (Grabber Blue) #GMP18881 - $139.95 - 1:18 Scale

1993 Ford Mustang Cobra “King Snake” (Nitro Green) #GMP18888 - $139.95 - 1:18 Scale

1970 Plymouth Road Runner Street Fighter 6-Pack Attack #GMP18837 - $179.95 - 1:18 Scale

Dept. DCX2018, 3005 Old Lawrenceburg Rd. Frankfort, KY 40601 • Phone Orders: 800-718-1866 M-F 9am-5pm EST • Info (502) 227-8697


Hitting the Mark—Again! Automodello Lincoln Mark III 1:24 | $300 to $450 Automodello’s beautiful 1:24 Lincoln Mark III series was so successful that all the original releases sold out. With demand still high, the company has decided to release a second group in all-new model/color combinations. There will be three brandnew Mark IIIs released in three different levels of exclusivity. The Standard Edition (shown) is a 1970 model in Bright Aqua Metallic in a build of 150 units—price, $300. In addition, there will be a 1971 Platinum Edition in highly appealing Triple White to celebrate Lincoln’s 100th anniversary, limited to 100 units— $395. Finally, there is a black 1970 model with a tan interior as part of the ultra-exclusive Homage Edition. Just 24 of those will be built, with the price set at $450. Automodello is taking preorders now. Automodello

Ascari’s Flamboyant F1 Finale CMC Lancia D50 1:18 | $522 The progressive Lancia D50 was an utter sensation when it debuted at the Spanish Grand Prix, the final race of the 1954 Formula 1 season—all the more so because two-time champion Alberto Ascari, widely considered the greatest driver of the day, promptly put it on pole and set the fastest lap in its first outing before retiring with clutch failure. Ascari would return for the first two races of 1955 in the D50—his final appearance culminating in one of the most memorable events in F1 history. At the season’s most prestigious event—Monaco—Ascari was leading when he missed the chicane and went barreling into the harbor, disappearing under the water! Ascari would swim to safety but would die just four days later in a Ferrari testing crash at Monza at the corner that now bears his name. Lancia subsequently sold its F1 interests to Ferrari and departed the sport, making the D50 the F1 finale for both Ascari and Lancia. This exquisite CMC replica captures many of the car’s forward-thinking features. Most notable are the striking twin pannier fuel tanks that are completely separate from the body of the car. Just as interesting is the 2.5L V-8 that is set 12 degrees off-center, allowing the driveshaft to sit beside the driver to make the car lower. CMC Classic Model Cars


Hyper-Detailed Large-Scale Kits Italeri Fiat 806 GP and 500F 1:12 | $150 (500F); $180 (806 GP) In 1927, Fiat established the formula for Grand Prix race cars for many years to follow with the 806. The sleek and low-slung racer was powered by a 12-cylinder engine making more than 180hp—enough to push the car to 150mph. Italeri pushes the limits of kit detail with its 1:12 scale model: more than 300 parts include photo-etched metal parts, metal springs, copper wire, PVC hoses, and even leather for the interior! Metal suspension and steering pieces allow functional steering, while an exceptionally detailed engine can be viewed under a hinged bonnet. Many of those same kit highlights are adapted to a street car in the form of the 1968 Fiat 500F, the original of which has inspired the current revival model. The kit showcases a detailed interior and engine with opening doors, boot, engine cover, and even a functional convertible top. Both kits are for experienced modelers, but they rival many 1:12 assembled diecast models for detail at a considerably lower price—and with the added fun of assembling them yourself. Italeri (; distributed by

High Line Wheel Loader Diecast Masters Caterpillar 980M 1:50 | $86

The Exotic Car Personified Kyosho Ousia Lamborghini Countach LP400 1:18 | $130 When the Countach exploded onto the scene in 1974, no one had seen anything like it. Impossibly low and ridiculously wide, its wedge shape was aggressive and futuristic and announced to all that it meant to be the meanest, fastest, most outrageous supercar ever built! It drew attention like nothing before—or since—and remains to this day the most photographed car of all time. It has been modeled a number of times before, by Kyosho and others. The latest release is part of Kyosho’s Ousia series and depicts the first production Countach: the LP400, produced from 1974 to 1977. The Ousia series consists of sealed models without opening panels, but unlike many curbside replicas, these feature cast-metal bodies, so their heft and finish are the match for more expensive pieces. This Giallo Fly (yellow) car with silver Campagnolo 14-inch wheels is due out just after the first of the year, so check with your favorite Kyosho dealer for availability. Kyosho

Just in time for the holidays, Diecast Masters has added yet another beautiful piece to his High Line Series of 1:50 Caterpillar construction equipment. The 980M Wheel Loader comes equipped with a rock bucket that rises on hinges with simulated hydraulic pistons, and pivots realistically to dump the bucket. The center pivot articulates, providing accurate steering, and it features a cab with a detailed interior and a driver figure. There are proper steps and railings around the body and a set of tires with authentic tread. Like all High Line Series models, it comes in a metal box decorated with screen-printed photos and specifications of the full-scale vehicle at work. The 980M would make a fine complement to the CAT 745 Articulated Hauler that we review on page 54. Diecast Masters (; distributed by and SPRING 2018 11


Matched Pairs with Detail to Spare Fire Replicas Chicago Fire Department Rosenbauer Squad Sets 1:50 | $529 (per set of 2) Fire Replicas is doing something different with its latest Chicago Fire Department releases. It has designed its Rosenbauer Commander ACP-55 and Custom Rescue models specifically as sets, which are being sold together. Each set is decorated in one of four CFD Companies—Squad 1, Squad 2, Squad 5, or Squad 7. The first three are painted red and are being released in quantities of 100 sets each. Squad 7 is a noticeably different color, and it is being released in a 200-set run. Each truck in the set is comprised of more than 400 pieces, using Fire Replicas’ signature mix of resin, stainless steel, etched metal, rubber, and other materials to produce exceptional realism at 1:50 scale. The Rosenbauer CFD sets will be released in late December, and each truck will come on a presentation base with a stainless-steel nameplate listing the truck name, department, and featuring the CFD seal, and includes an acrylic display cover. Fire Replicas

An 18-Wheel Salute First Gear Mack Anthem 1:64 | $39 (tractor); $83 (with trailer) The Mack brand of big rigs is steeped in tradition, but in September 2017, the company broke with tradition and introduced the Anthem—a futuristic design that emphasizes efficiency and performance while maintaining the unique Mack character, right down to the bulldog hood ornament. First Gear’s highly detailed 1:64 diecast version replicates the standup sleeper configuration, and an opening hood reveals a burly 13L MP8 turbodiesel built in-house by Mack and backed by the company’s innovative mDrive HD automated manual transmission. The finish and surface detailing is a cut above the usual for 1:64 scale, and it can be had as a stand-alone tractor to go with your existing 1:64 trailers, or with a 53-foot box trailer. First Gear

Majorette Returns to the U.S. Market! 1:64 | $3.50 ea. For the first time since 1999, Majorette is coming back to the U.S. market with three sets of vehicles available Exclusively from Toys “R” Us stores. With 18 cars released in Series 1, they are divided into groups of six vehicles each: Limited Edition, Racing Cars, and Premium Cars. Each is packaged with a small folded poster showing the group of six it belongs to. “Limited Edition” refers not to availability but rather the paint, because the six in that group all arrive with a matte finish. Series 2 Limiteds (which should be on shelves by the time you read this) will come in chrome paint. The cars in the Racing Cars Series are brightly decorated in racing tampos; some have opening doors and chrome wheels. The Premium vehicles all have moving parts (like doors, hoods, or roofs), and the paint ranges from a matte finish to semigloss or gloss enamel. Rumor has it that there was only a single Premium Series white Nissan GT-R packed into every master case of 36, so make sure you don’t pass one of those up!


Unlimited and Unstoppable Maisto Off-Road Kings 2015 Jeep Wrangler JK 4-Door 1:24 | $30 In the last issue, we gave you a sneak peek at the F-150 Raptor from the Off-Road Kings series, but if anything, this Wrangler Unlimited looks even more aggressive and capable, and certainly the JK-platform Jeeps have developed a reputation for being nearly unstoppable off-road. The doors and hardtop have been jettisoned in favor of skeletal door frames with mesh inserts, and the roof sports a serious-looking roof rack with twin LED light bars on the front, matching a third mounted above the winch on the prominent brush guard. It rolls on big tires (they look to be at least 37s) on simulated bead-locks, and the suspension has been significantly raised to clear them. This Jeep looks the part of an off-road king and should please collectors of all ages. Maisto

Superb Short-Wheelbase Sedan Neo Deluxe 1933 Stutz SV-16 1:43 | $140 Once a major competitor of Cadillac and Packard, the underfunded Stutz company was hit much harder by the Great Depression. Cadillac announced a new V-16 engine and Packard had a V-12, but Stutz couldn’t afford a new engine, so Chief Engineer Charlie Greuter designed two new Overhead Cam heads for the Vertical Eight, a single cam, two-valve-per-cylinder (SV-16), and a more powerful twin-cam four-valve (DV-32) head. By 1933, both were available in the short- and long-wheelbase chassis with either factory bodies (by LeBaron) or coach-built bodies of the buyer’s choice. While previous models have been of the LWB DV-32, Neo has released this really gorgeous model of the SV-16 on the shorter chassis with a factory LeBaron Six-Passenger Sedan body. It’s black and Pigeon Blood paint is as good as you’ll see, with razor-sharp separation lines and thin pinstripes. All trim is reproduced to scale with either separate chrome-plated parts or printed chrome. The photo-etched double-row wire wheels are very realistic too.—Wayne Moyer Neo; distributed by

Johnny Lightning Silver Screen Ghostbusters and Christine Two-Car Diorama Sets 1:64 | $18 (per set) With its Silver Screen Dioramas, Johnny Lightning captures not just the look of the cars but of entire scenes from two iconic ’80s films. The Christine scene, entitled “Repperton’s Reckoning,” depicts the demise of Buddy Repperton’s ’67 Camaro at the Mobico service station where the sinister red ’58 Plymouth Fury crushes it (along with members of Buddy’s crew). The scene is staged with the Plymouth and the Camaro just before impact, as the figure of Buddy looks on in fury himself. The Ghostbusters set is actually the climactic scene from the sequel; entitled “Vigo’s Fortress of Slime,” it features the Ecto 1 Cadillac, the four heroes—Egon, Ray, Venkman, and Winston—and a classic NYPD Dodge Monaco poised in front of a backdrop from the film where the boys are in danger of crossing the streams. Both sets are a lot of fun and add something extra to cars that are appealing in their own right. Johnny Lightning; distributed by

SPRING 2018 13


Subie’s Unobtainable STi

Wood-Bodied Patrol Car

Sun Star 2015 Subaru WRX S207 NBR Challenge Package

Brooklin 1948 “Chicago Police” Ford Station Wagon

1:18 | $90 (est.)

1:43 | $157

The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but man does the S207 roll through corners! The latest in a line of special WRX models released exclusively to the Japanese market, the S207 is treated to an extra 20hp, plus special Bilstein front suspension, faster ratio steering, and bigger Brembo brakes. Just 400 were made, and only half could be ordered with the even-more-exclusive NBR Challenge Package. Named to commemorate Subaru’s class win at the 2015 Nürburgring 24 Hour race, it featured a carbon-fiber rear wing and special badging. Sun Star is releasing the S207 NBR in two colors: Sunrise Yellow and the Subaru staple WR Blue Pearl. It has the special wing and front lip, and the blacked-out wheels show the brake discs behind them. Since the S207 is JDM only, it is right-hand-drive, of course, and the front two doors open, along with the hood. The models are limited editions as well—just 3888 will be made of this new casting. Sun Star

With postwar demand for new cars exceeding production capabilities, the 1946–48 Ford Super Deluxe wood-bodied Station Wagons were virtually identical. So Brooklin could have created this new International Police Vehicle model (IPV-45) by simply changing the paint and adding the siren/flasher, spotlight, and decals to their BRK-83 1947 model. But they’ve gone a lot further. The speed lines on the fenders are now separate chromed pieces, the new ’48 bumper has the optional “wingtip” extensions. There’s a hefty set of push bars on the front bumper too. Its glossy black paint is among Brooklin’s best, and the wood-tone framing and dark wood-grain panels are both accurate and realistic. Only the shortened beltline molding and windshield frame are painted over with the body color—everything else is plated. As usual for Brooklin, the dash has crisp, accurate relief detail with nothing picked out. Brooklin has three rows of seats, but the wagons were used as mobile crime labs, so they only had front seats; equipment filled the rear.—Wayne Moyer Brooklin; distributed by

Small-Displacement Heroes Hasegawa Toyota 2000GT and BMW 2002 Turbo

1:24 | $55 (BMW); $65 (Toyota)

While we tend to think of the late ’60s and early ’70s as the era of big-displacement American muscle, there were many impressive performance cars being produced in Europe and Japan at the time. BMW was coming into its own on the strength of vehicles like the precursor to the M-series, the 2002 performance sedan. The hottest 2002 was the limited-edition ’73 2002 Turbo, featuring special wheels, wild graphics, fender flares, an aggressive air dam and deck spoiler, and a torquey turbocharged 2.0L inline-4, good for 170hp in a car weighing just 2,300 pounds. Radical as the 2002 Turbo was, Toyota 2000GT was utterly revolutionary. A collaboration between Toyota and Yamaha, it is widely considered Japan’s first supercar; its exotic styling and rarity (about 350 examples were built) make it highly collectible. Hasegawa is bringing both to the 1:24 world in highly detailed kit form, allowing those with intermediate modeling skills to enjoy two of the most memorable performance cars of the era. Hasegawa (; distributed by

