Category Archives: Die-cast Cars

Die-cast: DNA’s Subaru Baja

Subie’s small Baja pickup looks great in 1/18 scale …

Leading sometimes is a lonely game. Just ask Subaru.

Its Baja, a 4-door compact pickup based on a car platform was one of the first of its kind and can easily be seen in today’s multitude of such pickups. But it was not a sales success, selling just 30,000 units in three years.

But Baja was a leader, make no mistake about that, and DNA Collectibles loves oddball and original designs so has created a sharp 1/18 scale resin die-cast Baja that certainly is a looker.

The History

Baja sprung from the ST-X concept vehicle with its more radical off-roading look, as if it were to run in the Baja 1000 cross-country race. Tamed down, but still sporty looking, Subaru made the Baja from 2002 to 2006 in its Lafayette, Ind., plant. Bajas were based on the popular Legacy/Outback platform and marketed as 2003 through 2006 models.

Baja followed the 2-door Brat that Subaru sold successfully from 1978 to 1994. Brat too was a compact pickup with some styling flair. But as we all know, Americans prefer more room for all their stuff. So Baja with its four doors, second row seat and handsomely lined pickup bed and functional roof rack seemed to fit that bill.

It featured Subaru’s trusted 2.5-liter Boxer 4-cylinder engine with a turbo version coming in year two. Plus Baja was made more useful for hauling with its Switchback system where the second row seat folded down and a panel behind it opened to the bed, allowing for longer items to be carried. To add more strength to the bed there also were two chrome handles or supports that extended from the roof to the bed’s sides. Knowing we love all things sporty, Subaru marketed those handles as “Sports Bars,” which now has a totally separate meaning.

The pickup also had four tie-downs, two bed lights, roof rails and crossbars, and a snazzy system that allowed the license plate holder to fold perpendicular to the tailgate so it could be seen if the truck was driving with the tailgate lowered. Clever!

The Model

DNA’s model replicates the original bicolor launch version which was bright yellow with silver stone metallic lower body cladding, all beautifully painted.

Other standout features include the black roof rails and small sunroof just in front of the rack’s forward bar. A tiny black antenna sits next to the rails and is in a retracted position. All windows appear slightly tinted and edged in black.

In front is a chrome-trimmed grille opening with photo-etched metal and black backing and the Subaru logo at the grille’s center. Headlights are wonderfully rendered showing four different lenses and lights while below the bumper are two giant running lights with slight grille work covering the lenses for protection.

Baja’s tail features a well detailed flat black lined cargo bed, the two chrome Sport Bars and dual overhead cargo lamp. Taillights are sharply detailed too and the license area is nicely shaped indicating it indeed could have been repositioned when the tailgate was down. Would be cool if the model allowed that tailgate to drop, or the doors to open.

Subaru, Baja and AWD labels are here in photo-etched form too.

Underneath you see the Baja labeled rear wheel mud flaps and a chrome muffler and tailpipe that look a little too shiny for my taste. I think a matte silver finish would have looked more realistic.

Tires are black sidewall and treaded, but with no branding and the wheels are matte gray five-spokers with large plain discs behind them with calipers.

Inside, well, that’s not extremely easy to see because all the windows are posed in the up position. Seats and dash are bicolor gray and black, which looks sporty and is best viewed through the windshield and from overhead. There you’ll see the gated shifter on the console, the gray and black steering wheel and gauge faces on the instrument cluster and the dash’s stack.

Hard to see much else, but DNA says there are seat belts and radio buttons there too. I wish the side windows at least could have been clear or the driver’s window removed so the interior could be viewed more easily.

As is though the Baja looks great and would stand out in any model display. And it now comes in a fully windowed box that would make it easy to display as purchased.

DNA puts the Baja in a great windowed box, so you could easily display it just as it comes!

Coming up, DNA has just added the Volvo P1800 in red and a Saab 9-4x. It’s just starting to take pre-orders for its Saab 9-5 NG Aero.

Vital Stats: Subaru Baja

Maker: DNA Collectibles
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: DNA000050
MSRP: $139.99

Link: DNAcollectibles.com

 

Die-cast: Autoart Honda Civic Type R

Autoart’s Civic Type R looks ready to rip in 1/18 scale … 

All this bad boy needs is a number and a sponsor and the Civic R looks ready to race!

When I was a youngster and Honda Civics were new to the U.S. market, they were cute, nimble econoboxes that got great gas mileage and weren’t very expensive.

Times change.

Now Civic has grown to be as large as an Accord used to be, but remain Honda’s main entry in the compact car market. Plus, now there’s a Type R in the U.S., as of 2017, that takes the sporty Civic to its logical, or maybe illogical performance extreme. The 2020 Honda Civic Type R is one hot hatchback, and Autoart does a fine job of bringing it to the 1/18 scale die-cast market. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart Honda Civic Type R

Die-cast: Autoart’s 2019 Mercedes AMG GT3

Mercedes AMG GT3 in 1/18 scale; be still my beating heart … 

Mercedes-Benz and motorsports have a long partnership, mostly stellar, with oodles of success. Take Team Mercedes’ six straight Formula 1 titles as the most recent mark of excellence.

