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Everything old is new again page 2

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Here’s a handful of heroic die-casts to bring back memories of the good old days. Corgi has introduced a line of comic-inspired vehicles made famous by the Dark Knight himself. The three Batmobiles trace the evolution of the character from’40s crime fighter to modern-day superhero. As a bonus, each features a working “gadget” from DC Comics’ most famous detective: the ’40s Batmobile grille emblem doubles as a battering ram; the ’60s vintage car has a flip-out saw blade in its nose; and the 2000 series car has spinning turbine blades. The series even includes the ’60s Batmarine—part submarine and part jet fighter with retracting bat wings. The complete series appears in 1:43 scale, and selected vehicles will be in larger scales.»»»»»»»»

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Hotworks Racing has a fun little line of 1:64 cars based on the competitors from the D1 Grand Prix professional drifting series. The cars are nicely painted and decaled and feature turning front wheels—a rarity among 1:64 die-casts but very handy for posing them in mid-drift stance. The car models may not all be familiar to U.S. enthusiasts, as most are Japanese vehicles that aren’t for sale here. The silver Nissan Blitz ER34 is essentially a 4-door Skyline, while the S15 is an evolution of the vehicle once sold here as the Nissan 240SX.  

From the Toyota camp comes the Sprinter AE86—a tuner favorite and derivative of the Corolla 16V. Mazda is represented by the 2003 D1 champ, Youichi Imamura and his APEX RX-7. Each package includes a little data panel with specs on the real car—a nice bonus for buyers who may not be familiar with D1. »»»»»»»»  

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With shows such as “Pimp My Ride” taking over the airwaves and sports stars and celebrities in an escalating race to see who can stuff the largest, loudest rims onto their status-mobiles, it was only a matter of time before the trend made it to die-cast. Seeing its potential, Maisto rolls out its Playerz line on some serious rims in 1:18 and 1:64. Shown here are three of the early models—Mercedes-Benz S55 and SL55 AMGs and a Lamborghini Gallardo. The body castings are the same as Maisto’s straight scale offerings, but engine bays, interiors and wheel treatments have been suitably pimped out. The engines have additional color and chrome accents, but they have an otherwise reasonably stock appearance. Inside, upholstery and dashboards get a healthy dose of “bling.” The most notable alterations are in the wheel wells, where wheels of an exaggerated diameter and impossibly low-profile tires make for a high-profile image.  

Also on the way from Maisto are the much anticipated Pro-Rodz. Trading on the popularity of the Pro Touring phenomenon, this line will combine classic muscle car styles—GTOs, Camaros and the like—with modern hardware hop-ups and will issue them in 1:18 and 1:64. We can’t wait! »»»»»»»»  

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Highway 61 is vying to be the Plymouth Barracuda authority in die-cast. It’s responsible for the Hemi ’Cuda reviewed elsewhere in this issue, and it has just come out with this ’68 340 Barracuda fastback. Though it isn’t the muscle car legend that the ’70 and ’71 have become, the ’68 was a distinctively styled, spirited performer. And Highway 61 did its usual excellent job with realism inside and out. A detailed engine, interior and undercarriage all do the model proud. If uncommon muscle is something that interests you, hook yourself one of these fish! »»»»»»»»  

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Here’s a rare silver arrow that nicely represents Mercedes-Benz’s performance history. It’s made by CMC in Europe and distributed here by Replicarz. The 1954/1955 W196R Streamliner no.18 was made famous by Juan Manuel Fangio. The body can be removed to reveal a fully detailed racing chassis. No detail was missed; the cowl air scoops and front grille are articulated by means of in-cockpit levers—just like the real car. If you are a classic Grand Prix fan, this is as good as it gets. »»»»»»»»  

Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:23 AM

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