Tunnel-Port Fiasco Acme 1968 Ford Mustang “Dan Gurney” Trans-Am 1:18 | $75 Although Shelby was a major part of Ford’s 1967 Trans-Am Championship, most of Ford’s factory backing went to the Bud Moore team in 1968; Shelby-American got only enough to run a single car. Worse, Ford insisted that they use the new “tunnel port” engine without any modifications. The tunnel-port was a disaster, rarely finishing a race. Dan Gurney was able to drive only two races for Shelby, retiring with engine failure in both. Acme’s latest 1:18 Mustang has the overall shape and color of Gurney’s car right, but photos show the car with fender flares and trunk-mounted quick-fill cap, which the model doesn’t have. The smooth, glossy paint and race graphics are dead on; note the “pony tail” forming the base of the “2.” Everything opens, and the 302 is nicely detailed. Doors pivot open to show the required stock dash, door panels, and wind-up windows. Everything else has been removed, and the racing seat, fabric belts with photo-etched hardware, and big dash-mounted tach are all as they should be.—Wayne Moyer Acme 14

Prettied-up Plymouth WhiteBox 1959 Plymouth Savoy 4-Door Sedan 1:43 | $25 Since 1959 was the third year for the basic Plymouth body, Chrysler did a major facelift to increase sales. Up front, the fenders got a “double-barreled” dip to match the lines of the quad headlights; a new split egg-crate grille; and a new, cleaner bumper. Rear fenders now had larger, sweeping, chrome-tipped fins with a slight outboard cant and taillights were moved from the fins to below them, while a new deck-lid sloped downward to meet them. WhiteBox has released this bargain-priced model of the best-selling 4-door Savoy. The overall shape is dead on, and front-end details are all correct for 1959. The same is true for the rear, with the exception that the fins are vertical instead of canting outboard. The two-tone black/blue paint is very good for the price, but the “Colortone” side insert is slightly too large. Bumpers, wheel covers, and door handles are chrome-plated, while all other trim is silver-printed.—Wayne Moyer WhiteBox; distributed by

Lovely Limousine Brooklin Limited 1947 Packard Super Clipper 1:43 | $165 Packard had an all-new body scheduled for 1949, so the only noticeable difference between 1947 and ’48 models was the availability of optional wide whitewalls. The top-line Packards were the Model 2151 Seven-Passenger Sedan and Model 2150 Seven-Passenger Limousine, both of which rode a 148-inch wheelbase. Bodies for both were built by Henney and had a sleeker, more elegant appearance with changes to the roofline and trim. Brooklin’s latest addition to the pre-1950 Limited Series of white-metal models is this handsome model of the Limousine. Its heavy white-metal body is correct from any angle, while the high-gloss black paint is very good. All exterior trim is done with separate plated metal parts, except for window surrounds. Even the tiny rear-deck “Packard” script is plated metal. Inside, the faux-wood dash with its chromed center section, big ivory-colored wheel, and black chauffeur’s seat are correct. The divider panel’s glass is lowered, and the folding seats below it are stowed, making the generous legroom obvious, while the deeply padded rear bench seat offered the owner a most luxurious ride.—Wayne Moyer Brooklin; distributed by

Formal Flagship Woody Premium X 1949 Dodge Coronet Station Wagon 1:43 | $50 Like almost all American automobile manufacturers, Dodge introduced its all-new postwar cars as 1949 models. Unlike the others, Dodge deliberately avoided the “longer, lower, wider” theme; instead, it advertised “Smaller on the Outside, Bigger on the Inside,” with conservative three-box styling. All lines were relabeled, with Coronet as top of the line. The most expensive Dodge, by far, was the 4-Door Station Wagon, and only 800 were built. Unlike the full-size version, this fine ’49 Coronet Wagon is a real bargain. The light green paint is excellent, the wood frame and darker insert panels are correct for 1949, and all the trim is there—right down to the scale “Dodge” on the wheel covers. Front and rear fender spears, smaller pieces, badges, and the windshield frame are printed in bright chrome that matches the plated parts. Headlights have flute lenses. Looking inside, the upholstery looks right, inner door panels are correctly done in wood colors with chrome-printed relief handles, and the dash has accurate speedometer and radio panel details.—Wayne Moyer Premium X; distributed by

Forward-Looking Concept Car Neo 1956 Buick XP-301 Centurion 1:43 | $114 The 1956 Centurion Motorama show car, designed by Chuck Jordan, was the most radical of the Buick Concept cars. Its deeply recessed radiator and all-glass top were never used on production cars, but the wide flared fins would be seen on 1959 Buicks and Chevrolets. A TV camera mounted in the rear “rocket exhaust” pod replaced rearview mirrors; that’s now a common feature too. Buick’s signature Sweepspear separated the “Electron Red” and “Bright White” colors. Inside, the steering wheel was mounted on a cantilever arm from the central console. Neo’s new release in its Concept line is this striking, accurate, and fully detailed XP-301 Centurion. Its shape is right from all aspects, and the high-gloss paint rates highly. Larger trim pieces are plated; the Sweepspear and fender louvers are printed in bright chrome; while the wipers, badges, and tiny (0.2-inch-long) legible Centurion scripts are photo-etched. Interior upholstery is accurate, and Neo has the cantilevered wheel, dash-mounted TV screen, and extended center pod with the speedometer correct too.—Wayne Moyer Neo; distributed by

SPRING 2018 15

Travails and


The Tale of the Triumph TR BY MATT BOYD


he origins of Triumph’s TR series can be traced to Sir John Black, managing director of Standard Motor Company, and his admiration of the elegant prewar Jaguar SS roadsters. In 1944, Black spearheaded the acquisition of the remnants of the bankrupted Triumph Motor Company, and he envisioned the new subsidiary as the means of producing an in-house Jaguar competitor.

Triumph’s first postwar Roadster looked old-fashioned and didn’t really connect with buyers. Brooklin’s replica of the 1949 2000 Roadster is a nice rendition of the upgraded final-year model.

The first Triumph developed under Black’s leadership was the 1946 1800 Roadster, but its traditional design fell short of the Jaguar benchmark. The deficit was brought into even sharper relief in 1948, when Jaguar debuted its stunning, modern XK120 at the Earls Court Motor Show in London. The Triumph received a bigger motor that year (becoming the 2000 Roadster), but it made little difference; the Jag had

made it instantly obsolete, and customer demand evaporated. It was discontinued in 1949 after barely 2,500 had been produced. Meanwhile, the XK120 was taking the sports car world by storm. Black’s envy of Jaguar was palpable, and he was determined to develop a car to challenge it. He instructed the engineers to start over and design a roadster for the future. In 1950, Triumph unveiled its prototype (now known as the TRX) at the Paris Motor Show. Nicknamed “Bullet” for its futuristic streamlined shape, the new Roadster used Standard’s saloon chassis and running gear, and featured an array of high-tech appointments more befitting a personal luxury car than a sporting machine. They proved too complicated and expensive for production, though, so engineers went back to the drawing board once again. Triumph’s third swipe at a proper sporting roadster yielded the 20TS prototype, which debuted at Earls Court in 1952. The 20TS (which is now unofficially thought of as the TR1) also borrowed liberally from existing parts bins, but it was 2 feet shorter than the TRX and more than 800 pounds lighter—powered by the same 75hp 4-cylinder engine originally designed for a Ferguson tractor! It featured an aluminum body with envelope styling but was slightly more traditional in shape than the TRX—not coincidentally more along the lines of the XK120. But it was still a long way from a legitimate Jaguar challenger. After test driving the 20TS, BRM Formula 1 Team engineer Ken Richardson reportedly proclaimed it “the most bloody awful car I’ve ever driven!” But rather than take insult, Black hired Richardson to fix it. The result was the TR2—and Triumph’s first genuine sports car contender.

The TRX show car debuted in Paris in 1950. More luxury car than sports roadster, it was deemed too complicated and expensive to put into production.


TR3A SPECS Engine: 1996cc OHV Inline-4, 100hp (standard); 2138cc OHV Inline-4, 105hp (optional from 1959) Weight: 2,090 pounds Base price: $2,675 TR3A production total (approx.): 58,236

TR3A—1957–61; TR3B—1962; TR3S—1957–62


Travails and Triumphs

1957 brought significant changes to the TR3 inside and out—so many that it subsequently became known by a separate designation: TR3A. The most recognizable change was the full-width grille to accommodate the larger radiator. Extra cooling was needed for the 2.1L, 105hp engine, which became an option in 1959. The B variant went on sale in 1962, concurrent to the introduction of the TR4. With a combined production of nearly 75,000 cars among all TR3 variants, it stands as Triumph’s third bestselling model.

Diecast: Eligor and Spark make TR4s in 1:43, but perhaps the most interesting is Corgi’s Surrey Top version (shown). In 1:18, both Jada and Revell have done replicas.

TR4—1961–65 TR4 SPECS Engine: 2138cc OHV Inline-4, 105hp Weight: 2,185 pounds Base price: $2,675 TR4 production total (approx.): 40,253


Universally lauded for its modern Giovanni Michelotti design, the TR4 was a huge departure from its predecessor, featuring a square profile with full doors, replacing roll-up windows for the side curtains of the previous models. But aside from a wider track, the TR4 chassis was largely unchanged from the TR3A’s. For the first time, a TR offered a second body style: a fixed glass backlight with a removable hardtop—Targa-style—well before Porsche coined the term; it’s often referred to by the nickname “Surrey Top.” Power came from the 2.1L TR3A engine, and although the TR4 was heavier by about 100 pounds, the slick body yielded a higher top speed—around 110mph. Famed road racer Bob Tullius enjoyed considerable racing success in the TR4, including three consecutive SCCA National Championships in 1962–64. Not bad for a tractor motor!


Diecast: Spark and Universal Hobbies have several A and S models in 1:43, while Kyosho’s (shown here) is the star in 1:18.

TR4A— 1965–67

While the TR4 represented an allnew shape with largely unchanged mechanicals, the TR4A was just the opposite. Visually, it was nearly indistinguishable except for minor changes to the grille and bumpers, but underneath, it had a significantly revised chassis to accommodate replacing the live axle with a semitrailing arm/coil-spring independent rear suspension. The car gained a half inch of track width and another 100 pounds, but the ride was much improved, with no deterioration in handling. Under the hood, cylinder-head modifications raised power and torque by roughly 10 percent to offset the increased weight, but a switch to net horsepower ratings meant that it was officially rated at 1hp less on paper. Oddly, U.S. distributors—concerned about the expense of the IRS model in England (about $2,800 in adjusted dollars)—requested a TR4A with the live-axle retrofit for the American market, which dropped the base price to less than $2,500 in the United States.

TR4A SPECS Engine: 2138cc OHV Inline-4, 104hp (net) Weight: 2,275 pounds Base price: $2,800 (UK); $2,500 (U.S.— with solid rear axle) TR4A production total (approx.): 28,684

Diecast: Dinky and Spark have both produced TR4As in 1:43.


TR5/TR250— 1967–68

The lack of visual changes during the evolution of TR4A to TR5 hid another big mechanical change—this time under the “bonnet”! For the first time, the TR now carried Triumph’s brawny fuel-injected 2.5L Inline-6, good for 150hp—unless, of course, you lived in the United States, where the Lucas mechanical fuel-injection system was ditched in favor of carbs, dropping output to 111hp and changing the name to TR250. Full-powered models could hit 120mph!

TR5/TR250 SPECS Engine: 2498cc OHV Inline-6, 150hp (UK, fuelinjected); 111hp (U.S., carbureted) Weight: 2,270 pounds Base price: $3,000 (TR5, UK); $3,175 (TR250, U.S.) Production totals (approx.): 2,947 (TR5); 8,484 (TR250)

Diecast: Models of the TR5 are relatively rare, although Norev and Spark did it in 1:43 and Cult makes this nice one shown in 1:18. Oddly, TR250 diecasts are essentially unheard of, despite being more common in full scale.

SPRING 2018 19

Travails and Triumphs


The longest production run and second best-selling TR, the TR6 was an evolution of the Michelotti TR4/ TR5 design but with taller, squarer fasciae influenced by Karmann. The chassis and powertrain were carried over from the TR5/TR250, with the fuel-injected 150hp straight-6 in Britain and international markets and the carbureted version of the 2.5L straight-6 for the United States. For many, this is the quintessential classic TR, defined by the blocky profile and tall 15-inch steel wheels (although wire wheels were optional). Diecast: Numerous companies have rendered the TR6 in diecast—from Hot Wheels dollar cars up to 1:43 versions from Minichamps, Norev, Schuco, and numerous others to nicely detailed 1:18 resin pieces like the new LS Models TR6 (shown).

