Category Archives: Die-cast Cars

Die-cast: AutoArt’s McQueen Porsche Speedster

AutoArt nails McQueen’s racy Porsche 356 Speedster

If you’re old enough to remember the chase scene in “Bullitt” you’ll likely appreciate AutoArt’s fastidious recreation of any of Steve McQueen’s cars, including his 356 Porsche Speedster.

Love the taped up headlights!
Love the taped up headlights!

McQueen was a movie star first, then a racer of some note in the sports car world. Two of his movies, “Bullitt” and “LeMans” particularly highlighted his car handling abilities. Autoart already recreated that Bullitt Mustang and McQueen’s rare Jaguars XK-SS. Now it delivers a glossy black Porsche 356 Speedster, with a white No. 71 on the doors and hood, just as McQueen raced it (see photo below, right).
The car’s shape and simplicity are well modeled with perfect proportions and fine detail. For instance the headlights are taped as the car was raced, plus there are chromed screens by the tiny bulbous running lights up front. Autoart also did a superb job with the chrome work on the Porsche, including chrome-ringed taillights and thin dual exhausts, along with chrome trim along the Speedster’s sides, top and bottom. Even the chrome door handles are realistic as are the wipers and a tiny round windshield-mounted mirror. Continue reading Die-cast: AutoArt’s McQueen Porsche Speedster

Die-cast: Maisto 2014 Corvette Stingray

New Maisto Corvette Stingray easy on the eyes, good value

My first hands-on, up-close-and-personal experience with a Corvette came in the early 1960s at a local Chevy dealer’s lot. My uncle had a white Corvair and I’m pretty sure my dad was jealous, so we were walking the lot, window shopping.Filename: MOD-PS1013_Stingray04.psd

There sat a white and red Vette, all busted up, its nose caved in with shards of fiberglass jutting from the fenders. I was still oohing and aahing though. I’d seen Vettes in magazines, but not up close. Dad said they weren’t safe because of their fiberglass bodies. I didn’t care, they made our old green ’55 Chevy look like a dinosaur.

No doubt some kids today are thinking the same thing when they see the 2014 Corvette Stingray, and aren’t we glad THAT name is back.

Maisto comes to market quickly with many diecast models, and now beats even Chevrolet to stores with its 1:18 scale C7 version of the Corvette. Maisto’s model came out mid-summer, while the real production C7s didn’t start rolling off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Ky., until late summer. Pre-pros, of course, were out earlier! Continue reading Die-cast: Maisto 2014 Corvette Stingray

Die-cast: Ford Country Squire, AMC Pacer

PremiumX models offer good detail at modest price

 In 1964 I was nine and car crazy, like a lot of other kids my age then, and now.

IXO's PremiumX line includes a variety of  U.S. models.
IXO’s PremiumX line includes a variety of U.S. models.

But in the ‘60s cars changed virtually every year, with some sort of styling update, from headlights, to taillights to trim and accessories to make them look slightly updated. Ah, the good ol’ days!I was part of the Baby Boom that made station wagons one of the hottest selling car styles, and one of the more popular ones was Ford’s Country Squire, with its fake wood trim down the full length of the car. Up top, usually a chrome roof rack, set to hold the family suitcases for that trip to Wally World, er Disneyland, or maybe a national park for camping.

Now IXO, long known for its excellent racing models from F1 to LeMans racers, plunges into the American car market with its PremiumX lineup that includes a 1964 Country Squire, along with a variety of other someone obscure models. For instance, I also received a yellow 1975 AMC Pacer X for review, and there are few cars as odd as the Pacer. Continue reading Die-cast: Ford Country Squire, AMC Pacer

Die-cast: LeMans-winning Ford GT40s

Ixo’s Ford GT40 models offer good detail, value in 1:43 scale

Ford’s GT40 is the most beautiful enclosed race car ever made, and one of the most successful too. That’s my design bias, but the GT40’s success can’t be argued.

Ixo's version of the 1967, '68, and '69 LeMans-winning Ford GT40s.
Ixo’s version of the 1967, ’68, and ’69 LeMans-winning Ford GT40s.

