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Posts from the ‘Die-cast Cars’ Category

5
Jun

Diecast: Automodello’s 1974 Bricklin SV1 Scottsdale Police

Automodello retools its Bricklin SV1, adds cop car markings …Automodello 1974 Bricklin SV1

Bricklins were unique in their day, the mid-1970s, but even more unusual were three white over blue Bricklins with sirens, a bubble gum strobe and other police gear. They were part of the Scottsdale, Ariz., police.

Malcolm Bricklin basically gave the Scottsdale police the three cars in a publicity move. His corporate offices were in Scottsdale so he leased the SPD the cars for $1 each. The move created cars that were unusual enough for Automodello to rework its fine Bricklin mold from a few years back to create the car in 1/43 scale, and with its gullwing doors closed this time.

The History

The SV1 was a sports car, think along the lines of a Toyota Supra or Nissan Z-car, but more than just a sexy body with good power. Bricklin designed the car with a frontal energy-absorbing crash zone and integrated roll cage. Reportedly the SV in its name stood for Safety Vehicle.Automodello 1974 Bricklin SV1

But Bricklin wanted his car to be both fast and safe, so he dropped in a 360-cubic-inch AMC V8 (one could argue that choice) that got 220 horsepower, a substantial amount for a two-seat sports car. While fast, the SPD rarely used them in pursuits, instead the cars ended up mainly as public-relations vehicles and cruisers. Those gullwing doors were hard for cops to get out of fast, so the police weren’t too thrilled to be using them for chasing speeders or other bad boys. Read more

29
May

Die-cast: NEO’s 1932 Packard 902 Standard Eight Coupe

1932 Packard’s beauty shines through in resin model … 1932 Packard

You know you’re mature when you remember seeing Packards for sale at the corner used car lots and driving around the neighborhood, and mine was not a ritzy area.

But for those of us who grew up in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Packard was still a car make we recognized. Certainly Packard’s reputation had been stellar for years, before it slowly and sadly faded away after being purchased by Studebaker. The last Packards were 1958 models.

Yet in its early years and through the 1930s, Packards were considered more than premium motorcars, they were right up there at the pinnacle. One of its classy coupes was the 1932 902 Standard Eight, a two-seater with rumble seat out back. NEO creates a 1/43 scale resin beauty now in dark red with black roof and fenders. The review model comes from American-Excellence.

The History

For 1932, despite the ongoing Depression, Packard rolled out its Ninth Series of cars, all longer, lower and faster than previous models. The Series 902 Coupe was a sweet one with an improved version of Packard’s Standard Eight engine, a 302 cu.in. L-head straight eight creating 110 horsepower.1932 Packard

A new feature that sounds more like it should be on today’s cars was Ride Control adjustable shocks. The system allowed the car’s hydraulic shocks to be adjusted from inside the car. The cars ran smoother and quieter too as rubber engine mounts were employed along with the driveshaft being rubber mounted and jointed. The car also had a self-lubricating chassis. Read more

22
May

Die-cast: Autoart’s 2014 LeMans, Toyota TS040 Hybrid

Toyota’s LeMans hybrid racer looks good in 1/18 scale …Autoart Toyota TS040 Hybrid

LeMans prototype racers press the envelope of styling and power to compete at the highest levels of the World Endurance Championship that includes the famous 24 Hours of LeMans in France.

Audi has dominated that race for the past decade and Porsche has had its run too. But a few years back Toyota decided to enter the fray and take on the big boys with its TS030. But it took two years to work out the bugs and the hybrid model TS040 won the WEC manufacturer’s championship in 2014.

Autoart has created another masterful reproduction in 1/18 scale, here with the No. 7 Toyota racer that was driven in 2014 by noted endurance drivers, Alexander Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima,  and Stéphane Sarrazin.

The History

Toyota’s foray into prototype racing for the endurance title started in 2012 with the TS030 hybrid. But it was the TS040 that finally moved the Japanese car maker to the top of the LMP1 podium. Autoart Toyota TS040 HybridThe TS040 used a naturally-aspirated V8 that featured a supercapacitor system, or energy-retrieval system, on the rear and front axle to give it 58% more power than its predecessor. This also gave the racer 4-wheel-drive, a major benefit in an endurance car that often has to race in lousy weather.

The car features a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb chassis and its 3.7-liter 90-degree V8 along with the energy-retrieval system generates nearly 1000 horsepower – 986 hp to be exact. Read more

15
May

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1970s Indy Eagles

Indy 500 Eagles continue to fly, multiply at Replicarz  …Replicarz 1975 Indy 500 Eagle

Dan Gurney remains one of the biggest names in open-wheel racing. His Eagle race cars dominated the Indianapolis 500 and Indycar circuit in the late 1960s through much of the 1970s, but really set the establishment on its ear starting in 1972.