TR6 SPECS Engine: 2498cc OHV Inline-6, 150hp (UK, fuel-injected); 111hp (U.S., carbureted) Weight: 2,390 pounds Base price: $3,275 (1968); $5,295 (1976) Production totals (approx.): 91,850


TR7 SPECS Engine: 1998cc SOHC Inline-4, 105hp (UK); 92hp (U.S.) Weight: 2,205 pounds (Coupé) Base price: $5,100 Production totals (approx.): 141,232 (112,368 Coupés and 28,864 DHCs)


The first new TR to emerge after Triumph became part of British Leyland, the wedge-shaped TR7 was a radical departure from the TRs that had come before. Gone was any trace of the Michelotti-penned roadster bodywork that had been the face of the TR since 1961. In fact, no topless version was even offered when the TR7 was introduced—a decision that horrified purists! Gone too was the sweet Inline-6, replaced by an overhead cam 2.0L 4-cylinder, which, in U.S.-spec, made just 92hp. The TR7 initially sold well despite its lackluster power, thanks in part due to a low price, nimble handling, and those striking looks, but a sluggish British economy and subpar build quality eventually slowed demand. The TR7 got a temporary boost when a British government bailout resuscitated the longed-for roadster version— officially called the Drophead Coupé (DHC). British Leyland’s dire financial situation finally halted production in 1981 but not before the TR7 became the best-selling TR ever. Diecast: TR7s are also fairly prolific in scale, with Dinky, Corgi, and Majorette all producing 1:64 versions. IXO, Dinky, and Trofeu do interesting 1:43 examples, while Ottomobile and Cult/Matrix make it in 1:18—now joined by the BoS version of the Drophead we review on page 22.


TR8 SPECS Engine: 3528cc OHV V-8, 135hp; 145hp (fuel-injected) Weight: 2,650 pounds Base price: $11,000 Production totals (approx.): 2,746 (729 fuel-injected)


TR8—1979–81 There was one final TR squeezed out of the door before British Leyland shuttered the Triumph factory. If it had wanted to be consistent with its own nomenclature, the TR8 should probably have been called the TR7A, as it was essentially a TR7 with a powertrain upgrade. And what an upgrade! Borrowing the 3.5L all-aluminum Rover V-8, the TR8 was destined primarily for the North American market, where the anemic 4-cylinder suffered most. Rated initially at 135hp (a 40 percent increase), the V-8 was later bumped to 145hp with the introduction of fuel injection—making it more powerful than that year’s 5.0L Mustang! The TR8 was introduced at about the same time as the Drophead, and all but about 400 of the 2,746 TR8s were convertibles.

Triumph’s TR series got off to a bit of a slow start, and it never quite became what its advocate—Sir John Black—originally envisioned: a Jaguar rival. Rather, it grew into something more original, carving for itself a niche that blended British sports car class, solid reliability, excellent performance (with a racing history to prove it!), and affordability. It slotted in nicely above entry-level brands like MG and Morgan, offering more modern styling and better performance, but it was more affordable than Austin-Healey, Jaguar, or Aston Martin. TRs have aged exceptionally well, having become collectible classics that are still accessible enough to be driven regularly by enthusiasts. And while some may question the TR7’s place among its forbearers, in truth, it acquitted itself rather well given the grim automotive era into which it was thrust. And certainly the rare and extraordinary TR8 has gained the respect of collectors in the decades since. Triumph enjoys surprisingly robust representation in scale, too. The nuances of individual models are probably lost on some collectors, but the deeper you look, the more variety you find, and new versions continue to emerge in the major scales. Some of the brands are more obscure than others, but that just makes the hunt more exciting! ✇


The difference is in the details!

R18901 . . $269.99

R18007 . . . $249.99

Coming Soon! R18006 . . . $249.99

Coming Soon! R18020 . . . $189.99

1959 Scarab MKII, Meadowdale Winner, Jim Jeffords

1980 Chaparral 2K, Winner Indianapolis 500, Johnny Rutherford

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1970 PJ Colt, Winner Indianapolis 500, Al Unser Sr.

1985 March 85C, Winner Indianapolis 500, Danny Sullivan

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Best of Show Triumph TR7 Drophead Coupé The Shape of a Future That Never Came to Be It was touted as “The Shape of Things to Come.” Fresh from the 1968 merger of Triumph’s parent company Leyland Motors (which had acquired Triumph in 1960) with British Motor Holdings (parent of Jaguar and Austin-Healey, among others), the design team at Triumph had a tall order. They were tasked with replacing the beloved TR6, which was, to date, the most successful of all the TRs. But times were changing.

BoS gets the TR7 contours just right, and the Cashmere Gold exudes class.

AT A G L A N C E MODEL Triumph TR7 Drophead Coupé MANUFACTURER Best of Show GENRE British sports car SCALE 1:18 PRICE $120

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W H AT W E L I K E The Drophead is the classiest TR7 The Cashmere Gold paint is gorgeous The 8-slot alloy Road Wheels are spot-on

The TR6 had become a sales leader thanks, in large part, to the export market, and economic conditions in Britain dictated that its successor would have to be even more reliant of foreign sales— particularly the United States. But the British pound had been strengthening steadily versus the U.S. dollar, making British imports

increasingly expensive; the TR6’s sticker price had jumped more than 60 percent during its nine years in production! Following the merger, it was decided that sibling Jaguar would command the upscale sports car market. Triumph was to move down-

THIS MODEL APPEARS TO BE CASHMERE GOLD METALLIC, WHICH WOULD MAKE THIS CAR FROM ’81. THE PAINT ITSELF IS BEAUTIFULLY APPLIED, WITH NO POOLING EVEN IN THE FINELY MOLDED HOOD VENTS. market so that it could be built and sold more affordably than the outgoing TR6. It was decided that the forthcoming TR7 should be a clean-sheet design; engineers quite literally created a wedge to separate it from TRs of the past. To say that the difference was “dramatic” would be an understatement. And the

response was predictably mixed. Triumph purists bemoaned the loss of the classic roadster lines; the new wedge-shaped TR initially did not even offer a droptop model! It rode on a stubby 85-inch wheelbase—3 inches shorter than the TR6 and just 2 inches longer than the baby Triumph Spitfire. Pronounced overhangs front and rear meant that it was longer overall than theTR6. And it was wide—nearly 6 inches wider than the TR6.

It was also light; at about 2,200 pounds (thanks to its new monocoque-style chassis), it undercut the last TR6s by nearly 300 pounds. That was particularly important given the powertrain. The short, steeply raked hood would never accommodate the TR6’s inline-6, but that motor was never really in consideration anyway given that it was expensive, difficult to certify for emissions, and relatively thirsty—which was problematic given the oil crisis of the early 1970s. Developing a new engine was not in the budget, so engineers looked elsewhere within the Triumph stable for a more compact and affordable powerplant. The 2.0L inline-4 from the Triumph Dolomite was chosen, in part because it slanted the block at a 45-degree angle, reducing the engine’s height—very helpful given the TR7’s sloping-hood profile. Tuned for U.S. emissions, it made just 92hp (European models made 105hp). It was backed by an optional slickshifting 5-speed manual (pretty advanced stuff for 1975) as well as an optional 3-speed automatic—a first for a TR. Many buyers flocked to the futuristic wedge shape, and with a base price of just over $5,000, it offered a lot of sporty value despite its lackluster power. But nagging quality issues plagued the TR7—stemming not from a deficient design so much as persistent labor issues. In the mid’70s, Britain’s economy was more SPRING 2018 23



TR7, not because of it. The rocky British economy in the 1970s may have inspired some great music, but it wasn’t good for labor/ management relations at big auto manufacturers, and deepening disputes with labor unions hit British Leyland particularly hard. The discontented workforce at the Triumph factory in Speke (outside Liverpool) was at odds with management even after the government bailout, resulting in shoddy workmanship, work slowdowns, and frequent strikes. Rumors of intentional sabotage even circulated, and Triumph’s formerly sterling reputation for reliability took a beating just as TR7 production was hitting full swing. The introduction of the DHC helped reinvigorate demand, but TR7 sales couldn’t keep the foundering company afloat by itself. British Leyland’s dire financial situation finally halted Triumph production in 1981. Still, the TR7 overcame those challenges to become the best-selling TR ever, with more than 140,000 cars sold in its seven years. The 29,000 Dropheads are the most appealing, and BoS’s model shows the best of what the TR7 was all about. Detail and stance demonstrate just how striking this car can be. All that’s left is to pair it with a TR8 Drophead; BoS doesn’t even have to change the casting— just swap decals and add a second tailpipe! ✇

The TR7 sometimes gets a bad rap being associated with the demise of the brand, but in truth, Triumph failed in spite of the

SOURCE Best of Show; distributed by

The new Triumph’s dramatic profile was predictably controversial, but the introduction of the Drophead Coupé in ’78 brought welcome balance to the design.

sluggish than the TR7’s throttle response, and in 1975, British Leyland went bankrupt, requiring the British government to partially nationalize the company to keep it afloat. The TR7 got a boost when cash from the government bailout finally paved the way for a longawaited roadster version—officially called the “Drophead Coupé”—in 1978. It sparked a sales resurgence, with just shy of 30,000 DHCs being sold in three years. It is the elegant Drophead Coupé (DHC) that Best of Show (BoS) has rendered as a curbside resin-cast replica. Proportions on this convertible are superior to the hardtop, in my estimation, and this yields a model with a handsome, well-balanced profile. Some of BoS’s marketing material lists it as a 1976 model year, but DHCs didn’t appear until late 1978. The errant date is not on the car or packaging itself, so we won’t hold it against the model. Another clue to the vintage is the “double bulge” hood—which was created in ’78 to clear the V-8

Above: The 8-slot “Road Wheels” were an option on later TR7s, and they, like the DHC itself, add sophistication. BoS does a lovely job with them. Right: The beige velour and right-hand-drive layout identify this as a British market car. The instrumentation on the dash is first-rate, and the matte finish on the seats and even the shifter boot looks realistic.


in the TR8—but the hood was phased in on TR7s at the same time. But the clincher is the color: Gold was only offered starting in 1980. In fact, three shades of Gold were used between 1980 and the last TR built in October 1981. This model appears to be Cashmere Gold Metallic—the third shade— which would make this car from ’81. The paint itself is beautifully applied, with no pooling even in the finely molded hood vents. The door handles and fuel filler are molded in as well, and the lensing on the markers and taillights are both excellent. The mirrors are separately molded and have foil “glass”; they come loose in the package and must be glued in by the owner, but the tabs are large and perfectly shaped so that they drop right in at the correct angle. For my money, resin cars are at their best as convertibles like this, where the lack of opening doors does not hamper in the slightest the enjoyment of the interior detail. This is, of course, a righthand-drive car, with upholstery

depicting the beige velour that was a common option built for the home market in Britain. The Tartan-check-pattern interior is more interesting, but that tended to be on left-hand-drive export cars, so this is probably more accurate. Instrumentation is clear and legible, and the vents and switchgear on the dash are precisely molded. The seats and shifter boot have a realistic matte finish; even the pedals down in the footwell look right. The boot and bonnet are, of course, sealed, so you can’t get a glimpse at the 2.0L slant-4 borrowed from the Dolomite coupé. There’s no chassis detail to speak of either, but the detail on the optional 14-inch alloy 8-slot “Road Wheels” is very good. The soft rubber tires have the correct sheen and texture as well but no sidewall markings.



Sun Star 1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z This ’80s Icon Still Rocks If you were a Gen-X kid growing up in the USA in 1985 and you cared anything about cars at all, chances are you were either on Team Mustang or Team Camaro. Sure, there were more exotic American cars out there. But the Corvette was a little aloof, and most of its drivers looked like middle-aged stockbrokers. The Grand National was cool, but it was far too rare for most of us to really identify with. The Ford and Chevy pony cars were accessible. And evenly matched as they are, they have always made perfect rivals. Going into 1985, Ford had bragging rights in straight-line speed thanks to the 210hp from its High Output 5.0. The Camaro guys were looking for some payback, and the brand new IROC-Z was just the weapon to do it. For 1985, Chevy had inserted the IROC-Z above the Z28 as the top-performance Camaro to celebrate its participation in the International Race of Champions series. Many fans had no idea that’s what “IROC” stood for, but it wouldn’t be long before everyone came to understand what it meant when they saw one!


MODEL 1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z MANUFACTURER Sun Star GENRE ’80s muscle car

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W H AT W E L I K E The IROC-Z was the bluecollar king of ’80s image cars Engine detail on the L69 5.0 Liter H.O. V-8 T-tops are old-school cool and give a great view of the well-appointed interior

SCALE 1:18 PRICE $80 (est.)

In its day, the IROC-Z was the peak of muscle-car cool, but these days, it can come across as a bit of a caricature. This thing couldn’t be more ’80s if it was headbanging a full mullet to a hair-metal guitar solo wearing acid-washed jeans and a pair of Air Jordans! (But then again, Vanilla Ice was famous for rollin’ in his five-point-oh, so Ford guys don’t get to laugh too hard!)

The important thing was that the IROC-Z backed up its overthe-top image with legitimate performance hardware. A set of 245-series Goodyear Gatorbacks borrowed from the Corvette, along with upgraded suspension, gave it much more grip than any Mustang, and 4-wheel disc brakes gave it better stopping power too. All that turn-and-stop stuff is great, but what we all really cared about was whether it had the guts to dust

THE COOL THING WAS THAT, UNDERNEATH ALL THE MACHISMO, IT WAS ACTUALLY AN EXCELLENT ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE CAR. off the Ford at a stoplight! It turns out that the Corvette provided the solution for that too—in the form of Tuned Port Injection for the V-8. Bolted to the IROC’s 5.0L LB9, it made 215hp (a crucial 5hp more than the Mustang) and considerably outmuscled the Mustang in the torque department too. The downside? TPI was available only with an automatic transmission. Camaro owners who wanted to row their own gears had to settle for the carbureted 190hp L69 5.0 Liter H.O. (which meant they had to wait until the first corner to catch the Mustang!). Cosmetically, the Camaro received a revised front end and louvers on the hood—and, of course, those oh-so-subtle “IROC-Z” graphics! Sun Star has done an admirable job converting its third-generation Camaro into an IROC-Z. A new hood has the larger louvered scoops, and a new front fascia has the proper deeper front air dam and fog lights. The headlight sockets are properly blacked out, and the taillights have been revised too. The door graphics

The model depicts the carbureted L69 version of the 5.0L V-8. Note the correct dual-snorkel air cleaner, which is the motor’s most identifiable feature.

are properly sized and placed; the 1985 model year located them just forward of the midline of the door. Later model years would move the

graphics to the rearward edge of the door. The triple trim stripe that highlights the lower body contour looks spot-on too, and the engine

callouts on the rocker panels are nicely rendered. Sun Star’s Camaro casting has T-tops, giving excellent access SPRING 2018 27


The T-tops are super-’80s—and give a super view of the interior!

