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Posts from the ‘Die-cast Cars’ Category

12
Aug

Die-cast: Looksmart’s 2016 Ferrari SF16-H

Looksmart delivers sharp Vettel Ferrari from 2016 Australian GP …Ferrari SF-16 F1 racer

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari joining forces seems a deal worked in heaven, or at least Maranello, which to the tifosi is one and the same.

Vettel is a four-time world F1 champ and Ferrari has the most wins of any F1 team ever, 227. So when Vettel came aboard three seasons ago the tifosi’s dreams of another F1 title grew quickly.  By 2016 they were expecting wins, if not a title, and the new Ferrari SF16-H looked to be the car to do it.

Looksmart, a fairly new Italian die-cast maker, has just begun making gorgeous 1/18-scale resin models and this version of the SF16-H is as it appeared in its debut race, the 2016 Australian Grand Prix. The review car is a replica of Vettel’s ride that day. He finished third. Replicarz provided the review model.

The History

Scuderia Ferrari, started by Enzo Ferrari in 1929 to be Alfa Romeo’s factory racing team, has been successful in Formula 1 racing since its inception. It’s the only F1 team to compete in each season since F1 was formed in 1950.Ferrari SF16-H F1 racer

Ferrari has won 16 constructors’ championships and its drivers have won 15 driver championships, most recently Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

The SF16-H (SF for Scuderia Ferrari, and H for hybrid) ran the entire 2016 season. Vettel had the best results for the team although the car never won a race. Vettel notched seven podiums including three second-place finishes, while Raikkonen had four podiums and two seconds. The team was third in the constructor’s contest.

However, this car led to the SF70-H which is proving much more successful. It already has won three F1 races as of this writing, putting Vettel atop the F1 driver’s championship. Read more

1
Aug

Die-cast: Autoart’s Rocket Bunny Toyota 86

Rocket Bunny Toyota 86 rocks …Autoart Rocket Bunny Toyota 86

You gotta admit, the name Rocket Bunny sticks in the ol’ memory banks.

So when I saw Autoart has a new 1:18-scale model of the Toyota 86 in Rocket Bunny trim, well, I requested one to see just what a Rocket Bunny Toyota looked like.

The History

What is a Rocket Bunny? You may be asking. Well, if you’re not a tuner car guy or under age 40, this aftermarket aero kit maker may not be on your radar. It should be though because Rocket Bunny / Pandem Aero Kits is waking up the custom car look for Drift-style boy-toy street racers.

These are sold in the U.S. via GReddy Performance Products that makes everything from special high-perf exhaust systems to electronics, engine parts and brake and suspension pieces to tweak performance.

The cool panels added to the Toyota 86 give it a more muscular look with bigger wheel well flares and racy nose and tail treatments.Autoart Rocket Bunny Toyota 86

The Toyota 86, by the way, starts with ample power for a 2+2 sports fastback with a bit more than 200 horsepower from its Subaru-built and designed boxer engine. The car is lightweight with an aluminum hood and its engine mounted as low as possible in the chassis to provide better balance and a low center of gravity. This is a rear-drive model  with a top speed of 145 mph and a 0-60 mph time of about 6 seconds out of the box. Read more

25
Jul

NEO’s 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air

Often overlooked ’56 Chevy Bel Air gets its due …NEO's 1956 Chevy Bel Air

Whose family didn’t own a 1950s Chevy when the entire country was seeing the U.S.A. from their Chevrolet?

Our family had a green 1955 Chevy 210, the mid-level model that ultimately became the Biscayne. That car ran forever and was still an attractive hardtop (ok, a little rust) when we traded it for a white Plymouth Valiant convertible in 1963. Now NEO creates a two-tone 1956 Bel Air, a sharp two-door hardtop.

This was the second generation Bel Air and was considered a premium Chevy model.  So popular was it that the Bel Air was built at six Chevy plants across North America. Some were even made in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Sales were stellar, keeping Chevrolet American’s No. 1 brand.

The History

After launching a restyled model for 1955 that was an overwhelming success, Chevy mildly restyled the 1956 model to replace what was known as the Ferrari grille with a full-width one that was more conventional at the time. Likewise the wheel wells were tapered for a more graceful appearance and the taillights were altered to include jet-like protrusions so popular on all cars of the day. Chevy also hid the gas cap inside the left fin, as it had on some Cadillacs.NEO's 1956 Chevy Bel Air

Wisely Chevy created a sharp two-tone version, as in the sample here, with the roof, rear deck and top of the rear quarter panels being painted in an accent color. Here it’s white to offset the dark red to near purple of the car’s nose and lower portions. The model’s color is closest to the original Dusk Plum offered in 1956. Read more »

19
Jul

Die-cast: NEO’s1961 Chrysler Newport Wagon

NEO’s Chrysler Newport touts edgy styling …1961 Chrysler Newport wagon

There are some relatively obscure cars from the 1950s and early 1960s that just don’t get their due from die-cast car makers, even though these vehicles are stellar examples of that era’s radical styles.