Funny thing, it was created to settle a score at the highest levels of the automotive world. In the early 1960s Henry Ford II was rebuked in efforts to buy Ferrari and declared war on the Italian sports car maker and race team. The GT40, originally with a Lola chassis and various Ford V8 engines, was his weapon. By 1964 the first GT40 was raced at the Nurburgring 1000km endurance race and then the 24 Hours of LeMans, where three were entered and one led. All failed to finish. Yet ultimately the GT40 would win four straight LeMans 24-hour endurance races from 1966 through 1969, a remarkable run that ended Ferrari’s reign as the LeMans champ. Ferarri has not won LeMans since.With the annual endurance race being run in late June, this is a good time to look at what the diecast world offers regarding the only successful U.S. manufacturer’s race efforts. Continue reading Die-cast: LeMans-winning Ford GT40s

Die-cast: New Indy Eagles, ’84 March by Replicarz

Two Johncock racers, Swede Savage Eagle are latest releases

While some of us old-timers remember front-engine roadsters at Indy, many more of us remember the variety of 1960s, ’70s and ’80s rear-engine racers, the Eagle, March, Foyt and Lotus chassis that won the Indianapolis 500 from 1965 forward.

Swede Savage's No. 40 STP Eagle from 1973 is stunning.
Swede Savage’s No. 40 STP Eagle from 1973 is stunning.

Drivers like A.J. Foyt, Gordon Johncock, Mario Andretti and Rick Mears piloted these big-winged racers that took aerodynamics to a whole new level, and speeds along with them. Well, Replicarz now brings back some of these colorful Indy Cars, including two new versions that hadn’t been done previously. All are 1:18 scale and use molds that previously served to create the fine Carousel 1 models.Being released in May or early June are the STP team cars that Johncock and Swede Savage drove in the 1973 Indy 500 and the March that Johncock piloted in 1984.

I’ve got to admit that I’m a sucker for Indy cars, and already own a Carousel 1 version of Johncock’s 1973 Indy winner. But these raise the bar from those already well detailed models.

Here’s what I noticed different on the new Replicarz version of the ’73 Eagle. Continue reading Die-cast: New Indy Eagles, ’84 March by Replicarz

Die-cast: Autoart Lamborghini Aventador

Autoart creates flashy Lamborghini Aventador

Oh, baby this looks fast!
Oh, baby this looks fast!

For many years now, Lamborghini and Ferrari have worked their Italian design magic to tug at supercar aficionados’ heart strings like another rendition of “O Sole Mio” in the mother country.Lamborghini was created to spite Enzo Ferrari, who insulted Ferruccio Lamborghini, who was, at the time, a customer. And it’s safe to say, Lamborghini proved his point, his firm designing edgy supercars that with their massive 12-cylinder engines ultimately have put many a Ferrari to shame from a performance standpoint.

Among its most recent efforts, the Aventador LP700-4, modeled here by Autoart, is a stellar example. Aventador, named for a famous bull (in Europe), as are all Lamborghinis, features a monster 700 horsepower, 12-cylinder 6.5-liter engine. That raging bull under the rear bonnet pushes the real car to 62 mph in just 2.9 seconds and boasts a top speed of 217 mph, enough to earn you a ticket any time you drive it! Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart Lamborghini Aventador

Die-cast: 1970 Plymouth Superbird

AutoWorld delivers detailed Superbird

The nearly fluorescent candy colors that Plymouth and Dodge bathed their late 1960s and early ’70s cars in still grab you when you catch a glimpse today. Heck, this bright neon green AutoWorld 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird stirs memories of psychedelic pinwheels on TV’s then popular “Laugh-In.”Superbird-02

I’m dating myself and the collectors who’ll really appreciate this nicely detailed Superbird, complete with the cartoon Road Runner logo on its magnificent towering rear wing and another on the flat black headlight door on the car’s streamlined nose.

The Superbird was created to race in NASCAR and followed on the heels of Dodge’s Charger Daytona, which debuted in 1969. Both had a big rear wing to create down force and a wedge-shaped nose to aid aerodynamics and allow the car to slip through the air more quickly.

But at the time, to race a car, the automakers had to sell the same body style to the public, whereas now NASCAR’s racers are everything, but stock. So in 1970 Plymouth introduced the Road Runner-based Superbird for the racetrack and made 1,920 of the high-winged birds for the street. But it was one and done, the Superbird only flew out the showroom doors in 1970.

The details:

AutoWorld has mastered making U.S. muscle cars at very competitive prices so you can collect as many of your favorite makes as you want. Continue reading Die-cast: 1970 Plymouth Superbird