Category Archives: Die-cast Cars

Die-cast:1986 March 86C, Indy 500 winner

Rahal’s 1986 Bud/Red Roof racer looks a winner in 1/18 scale …

Not to namedrop, but as a young newspaper reporter I was in Bobby Rahal’s garage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway just after driver Gordon Smiley was killed in a horrific qualification day crash in 1982. It was Rahal’s rookie season and the young driver was moved by the tragedy.

I never forgot that slice of humanity I witnessed and always was a bit of a Rahal fan after that. My son picked up on that and cheered for Rahal as a youngster, even making a Pinewood Derby car with Rahal’s name on it.

So, I’ve been eager to see Replicarz latest 1/18 scale release of an Indianapolis 500 winner, the March 86C that Rahal drove to his lone Indy win in 1986. This is one in an ever-expanding series of Indy 500 winning cars Replicarz has produced. It’s other latest is the 1990 winner that Arie Luyendyk drove. I reviewed that car a couple weeks ago.

The History

Bobby Rahal was a sports car and road-course racer that had been supported in his amateur racing career by former racer and businessman Jim Trueman, who also founded the Red Roof Inns motel chain. In 1982 his Truesports Team entered a car for Rahal in the Indy 500, and Rahal quickly became a contender in the IndyCar series (then CART).

He won two races in his first season, including the Michigan 500, and finished second in the championship. Some rookie!

His success continued, finishing third in the IndyCar championship in 1984 and 1985, winning six more times in that period. Then came his exceptional 1986 season when he won six IndyCar races, including the Indy 500.

With two laps remaining Rahal passed leader Kevin Cogan on a restart and held on to win the 500 in his Cosworth DFX turbocharged V8-powered March. The win was an emotional one for Rahal and the team as Jim Trueman, 51, was dying of cancer, but was in the pits to celebrate the win. Trueman died less than a month after Rahal’s win.

Rahal retired after the 1998 season, his last IndyCar win being at Nazareth Speedway (now closed) in 1992 when he earned his third series championship with four wins. He also was the IndyCar champ in 1987 and finished second at Indy in 1990 and third in 1994 and ’95. He now owns and IndyCar team with his son Graham serving as driver.

The Model

Oh boy is this a good-looking car in its deep bright red Red Roof Inns and Budweiser livery, a white No. 3 on the nose and sides of the engine cover and rear wing.

Ground-effects and aerodynamics were playing a big role in IndyCars by the mid-1980s, but the cars were still relatively clean and the monster wings of the 1970s had been outlawed. Here the air rushes through sidepods and over radiators to escape the pods just behind the cockpit. There are tiny winglets in front of each rear tire to redirect the air over the tires creating more downforce. Each is held by twin adjusting wires. There’s also a modest air scoop at the engine cover’s tail to direct more air into the Cosworth’s turbo.

The tail of the powerplant and transmission extends out the back of the car and is nicely wired and plumbed. Cool too are the shocks on either side of that air scoop.

Wings had been regulated to remain no wider than the inside of the rear wheels and this one juts up on a red support with Bud logos on each side and Budweiser lettering spread across the wing’s top.

The March has thin winglets on the nose with Red Roof’s moto, “Sleep Cheap!” in white atop them. There’s also a small antenna on the car’s nose, black trim around the windscreen’s lower edge and two tiny red mirrors extending off each side of the car’s cockpit wall. The fuel filler outlet is just behind the cockpit to the driver’s left and a thin roll bar extends above the cockpit, tapering into the bodywork.

Suspension work is all solid and painted matte black with tiny screws holding the rear assembly together. Tires are black slicks with Goodyear Eagle labeling on both sides, as on the real racers. Wheels are silver racing wheels, not chrome, with gun metal center locking nuts. And while there are a bevy of sponsor logos on the nose, the key white logos, mostly trimmed in black are Red Roof Inns, Budweiser with Valvoline and Goodyear in a couple spots.

Inside, the cockpit walls are matte black as is the low-slung seat, but there are red cloth shoulder and seatbelts with photo-etched metal clasps. The dash includes a couple dials, the three-spoke racing wheel, pedals and a small silver gearshift lever to the driver’s right.

