With Respect: Greenlight’s 1:18 Dan Wheldon Tribute Car

Mar 19, 2012 No Comments by

Dan Wheldon’s abbreviated life has been celebrated in many ways since his untimely departure in October of 2011, and GreenLight is joining the movement with this Wheldon family approved model of the #98 Bryan Herta Autosport car he drove to his second Indy 500 victory in 2011. This livery runs contrary to the simple white and red cruciform deco posted in GL’s announcement of a few weeks ago, and it honors a great, if uncertain moment in the talented Briton’s life (Wheldon’s Indy win came at a time when he was without a sponsor or ride for the upcoming season). GreenLight’s done a creditable job on the castings, and the car looks just right. The matte neon orange and gloss white paint are decorated with exacting replicas of all the sponsor decals; everything is tampo-printed on, and the tires have pinpoint-perfect “Firestone Firehawk” lettering and the Indy logo. Pull off the rear cover and there’s a moderately detailed Honda V8 and transaxle; they may not be as finessed as some we’ve seen, but the suspension arms and ground effects look realistic. So does the most haunting part of the car: the figure of a helmeted Wheldon at the wheel, eyes on the horizon.

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I was always crazy about toy cars and car-themed play sets, but I got hooked on car models when my cousin sent me a pair of built-up AMT kits - a '61 Continental and a '57 Thunderbird. I was six or seven years old when another cousin - Carl - showed me how to build and paint, and by the time I was nine, I had a pretty good collection and a great "spares box" on hand. The original Auto World catalogs were my dream books; my allowance was spent before it was ever earned, and I knew every hobby store and model retailer on Long Island. Then came slot cars, Cox .049-engined Baja Buggies and airplanes, and, ultimately, the real things. I still have some of those old models, and when time allows, I still build or detail scale cars. But it's the ready-to-display replicas and scale racing models that have really had me jazzed for the past fifteen years or so. The "mint" diecasts and the 1:18 American Muscle cars that I cut my serious collecting (and writing) teeth on back then led straight to the current crop of offerings from high-end makers and models in every scale. I also love scale model photography, and shooting, scoring, and producing videos of the models I love. I'm a proud member of the DiecastSpace Diecast Hall of Fame, as well as the Diecast Car Collectors' Club Diecast Scale Model Hall of Fame. I'm also proud to be a part of the Die Cast X Team, and as Editor-in-Chief, I'm looking forward to years of growing the publication and showing new collectors how much fun this hobby can be. And, yeah - I still have that spares box.
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