Anything But an Ugly Duck
|In two-wheel circles, Ducati is regarded in much the same way as Ferrari is in the automotive world. The Italian company is known for making exotic, high-performance motorcycles that are as beautiful as they are fast, and the brand has a rich racing heritage. The top motorcycle racing series in the world continues to be MotoGP, and it underwent some fascinating technical changes of late as rules allowed 990cc 4-strokes to join the standard 500cc 2-stroke engines. The 2004 Ducati Desmosedici was an all-new design that looked to capitalize on the new regs, and by seasons end, some estimates put its horsepower north of 240from less than 1 liter of displacement! These are mechanical marvels, and Tamiyas 1:12-scale
Masterworks-finished model is the perfect way to admire the elegant design. The cowl panels are removable so you can examine the overachieving little V-4a purpose-built racing engine from a company known for its V-twins. This particular bike is the No. 65 ridden by Loris Capirossi.
Tamiya America Inc. (800) 826-4922; www.tamiyausa.com
Corvette Reaches New Heights
|1969 was a pretty good year for cars, and for the Corvette, it was downright stellar. No matter who you were, the Vette was the ride of choice and a thrill to drive. Just ask the three Apollo 12 astronauts, who were given matching Riverside Gold Vette coupes with special black highlights to match their mission patch colors. Also added were special commemorative red, white and blue fender badges. While not quite up to the thrust of a NASA booster rocket, the 390-horse 427 big-block backed by a 4-speed transmission made the package a pretty decent launch vehicle. Diecast Reproductions Inc. has commissioned from Franklin Mint a limited run of Vettes in 1:24 that feature the unique gold and black paint and Apollo 12 badging. They feature all the usual bells and whistles associated with a premium Franklin piece, but the catch is that there will only be 427 of these beauties, and they will be available only through Diecast Reproductions. Production pieces are expected to arrive at just around the time you read this, so act fast.
Diecast Reproductions Inc. (813) 882-8482;