THE DIE-CAST CONNECTION
Stepping up to meet the demand, the die-cast industry has begun to sell scale models of popular tuner cars, and one of the first companies to answer the tuner car call was Jada Toys. Luis Tanahara, vice president of product development, wasn’t just a casual observer of the trend; he’s an insider to the lifestyle. He quickly put into play designs that were indicative of the influential trends being seen on Southern California streets. The result was collaboration with Import Racer magazine and a series of tuner-style cars that feature many popular components being used on the 1:1-scale cars.
Muscle Machines is another SoCal-based die-cast company that’s making waves in the tuner space. Best known for its wacky domestic-marque hot-rods with engines, tires and wheels, the firm’s line of Muscle Tuners is more accurate in scale and truer to the market than its line of cartoonish hot-rods. Available in 1:64 and 1:18 scale, the Muscle Tuners feature many aspirant models such as the NSX, RX-8, Evo and even a Datsun Bluebird SSS. Like Jada, Muscle Machines has partnered with a respected publication in the space-Import Tuner-to create an RJ De Vera signature line.
And, not to be left behind, Mattel released its Tunerz brand of 1:64-scale Hot Wheels.
Whether their cars are in the driveway or on a bookshelf, tuner enthusiasts can now express themselves in their own unique way. You can bolt on those new wheels, swap out the exhaust, or install a new body kit without getting your hands dirty. Or you can simply display your dream tuner car and let everyone know what you’re all about. The die-cast industry has taken bench racing to a whole new level at price points that appeal to everyone.