Tag Archives: convertible

Die-cast: Auto World’s True 1:64 2020 Chevy Corvette and 1963 Chevy II Wagon

Mid-engine Vette and boxy 1963 Chevy II wagon are high-value DC

Two Chevys couldn’t be much more different than the mid-engine 2020 Corvette and the 1963 Chevy II Nova Wagon, but I love them both.

Different reasons of course, but here’s their appeal.

First, the new Corvette will be an icon for years, just like the original Vettes. Why? Because it shifts the engine to behind the driver and its looks are Ferrariesque, or maybe more McLarenesque. It’s swoopy but still with that pointed Corvette nose.

The Nova wagon? Well, as a kid my Uncle Mac and Aunt Vi each had a white Chevy II, before they became Novas. One was a sedan, one a convertible. I found them simple and useful, but somehow just a bit cute. They were the right size, back when compacts were compacts. So I’ve had an affinity for Chevy II models since about 1962.

For collectors, the good news is that Auto World allows us to enjoy both these models for next to nothing, just $7.99 a pop with its True 1:64 Sports Cars and Muscle Wagons series. Here’s my take, and these are both new castings from AW.

The Models

               This new C8 Corvette looks particularly sharp in white as the color accents its chiseled good looks from that piercing nose to its muscular flanks, plus a slightly flared rear spoiler. As with its front-engine 1:64 models, the mid-engine Vette’s rear deck easily pops open to reveal its V8. The nice part is that with a big rear window you can see the orange engine block whether the deck is raised or closed.

               Detail is what you’d expect at 1:64 scale, but the side trim under the deck is realistic in shape and includes the small trunk area just as in the real deal.

               I like that there are tiny molded-in mirrors at the A-pillars, the sculpted air vent openings behind the doors, accented with black paint, rear diffuser and chin spoiler, also both painted black, which sets them off on the white model. Head and taillights are painted, but properly shaped and there are two sets of dual exhausts protruding from the diffuser. The rear license is a Florida plate with C8 emblazoned on it, but you may need a magnifying glass to read it.

               Inside are red high-backed bucket racing seats and a black dash and steering wheel with enough definition on the dash top to look more realistic than you might expect at this scale. It’s not just a flat piece of plastic cut to fit.

               Wheels are a racy star five-spoke pattern in matte silver with rotors blended into the back of the wheels. Tires are treaded rubber. My only complaint is that one front wheel is misshapen so the sample doesn’t roll easily. That’s a problem if a kid is to play with it, but not for a collector putting it on display.

               The sample Azure Aqua Poly Chevy II Nova 400 Wagon has no wheel issues and rolls easily, plus it looks terrific in all its boxiness. Tires are rubber treaded whitewalls and the hub caps chrome for a little flash.

               Bumpers are a matte silver paint scheme and the same trims all the windows, the hood streak and of course the grille and wagon’s tailgate. The grille’s background also is painted black so the silver really pops. Headlights are painted white and the tiny stacked taillights are red over white.

               Side trim stripes are black and silver to just in line with the vent windows and then are silver all the way to the tail. There’s also a molded-in matte silver rocker panel. Door handles and the gas cap are accented in silver and there’s a Nova decal on the rear quarter panels and Chevrolet label on the tailgate.

               Under the hood, which easily poses in the open position, is an orange Chevy engine block with black round air filter. The rest of the underhood area is flat black plastic, including the radiator.

               Inside are blue-green seats to nearly match the body color, plus a dash with air duct work and a steering wheel.

               Both cars have undercarriage detailing too, although it’s more pronounced on the Nova wagon with its big driveshaft and suspension components, especially in back.

               Finally, there are blue and white license plates front and rear that read Nova 400 and may be Ohio plates, but even magnified that’s a tough read.

               Note too that the Vette also is available in black, although I think the white is better for distinguishing the body lines. While the Nova wagon also comes in Saddle Tan with an Ermine White roof.

               The History

In case you just woke up from a Van Winkle-type sleep you should be aware that Corvette no longer is a front-engine sports car.  The C8 moves the engine behind the driver and does away with the manual transmission, just offering an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Watch Mark’s review and video of the 1:1 Vette: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe | Savage On Wheels.