The spoke pattern on the new-for-’85 wheels is correct, but the sidewall and tread width are more reflective of previous-year cars with narrower tires than the IROC’s 245-series Goodyears.

The interior detail is definitely a highlight. The Camaro’s low-slung gauges and prominent shelf on the dash are both captured accurately.

to the interior, which remains a high point of this model. The tone and texture of the upholstery is convincing, and the low-slung gauges are legible. Like the previous ’82 Z28 version of this casting, the ’85 IROC carries an automatic transmission—which,

Sun Star does well with the new-for-’85 fascia with its fog lights and deeper front air dam.


as mentioned, was the only way to get the 215hp TPI V-8. The rear hatch on this model is cast shut, but the large rear glass provides more-than-adequate visibility to the rear seat and cargo area—the latter of which is flocked like the floorboards. Hoisting the hood reveals a nicely appointed engine bay. Sun Star chose to outfit its IROC with the lesser L69 carbureted motor instead of the preferred TPI V-8. Specific engine choice aside, detail on the L69 is quite good; it captures the dual-snorkel air cleaner that is the engine’s most identifiable feature. Other highlights include a full set of warning and instruction labels. The only notable lapses are a missing distributor and a set of HVAC hoses that don’t quite reach the A/C compressor. But this motor is a notable improvement over the engine from the previous ’82 Z28 version of this casting. Chassis detail covers the essentials well; the distinctive torque arm/Panhard bar rear suspension is well represented, and while the coil springs are not functional, the car’s stance is pretty authentic. The exhaust system is less so. Up front, the crossover pipe goes well off course and the diameter of the whole system is too thin, but since the exhaust is individually molded, both would be relatively easy fixes. Chevy introduced a new wheel design along with the IROC—a hefty 16-inch 5-spoke alloy that was a full 8 inches wide to accommodate

those steamroller Goodyears. The model does well with the former— from the argent-painted stripe down the center of each spoke to the squarish lug pockets. But sadly, Sun Star stuck with the skinny, tall sidewall tires from the ’82 model instead of retooling for the meaty Goodyears, so the athletic look of the IROC falls a bit short where the rubber actually meets the road.

FINAL THOUGHTS In 1985, nothing epitomized streettough America more than the IROC-Z—except maybe Hulk Hogan and Mr. T winning the tag-team title at WrestleMania I. But you get the point. The IROC was badass. The cool thing was that, underneath all the machismo, it was actually an excellent all-around performance car. It was fast, it handled well, and it even has good brakes. And enough time has passed that those of us who grew up in the ’80s have a real nostalgic connection to it. Sun Star has hit upon a great combo in adapting its third-generation Camaro to depict the first-year IROC. It’s not perfect, but for the price, this model delivers quite a punch—a lot like the IROC itself did in 1985. And there’s always room for a future edition with the TPI V-8…or maybe even an L98 350! ✇ SOURCE Sun Star



AUTOart Ford Falcon XB “Interceptor” Mad Aussie Muscle Taken to the Max


It’s been nearly 10 years since AUTOart produced its original Ford Falcon XB “Interceptor” as it appeared in the opening seconds of the post-apocalyptic movie masterpiece The Road Warrior (1981), and more than five years since the upgraded version with several refinements, along with a limited-edition version with a muddy/rusty patina. Each version has been met with eager enthusiasm by collectors, even as we pined for a pre-apocalyptic version from the original 1979 Mad Max decked out the way it was when young MFP officer Max Rockatansky jumped behind the wheel for the very first time.

The gloss black over flat black two-tone paint is magnificent. It and the jacked-up fastback stance convey the perfect menace!

With this release, we finally have just that, albeit without the official film licensing this time. The reason behind that likely lies with the reboot Mad Max: Fury Road that came out in 2015, which reignited a furor over the franchise that got its start with that 1979 original. The success of Fury Road likely drove up the bidding on the vehicle licensing, and a

competing diecast company ultimately won the rights to use the movie branding, leaving AUTOart to label its model rather innocuously as a “Ford XB Falcon Tuned Version Black Interceptor.” Well, a road warrior by any other name… Licensed or no, we all know this is Max’s mad machine. So let’s see how it measures up. I’m borderline obsessed with the Pursuit Special (as it is technically named.) “Interceptor” was actually Max’s nickname/CB handle/ job description in

the original film—not a specific reference to his car—and it is stenciled on his yellow patrol car as well. The second film muddied those waters a bit, so “Interceptor” is now accepted as canon for the black Pursuit Special as well as Max himself. Based on the Australian ’73 Falcon XB GT, there was just a single example built, due to the film’s shoestring budget. It was treated to a number of cosmetic upgrades to solidify in the audience’s mind its special nature. The body-kit company of former Ford designer Peter Arcadipane supplied the aftermarket fiberglass front cap along with the rear-deck spoiler. The rear fender flares and roof spoiler were custom jobs done by the film crew as they developed the car. The model captures all these details—big and small—with impressive authenticity, right down to the hood twist locks. And then there is the special glossy black-over-satin black custom paint job, with its delicate bordering pinstripe—again, which AUTOart nails. Some may question the absence of the gold MFP shields on the front fenders, but this isn’t really a problem. Magnetic decals were used in the film, and they weren’t on the car for all the scenes. The only official omission is the “MFP” rear license plate. The movie actually reveals a fair bit about the interior, and unlike the gutted Road Warrior version, this interior is pretty stock. The doors open nice and wide on hidden hinges

to reveal a lot of nice detail. Film crews replaced the steering wheel with a Maxrob 3-spoke vintage aftermarket wheel, which the model gets right, down to the perforated metal spokes and distinctive center button. The platform extension on the dash with the blue police light is spot-on too. The center console has the appropriate metallic painted trim around the 4-speed’s shifter well, but that same treatment should border the instrument panel too if we’re being picky. Speaking of the shifter, it contains one of the car’s most talked-about features: the engagement switch for the supercharger. There is much controversy and conjecture about how such a device might work, but AT A G L A N C E MODEL 1973 Ford Falcon XB “Black Interceptor” MANUFACTURER AUTOart GENRE Movie car/custom SCALE 1:18 PRICE $190

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W H AT W E L I K E Max’s original Pursuit Special in all its first-film glory Fit and finish superior to typical star car’s Minute movie-correct details SPRING 2018 31


“Look at the blower, man!” Goose knew—the big Weiand 6-71 makes the Interceptor, and AUTOart did an outstanding job with it. The Phase IV heads and the rest of the 351 Cleveland are pretty impressive too.

Top: Gotta love the MFP-issue dashmounted blue light and the Maxrob wheel. What everyone wants to talk about, though, is that red plunger on the gear lever, which, thanks to movie magic, engages the blower on demand! Above: Like the Sunraysia wheels, the chrometipped zoomie pipes were custom van pieces adapted to Max’s mad machine— and they look fantastic here!


it actually didn’t—it was a mock-up purely for dramatic license. That switch is present on the model, and the plunger is the correct red color— even if the switch housing and the shaft of the gearshift handle should both be steel colored, not black. They even added a convincing MFP police radio in an overhead console and painted the headliner the proper color! In its introductory scene, we get a tantalizing bit of exposition from MFP grease-monkey extraordinaire Barry about the car’s mechanical configuration: “She’s the last of the V-8s. She sucks nitro. Phase IV heads. Twin overhead cams. 600 horsepower through the wheels!” Some of that is script fluff, of course. The V-8 in question would have been the Falcon GT’s Cleveland 351, so no overhead cams possible there, but the Phase IV reference is a realistic bit of Aussie Ford lore. In 1972, Ford’s racing division worked up a prototype called the Phase IV GT-HO Falcon, which had special cylinder heads that pushed its 351 V-8 to an astounding 410hp—a fitting choice indeed for Max’s Pursuit Special! To get to that magic 600hp mark requires the single most notable feature: the

big Weiand 6-71 blower! AUTOart depicts the supercharger superbly, right down to down to the flexible rubber drive belt, though it does lack the embossed “Weiand” script in the front plate (another licensing issue, perhaps?). It’s topped by a beautifully finished re-creation of the Scott mechanical fuel-injection hat! Under the hood is an excellent rendition of the 351 Cleveland. To get the blower height correct, AUTOart mounts it atop a high-rise tunnel ram intake—a nice touch. AUTOart’s precise eye for detail extends to the wheels and tires as well, starting with excellent renditions of the 8-spoke steel wheels. They’re called Sunraysias, and they were popular on Aussie panel vans in the 1970s. They’re used on several cars in the film, ranging from the custom ’59 Bel Air destroyed by Toecutter’s gang to the Falcon sedan police cruisers, painted appropriately. They’re wrapped in BFGoodrich T/A Radials, just as in the movie. A word also about the exhaust system: Just as with the Sunraysia wheels, the straight pipes, glass packs, and individual zoomies are sourced from the custom van world, and they are tipped with a set of flared chrome

trumpets that look fantastic! Some scenes have them slanted slightly rearward, while they are straight up in other scenes.

FINAL SCENE Mad Max’s Pursuit Special is absolutely a cult classic and belongs in the top 10 movie cars of all time on its own merits. But to my mind, by adding this original first-film configuration replica, AUTOart completes a model series it began a decade ago. While it may not carry any longer the official movie licensing, there is no doubt it belongs alongside the Road Warrior cars. In terms of movie accuracy, it’s every bit their equal, and it depicts the car as it was originally envisioned. It’s sure to be a favorite with collectors (with or without licensing), and I expect, as with all previous versions, that it will sell out quickly. As Max’s pal and partner Goose summed it up so colorfully, “You can shut the gate on this one, Maxie—it’s the duck’s guts!” I don’t know exactly what that means, but I trust it’s good because the model is outstanding. ✇ SOURCE AUTOart

TUNED IN Jada Throttles Up Its JDM Tuner Series THE DCX TEAM


nce upon a time “Japanese Domestic Market” (JDM) meant simply a vehicle built in Japan exclusively for its home audience. It covered micro-displacement city cars, commercial delivery vehicles, and everything in between. But the designation included a contingent of performance vehicles too—and there had always been a shroud of mystery about these unicorn vehicles; names like Skyline, AE86, EVO, and STi were spoken of in reverent whispers.

But what started as obscure terms understood only by diehards began to filter into the wider culture in the 1990s, aided by an explosion of highperformance Japanese sports cars like the NSX, RX7, and 2JZ Supra. In the early 2000s, Japanese manufacturers started to lift the embargo on the last of their JDM-only offerings. The hugely anticipated rally-bred Subaru WRX finally debuted in the United States in 2001 at almost exactly the same time as The Fast and the Furious rocketed the U.S. import tuner craze to new heights. We got Mitsubishi’s WRX fighter, the EVO, the following year, and a year after that, Subaru Tecnica International upped the ante again with the STi version. Nissan was comparatively late to the party, but when it arrived in 2008, it brought Godzilla: the R35 GT-R. With versions of nearly all of Japan’s hottest platforms now


available here, the emphasis shifted to parts, and JDM began to take on its modern connotation as a magical term implying exotic, rare, usually expensive, highly advanced, often inscrutable technology that made your car both invariably faster and infinitely more respected. Aftermarket brands like HKS, GReddy, APEXi, Mugen, Tein, and Veilside have become household (“garagehold”?) names and musthaves for JDM street cred—which brings us to Jada’s JDM Tuners series. Jada has long been a champion of the modified-car aesthetic in diecast, whether it be classic muscle with a pro-touring twist, Cali-style VW culture, lowriders, or import tuners like this JDM series. This time, it has dished up series cars in three different scales—1:64, 1:32, and 1:24— covering a wide range of classic and late-model vehicles. Let’s take a look.


(1:24; exclusive to Toys“R”Us)

In our last issue, we previewed the first four cars in the 1:24 series—the Toyota FT-1, ’16 WRX STI Widebody, and a pair of Ben Sopra–tuned R35 Nissan GT-Rs—but Jada has just released the second four. Nissan is again featured prominently, and a cool bit of the brand’s history jumps to the front of the list.

1972 Datsun 240Z With its long-nose/short deck and inline-6 power, Nissan’s original sports car was sometimes described as the Japanese Jag E-Type. Jada’s version pays tribute to the original design by keeping its contours largely unaltered. It rolls on wider, lower-profile Bridgestone Potenza rubber mounted to Minilite-inspired 8-spoke wheels, and there are modest bolt-on fender flares installed along with deeper front and rear lower valences that fair into them. The paint scheme is reminiscent of a vintage-showroom stock racer. This is definitely our favorite of the 1:24 JDM releases thus far.

