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Few would argue that the 1936-37 Cord is one of the most beautiful cars ever designed. The lines are timeless and at the same time, so evocative of the late 1930's and the Art Deco period. With the pontoon fenders, covered headlights and coffin-nose, the Cord 810-812, was a true automotive masterpiece.

Why has the 1936-37 Cord been so neglected in small-scale diecast? Up until 1999, only two models had been done. One was a cartoon version for Ertl's Batman series, a stylized Cord offered as 'Bruce Wayne's Car.' The other is pictured on the left and was offered in the early 1970's be Hot Wheels as a mild custom. The example in my collection is far from mint but even so, I am pleased to have it. The Custom Cord by Hot Wheels is one of the most collectible of the early red-line cars. The one pictured is missing the convertible top and the wind-shield has been chopped, no doubt to remedy what was already broken. The blower poking through the hood and the side-pipes are the 'custom' part although, some Cord models were supercharged.

What do the 12 cars shown below have in common? I'll give you a clue. Right, the title is the clue. All of these 1:64 scale cars represent the first and only time these particular models have ever been done in small-scale, perhaps any scale. I'm not going to tell you what cars they represent just yet, that comes next month. You see, this is a contest.

Contest you say, it sure is. Here's how it works. You tell me the make and model of each car represented, or as many as you can, and the most complete entry wins. If you are really good, tell me the diecast manufacturer too and we will use that for a tie-breaker. The prize is (of course) a toy car, in fact one of the toy cars pictured below. Actually, you will get your choice from four duplicates I have. They are #3, #7, #10 or #12.

How do you play. It's easy. Decide on your answers, you can identify the cars by number and color. Send me your response using the guest book (just click on 'guest book'), and tell me your choices. I'll announce the winner in the April issue and give you your choice of cars for a prize. Now, do you really know your diecast?

Matchbox Fantasy Five Packs

by Doug

Are you tired of the lame five-packs recently coming from major small-scale diecast companies? Perhaps the five-packs are targeted primarily at children because most serious collectors could do without the wild tampos and crazy custom cars.

There is a solution. Forget what's on the shelves of Toys-R-Us or Target. Take a look at you own shelves and join me in creating our own 'fantasy' five packs. The rules are simple. I've limited my selections to Matchbox for this round and tried to select models that have been in recent production, during the past decade or so. No regular wheel cars are included. The idea is what they could do with what is actually available.

Beginning top left, Here is an easy one, American Muscle. Put the '70 Pontiac GTO with the '71 Camaro, '69 Camaro, 68, Mustang and '70 Mustang and this one is ready to rumble. Add some realistic muscle paint jobs (Johnny Lightning can show you how), and this package would fly off the shelves. Now, how about a jump from 'bad to the bone' to 'a spot of high tea'?


In the February 1999 issue we reviewed twin-striped Camaros, for March, it's Viper time. When Chrysler first stunned the automotive world with the Viper concept car, it was clearly envisioned as a modern-day Shelby Cobra. Since the best-known Cobra colors were blue with white racing stripes, it was natural for these colors to appear on the Viper at some point. The production Viper R/T did not come with stripes, rather, red was the color of the concept car and initial production run. Stripes did appear later in a true skunk-scheme of black and white.

The GTS Coupe that followed the Viper Roadster followed the lead of the Cobra Daytona Coupe and blue with dual white racing stripes was the clear choice. The concept car and initial production run all came this way. As the GTS moved into sports car racing, it appeared in traditional American racing colors of white with blue stripes.


'71 Camaro by Matchbox


by TalesofToyCars

By David Cook, Images by Doug Breithaupt

English engineering continues to dominate with the McLaren M23 from 1974, again driven by Fittipaldi; model by Polistil. Ferrari begins its comeback in 1975 with a 312 B3 model for Niki Lauda, again by Polistil. McLaren strikes back in 1976 with an upgraded M23B and James Hunt, another Polistil. Ferrari gets the last word in 1977 with it's 312T2 and Lauda again, also by Polistil. But while Ferrari/Ford battles raged on, a revolution was taking place in engines. A long-ignored aspect of the 3-liter formula allowed 1.5 liter turbocharged engines; Renault began work on this type of F1 engine in 1977 but was never to win a championship. This honor fell to the Brabham team, now under new management. They won in 1981 with Nelson Piquet and the BT-49/Ford pictured here by Guisval (this model looks ready for the paint shop!) but took the first championship for a turbo-powered car in 1983 with this BT52/BMW model by Polistil driven again by Nelson Piquet.