Category Archives: Die-cast Cars

Die-cast: Ixo’s Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC #19

Ixo creates a racy 2019 WRC Hyundai rally car …

Throughout the rest of the world rally racing is a big deal and car manufacturers put serious money into winning the World Rally Championship, which started in 1973. So, it has been around a while.

Not so much Hyundai, which first entered WRC racing at the Monte Carlo Rally in 2014. But the Hyundai team was a quick learner and after tweaking its European subcompact, the i20, it started racking up podiums and points. For the record, the i20 is similar to the Hyundai Kona and Kia Rio models sold in the US market. Continue reading Die-cast: Ixo’s Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC #19

Die-cast: Autoart’s Aston Martin Vulcan

James Bond would covet this sexy Aston …

Britain’s Aston Martin brand stirs images of James Bond deploying a bulletproof screen behind his DB5, spraying bullets from the machine guns in its running lights, squirting oil on the road to wreck the evildoers following him or ejecting said henchmen through the passenger’s side roof.

It also stirs thoughts of high speed and equally high prices. Well, Autoart’s new Aston Martin Vulcan lives up to those later images, as would any original Aston. This one is 1/18 scale though and oozing with detail that helps justify its $220 price tag. But that’s nothing compared with the 1/1 scale’s $2.3 million suggested retail sticker. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Aston Martin Vulcan

Die-cast: IXO’s Citroen Dyane, 1976 Monte Carlo Rallye

High-value 1/43 Citroen reflects early rally racers …

Ah, the dear old Citroen 2CV is an icon, at least on the other side of the pond, being what the average French car buyer drove during the middle years of last century. But as it aged, even staid Citroen had to start developing cars to meet the expanding needs of mid-1960s buyers. Remember, there was a baby boom going on overseas as well.

So, the roomier Citroen Dyane with a rear hatchback debuted in 1967, and met with good success, enough so that the car remained in the French car maker’s lineup until 1983. Continue reading Die-cast: IXO’s Citroen Dyane, 1976 Monte Carlo Rallye

Auto World’s 1969 Shelby GT-350 pilot car

Auto World’s pretty Shelby celebrates the BOSS 302 …

Auto World continues to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BOSS engine that was launched in 1969, this time with a 1/18 scale die-cast model of the muscular 1969 Shelby GT-350.

This one comes in a medium metallic blue (Acapulco blue) with black side and hood racing stripes, and like all of Auto World’s American Muscle and similar releases, the doors and hood open while the front wheels also are steerable. Of course, there’s a replica Boss 302 under the hood in this one. Continue reading Auto World’s 1969 Shelby GT-350 pilot car

Die-cast: Replicarz 1972 Javelin Trans Am

AMC Javelin a winner in Donohue or Follmer trim …

Muscle car lovers appreciate the AMC Javelin because American Motors Corp. was much like The Little Engine That Could, and to beat all the Javelin was handsomely styled too.

Once AMC decided to take it racing in the Trans Am series in 1970, the company gained even more respect from racers as it was instantly competitive with the Mustangs and Camaros of the day. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1972 Javelin Trans Am

Die-cast: NEO’s 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Hardtop

Ford Fairlane 500 exudes bad boy attitude …

My brother Steve owned a black 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Hardtop with gold accent trim down the side in the late 1960s, so when I saw NEO’s 1/43 scale version, I wanted to give it a closer look.

This one is black and white, with the upper portions (hood and trunk) being a creamy white, not as bad-boy looking as my brother’s black beauty. Still, the 1957 was elegant yet sporty with its slight tail fins and jet-like round taillights. Somehow 1950s cars looked great in two- and three-tone color combos, something you rarely see these days. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Hardtop

Die-cast: Johnny Lightning themed 2-packs

Barn Finds lead the way for JL’s themed 2-packs …  

I’m a sucker for 1/64 scale die-cast cars because I grew up garaging Matchbox and Hot Wheels in shoe boxes and plastic carrying cases. Just entering my teens when Johnny Lightning debuted 50 years ago, I was impressed with its castings’ quality and realism compared with the other brands.

Now Johnny Lightning is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its parent, Round2, is creating a series of Themed 2-Packs that are worthy of being in any modeler or collector’s display case. The latest is release 1 of its Barn Finds and Nickey Chevrolet castings. As always, the display cards are stellar and challenge you to keep these 2-packs intact, and clean, or open them and enjoy the feel of die-cast model cars. Tough choice as I’ve said before.

Here’s a quick look at both packs. Continue reading Die-cast: Johnny Lightning themed 2-packs

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