2003 Nissan 350Z The Z is Nissan’s longest-running performance model, and it returned to its roots with the 5th-gen 350Z, delivering lighter weight and a naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engine like the original. The taut, beautifully sculpted lines were thoroughly modern and a great canvas for aftermarket body kit builders to work with. Jada’s wears an unbranded (but very clearly a Veilside V3) body kit, along with an APEXi exhaust and a host of other upgrades.

2001 Honda S2000 This is the one non-Nissan in this batch. Honda was one of the originators of the JDM trend, and slammed and cammed VTEC Civics with big exhausts outnumber every other import tuner combined. But the S2000 was a rarer animal: a rear-drive roadster with razor reflexes and a 4-banger that could zing past 9000rpm. To beef up the low end, GReddy offered a turbo kit for the S2000; it and a hardtop are the signature items on Jada’s version.

2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) The R34 was the last of the JDM-only Skylines and the final model to use the original twin-turbo Inline-6 engine. Fast as it was, it was a favorite for cosmetic upgrades. A Bomex body kit, Bride racing seats, and a big honkin’ rear wing are the obvious items on this one.


MIDSIZE (1:32; exclusive to Toys“R”Us) 1:32 is an unfamiliar scale to many collectors (outside the industrial- and military-model genres), but Jada has embraced it, as it provides similar practicality to the more common 1:43 scale while offering a bit more visual punch. It’s a good size for its intended retail environment (Toys“R”Us shelves), but the cars are worth a look for collectors too because their affordability makes it easy to collect them all. Many of the same cars covered in 1:24 reappear here in slightly different color schemes, but we also got a look at two that we had not seen in the larger scale.

1993 Mazda RX-7 Mazda’s flagship performance car was reinvented for 1992, offering a sequential twin-turbo system that turned the tiny 1.3L rotary engine into a 255hp powerhouse. Tuners were quick to throw more boost at it, and it became a favorite in the drift scene. Jada’s has a cool rotary graphic on the flank, and a nitrous-bottle silhouette under the rear deck.

2002 Honda NSX Type-R Japan Spec Widebody Honda’s 1990 mid-engine NSX (badged in the United States as an “Acura”) was Japan’s first modern exotic car, and a steady stream of updates culminated in the carbon-fiber-bodied 2002 Type-R. Jada’s goes a step further, with a widebody kit that includes a pronounced undertray of the type used in Super GT racing.


COMPACT (1:64; available at all retailers) The 1:64 series comprises six vehicles done in two paint schemes, each for a total of an even dozen cars. The widebody NSX-R, FT-1, and Ben Sopra R35 make another appearance, bolstered by three unique castings.

2009 Nissan GT-R Comparing this to the Ben Sopra version shows just how extensive the latter’s body mods are. This version is fairly stock, aside from a pair of aggressive paint schemes. But then again, Godzilla is pretty radical to begin with.

2002 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 7 The last EVO you couldn’t buy in American dealerships, this one is JDM through and through (even if this left-drive version is obviously a Euro model). One model carries a version of the APR Performance logo made famous on the side of the EVO in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

1995 Toyota Supra The Supra finally earned its name with the arrival of the 1993 model and its awesome 2JZ-GTE twin-turbo straight-6. Like the Z, the Supra body doesn’t need much embellishment: subtle ground effects to go with the obligatory big wing. Both schemes are attractive: polished silver or red with blacked-out hood.

FINAL THOUGHTS It wasn’t so many years ago that many automotive traditionalists were all too willing to dismiss Japanese tuner cars as merely a passing fad—complete with derogatory clichés about “punks” in their “rice burners.” Time has proven such insults laughably shortsighted. Today, the import tuner market is far and away the largest, most popular, and most lucrative segment of the automotive aftermarket industry. And those “punks” turned out to be serious enthusiasts—just like you and me—with serious machines easily capable of showing many trash-talking domestic drivers their JDM-spec taillights! Time will tell if the JDM Tuner segment grows as quickly in diecast. Jada is certainly betting it has that potential. And who’s to say? Maybe Jada will end up being the GReddy of the diecast world—they’re definitely legit JDM. So the real question is, “How JDM are you?” ✇ SOURCE Jada Toys

SPRING 2018 37



Maisto Exclusive Edition Lamborghini Centenario Sant’Agata’s $2 Million Birthday Present

Let it never be said that Lamborghini doesn’t have a sense of its history. Founded in 1963 by Ferruccio Lamborghini, the company has spent the last 54 years pushing the boundaries of the sports car world. The legendary Miura set the standard for the modern supercar, and in more recent times, a stream of ultra-exclusive limited editions have set new standards for performance, price, and ostentatiousness. But when it came time to celebrate the founder’s 100th birthday, Lamborghini needed something special. Without question, this celebratory supercar would have to be the fastest, most powerful yet— trumping the wild Veneno by 20hp (760hp total) and 10mph (230mph peak)— but rather than go bigger, louder, or flashier, Lamborghini went a different direction. It looked to its history, drawing inspiration from the extravagant yet refined Miura that Ferruccio personally oversaw, which set the tone for the company’s next half century. The appropriately named Centenario is the result. Just 40 will ever be made—20 coupés and 20 roadsters—priced at $2 million to start, offered to a select clientele by invitation only. All 40 were sold before the first was built.

The wheels are spectacular. They feature special carbon-fiber “propellers” that help dissipate the heat that the massive brakes generate.

AT A G L A N C E MODEL Lamborghini Centenario MANUFACTURER Maisto GENRE Modern supercar SCALE 1:18 PRICE $60

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W H AT W E L I K E Superb finish with a fine metallic sheen Delicate complexity to the scoops and vents Those wheels!

Below: The Centenario bears some resemblance to the Sesto Elemento and the current Huracán, but it is far more advanced—and faster!—than either. Left: This is the most extreme angle from which to view the Centenario. Maisto does a nice job with the giant aero diffuser and the active rear wing, which help produce massive downforce without the need of radical wings or dive planes.

THOSE WHEELS ALSO HAVE ODD-LOOKING CARBONFIBER “PROPELLER” BLADES SHADOWING THE SPOKES, WHICH SERVE TO PULL AIR OUT OF THE WHEEL CENTERS TO EXTRACT HEAT FROM THE JUMBO CERAMIC BRAKE DISCS—ALL DETAILS THAT MAISTO CAPTURES DELIGHTFULLY. No one would ever mistake the Centenario design for lowkey, but it is more an evolution of Lamborghini’s production cars than an over-the-top one-off. The all-carbon-fiber body has elements of the Sesto Elemento, but its dimensions place it in a larger category, in between the Aventador and Veneno. It has more complex aerodynamics than either, but it relies more on air management

through and under the body, producing downforce without the need for the enormous draginducing dive planes and wings that encrust the Veneno. The most overt hint of that can be seen in the lower rear, where there is an extensive aerodynamic diffuser. Making more than 500 pounds of downforce at speed, and with the benefits of an active rear wing that changes angle automatically to generate downforce as needed and a four-wheel-steering system to enhance cornering stability, the

Centenario is the fastest roadgoing Lamborghini ever—around a road course as well as in a straight line. And it is beautiful in a way previous specials like the Veneno were not. It’s this last item that makes it such a prime candidate for Maisto’s Exclusive Series. It’s not that a great model can’t still be made of an ugly car, but it’s so much more satisfying when the car is as pretty as the Centenario is. The sculpted body is more streamlined than other Lambos, but it’s still complex, with its copious scoops, channels, and spoilers, and Maisto shows off an attention to detail that, it must

be said, has grown by leaps and bounds from its previous, more entry-level models. The company has always punched above its weight class in terms of detail per dollar, but this Exclusive Series represents a new high for the brand, and it presents much better than its $60 price tag would suggest. The paint is delightful, with nary a hint of pooling or orange peel, and just the right amount fine metallic sparkle in direct light. Maisto has made the active rear wing extendable (the 1:18 is manual rather than automatic!), but it’s a little stiff to deploy. Maisto also builds the model in its lower-priced Special Edition Series, but this Exclusive model is so affordable, why not spring for the better option? The doors rotate up and out with satisfying heft and hold

SPRING 2018 39


Derived from the 6.5L V-12 that powers the Aventador and Veneno, the Centenario outguns them both with 760hp. Carbon-fiber-look braces and detailed intake plumbing help give the densely packed engine bay a realistic look.

The upscale nature of the Exclusive Edition can perhaps best be seen in the interior with its striking yellow highlights calling attention to careful molding and a mix of textures.

themselves firmly, but their angle makes seeing into the Centenario a bit of a challenge. Yellow highlights on the mostly black-and-carbon interior brings a welcome burst of contrasting color, and the materials and workmanship are definitely a cut above Maisto’s usual quality, with careful molding and nice detail on the instrument panel and the touchscreen infotainment screen on the center stack. About the only item that looks

6.5L V-12. There’s a lot of detail in the densely packed engine bay, with chassis bracing and intake ductwork rendered in separately molded pieces. The surrounding carbon tub has realistic coloration and texture too. Nothing much can be seen of the exhaust system, save a trio of outlet pipes inset into a panel in the rear valence. The wheels and tires are more than just striking to look at. Although lighter than most modern Lamborghinis due to the extensive use of carbon fiber, it still weighs 3,350 pounds dry, and closer to 3,800 with fuel and a driver aboard. To keep that mass stuck to the road, the Centenario employs huge staggered wheels— 20x9 inches up front and 21x13 out back—the latter wearing 355-section steamroller Pirelli Corsas specially developed for the car and recognizable by a prominent yellow stripe on the rubberband-wide 25-aspectratio sidewalls. Those wheels also have odd-looking carbon-fiber “propeller” blades shadowing the spokes, which serve to pull air out of the wheel centers to extract heat from the jumbo ceramic brake discs—all details that Maisto captures delightfully.

less than top-notch is the pedal set, which is bluntly molded and monochromatic. The front deck lid opens, but with all the complex aero ductwork and heat extractor vents in the nose, there is only the tiniest of cargo compartments. The engine cover has panels and vents in the backlight, making it look almost like scales. It rises to reveal the powerplant that is derived from the Aventador and Veneno but with advancements to squeeze an extra 20hp out of the

Air management under and through the body is the key to maximizing performance while preserving beauty. Maisto replicates the complex aerodynamics skillfully.


FINAL THOUGHTS I have always been a Lamborghini fan. I’m of the age that grew up ogling the Countach as the most spectacular supercar on the planet. The company’s more recent efforts have been a mixed bag. Production models like the Huracán look fantastic, but the limited specials have, at times, looked as if they were trying too hard. For me, the Centenario is a return to form— balancing flash and class while managing to raise the performance bar to new heights. I feel as if Ferruccio Lamborghini would have approved of his company’s birthday present. And collectors will approve of Maisto’s gift to them. I love the direction the company is going by offering its models at multitiered levels of price and sophistication while overdelivering content at each level. The Exclusive Edition really is an excellent value at $60 and will sit happily alongside other 1:18 exotics costing two, or even three, times as much. You can spot its lower-priced origins in a couple of minor places but nothing that detracts from its overall appeal. Keep up the good work, Lamborghini and Maisto! ✇ SOURCE Maisto

Scale 1:18



Auto World American Muscle 1970 Plymouth Superbird One-of-a-Kind Barn-Find Hemi Mopar

The American Muscle brand has been around a long time—more than 25 years by Auto World’s reckoning. Understandably, the company is very protective of its legacy. By comparison, the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) show has only been around since 2009, but in that short time, it has developed a reputation for imaginative themes, with rare and remarkable participants. It’s significant then, but perhaps not surprising, that Auto World would sign a licensing deal to produce cars from the MCACN shows as part of the American Muscle line. The latest and most interesting in the MCACN series is a 1970 Plymouth Superbird with a colorful racing past and an even more colorful vintage paint scheme, which was rescued after languishing in storage for nearly two decades to appear as part of the show’s Barn Finds category in 2015.

Originally a B5 Blue car, the MCACN Barn-Find Superbird got repainted in the ’70s with every custom street machine trick in the book! The vinyl top survived, as did that mondo rear wing.

THIS PLYMOUTH IS A STRANGE BIRD, TO BE SURE; IT’S GREAT THAT A CAR WITH SUCH AN ECLECTIC PAST AND A SINGULAR LOOK WAS RESCUED FROM OBLIVION AND RESTORED TO ITS FORMER GLORY. The car began as one of just 93 Superbirds delivered from the factory with a 426 Hemi. It was painted B5 Blue Fire Metallic with a black vinyl roof and came with a Torqueflite automatic transmission. From the outset. it was set up to be a drag car, and it was driven

by Tim Richards (who would later become famous as a six-time Top Fuel Championship–winning crew chief) for the Karl Gould Chrysler dealership. Richards ran a Sox & Martin–built 426 Hemi to win the Super Stock/EA class at the 1970 NHRA Summernationals. The following year, the car was sold, and it was raced for a few

more seasons by a succession of owners before being converted to a street machine in the mid1970s, receiving this wild paint scheme—including a Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote mural on the rear deck. It was then mothballed for nearly 20 years before being rescued in 2014, when new owner Mike Hill undertook a restoration and subsequently brought it to the MCACN show for the Barn Find category, where it caught the attention of Auto World’s product designers.