That’s when Bobby Unser debuted the new Eagle with its giant rear spoiler and upped the speed ante to nearly 200 mph by putting his Olsonite Eagle on the pole at 195.8 mph, 3 mph faster than Peter Revson’s McLaren.

Replicarz, which previously released the 1973 STP Team’s Eagles of winner Gordon Johncock and teammate Swede Savage in 1/18 scale, now delivers three new Eagles in 1/43 scale. Back is the Johncock car, with just 200 being made, along with limited runs of 300 for both Unser’s white 1972 pole car and  1975 Indy winner, the blue Jorgensen Eagle..

The History

Bobby Unser won Indy in 1968 in a Gurney Eagle, while Gurney himself was second. Gurney would place second and third the next two years, then retire. Yet his Eagles, made by All-American Racers in Santa Ana, Calif., soared. They won 51 Indycar races.Replicarz 1972 Indy 500 Eagle

The Olsonite Eagle that Bobby Unser put on the pole in 1972 was the tipping point toward Eagles being the top Indycar of the time. That year it led the first 30 laps of the race before an ignition rotor failed sidelining Unser. He finished 30th. But by the next May, 21 of Indy’s 33 starters drove Eagles, including the winner, Johncock.

A McLaren, the other major player at the time, won the following year when 19 Eagles made the field, but Unser was back in the winner’s circle in 1975 with his blue No. 48. Eagles made up roughly half the Indy field. Read more

8
May

Die-cast: NEO’s Willys Jeep Station Wagon

Willys Jeep Wagon looks sharp in Michigan State Police  trim … NEO's Willys Jeep Station Wagon

Everyone likes the old Jeeps, the original Willys models that looked like World War II era army Jeeps, all boxy and plain and ready to take on any rugged terrain that muddied their way.

Now NEO delivers a handsome 1/43 scale navy blue Michigan State Police version of the Willys Jeep Station Wagon. It’s fun and just peculiar enough to be a real conversation starter on any model shelf.

The History

After World War II the Jeep moniker landed with Willys-Overland in Toledo, Ohio. It enlisted Milwaukee industrial designer Brooks Stevens to design a Jeep Station Wagon. This was the first all-steel station wagon made for the mass market and it was a hit, with more than 300,000 being made from 1946 through 1965. When the wagon went into production many other automakers’ station wagon bodies were still made of wood.

Since Willys didn’t have the means to make its own bodies, the Jeep wagon’s bodies were created by steel fabricating companies and attached to the chassis. Many of these same companies were making large metal household appliances when not stamping out Jeep bodies. Read more

1
May

Die-cast: Automodello’s 1937 Delage D8-120 S

Automodello's 1937 Delage

1937 Delage a near perfect one-off …

Today, rich folks will plunk out a half a million bucks for a new Ferrari or Lamborghini and think they have something special, unique. Yet hundreds are made of such models.

Consider the rich folks of the 1930s who selected a fine chassis and drivetrain from a high-end manufacturer, like France’s Delage, and then commissioned a coachmaker to build a one-off body, just for their chassis. Ah, now that’s exclusivity.

That’s exactly what happened in 1937 when a Delage D8-120 S chassis was built and delivered to coachbuilder Pourtout that created a hand-formed aluminum body for the car. And what a body it was!

Now Automodello recreates a 1/24 scale cast resin version of this streamlined beauty. It’s a knockout!

The HistoryAutomodello's 1937 Delage

The Delage D8-120 S Aerodynamic Coupe is fantastic is a true one-off designed by famed stylist Georges Paulin. Records show the body alone cost $18,000 to build, roughly $300,000 in today’s coin.

The car was first shown at the Paris Auto Show in 1937 and Louis Delage, the carmaker’s owner, drove the car for three years before it was sold. Delage had always believed in proving his car’s mettle by racing them, one even winning the 1914 Indianapolis 500. So performance was important to him. Read more »

23
Apr

Die-cast: Autoart’s Mercedes-AMG GT3

Even as a model Mercedes-AMG GT3 is sexy …Mercedes-AMG GT3

Some cars are sexy, some are nasty, some are fast. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer is all of the above, a lawn dart of an automobile with a long nose and a monster rear wing. Looks like it could nail any competitor to the pavement.

Autoart creates a beautiful 1/18 scale version of the GT3 racer as it was presented to the media a couple years back in a gorgeous matte metallic gray paint scheme with yellow racing stripes and a No. 1 on each door.  Who’s to argue with that?