Once again Replicarz delivers an Indy champion caliber car deserving of a trophy. Snag one before they’re gone.

Vital Stats: 1986 March 86C, Indy 500 winner, Bobby Rahal

Maker: Replicarz
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: R18030
MSRP: $249.95

Link: Replicarz.com

 

Die-cast: Johnny Lightning 50th Anniversary cars

The metallic green ’63 Corvette and its matching metal storage tin.

Anniversary release cars feature metal storage tins …

We knew that Johnny Lightning would be surprising us with some unique releases to mark it’s 50th Anniversary, and the latest releases offer a fun twist with snazzy metal storage tins.

Our review product is Release 2 with the tins, with version A and B cars. We like the special collector’s tins, which remind us of our younger years with Matchbox cars that came in their blue and yellow cardboard boxes. But these tins are much spiffier and more colorful, not to mention sturdy and have a sharp image of the car that’s to be stored inside printed on the tin. Continue reading Die-cast: Johnny Lightning 50th Anniversary cars

Die-cast: Replicarz 1990 Indy 500 winner

Arie Luyendyk’s Lola racer a red, white and blue 500 winner …

Dutchman Arie Luyendyk was a consistent top-tier competitor in IndyCar during the 1980s and 1990s, but he had never won an Indycar race until the 1990 Indianapolis 500. What a place to start.

He went on to be a two-time Indy 500 winner, but his first was special because he beat the top racers at the time, Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi, Rick Mears and Al Unser Jr. And he set a record in doing it, running the 500 miles at an average speed of 185.981, a record that lasted until 2013. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1990 Indy 500 winner

Die-cast: Autoart 2017 Ford GT

Ford GT, old or new, beautiful in any form …

Even before the recent Ford vs. Ferrari publicity machine rolled through our collective conscience car guys and gals knew all about the original Ford GT40, and at least a bit about its more modern Ford GT spinoff.

While the first was a butt-kicking racer that ruled Le Mans for four years, the latter is a beautiful street-legal remake that only the wealthy can afford. Now Autoart does something about that with its 1/18 scale rendering of the 2017 Ford GT in various paint schemes. Our review car was a snazzy black number with orange racing stripes and interior trim (my high school colors). Cool! Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart 2017 Ford GT

Die-cast: Autoart’s 2016 Ford Focus RS

Ford’s raciest Focus, the RS looks great in 1/18 scale …

For my job reviewing cars for Public Radio I got to test drive the pocket rocket that is Ford’s Focus RS. Better put on your big-boy pants and racing shoes if you go that route.

See my review https://savageonwheels.com/2017/06/02/2017-ford-focus-rs/

In short, the RS is a blast to drive, and inexpensive as racers go, at roughly $37 grand. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s 2016 Ford Focus RS

Die-cast: NEO’s 1959 Chevrolet Corvette XP-700

Long-nosed Corvette XP-700 concept a mixed bag of styling …

General Motors was big into concept cars in the 1950s, many having fighter jet and missile styling, be it the nose, tail or just the model and engine names, such as the Oldsmobile’s Rocket 88 in Pontiac’s Starfire.

So, naming an experimental or concept car the XP-700 seems natural enough, and that’s what Chevrolet did with its body styling experiment for Corvette on the 1959 auto show circuit. The XP featured a wide-mouthed, low-slung Ferrari-style nose protruding from the already recognizable quad headlights in rounded fenders that Corvette introduced in its 1958 model. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1959 Chevrolet Corvette XP-700

Die-cast: Auto World 1970 Ford Torino Cobra

1970 Ford Torino ‘Cobra Jet’ was bargain muscle car …

My wife’s family had an early 1970s Ford Torino, and while it looked OK and had oodles of power, it wasn’t really a very good car.

But these were the big Fords that raced in NASCAR in the day and in coupe version had a fastback roofline, so weren’t hard on the eye. Let’s be honest, the Torino was a bargain compared with some other muscle cars of the time, especially Ford’s own Mustang. Continue reading Die-cast: Auto World 1970 Ford Torino Cobra