Tag Archives: 1:18 scale die-cast

Die-cast: Auto World 1961 Pontiac Catalina Hardtop

1:18 scale Catalina a long, lean hot rod …

Ah, the Catalina. The name alone seemed exotic and somehow a bit sexy in the 1960s. But that was during a time when cars had names that stirred imaginations and were not just known by a collection of numbers or letters.

Pontiac was rife with great names during its long run, Bonneville, Firebird, Chieftain, Parisienne, Ventura, Silver Streak, Tempest, Star Chief, and Le Mans, to name a few.

Catalina was a big player and the name hung around for years. Now Auto World creates a 1961 version of the hardtop model and it’s up to AW’s usual fine standards.

The History

It wasn’t until 1959 that the Catalina was offered as its own standalone model, basically a low-cost starter Pontiac if you will. But it was restyled for 1961 and placed on an all-new frame known as the Torque Box. Sounds like it should be fast, right? That replaced the old X frame and one could argue this is when Pontiacs starting becoming lower, longer and wider. Remember the old advertising line, “wide-track Pontiacs?”

For 1961 Pontiac went with the lean long look that it stuck with for years, think Bonneville and Parisienne! The roofs also were squared off and the split grille returned and remained a styling cue for years. That included a somewhat pointed nose and hood. I always thought the split grille as cool as a BMW nose. But then I liked Edsels too.

Naturally speed was vital to car sales in the 1960s and Pontiac and Oldsmobile also were well regarded for their race results in the new burgeoning NASCAR series.

Catalina featured a number of V8 power plants, all based off its 389 cu.in. engine (modeled here) and linked to various transmissions, including manual ones with floor-mounted shifters. There was a four-barrel carb model creating 333 horsepower, plus a Tri-Power option with higher compression to make 348 horses, and another for drag racers with 363 horses. Near the end of 1961 a dealer-installed 421 cu.in. Super Duty V8 became available too.

               For the record these big boys rode on a 119-inch wheelbase and were 210 inches long. Think current SUVs. Six styles were offered, including a convertible and station wagon. AW models the 2-door hardtop, which looks a little sportier with no B-pillar.

               At auction today the average sale price of a ’61 Catalina is a little more than $39,000, but a perfect one, the auction sites say, could go for $99 grand.

The Model

               As with other AW 1:18 die-cast models the doors, hood and trunk open and the somewhat sparkly Richmond Gray is perfectly applied.

               One of the features that shines on all these 1950s and 1960s models is the chrome as the bumpers, window trim, wiper arms, radio antenna, door handles and the styling accent strip on the car are chrome. The nose and tail Pontiac emblems are well executed and Oldsmobile is spelled out on the rear panel below the 3-body trunk and between the snazzy red oval taillights with silver trim.

               Headlights are clear, but textured and the grille silver with black between the strakes for definition. Oh, and there are those little chrome winglets that extend vertically from the front fenders. Fun!

               Under that massive hood is a turquoise to baby blue V8 engine block and headers, three chrome carbs and plenty of black wiring and plumbing. The radiator cap and battery terminals are painted silver and there’s a caution label on the protrusion over the fan.

Good looking engine and under-hood detail here.

               Tires are treaded white sidewalls with no branding and at least one of the tires whitewalls was misprinted slightly. Matte chrome hubcaps feature a flat center cap with Pontiac Motor Division printed on it.

               Inside the interior here is a somewhat sparkling rusty red with white door trim panels and stripes across the seat backs, adding flamboyance to the big two-door’s interior. There’s also a cue-ball shifter on the center console, a chrome and red two-stalk steering wheel with chrome horn ring and three black pedals (including a clutch) on the floor. AW finished off the floor with a medium brown flocking to look like carpet and a rust-colored floor mat for the driver.

Giant cue ball shifter lets you know this Catalina is ready to rock!

               The dash is Grand Canyon wide and features a silver center portion with wide black and white speedometer, a radio and Catalina printed on the passenger-side dash. Buttons are silver and the door release levers and window knobs are chrome, plus the rear seat armrests include silver ashtrays.

That’s one wide dash with a lot of chrome!

               Catalina’s undercarriage is completely detailed too with fine drivetrain and suspension detailing including shocks. Plus there’s a matte silver twin exhaust system and mufflers along with steerable front wheels. Nice detail that even pricier composite models often skip entirely.

               All this and pricing still in the $115 range while the composites have grown to upwards of $200, or more if there’s a detailed engine. AW’s die-cast remains high value at an affordable price.

Like that Poncho license plate and the Pontiac name spread out on the tail.

               Just a final note that AW made a 1962 Catalina previously and it’s still available through the AW online store, autoworldstore.com.            