The History

If you’re deep into NASCAR or IndyCar racing you may not know much about GT3 cars. But Group GT3 cars are Grand Touring (get it?) cars that race in various series around the world.  The GT3 designation started in 2005 under rules set by FIA, the international racing rules group.

In essence GT3 cars must be based on production GT cars and have 500 to 600 horsepower and weigh between 1200kg (2,645 lbs.) and 1300kg (2,866 lbs.). They also feature ABS, traction control and include built-in air jacks to facilitate quick pit stops. Currently about 40 cars have been approved, or homologated to race in GT3, including the likes of Audi, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ford (GT), Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, along with the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper.Mercedes-AMG GT3

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is built in conjunction with Mercedes’ AMG performance unit in Sindelfingen, Germany. Under its massive hood is a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 that creates 622 horsepower, while the production model has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that tops out at 577. The older naturally aspirated engine is simpler and more reliable for racing, hence the difference. Oh, and top speed is 206 mph. Read more »

16
Apr

Die-cast: BoS-Models 1957 Imperial Crown Southampton

Imperial Crown Southampton: When styling still mattered … 1957 Imperial Crown Southampton

As a kid I, like many folks at the time, liked cars with jet-like fins. Plus I’ve always been a sucker for the cool fake spare tire molded into the trunk lid. So Imperials, Chrysler’s luxury brand, were, and are, a favorite.

Few Imperials were more impressive than the 1957 Crown Southampton, a monster of a car, but dripping with style. Its nose with twin dual headlights favored Cadillac styling, but its slightly outward leaning tail fins and aircraft-like pointed taillights set it apart from the more staid luxury models of the day.

BoS-Models now creates a beautiful 1957 Southampton in a stunning bronze paint scheme with a cream-colored roof and enough chrome to blind an army of car show onlookers on a sunny day. This is in 1/18 scale and the body is cast resin.

The History

Imperial became its own brand, like Cadillac for GM and Lincoln for Ford, in 1955. The second generation Imperials debuted in 1957 and had their own distinct platforms, something that lasted until 1966.1957 Imperial Crown Southampton

These brutes were big and strong, so sturdy in fact that they were banned from most demolition derbies as being too tough to knock out of competition. Much of the reason was the Imperial’s full perimeter frame with box cross sections forming an “X” for strength. Meanwhile most cars were moving to lighter unibody construction.

The Imperials of 1957, which were part of Chrysler designer Virgil Exner’s “forward look” styling, also featured Torsion-Aire suspensions that used an indirect-acting torsion bar system up front. It lowered the car’s center of gravity and moved it rearward to improve handling. Read more »

28
Mar

Die-cast: Autoart’s 2013 Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak rally car a sexy winged warrior …2013 Peugeot 208 T16

I have to admit that European rally cars, the little high-powered mini racers with big engines and wings to match, fascinate me visually. They look tough and aggressive and fast and fun.

Now Autoart releases a sharp all black 1/18 scale version of the Peugeot 208 T16 that was raced up Pikes Peak here in the U.S. in 2013. It looks like it rocks with a giant wing on an equally giant pedestal and with tires so fat they look like they’d hold on to any road even if the car were upside down.

This is a beautiful little beast! Here’s the story on it.

The History

Rally superstar Sebastien Loeb (9 titles) was chosen to run this custom built Peugeot up Colorado’s Pikes Peak in 2013 to challenge the record time of 9:46.164 set a year earlier by Rhys Millen. Loeb crushed it, making the 19.9 km run in 8:13.878.2013 Peugeot 208 T16

The French Peugeot had to straighten 156 corners while climbing to Pikes Peak’s summit. The video is amazing (insert it), as there is no guard rail along the route that the likes of Bobby Unser and most of the other Unser clan have proven themselves champions through the years. Read more »

21
Mar

Die-cast: BoS Models’ Buick Flxible Premier Ambulance

A beautiful Buick ambulance in 1/18 scale …Buick Flxible Premier Ambulance

Every kid of the 1950s and 1960s remembers the extremely long brightly colored ambulances of the day, either from seeing them as they ran our city’s streets with lights flashing and sirens blaring, or from TV shows of the day.

Cadillac ambulances with their big tailfins were popular to be sure. We all remember the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1. But many ambulances were based on Buicks too, in fact from the 1930s forward Buicks were the basis for both ambulances and hearses.

BoS-Models, also known as Best of Show, has just launched a beautiful cream and crimson 1960 Buick ambulance in 1/18 scale and it’s a stunner. This diecast resin ambulance is more than 13 inches long, finely finished and reflects a custom ambulance created by The Flxible Co. in Loudonville, Ohio.