The American Muscle line had a 1:18 Superbird in its tooling library, so Auto World set about updating it and creating a replica of the Barn Find Superbird. Among the top priorities was getting that paint scheme correct, which was no small thing given that it employs just about every 1970s’ custom paint theme in the book! The base is sort of a metallic fuchsia, with liberal use of gold-trim stripes and scallops. There are asymmetric hood stripes with a mix of colors and pinstripe edging. There are even some metallic teardrops on the nose and—almost as AT A G L A N C E MODEL 1970 Plymouth Superbird Barn Find MANUFACTURER Auto World GENRE Muscle car SCALE 1:18 PRICE $95

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W H AT W E L I K E Barn-find theme is great fun Authentic—and very groovy!—paint scheme Super Stock stance

SPRING 2018 43


Sitting high over a set of slicks on black steel wheels, the Superbird still has a ’70s race vibe.

Above: There were just 93 factory Hemi Superbirds built, but this was one of them. Currently, it carries a nicely rendered stock motor with the factory oval air cleaner and exhaust manifolds. And check out the flame treatment on the vents over the front wheels! Below: The original interior—a white vinyl bench seat—remains, but the column-shifted Torqueflite got swapped out for a 4-speed along the way. The detail is great—Auto World has done a wonderful job updating this model with upscale interior pieces.


an afterthought—some tiny flames on the ducts over the front wheels. And then there’s that trunk mural under the giant Superbird wing. And oddly, despite all the other modifications, the factory vinyl top remains. The top is accurate to the photos of the real car, but it does need more texture. The car has been restored to its street-machine

configuration rather than as raced. It has a full interior with the originalspecification white vinyl benches front and rear, with seatbelts and a black carpeted floor. The car was delivered and raced with an automatic, equipped with a 4-speed and a tall pistol-grip from the tunnel—no console on this car. The model even sports a stock steering wheel with a horn ring (that’s the one detail that does not match the box photos of the real car), but it looks reasonable given the stock dash and other appointments. Lifting the special extended Superbird hood, we see that the Sox & Martin race motor is long gone, replaced by a factorylooking Street Hemi. It’s got a stock oval air cleaner and stock exhaust manifolds leading down to a full factory exhaust system. The engine has coolant and heater hoses and a battery with metal terminals, and the firewall has a brake booster and an ignition coil. There is a full set of plug wires that are slightly too thick, but otherwise the engine is very convincing. With the car’s racing history and the current street-machine vibe, the pure stock motor does seem a bit incongruous, but it’s accurately rendered.

The chassis plate is the old-school B-body plate that American Muscle has been using since the 1990s, but it’s fine since it has all the essentials: a separately molded torsion-bar front suspension, a big Dana rear axle on leaf springs, and a well-molded and painted exhaust system. The rolling stock up front consists of stock bias-ply rubber on a set of Keystone Classic reverse chrome wheels, while the rears are 8-inch slicks on plain black steel wheels, giving the car a definite race vibe.

FINAL THOUGHTS The MCACN show classes have a lot of interesting potential for Auto World’s muscle-car line, and none more so than the Barn Finds category. This Plymouth is a strange bird, to be sure; it’s great that a car with such an eclectic past and a singular look was rescued from oblivion and restored to its former glory. That it has now been re-created in 1:18 for collectors to share in its odd charm is even better. Auto World has done a nice job updating the American Muscle Superbird casting and an equally impressive job re-creating this specific car’s paint job. While it’s certainly not a mainstream Mopar musclecar model, for the collector that appreciates the connection to an actual, documented car, this is a great pick—especially if you also dig groovy ’70s street machines! ✇ SOURCE Auto World

Your source for

models in motion!

UPGRADE TO MUSEUM GRADE Specifically designed for the most discerning collectors, Fire Replicas are hand-crafted using hundreds of precise parts. Visit us online to see the future of fire apparatus replicas.

From the publishers of | 1.800.481.2450




1:50 | $309 (est.)

By the DCX team

The mid-mount configuration allows the truck to be shorter and thus more maneuverable in urban environments. The switchgear on the pump control panels is amazingly detailed for 1:50.

The lighting and trim on the cab and front fascia are beautifully replicated using 0.6mm stainless steel and a variety of other materials.

The diamond-plated bucket at the end of the boom has all the water hoses, monitors, and controls fully detailed.


protected inside the boxed structure of the boom itself, which is made out of strong, light, and temperature-resistant 6061-T6 aluminum. The boom can go from stowed to fully extended in less than 40 seconds, and can raise the platform 100 feet in the air. The truck’s internal pump can deliver enough water to feed the two 1,000-gallon-per-minute monitors, one on each side of the platform. All this powerful gear is visible on the model, down to the bolt patterns on the monitor nozzles and fittings on the hoses. The scale diamond plate pattern—always impressive on a Fire Replicas piece—is especially striking on the platform sides. So too the stairs in the rear superstructure, which gives quick access to the platform ground level. And that superstructure has been further decorated with detailed replications of numerous tools, ladders, and other pieces of equipment. There is great detail in the lighting and trim on the cab section up front, with lots of laser-cut metal

parts delivering the proper finish and thinness to even the finest components. But clearly the complex structure of the boom is the highlight, and it dominates the rear three-quarters of the model. Crafted largely out of 0.6mm-thick stainless steel, it is amazingly intricate; you really get to see what makes Fire Replicas stand out when you examine the boom’s multiple layers. Fire Replicas’ previous Columbus Fire release— a Sutphen Monarch—sold out in just 24 hours! There’s no reason to think that the SPH 100 Aerial Platform, which is an even more complex and interesting model, won’t be in equally high demand. Fire Replicas will start taking preorders on it December 26, so don’t wait long to secure yours. ✇

here are two extraordinary things about the truck on this page. Well, actually, there are any number of extraordinary things about Fire Replicas’ model of the Columbus Fire SPH 100 Aerial Platform, but two in particular stand out. First, that this first-ever model of the most advanced version of Sutphen’s Mid-Mount Aerial Platform also happens to be Fire Replicas’ most advanced model to date. And second, that despite the amazing detail visible in its more than 500 pieces, the model you see here is preproduction; the finished replica that will be available to just 250 lucky collectors will be even more precise! The Mid-Mount is a design that Sutphen pioneered half a century ago, and the SPH 100 is the ultimate evolution of it. The design allows the truck to be shorter and more maneuverable, making it ideal for urban environments with narrow city streets and taller buildings in tight confines. The raised platform provides nearly 20 square feet of protected workspace at the top of the boom, and all the firefighting equipment—water lines, air hoses, and all the power lines to control the gear that uses them—is

SOURCE Fire Replicas

SPRING 2018 49



Replicarz 1959 “Nickey Nouse” Scarab Mk II Reventlow’s Revolutionary Roadster

The three Reventlow Scarab roadsters were some of the most beautiful and successful purpose-built racing sports cars of their era—far more elegant than the Egyptian dung beetle they were named after! Built and raced by wealthy entrepreneur Lance Reventlow and a team of talented hot-rodders from Southern California, the front-engined roadsters dominated U.S. sports car racing and had a backstory like something from a Hollywood movie. 50

Born Lawrence Graf von Haugwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow, “Lance” was called the world’s richest baby. His mother was socialite Barbara Hutton, heir to the Woolworth and E. F. Hutton fortunes; his father was a titled Danish nobleman. Lance’s childhood was chaotic, split between Europe (with his father) and the United States (with his mother and a series of stepfathers, including Hollywood star Cary Grant, who changed every few years). Turned on to motor racing by his mother’s fourth husband and Targa Florio winner Prince Igor Troubetzkoy, a teenage Lance honed

his racing skills in some of the best racing cars money could buy. In his early 20s, after returning to Southern California from an unsuccessful car-buying trip to Europe, Lance told his friend Bruce Kessler, who’d accompanied him, that the cars they saw were “pieces of junk” and that he could build a better car himself. He made good on his word; he hired Warren Olson as the first employee of Reventlow Automobile Inc. (RAI) and started operations in Olson’s race shop in West Hollywood, eventually moving into his own facility in Venice, California. He hired the best fabricators and engine builders of the era, including former Kurtis employees Dick Troutman and Tom


Barnes (aka Troutman & Barnes), Chuck Daigh, Jim Travers and Frank Coon (aka Traco Engineering), and Phil Remington. Reventlow commissioned L.A. Art Center student Chuck Pelly to design the sensuous aluminum body. Hotrodding legend Von Dutch painted and pinstriped the cars! The team used the relatively new Chevy small-block V-8, boring it up to 339ci and equipping it with the best hot-rodding

parts from Hilborn, Scintilla-Vertex, Halibrand, and others. When something special was needed, the team had the know-how to build their own patterns and cast their own parts, including a frontmounted cam and magneto drive cover and a de Dion independent rear suspension incorporating a Halibrand quick-change center section and inboard shrouded-fan drum brakes. Right from the get-go, the roadsters were spectacular. They won at SCCA and Cal Club events at Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Laguna Seca, California; Reno, Nevada; Montgomery, New

AT A G L A N C E MODEL 1959 Scarab Mk II “Nickey Nouse” MANUFACTURER Replicarz GENRE 1950s sports racer SCALE 1:18 PRICE $270

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W H AT W E L I K E Fantastic contours on the exquisite Scarab body Engine detail on a resin car! The “Kidney bean” Halibrands are gorgeous SPRING 2018 51


The sensuous shape of the Scarab is captured beautifully in resin, and the “kidney bean” Halibrand wheels are gorgeous!

Hot rod artist Dean Jeffries concocted the purple paint scheme and the special white scallop accents to differentiate it from the previous versions painted by friend and rival Von Dutch. Replicarz’s version is simply breathtaking.


York; Thompson, Connecticut; Meadowdale, Illinois; and Nassau. The 002 car you see on these pages, in its original livery, won the 1958 U.S. Grand Prix at Riverside at the hands of the team’s co-driver and tuner, Chuck Daigh. This was a hugely significant victory for the team, having bested some of the most revered cars and drivers in the world. Scarabs went on to win the 1958 SCCA National Championship. Encouraged by the success, Reventlow decided to try his hand at Gran Prix racing. He sold off the 002 and 003 roadsters and converted his 001 car to street use, as the RAI team focused on building an open-wheel Formula 1 car and ultimately a mid-engine, enclosedwheel sports racer. But success didn’t come nearly as easily as it had with the roadsters. Added to this, the Internal Revenue Service was starting to suspect that Reventlow’s “business” was really more of a

hobby and, thus, the claimed losses weren’t valid tax deductions. By 1962, the RAI party was over. The F1 and mid-engine car programs had never been able to achieve the dominant success of the three roadsters. Disheartened by the team’s poor performance, Reventlow left the sport. For about a year in 1959, famed Chicago-area Chevy dealer Nickey Chevrolet owned and raced the Daigh 002 car. Von Dutch’s arch rival (and good friend) Dean Jeffries repainted the car a deep purple and came up with his own design for the white scallops. Poking fun at the popular Disney character, they named the car the “Nickey Nouse” and equipped it with a torquey V-8 with gobs of power. The car was outrageously fast, with a top speed approaching 200mph, and driver Jim Jeffords bested several track records set by Daigh the previous year in the same car.

After years of waiting for the Scarab to be made in 1:18 scale, collectors finally have what they’ve been eagerly anticipating, thanks to Replicarz proprietors, Mark and Brian Fothergill. The first Scarab to be issued is the brutal “Nickey Nouse” 002 car as Jeffords drove it in 1959. Cast in resin and painted in Dean Jeffries’ deep, rich metallic purple scheme, the model will take your breath away. The body is nicely rendered and captures Chuck Pelly’s vision succinctly. Over the car’s life, the nose took a particular beating and looked different from race to race, but Replicarz has captured the original shape well. The Nickey Nouse’s color has been rendered as closely to the original as is humanly possible, considering that the only photos of it are well over 50 years old and the car has since been reliveried. The Scarab logo and the little red-helmeted “Nouse” capture the essence of this car’s unique graphics. The Dean Jeffries– designed scallops are just right. The Spartan interior with a view of the tube space-frame lattice demonstrates what no-nonsense cars these were, meant specifically to beat the best that the United States and Europe had to offer. The driver’s bucket is equipped with real fabric belts. The steering wheel is done in photo-etch and nicely represents the original Bell 4-spoke Champ car wheel, but I would like to see it tilted a little farther forward to match the distinctive angle of the original car’s. The model captures the rolled aluminum cover over the GM 4-speed transmission and a complement of gauges, switches, and a fuse box. The tubes inside the doors and on the floors give us a look at how the space-frame chassis was constructed and reinforced. The engine exhibits more detail

than just about any resin model I have ever seen. Co-owner Brian Fothergill said that he and Mark had had initially considered making a fixed-in-place hood but ultimately decided that engine detail added so much to the appeal that it was worth the major commitment it required. Aside from the length/width aspect ratio of the finned Corvette valve covers being a little off, the engine is very satisfying. The splayed Hilborn Injection velocity stacks that play such a crucial role in lowering the hood line (and thus reducing the car’s overall frontal area) are clearly visible. Also present is the front-mounted Vertex magneto that allowed the engine cover to be dropped about 6 inches. The engine is plumbed with stainless-steel hoses with A-N fittings and has Moon breathers on the valve covers. The 1-2-1 headers


are even coated in white VHT. Is there a more purposefullooking wheel than a Halibrand “kidney bean” magnesium knockoff? And these are gorgeous. The “Nickey Nouse” often ran wheels with black-painted centers; on this day, it appears the team was running one of their alternate sets. The polished magnesium sure looks nice and really accents the color of the car. The box says that the tires were licensed by Replicarz from Firestone, but the tires are without any markings on the sidewall. They are staggered widths and definitely have an aggressive tread pattern that is appropriate for the Scarab.