The 6.2-liter V8 cranks 495 horsepower and will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds or less, say the car magazines. And all this for just $60 grand, as opposed to most supercars running in the $150,000-$300,000 range, or more. Corvette remains a hot rod that at least some of us might afford, if not loaded with options.

The Nova wagon on the other hand did not offer a V8 in the 1963 models, but did have a fine 3.8-liter 230 cu.in. inline 6 cylinder. A V8 was optional in 1964. Nova was the top of the Chevy II lineup that also included a convertible and hardtop along with the sedan and wagon. Nova replaced the Chevy II name in 1968.

Both are fine 1:64 die-cast cars on gorgeous and informative hang cards. AW just keeps making fun and unusual models in this small scale to keep augmenting car lovers’ die-cast collections.

New to Auto World are 1:64 scale decals much as you’d find in a plastic model kit.

Note: AW also has introduced decals for you to use to soup up and customize your favorite muscle cars, etc. The sheet has a little of everything from Johnny Lightning and Mobil decals to numbers and decals that say Rat Fink, Rad Rod, etc. Yes, Mooneyes, STP and Chevy are also here among many others. Just $9.99 and you could do up a bunch of your 1:64 collection.

Vital Stats: 2020 Corvette/1963 Chevy II Nova wagon

Maker: Auto World
Scale: 1/64
Stock No.: AW64312
MSRP: $7.99 each

Link: Autoworldstore.com

2020 Mazda MX-5 GT RF

Mazda MX-5 GT RF is a massively fun Miata …

For years those of us who dreamed of owning a sports car envisioned a British MG TF in British Racing Green with a tan interior.

MG’s TF was the epitome of what a sports car should be, and look like – cute, stylish and nimble. It also was a British car, so electronics were suspect.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention power, because sports cars are not muscle cars, they are quick, nimble and fun to drive. They don’t throb at a stoplight like a stereo’s bass speaker about to explode. They purr and chortle. Continue reading 2020 Mazda MX-5 GT RF

2019 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF

MX-5 RF a fun-sized droptop made for summer …2019 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF (Miata)

Looking for muscle? Read no further. Looking for fun? Mazda’s sporty MX-5 RF is a fun-sized 2-seater.

The MX-5, known in the U.S. market as the Miata, has added muscle to be sure. But easy driving and economical fun is what has set it apart from everything else on the open road. Continue reading 2019 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF

Die-cast: Autoart’s Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4

Lamborghini Huracan a 1/18-scale hottielambo3

Ferraris are fine, but Lamborghinis have been pressing the styling envelope more during the past 20 years or so. The new Huracan, Spanish for hurricane, continues the Italian car maker’s design dominance.

Long, low and sleek with little slits of headlights and taillights and an engine just behind the supercar’s two bucket seats give the Huracan both an elegant and bullet-like appearance.

Autoart nails it again with this, a composite-bodied model of the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 in a stunning orange pearl paint scheme. This thing will nearly glow on your display shelf.Lamborghini Huracan

The History

The Huracan replaces Lamborghini’s popular and swoopy Gallardo model, the Huracan hitting the streets in late 2014. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4

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: Automodello 1938 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria

Packard Twelve highlights elegant 1930s styling

While I prefer post-war cars, probably something to do with my age, I appreciate fine car design from earlier eras, such as the 1930s.

Automodello’s fine 1:43 resin models seem to know no styling limits and certainly bridge a variety of decades. So there’s no surprise that Automodello now turns its attention to the stylish 1938 Packard Twelve, the review model being a convertible Victoria, with removable tan top over an ivory white body. I’d consider the body a creamy light yellow, but one man’s ivory is another’s yellow.

Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello 1938 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria

Die-cast: TSM 1954 Buick Century Convertible

1954 Buick Century: When massive was sexy

Back in the day, that’s pre-school days for me, a big gruff Broderick Crawford rounded up bad folks on the TV show, “Highway Patrol,” pursuing evildoers in a variety of Buick Century coupes and sedans. The car appeared as massive as Crawford and you just knew that you didn’t want to mess with this man, or his car.buick

Today TSM (True Scale Miniatures) Models creates a less threatening 1954 Buick Century convertible for us die-cast fans, this one in 1:43 scale and a glossy black with red interior – sharp!

The History

The Century exuded speed and muscle, in fact, its name marked the first Buick to hit the 100 mph mark back in 1936. But the name had gone dormant for a few years when Buick revived it in 1954 for its lineup of light (at the time) luxury speedsters. Century came as a sedan, Riviera hardtop coupe (Crawford’s first patrol car) and 4-door wagon in addition to the convertible.

But the convertible was rarest, just 2,790 being made in the first year of this body style. It packed a 322-cid V8 that pumped 200 horsepower. This was Buick’s Roadmaster engine that just kept gaining power until it reached 255 horses by the 1958 model that ended Century’s run, at that time.

You can tell a 1954 from a 1955 model by its three Ventiport holes in the front quarter panels. In 1955 Buick created a fourth hole. And the cars were long too, a full 206 inches and riding on a 122-inch wheelbase, near that of a full-size SUV today. Continue reading Die-cast: TSM 1954 Buick Century Convertible

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

 

Muscular Stingray convertible opens up more ways to have funvette3

I had to laugh at the timing. After a beautiful spring week, a “velocity yellow” Corvette Stingray convertible showed up for a test drive as snow was flying and the temperature had dropped to the mid-30s, ah Spring in Wisconsin.

But by the weekend, the sun and 60+ degrees had returned, allowing me to drop the yellow screamer’s black cloth top, at least for a while. It only takes 20 seconds to power the top down, and you don’t even have to loosen any latches at the roofline.

auto reviews, 2014 chevy corvette convertible, Vette convertibleI’d driven the new seventh generation Corvette coupe last fall, but just briefly. This time I was allowed a week in the bullet-like street racer with its long pointed nose and menacing Star Wars looking tail with four tailpipes bunched together and burbling away happily. Folks always notice a Vette, and slathered in near neon yellow, this one screamed for attention. I was hoping our state troopers would prove color blind.

Funny thing, everyone wants a ride when you are testing a Vette. I had new friends at the office, gas station, custard stand, you name it. And why not?

The 2014 Vette is not only a looker, it’s a racer, a muscular heart-throb of a car with a massive 6.2-liter direct-injected V8 that features variable valve timing and boasts 29 mpg EPA rating on the highway. And this with 450 horses no less. I’m betting it would get darned close to that if a driver could resist tromping its gas pedal so hard. But avoiding that is like eating just one potato chip, a challenge.

Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 50s Edition

Beetle drop-top reflects heritage of 1950s models

New vs. old, now tell me the new one doesn't do a terrific job of reflecting the old Beetle's personality!
New vs. old, now tell me the new one doesn’t do a terrific job of reflecting the old Beetle’s personality!

Simplicity is its own reward, but it’s often accompanied by modest cost and a style that stands out in today’s overwrought world.Such has always been the case with Volkswagen’s simply shaped Beetle.

Now comes a new Beetle convertible, replacing the 8-year-old New Beetle convertible. THIS new iteration actually is more in tune with the original, with a less rounded roofline that looks perfect. Yet overall the car has grown 6 inches longer and 3.3 inches wider than its predecessor.

Making this 2013 model all the more tantalizing, VW offers three special decade editions, including the tested 50s Edition bathed in black and featuring key chrome trim along with beige leather seats. This Beetle looks so ’50s-ish you may want to slick back your hair or put on a poodle skirt. This model also adds chrome exterior mirrors, a chrome strip along the car’s lower extremities to remind you of earlier models’ small running boards, and 17-inch chrome Heritage wheels that look much like the simple chrome wheel covers of the 1950s.

Not that old? Well, VW also offers a Denim Blue 60s Edition with two-tone interior, and Toffee Brown 70s Edition. They vary a bit on engine and other specs, but include small spoilers. Continue reading 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 50s Edition