The HistoryBuick Flxible Premier Ambulance

This long-wheelbase Buick built by Flxible (the E was dropped to create a registered trademark) was the Premier model and listed at the time for $8,615.

Flxible made ambulances, hearses and buses, but started as Flexible Sidecar Co., making motorcycle sidecars. The name came from a patented flexible mounting that allowed sidecars to lean in corners with the motorcycle, making them safer and easier to control. Flxible closed in 1996 after 83 years in business.

In the 1960s the firm used primarily Buicks to create their ambulances and hearses and had a smaller model, the Flxette, that rode on the 126-inch wheelbase of a Buick Electra. The premier was more than 27 inches longer.

The Model

The 1960 Buick Electra had a concave grille, with side-by-side quad headlights, and the first tri-shield Buick logo on its grille. Plus the front fenders sported four VentiPorts, the chrome portholes of a sort that had started in 1949 Buicks and had returned for 1960. All of that is perfectly captured in the resin BoS model.

Buick Flxible Premier AmbulanceThis Buick’s front and rear bumpers, and naturally that toothy grille, are all chrome as are the door handles, mirror, and taillight surrounds. The roof sports two standard red bubblegum lights trimmed in chrome and the center-mounted red light and siren to get folks attention. The thin white-sidewall tires also feature full chrome hubcaps and they’re pretty darned fancy looking for an ambulance, but were standard fare in 1960.

Buick is spelled out in photo-etch on the hood’s nose and BoS puts red Fire-Rescue and Ambulance decals on the roof. A fire and rescue emblem is emblazoned on the big wagon’s back door and Ambulance markings with a cross are printed on the rear side windows. The model also has a no. 138 decal on each side in front of the doors to represent the car’s fleet marking. Flxible script logos are on both front fenders too.

This is a sealed body model, so no doors open, nor the hood. All windows are posed up too so the light and dark gray interior will stay dust free if you display this outside a case. You’ll need a larger than usual acrylic case if you want to enclose it due to the car’s length.Buick Flxible Premier Ambulance

Inside there’s the new, at the time, Buick two-spoke steering wheel with horn buttons instead of the usual chrome horn ring. Gauges are raised on a pod atop the dash, very modern for the early 1960s, while the shift lever is still on the column.

Naturally the ambulance’s tail is most interest and there is a gurney there with yellow mattress and white pillow, plus two jump seats to accommodate an attendant or two. There is no other medical equipment in the rear and I really wish the tail’s big door opened to give a better view inside.

Still, this is a beautiful long-wheelbase ambulance, not your typical subject matter for a 1/18 scale model!

Vital Stats: 1960 Buick Flxible Premier AmbulanceBuick Flxible Premier Ambulance

Maker: BoS-Models

Scale: 1/18

Stock No.: 213558

MSRP: $135.95

Link: American-Excellence.com

 

12
Mar

Die-cast: NEO 1966 Pontiac GTO Convertible

Pontiac GTO Convertible = crisp, muscular model …

1966 Pontiac GTO

Great color scheme for a GTO!

Those of us of a certain age used to worship (or close to it) muscle cars in the 1960s, and many credit Pontiac with launching the idea of a muscular mid-size car that the masses could afford.

Pontiac’s first was the 1964 Tempest with the GTO package ($295) that added a 389 cu.in. V8 that delivered 325 horsepower with a 4-barrel carb.  Otherwise the hardtop and convertible Tempests were typical family cars.

Certainly there are a fair number of die-cast models of GTOs these days, but NEO has added the 1966 Convertible version to its growing America car collection in 1/43 scale. Our review model came from the good folks at American-Excellence. As with other NEO models in this scale, this one is expertly executed.

The History

In the mid-1960s there were a lot of hardtops and convertibles, not so much these days. But in 1966 Pontiac wisely made the GTO a separate model from the Tempest and was restyled to include a kicked-up rear fender line.1966 Pontiac GTO1966 Pontiac GTO

The car rode on a 115-inch wheelbase and was just over 206 inches long. Its lines accentuated its length to give it a lean yet muscular look that matched its performance persona.  It still packed the powerful V8 engine and a Ram Air package was available too. The hood scoop helped emphasize the car’s power. Read more »

26
Feb

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1964 Indy Smokey Yunick sidecar racer

PRE-RELEASE REVIEW:

Sidecar racer unique, weird, unsuccessful, but a cool die-cast model …Replicarz 1964 Smokey Yunick sidecar racer

The mid-1960s were a wild and revolutionary time for race car design and technology at the Indianapolis 500, the predominant race in the world at the time.