compelling backstory, it dominated the sport during its era, and it marked a turning point in sports-car racing; its level of performance and its team professionalism set new standards for racing at this level. Virtually all of the RAI team went on to much greater glory and proved that their success with the Scarab wasn’t a fluke. And it stands with its competitor, the 1959 Corvette Stingray, as perhaps the two most beautiful American racing sports cars ever created. No wonder then that many collectors, including myself, have been waiting a long time for the Scarab to be released in 1:18 scale. Thank you, Mark and Brian, for fulfilling our wish and delivering an exceptional model! ✇

There are many reasons why the Scarab is an important addition to any racing fan’s collection. It has a

SOURCE Replicarz

Above left: The crew at Nickey Chevrolet were experts when it came to building horsepower. The experts at Replicarz have created a scale version with as much engine detail as you’ll find in a resin model. Above right: The purposeful interior accurately replicates key features like the rolled aluminum transmission cover and the Bell 4-spoke Champ car steering wheel. We specialize in 1/18 Scale Diecast Musclecars from Acme, Auto Art, Auto World, Greenlight, GMP, Sun Star & More. Call (715)874-6037 for more info or visit All cars are packaged very carefully and shipped out within 24 hours via UPS. We accept Mastercard and Visa on our Simple-Secure Online Order Form. “Mention this ad for a FREE SHIPPING on your first order”


Serving the World Wide Web with Quality Service Since 1999



Diecast Masters Caterpillar 745 Articulated Truck Highline Series Hauler Delivers Big AT A G L A N C E MODEL Caterpillar 745 Articulated Truck MANUFACTURER Diecast Masters GENRE Heavy industrial equipment SCALE 1:50 PRICE $90


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W H AT W E L I K E When they say “articulated” they aren’t kidding Opening cab and engine bay Functional coil-spring suspension

There’s something about a diecast dump truck. Maybe it’s the Tonka trucks that so many of us grew up with. For me, it’s also the connection to the mining truck that my dad drove when I was a little boy—a monster of a Terex the size of a two-story Colonial. Whatever the source of the fascination, it persists to this day. Whenever I see a representation of one of these hulking marvels of engineering, I’m drawn to it; I find the mix of ambitious innovation and practical utility fascinating. When it comes to practical innovation, there is no company that comes close to Caterpillar. In fact, few companies in any industry are so thoroughly dominant, and a good example why that is so is the truck you see on these pages. The CAT 745 Articulated Truck was unveiled in 2017 with a host of new technologies to make it more capable, more comfortable, and safer.

The model offers a full range of motion. The dump bed raises, and the articulation joint pivots left/right as well as axially.

Courtesy of its exclusive arrangement with CAT, Diecast Masters (DM) has released the 745 as part of its Highline Series of 1:50 models. DM has put considerable effort into not just the detail of the model but to the presentation as well, starting with the packaging. Each Highline Series model comes in a metal tin box, screenprinted with photos of the vehicle in action along with a specifications panel. Inside, the foam cradle also holds a molded plastic payload insert for the dump bed and a painted driver figure. And then there is the truck itself. The CAT trademark mustard yellow paint is applied with care and is perfectly smooth even around the finely cast gratings and vents. The smaller vents in the front fascia and around the hydraulic pump mechanism on the back of the cab are depicted by decals, and the grille is nicely molded plastic, as is the superstructure of the cab, which is one of the 745’s most innovative features. Mounted centrally and high on the body, it gives the 745 a

distinctive profile and unparalleled driver visibility. One cool feature on the cab is the roof panel, which lifts off to allow the driver figure to be placed and to show off the detail in the cabin itself. The intricate rails that border the steps and walkways up to the cab are painted metal rather than plastic. Like the fullsize 745, the model features a full range of articulation, pivoting left/ right and axially using simulated hydraulic pistons. Rubber lines stretch from the pump housing to the bed control, and the bed itself raises and lowers realistically. Up front, the hood panel also pivots upward, revealing a surprising amount of detail on the C18 turbodiesel engine. The 18.1L inline-6 produces 504hp and a robust 1880 lb.-ft. of torque, which is needed to move the truck’s maximum payload of 41 tons. The cylinder heads can be made out, along with the turbo plumbing and the front-mounted intercooler. Underneath, the chassis does a fine job depicting the 6x6 drivetrain



and truck-arm suspension, and it includes the novel Stability Assist system, which prevents rollovers—a common danger with articulated dump trucks. The model’s back two axles even have functional coil springs—at 1:50 scale! The tires (which, in real life, measure more than 6 feet in diameter and weigh

in excess of 1,200 pounds!) have excellent detail on their lugged tread and 19.5-inch steel rims.

FINAL THOUGHTS The CAT 745 is an unusual-looking machine, but it likely represents the future of its class of heavy-haul dump trucks, given its advanced

The hood opens and the cab swings up and to the right to show off the mechanical details of the powertrain. The handrails are painted metal, adding to the feeling of quality throughout.

The roof lifts off to give a nice view of the well-molded interior and to allow placement of the painted driver figure.

traction and stability systems, powerful and efficient drivetrain, safety equipment, and top-rated payload capacity. Being one of CAT’s newest designs, it should be a popular model for Diecast Masters. And like its inspiration, it possesses many advanced features—engine detail, opening cab, functional suspension—especially for its scale. You also have to admire the effort DM puts into the packaging

and presentation of the Highline Series. It makes what was already an appealing model that much more interesting. Whether you’re a dedicated CAT enthusiast or just someone with a nostalgic fondness for diecast dump trucks, this one is worth a look. ✇ SOURCE Diecast Masters (; distributed by



BEST OF SHOW 1961–62 GHIA 6.4L

1:18 | $120

By Wayne Moyer


ike most of the 1950s Chrysler show cars, the 1954 Dodge Firearrow III and IV were fully functional, and with 315 cubic-inch Hemis under their hoods, they performed quite well. Gene Casaroll, founder of truck builder Dual Motors, was so taken with the Virgil Exner design that he bought the rights to it, had it reworked for production, and sent it back to Italian coachbuilder Ghia, who had put together the original show car for Chrysler. The Dual Motors “Firebomb” convertible debuted at the 1955 Geneva Show, but it was uncomfortable to sit in and handled poorly. So Casaroll had it redesigned again by his friend and soon-to-be Vice President Paul Farago, and the “Dual Ghia” went on sale in late 1956. It was exclusive (just over 100 were built) and expensive ($7,646 for the base model), and it became a favorite among Hollywood celebrities of the day, led by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Lucille Ball, and Eddie Fisher. But by 1958, the Dodge subframe parts were no longer being made, so production of the Dual Ghia ended. Casaroll, now fighting cancer, soon sold the rights to a company set up by Farago and the CEO of Carrozzeria Ghia. Farago designed a new chassis, still using Chrysler parts, and induced Virgil Exner to create a new coupe body with exceptionally clean lines, minimal rear seats, a 383 V-8 (6.4-liter) Chrysler “wedge-head” engine, and air-conditioning. Production of the Ghia 6.4L (no “Dual” this time) began in late 1960; Frank Sinatra bought the first one made and, again, the Rat Pack followed suit. But at almost $15,000, there just weren’t enough celebrities to make it profitable; only 27 were built before the Dual Ghia/ Ghia 6.4L story finally came to an end.

Above: The large expanses of “glass” give an excellent look at a dashboard with lots of chrome accents. Below: The double-row photo-etched wire wheels are especially realistic.

Best of Show’s big new resin-cast model is every bit as good-looking as the original. That long coupe body and its metallic burgundy paint are simply superb. Front-end details varied a bit among the cars, but the single round headlights with parking lights and horizontal trim inboard of them and the lack of fins would make this a late 1960 or early ’61 car. Most of the exterior trim— and there’s a lot of it—is crisply printed in silver that’s not quite as bright as the plated bumpers, grille, and tunneled taillight housings. It’s curbside (although there is some basic chassis detail), but all that clear “glass” makes it easy to see the welldetailed and realistic interior. Up front, seat and door-panel details are accurate, and there’s lots of chrome trim printed on the busy console and dash. The latter has a full complement of detailed instruments; the centered tach is correctly larger than the others. In back, the plush rear seats are occupied by a set of fitted suitcases. The especially realistic double-row photo-etched wire wheels are the final touch on this accurate and beautifully made Ghia 6.4L. The story of the Ghia is defined by passion for a design together with the determination to make it a reality. With this model, BoS captures the passion, and the shape, details, and accurate dimensions deliver realism to match. ✇ SOURCE Best of Show; distributed by

The second-generation Ghia was designed by Virgil Exner as a sleek coupé with exceptionally clean lines.

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As we have chronicled in Die Cast X over the last few issues, the Diecast Hall of Fame (DHOF) has been revamped and reintroduced for 2017. The folks at the collectibles database, community, and marketplace have overseen the nomination and selection process for the 2017 DHOF class of inductees, starting with organizing the selection committee comprised of experts from all across the diecast industry, including several prior DHOF inductees and DCX’s own executive editor Matt Boyd. And for the first time, online voting by the public collector community helped determine the winners. After months of deliberation and vote tallying, the class of 2017 was presented at the awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada, this past November in four scale categories, four company categories, and six individual categories. The winners are: Diecast Customizer: Joe Alvarado Known throughout the collector community as LoRide57, Joe is a multiple Hot Wheels Nationals class winner who in recent years has begun branching out into larger scales as well. His ame-and-skull motifs in particular are as distinctive as they are masterful. 58

Diecast Designer: Tony Karamitsos In his capacity as brand manager and senior designer at Round 2, Tony has overseen the creation of hundreds of models under the Auto World, Johnny Lightning, Racing Champions, Playing Mantis, and American Muscle banners, and his keen eye for accuracy has contributed greatly to their popularity.

Diecast Entrepreneur: Paul Lang

Model of the Year— 1:64 Scale: Hot Wheels Fiat 500 Modificado

Paul Lang is founder of the Minichamps brand, one of the most highly regarded and collectible in the industry. Few individuals have been so influential in the direction of the diecast hobby over the past 25 years.

Model of the Year—1:43 Scale: Schuco VW Beetle “Lil Bugger” Camper Van

Diecast Historian: Robert Fellows A specialist in Playing Mantis, Johnny Lightning, and Auto World 1:64, Bob is extremely active in the social media community and has created several collector sites devoted to the brands.

Model of the Year—1:24 Scale: Bburago 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Collector of the Year: Woody Itson A veteran of more than 30 years collecting Hot Wheels Redlines, Woody is also the founder of the Redline Trading Company site.

Model of the Year—1:18 Scale: AUTOart MercedesAMG GTS

New Model Maker of the Year: AutoCult

Automotive Legend: Tim Allen Famed actor Tim Allen is one of the best-known car enthusiasts in Hollywood, and he owns an enviable collection of muscle, classic, and sports cars. His passion for cars has made it into numerous acting projects, including his popular TV series Home Improvement and Last Man Standing.

Diecast Dealer of the Year: Diecast Models Wholesale

Full-scale Automotive Brand of the Year: BMW

Full-scale Automotive Supplier Brand of the Year: Falken Tire ✇ FALL 2014 59



First Gear Volvo VNL 760 with 53-Foot Trailer Long-Hauling into the Future When Volvo introduced the VNL 760 to the world in July 2017, the company touted it as “The Shape of Trucks to Come.” And while that shape is attractive and efficient at slicing through the air, it’s what’s underneath it that has Volvo already predicting that the 760 highroof sleeper will become its best-selling truck, and the standard for longhaul competitors to shoot for.

Packed into it is a long list of advanced safety and convenience features that would look right at home on one of the company’s high-end luxury cars—things like active driver assist, a clutchless automated manual transmission, forward-collision warning, predictive cruise control, and automatic braking. Driver comfort is a top priority as well, so it offers one of the most advanced driver’s seats made and a roomier sleeper cabin that is 70 inches long and a full 96 inches wide, with such creature comforts as a heated and cooled adjustable reclining bunk! Luxury aside, this thing is first and foremost a work truck;

a range of available powertrains and wheelbases with innovations like adaptive gearing and loading get the job done with power and efficiency. All that adds up to one of the most technologically interesting and appealing big rigs out there—exactly why it makes such a fun scale model! Even at 1:50, First Gear’s replica is a substantial model. The tractor alone is 6.8 inches long, and when connected to the trailer, the rig measures nearly 18 inches long! First Gear chose the beautiful Smoky Mountain Blue color that Volvo used for its press launch and in its brochures. It’s a light metallic color that is classy and

sophisticated. First Gear does a nice job with it too; the finish is smooth and even, and shows not a hint of pooling in the many panel lines in the 760’s cab. The tampo-printed brand insignias are crisp and clean-edged despite their small size, and the distinctive diagonal-bar grille is carefully molded and nicely shaded to give it texture. The LED headlight and fog-light lenses are crystal clear and sit perfectly flush into the compound curves of the fenders. About the only slight discrepancy we see concerns the side mirrors. The chrome mirrors themselves look just right and Volvo designed special fuel-saving aerodynamic bracket arms to hold them, but the model has conventional-

looking brackets. At about this point in your typical 1:50 model review, we’d be explaining how the small scale precludes much in the way of interior detail—but this isn’t your typical 1:50 model. The First Gear Volvo’s doors open—on flush hinges no less! There are plenty of 1:18 models that still use dog-leg hinges, so this alone is reason to celebrate. But the folks at FIrst Gear went further: They molded the driver’s and passenger’s seats with the armrests extended. One of the selling points of the VNL series is its advanced instrumentation and control layout. First Gear not only went to considerable lengths to mold this detail into the dashboard but also picked out the various gauges and

switches with contrasting paint so that they are clearly visible— again, a detail that often goes unattended in much larger models. Engine detail on a model of this scale would be asking a lot, but go ahead and ask because First Gear delivers that too! Volvo actually offers three engine choices for the 760: its own D11 and D13 turbodiesels, and a Cummins X15. Based on the shape of the cylinder head, this model has the D13: a 500hp inline-6 that is the top option available, with Volvo’s innovative “I-Shift” automated manual with adaptive technology, which learns driving patterns and has sensors to detect load and road-grade angles in real time. The molding detail on the engine is amazing; all the complex intake and turbo/intercooler ductwork

is present and nicely painted, right down to the silicone fittings in between each pipe section. The effort put in here absolutely makes the model! Carefully turn the tractor over to see more great workmanship in the chassis. Actually, you can see a bit of it by looking at the fifth-wheel hitch assembly and the axles below, but when you flip the truck over, you can also see the work that went into replicating the driveshaft, fuel tanks, and even a bit of detail on that I-Shift gearbox. A nice effort was made on the wheels and tires, which have the right contours and tread pattern, and yield a realistic stance. The included trailer complements that stance nicely, even if it lacks the distinctive styling that makes the tractor so interesting.