Now NEO has created a 1961 Chrysler Newport wagon that highlights some of that edgy styling with modified tailfins and an artistic use of chrome side trim. This is another of NEO’s sharp looking 1/43-scale resin models of this exciting era in U.S. car design.

 

The History

Cars were big in the early 1960s as families were growing (remember the Baby Boom?) and station wagons were needed to haul all those kids around, like minivans today. But not all parents wanted to tool around in a boring box. So Virgil Exner and his Chrysler design team came to the rescue!1961 Chrysler Newport wagon

Read more »

17
Jul

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1971 PJ Colt, Joe Leonard

Replicarz goes bigger, produces winner with Joe Leonard’s championship car … 1971 PJ Colt, Joe Leonard driver

Joe Leonard was a heck of a racer, on two wheels and four.

He not only won three motorcycle championships, the hard-nosed driver also moved up to Indy cars and won the 1971 USAC championship running virtually the same car as his teammate, Al Unser, who won the Indianapolis 500 in a sister car that year.

Replicarz honors Leonard, who died earlier this year, with its release of a 1/18-scale PJ Colt, a replica of the car Leonard drove to the USAC title decked out in its yellow and blue Samsonite-sponsored livery.  Replicarz had created a limited edition 1/43-scale model of the car previously, along with Unser’s 1970 and 1971 Indy winning Johnny Lightning racers.1971 PJ Colt, Joe Leonard driver

The History

Leonard won three A.M.A. Grand National Championships between 1954 and 1957 and set a record with 27 wins. By 1961 though, he turned his attention to auto racing and debuted in USAC, then the top-level open-wheel racing series.  In 1964 he reached its top level, racing Champ cars, those that ran in the Indianapolis 500. He won his first race, the Milwaukee 150, in 1965 aboard a Gurney Eagle.

Leonard raced for several teams and had several good results at Indy, finishing third in 1967 and sixth in 1969 when he was wheeling Smokey Yunick’s doctored Gurney Eagle. In between he put Andy Granatelli’s famous wedge turbine on the pole at Indy and was leading with 9 laps to go when a part failed. Read more

10
Jul

Die-cast: NEO’s 1959 Chevy El Camino

Chevrolet’s first El Camino blends car, truck …1959 Chevrolet El Camino

Today the blending of cars and trucks seems natural as SUVs and crossovers have become the preferred mode of personal transportation in the United States. But in the late 1950s and early 1960s such a thought was downright odd.

Ford stirred the beast first when it created the Ranchero and within two years Chevrolet answered with El Camino, basically wagons made into pickups with a big open bed behind the enclosed front seat compartment. Some considered El Camino a coupe utility pickup, a fairly apt description.

NEO has created a sharp 1/43 scale version of the 1959 El Camino in black with a red interior and plenty of chrome nose and tail.

The History

The original El Camino was only around two years 1959–1960 and was made in GM’s Arlington, Texas plant. It rode on the 1959 Chevy Brookwood platform, a new two-door station wagon that was longer, lower and wider than existing full-size Chevys.  Read more

3
Jul

Die-cast: Autoart’s Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin Vanquish = automotive art …Autoart Aston Martin Vanquish

Some cars are rolling art right from the get go. Such is Aston Martin’s Vanquish, which was introduced in 2013 to coincide with the British luxury car maker’s 100th anniversary.

As with all Astons, the goal was to combine beauty and performance on four wheels.

Likewise Autoart has recreated that beauty in 1/18 scale with its composite-bodied Vanquish, in sparkling black for the review model. Other colors are available, but bathed in black this baby looks long, lean, and sexy, just like the real beast.

The History

Vanquish, like most high-priced luxury makes, was aimed at the uncompromising buyer. But not the one who demands only luxury, or beauty.Autoart Aston Martin Vanquish

Vanquish, as its name suggests, wants to smite its automotive foes that are competing for the high-end coin of the realm.

A 2017 Vanquish lists at $287,650 for the coupe (like the review car) and $305,650 for the convertible.  Under its long carbon fiber hood is a throbbing V12 that makes 568 horsepower, the most of any power plant in Aston Martin’s history. Read more »

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 »

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