Vital Stats: 1961 Pontiac Catalina

Maker: Auto World
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: AM1254/06
MSRP: $115.99

Link: Autoworldstore.com

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 winning Lola T90

Replicarz creates sharp 1/18 scale Hill ’66 Indy winner …

Graham Hill, a Formula 1 world champion, was the surprise winner of the 1966 Indianapolis 500, just a year after Jim Clark, with the same credentials, had won.

But it was Clark and his STP crew that were surprised by Hill’s win, thinking they had won.

Now Replicarz expands its 1/18 scale Indy winning car lineup with Hill’s beautiful and surprising Lola T90. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 winning Lola T90

Die-cast: CMC’s 1952 Jaguar C-Type

CMC’s detail is drop-dead gorgeous on Jag C-Type …CMC 1952 Jaguar C-Type

Jaguar was dominant at Le Mans in the 1950s as a series of its sports cars were developed into racers. The XK120 started it all after World War II and the long-hooded sleek sports car set the styling and performance standards.

What grew from that was the C-Type racing Jaguar and now CMC produces the 1952 variant in several paint schemes and race trims. Our review sample was the unmarked British Racing Green model in 1/18 scale. Continue reading Die-cast: CMC’s 1952 Jaguar C-Type

Die-cast: Auto World’s 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne Coupe

Chevrolet Biscayne was a go-to car for yearsAMM1053_66Biscayne_1stPrepro-9

While Auto World’s new 1/18 scale Chevrolet Biscayne Coupe is a lot snazzier looking in its Aztec Bronze paint scheme, it reminds me of some of the Plain Jane Chevy’s my great uncle  and other relatives used on their Indiana farms.

Those were usually white, tan or black, but no matter the color, the Biscayne was the go-to car for utility, size and comfort back in the mid-1960s, especially in rural areas where value was, and is, highly, well, valued.

Naturally, Auto World delivers a decidedly spruced up version for collectors, who generally prefer a little pizzazz even on mainstream makes and models.AMM1053_66Biscayne_1stPrepro-1

The History

Biscayne came into Chevy’s lineup in 1958 as its entry-level full-size car and lasted until 1972, so the ’66 model was roughly halfway in its shelf life, and was the car’s third generation. Biscayne replaced the Chevy 210 and featured little chrome trim inside or out, while the Bel Air was a step up and Impala was next up the totem. Continue reading Die-cast: Auto World’s 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne Coupe

Die-cast: Auto World 1967 Chevelle SS Convertible

Auto World flexes its muscle with drop-top Chevelle SS AMM1048_67Chevelle_1stPrepro-9

Chevrolet was in the sales driver’s seat in the 1960s as it churned out hit after hit as we were all busy seeing the U.S.A. in our Chevrolet.

But even then its cars were growing in size and stature so quickly that by 1964 Chevy realized it needed a more moderate sized model to compete with Ford’s Fairlane. Chevelle was Chevy’s answer, and it too was a resounding success.

Not only was Chevelle more modest in dimensions, it handled better and when Chevy started souping it up, quickly became one of the earliest muscle cars.

AMM1048_67Chevelle_1stPrepro-12The past few years Auto World has created a variety of Chevelles due to their popularity, but now goes back to the first generation, built for model years 1964-’68. Again, Auto World creates a well-detailed 1:18 scale model at an attractive price, making this offering especially appealing to a wide audience of muscle car fans.

The Model: Auto World’s review model is the Tuxedo Black convertible version of the 1967 Chevelle SS, honoring the 50th anniversary of the first 396 Chevy V8. Can it really be that long? Continue reading Die-cast: Auto World 1967 Chevelle SS Convertible

Die-cast: Autoart Lamborghini Countach

WOW … Autoart’s Countach an eyeful of detaillambo1

It’s hard not to be wowed by most Autoart Signature Series models, this is diecast near its peak. And there’s a lot of wow factor with a bright orange Lamborghini Countach LP400. You may need sunglasses to examine it up close.

Countach was the first Lambo to go full bore with the wedge shape and sharp angles front to rear. It was launched at the 1971 Geneva Auto Show and praised for breaking through the styling envelope and taking the wedge shape to an extreme.

lambo6Some folks consider Countach the first true supercar and it’s hard to argue that, at least from a styling standpoint. This broke all the rules and norms.

Performance was no slouch either. The real car got its power from a monster mid-engine V-12 that made 375 horses, considerable for the time and with all the body panels made of aluminum this had a great power to weight ratio. Under that lightweight body was a space-frame made from curved 40mm tubular steel for strength too. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart Lamborghini Countach

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