Yet its sports cars have been champions too through the years, a prime example was Sterling Moss’s win of Italy’s famous Mille Miglia in 1955 in a record time that will never be broken. OK, they don’t run the race anymore for safety reasons, but still! Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s 2019 Mercedes AMG GT3

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1990 Indy 500 winner (Luyendyk)

Luyendyk’s 1/43 scale Domino’s Lola a winner … 

Back in the 1980s when I was covering the Indianapolis 500 for the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper Arie Luyendyk was our hometown racer.

How’s that? Arie is Dutch.

But the likeable Indycar driver was sponsored by Provimi Veal, a Wisconsin company with a Dutch owner, so Arie was our guy. He was eager to talk to the media and it wasn’t long before he knew the Wisconsin reporters by sight. So it wasn’t a surprise when Arie and his wife gave us reporters stuck in race day traffic a friendly wave as he zipped into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on his motorbike. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1990 Indy 500 winner (Luyendyk)

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 winning Lola T90

Replicarz creates sharp 1/18 scale Hill ’66 Indy winner …

Graham Hill, a Formula 1 world champion, was the surprise winner of the 1966 Indianapolis 500, just a year after Jim Clark, with the same credentials, had won.

But it was Clark and his STP crew that were surprised by Hill’s win, thinking they had won.

Now Replicarz expands its 1/18 scale Indy winning car lineup with Hill’s beautiful and surprising Lola T90. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 winning Lola T90

Die-cast: Autoart’s 2017 Dodge Viper GTS-R ACR

Striking Viper GTS-R ACR is a ‘super’ car, in scale …

I consider myself lucky that as part of my gig of driving and reviewing new cars for newspapers and websites I’ve crushed the gas pedal on several Dodge Vipers, but not the Viper GTS-R ACR. That’s the racy version that put the cap on the Viper run from 1991 to 2017, not all inclusive.

That’s right, whether you remember or not, Viper took a few years off as sales lagged and insurance companies questioned their wisdom of covering these rocket sleds being driven on public roads.

I can tell you the various V10 engines that Dodge packed under Viper’s long muscular hood were all among the most powerful cars I’ve ever driven, some new Hellcats being the most recent exceptions. The Viper was a beast! Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s 2017 Dodge Viper GTS-R ACR

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 Lola T90/Jackie Stewart

Replicarz fields another famous Indy 500 racer …

For me, a kid who grew up in Indianapolis watching Lotus and Lola redefine what an IndyCar is during the mid-1960s, these were the most beautiful race cars ever.

Loved Indy’s roadsters, but 1966 was just the second year a rear-engine racer won the Indianapolis 500 and it was England’s Graham Hill at the wheel. The British Invasion was more than just the Beatles! Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 Lola T90/Jackie Stewart

Die-cast: Johnny Lightning Chevy assortment

JL’s latest Chevy storage tin assortment offers unique models …

You may be a Ford guy or a MOPAR maniac, but there’s no denying that Chevrolet is, and has been, the top-selling domestic brand for decades.

And while Johnny Lightning is an equal-opportunity die-cast car maker, it makes sense for the maker of 1/64 scale cars and trucks to go heavy on Chevy (and its kissin’ cousin GMC) once in a while. Indeed JL does just that with its latest releases of the 1987 Chevy Monte Carlo SS, 1972 Chevy Vega Panel Express and GMC’s muscular 1992 Typhoon.

There are two versions, A and B, so you could snag two of each, but in different colors, or just collect the A or B models. Plus these latest releases are part of its series that include a cool storage tin with a picture of the model on each side and the Lightning logo on the top and each end too. Continue reading Die-cast: Johnny Lightning Chevy assortment

Die-cast: Auto World’s 1967 Shelby GT350

Rare Shelby GT350 originally meant for Hertz …

What car lover doesn’t long to own a Hertz-intended Shelby GT350, a rare black fastback Mustang from its 1960s hey days?

Most of us would part with some serious coin for one of these black beauties in any size and now Auto World delivers a stout one in 1/18 scale as part of its American Muscle series that reproduces cars honored at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals events.

Like others in this series it’s a high-value die-cast metal model with opening hood and doors and a finely detailed interior. Continue reading Die-cast: Auto World’s 1967 Shelby GT350

Die-cast: BoS’s Vector M12

Vector M12 a rare beast, but BoS nails it …

If you’ve never heard of a Vector M12, or Vector, or maybe remember hearing of Vector but suspected it was long gone, well, you’re sort of right. Let’s just say Vector, like many supercar manufacturers through the years, has had an interesting history.

But god love ‘em, BoS (Best of Show Models) took on the project of creating a 1/18 scale Vector M12 from the late 1990s. And honestly, it’s a stunner! Think longer Lamborghini! This is one of 300 models of this limited edition Vector in a handsome gold. A red version also is available. Both are sealed body models.

First some muddled history. Here goes. Continue reading Die-cast: BoS’s Vector M12