AT A G L A N C E MODEL Volvo MANUFACTURER First Gear The sculpted shape of the VNL 760 is the future of the long-haul big rig. First Gear captures the look, but there’s much more to the model than a pretty face.

GENRE Big rig SCALE 1:50

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W H AT W E L I K E Beautiful Smoky Mountain Blue finish perfectly matches press-launch truck Surface detailing of grille and emblems Impressive interior and engine intricacy at this scale

PRICE $105 SPRING 2018 61


FINAL THOUGHTS Adaptive-logic driver aids and active safety features are an everyday part of today’s auto industry, but if anything these technologies are even more impactful in the world of commercial trucking, where the mass of these vehicles and the sheer number of miles they travel raise the stakes significantly. With its VNL series, Volvo has integrated these advanced systems to a level not seen before, enhancing both safety and efficiency. That’s all great, but from a collector’s perspective, a truck needs to be more than just the sum of its techie parts—it

With the 53-foot trailer in place, this model stretches more than 18 inches! While the trailer may lack the tractor’s futuristic look, it does have excellent detail and solid construction.

Above: Hidden hinges in the doors and dashboard switchgear with painted highlights—you don’t see this level of interior effort in 1:50 every day. Below: And you really don’t see this every day. The paint and detail work on the engine is exceptional for the scale. It’s precise enough to tell that this is Volvo’s top-option D13 turbodiesel. Right: The workmanship in the chassis is noteworthy. You can see detailed axles and suspension under the scale fifthwheel assembly.

needs to have the look to capture the imagination. The First Gear VNL 760 does that—it is sleek and sophisticated, and the fit and finish is stellar. And then you open up the doors and hood and are impressed anew by another layer of sophistication. Volvo seems 62

to think its VNL 760 will be the standard for long-haul trailers in the coming years. We’d say First Gear’s model already is that for the 1:50 market. ✇ SOURCE First Gear




1:18 | $270

By the DCX team


t was the height of presumption. Just 14 months after its first production car went on sale, Honda, known almost exclusively for its motorcycles, dared to compete at the pinnacle of automotive motorsport: Formula 1. What’s more, it did so using a car and engine entirely of its own construction! The RA271, as it was called, used an aluminum semi-monocoque chassis built around a unique 1.5L V-12 derived from Honda’s motorcycle engines. American driver Ronnie Bucknum started the 1964 German Grand Prix and finished 13th—the best result of three races it would enter that season. Over the winter, Honda would apply what it had learned to revise the car into the RA272. Substantial weight was saved by replacing nonstructural body panels with thin fiberglass, and the power and drivability of the V-12 was improved by replacing the RA271’s carbs with a Honda-designed fuel-injection system. Two RA272s were entered for much of the 1965 season with fellow American Richie Ginther joining Bucknum. It wasn’t until the final race of the 1965 season in Mexico that Honda finally broke through. The extremely high altitude of Mexico City favored the powerful, high-winding, fuel-injected V-12, and Ginther rocketed to the lead from the start and never looked back, giving Honda the first-ever win for a Japanese manufacturer. Bucknum started back in 10th, but he too would surge forward, eventually finishing fifth and scoring his first points for Honda. AUTOart produces both Ginther’s and Bucknum’s cars as part of its Signature series. The models are essentially identical other than the number: 11 for Ginther and 12 for Bucknum. Much of the skin of the car is held on by minuscule screws—showing both precision and realism in the model’s construction. When the

The model arrives with the nose removed, showcasing the cooling system and the rocker-arm front suspension design.

The tiny V-12 was derived from Honda’s motorcycle engines. AUTOart’s version has a delightfully intricate fuel-injection system complete with individual fuel lines and intake trumpets.

car is unboxed, you’ll see that the nose section is not installed from the factory, revealing an intricate cooling system and giving an excellent view of the rocker-arm upper links of the front suspension. To fully install the nose, you must insert four impossibly tiny screws! You may want to skip them—the nose holds reasonably well without them, and they are annoying to install. There is also an underchassis panel to affix, but thankfully the engine cover drops on using indexed pegs. When removed, that engine cowl reveals the key to the RA272’s success—the transverse 60-degree V-12 that employed double overhead cams and four valves per cylinder years before many of its competitors would adopt such advanced tech. With fuel injection, the engine made better than 230hp and could rev to nearly 14,000rpm! The clear fuel lines and individual intake trumpets show delightful intricacy. The rear tubular subframe shows lots of detail in the multilink rear suspension and the 6-speed gearbox that was cast as a single unit with the engine block. The suspensions are functional as well, adding to the realism. Halibrand wheels and excellent re-creations of the Goodyear race tires round out the presentation. The RA272 was the final winner of F1’s 1.5L era, the first win for a Japanese manufacturer, and the beginning of a hugely successful career for Honda as an F1 engine builder, having powered six Constructors’ champions and five Drivers’ titles. The RA272 is a technically fascinating machine, and AUTOart’s model depicts it with striking accuracy. It’s a fine addition to any F1 collection. ✇ SOURCE AUTOart

SPRING 2018 63


31st Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Convention Cars! The 31st Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Convention took place on October 4–8, 2017, in Los Angeles, California, and as usual, it was sold out. The Hot Wheels cars on display were astounding: from the hand-carved, neverproduced Redline prototypes to the latest all-new 3D-printed resin preproduction model samples that will be released next year for the brand’s 50th anniversary.

As with every Hot Wheels convention, there are exclusive cars produced by Mattel specifically for that event in very limited quantities—usually no more than 3,000 pieces, and sometimes less. At this event, there were four different castings, along with an exclusive Dinner Car—all highly sought after by collectors around the globe. With the purchase of a convention ticket, the collector is allowed to purchase three of these four convention cars, with the fourth car given to the ticket holder

on the last night of the convention at the Finale. The Dinner Car is produced in honor of a Hot Wheels designer for his or her work and dedication to the brand. The card for the Dinner Car has a hologram sticker on the front with the honoree’s name, along with the event date. There is also a hologram sticker on the back of the card specifying the production total—in this case, one of 1,600 cars that were available with the purchase of a dinner ticket. Here are the five cars from this year’s convention:

Datsun 240Z—Alton Takeyasu Dinner Car This year’s dinner paid homage to veteran designer Alton Takeyasu. Alton’s designs include the Carbonator, Teegray, GT Hunter, Rev Rod, Fast Cash, and many others! As with most Hot Wheels designers, Alton is a car guy who not only draws cool cars that get made into Hot Wheels but also collects cool real cars too! Alton’s Dinner Car is a replica of his personal white 1972 Datsun 240Z, and the attention to detail on this Z car is spot on; the chrome window trim, door handles, and bumpers along with strategically placed badging give the car a real-life quality. The rubber tires with what resemble actual 16x7 gray and chrome Panasport wheels make the car look as if you could open the door and drive it away.


Datsun Bluebird 510— Convention Casting no. 2 Along with Alton’s 240Z, there was another car that added to the “Datsun fever” at this convention: labeled number two of four is the Datsun Bluebird 510. Painted somewhat reminiscent of the orange-and-white 1969 Simoniz Team race car, this little 510 was in great demand, and collectors were doing whatever they could to get one—which fueled some pretty crazy prices! It sits on raised white-letter Goodyear Eagle rubber with chrome deep-dish 15-inch Panasportstyle 8-spoke wheels, and the placement of decorations truly make the car look race authentic too. Located on the doors in blue is “31st Annual Collectors Convention” and on the rear quarter panel is “LA Oct. 4-8 2017” giving it a flow and an appearance as if they were actual race graphics. All the graphics on these works of automotive art are done by Hot Wheels graphics designer extraordinaire, Steve Vandervate.

’66 Chevelle—Finale Car (no. 4)

VW Drag Bus—Convention Casting no. 1 The phil riehlman–designed VW Drag Bus has always been a collector’s favorite, and i believe once the Datsun demand settles down, collectors will be noticing this pink-andpurple Drag Bus for what it is and will search it out! Anything with that much real estate on its side is worth its weight in gold, and with a metal body and metal chassis, this one is definitely weighing in perfectly for racing and for customizing. The redline rubber tires on chrome rocket wheels won’t be fast, but a quick wheel swap, i’m sure, would take care of the speed issue. But i’m guessing that most people will leave it the way it came—pretty in pink!

The final casting in this series of four—the “Finale Car” as it’s called by convention attendees—is the ’66 Chevelle. The last car is always a surprise casting, which is kept secret until the Convention Finale on saturday evening. since its debut in the 2011 Vintage racing series, the ’66 Chevelle has been traditionally produced as a stock Car and has been used only three times previous to this event, making it a bit of a rarity as far as production goes. painted dark candy-apple blue metallic on the top with silver metallic sides, the paint scheme makes it look much longer than it actually is. The convention graphics are spelled out along the rocker panel, and a large circle on the rear quarter has the 31st Convention logo. The black interior and smoked windows go well with the small black-tint chrome rocket wheels on low-profile blackwall rubber tires, but when you put it all together, it somehow gets lost among the others, leaving this one as the least desirable of the group. ✇

Custom Convoy— Convention Casting no. 3 The Custom Convoy is casting number three and is well represented in glossy black with red-and-silver striping. This Larry Wood design was first publicly released as part of the 2009 Hot Wheels Classics series and has been a collector favorite from the start! Lots of chrome and painted detail make this truck look tough. The convention logo on the side of the sleeper door just adds to the authentic trucking company look, along with the large chrome rocket wheels riding on low-profile Flamed redline rubber tires to give it a true custom feel.

spring 2018 65

REAR VIEW The A110 was based on stock Renault R8 mechanicals, but a lightweight coupé body and careful tuning made it a rally powerhouse in the early ’70s.

Alpine Racer: The Rally-Bred A110 BY RON RUELLE


here was a time when international rally cars were closely based on real production cars. Even with added fender flares, a plethora of lights, and safety equipment, they weren’t too far removed from what you could buy off the showroom floor. It seems crazy to think of original Minis and 911s bouncing around off-road, but that’s how it was.

One of the least likely cars in that group may have been the Alpine A110. Alpine began as a racing company in the mid-1950s, taking existing cars from other companies and spec’ing them for various types of competition. They were probably best known for working with Renault, and the company’s first proprietary design—the A106—was a fiberglass sports coupe based on the Renault 4CV chassis and running gear. It followed that with the A108 based on the Dauphine mechanicals, and when Renault replaced the Dauphine with the

R8 in 1961, Alpine followed suit with the R8-based A110. The A110 remained in production for more than 15 years, using a succession of increasingly powerful Renault 4-cylinder engines. By the early 1970s, the A110S had established itself as a force in world rally competition using a tuned-up version of Renault’s aluminum 1.6L inline-4 from the R16 making 130hp—in a car that weighed barely 1,300 pounds! That racing success was a big part of the reason Renault decided to buy Alpine outright in 1973. For such

A long succession of engines powered A110s over the years. The 1600S got one of the best: 130hp 1.6L inline-4 based on the Renault R16. Maisto’s offers pretty respectable detail for the entry-level price point.


a successful and sleek car, there have been relatively few models made of it. Maisto made a 1:18 version in several colors—on of the only widely available large-scale models of the A110. This model represents the 1971 1600S, the street-going version of the A110S. It comes finished, of course, in traditional French Racing Blue (Bleu de France). The fog lamps grow out of the hood—a striking detail done to homologate the feature for racing. Those rallystyle fog lamps are an integral part of the car’s identity—it just wouldn’t be an Alpine without them! This was an entry-level 1:18 model, so overall detail on the car is not extraordinary. The chassis is very flat, which is more or less accurate, but there’s a curious feature underneath. The baseplate has separate castings around the

wheel and axle area, allowing those to be swapped out for a (shudder) slammed, dubbed version that was also produced. Thankfully, this one came with regular wheels and even a working suspension. The tires have a plastic shine to them, as does the entirely black interior. Around back, that engine has some nice detail with separately colored parts, including wiring. And the red taillights with orange turn signals are well done. The bumper has separate black guards and, curiously, a trailer hitch. In the 1980s, Renault would produce some less memorable cars for the U.S. market. But for a shining moment a decade earlier, the Renault-powered Alpine A110S was pure racing magic. ✇ Ron Ruelle is social media director at

It just wouldn’t be an Alpine without those rally-style fog-light fairings!

1-980-335-2701 1:18




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