The era saw roadsters with their engines in the front replaced by racers, such as Lotuses, with engines in the rear. There were a variety of engines from Offenhausers to Fords to Chevys, plus some jet turbines that darned near won, twice.

Then there was the sidecar roadster created by master mechanic and designer, Smokey Yunick, who had already taken on the stock car world at Daytona and entered several cars over the years at Indianapolis, including a 1962 roadster with a giant wing over the hood and driven by 1960 winner Jim Rathmann.Replicarz 1964 Smokey Yunick sidecar racer

But by 1964, a pivotal and also disastrous year for Indy due to its worst and most terrifying crash that killed two drivers, Smokey had created what was commonly known as the sidecar racer, his Offset Roadster with sidecar. It carried his usual gold and black color scheme, and now Replicarz is creating it in 1/18 scale resin for us diecast collectors. Read more

22
Feb

Die-cast: Automodello’s 1966 Ford Galaxie 500

Rare 7-Liter Hardtop beautiful in 1/24 scale …Automodello 1966 Galaxie 500 Hardtop

As a kid I saw a lot of Ford Galaxies around the neighborhood and some of my northern Indiana relatives who farmed had them and weren’t afraid to run them out in a cornfield if necessary.

But rarer was the Galaxie 500 7-Liter Hardtop, a luxury model that wasn’t afraid to lay a little rubber at a stoplight. That’s the cast resin model Automodello reproduces in popular 1/24 scale and paints up in a variety of historically accurate colors.

The History

While the Galaxie 500 debuted in 1965 it was the 1966 model that boasted a new 7-liter V8. This was Ford’s already powerful 390 V8 but enlarged to 428 cu.in. to create a real torque monster. Unlike the earlier 390 model this one could accommodate all the luxury options Ford packed onto its Galaxie 500 models to push them from standard family cars to luxury models.

So in addition to performance type power, the 1966 models had power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning. The 7-liter also could be coupled with an automatic transmission, something the earlier Ford 427 V8 designed for NASCAR use, could not.Automodello 1966 Galaxie 500 Hardtop

The new 7-liter model came only in hardtop and convertible models and sold well, about 11,000 units being made that year. By comparison, just 38 models were equipped with the horsier 427 V8 that year. Read more

7
Feb

Die-cast: NEO’s 1933 Cadillac Fleetwood All-weather Pheaton

’33 Cadillac Fleetwood long on style …1933 Cadillac Fleetwood

There have been some fine luxury cars made in the United States, exemplary machines that set the auto world on its proverbial ear. Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Duesenberg, Auburn and Cadillac come to mind.

Only Cadillac is left, but that’s because GM kept it alive through the Great Depression when it was churning out some fantastic cars and engines in a weak market. One model sums up the strong Cadillac effort of that era, its V-16 powered Fleetwood All-Weather Phaeton.

Oh baby, this was a monster with a 149-inch wheelbase. That would make the current Cadillac Escalade SUV look like a mid-size vehicle as the Fleetwood base was 33 inches longer than an Escalade. Now NEO has created this elegant drop-top in 1/24 scale resin, and it’s a deep red beauty.1933 Cadillac Fleetwood

The History

The Fleetwood’s V-16 was new in 1930 and surprised the automotive world that thought the V-12 was the way to go. Caddy created an overhead valve 452 cu.in. V-16 that created 185 horsepower. It was linked it to a 3-speed synchromesh transmission, another Cadillac invention.  Cadillac kept pushing too, following in 1931 with a similar new V-12.

The massive car also featured four-wheel power-assisted brakes, a leaf spring for the front and rear suspension with a solid front axle and live rear axle. Read more »

29
Jan

Die-cast: Auto World’s 1957 Ford Thunderbird

1957 T-bird wonderful in white! …1957 Ford Thunderbird

Early Thunderbirds were a lovely blend of two-seater styling and boulevard cruiser with dandy hooded headlights and tiny jet-like fins on the tail.

This was Ford’s effort to Americanize the sports car market that the British car makers had created after World War II, and it worked. Thunderbirds were around for a long time, although sadly they morphed into giant near luxury hardtops eventually.

Thankfully Auto World sticks with the two-seat 1957 Thunderbird for its new 1/18 scale diecast for the recently ended holiday season. This is Auto World’s third Holiday Muscle Edition vehicle and is done appropriately in snowy white.1957 Ford Thunderbird

The History

Thunderbirds, or T-birds to most of us, debuted in 1955 and the last one was made in 2005, 11 iterations in all. The last, was a retro model reflecting the styling and two-seat configuration of the original. It did not approach the success of the original. Read more »

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