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January 2009
News Archive

 


 

 

1/31/09 - Tony Stark's Toys

I added a few new pics to the unofficial Iron Man gallery.  Pictured above, left, is Matchbox's Audi R8 with black "blade."  I haven't been able to find this Superfast version of the Audi R8 in stores, so I had to go the eBay route.  Pictured above, right, is a Saleen S7 from Motormax, although Tony Stark's car is more orange in color.  Speaking of which, the Saleen S7 featured in Iron Man was sold at the Barrett-Jackson Auction for $375,000.

 


 

 

1/26/09 - Go, Speed Racer, Go ... Again!

I picked up five more cars to add to my Speed Racer collection.  Pictured above, from left, are Thor-Axine, Inc., Snake Oiler (Street Car), Race-Wrecked Mach 6, Ice Caves Mach 5 and Desert Rally Mach 5.  Thanks to eBay, I think that gets me all caught up for now on the single-carded cars.  I'm not concerned about the variant accessories.  The above pics have been added to the Speed Racer Movie Gallery.

 


 

 

1/26/09 - The 2009 Bandit Awards

After exchanging many e-mails with Bill Spencer, soliciting nominations in the forum, and throwing in a heavy dose of my opinion, I hereby announce the first annual Bandit Awards, recognizing the best in the field of movie and TV cars in 2008.  The Bandit Awards are named in honor of the man I consider the Patron Saint of car movies:  Burt Reynolds.  If I were handing out a Lifetime Achievement Award, he would get the first one for his work in White Lightning, Smokey & The Bandit, Hooper, Cannonball Run and Stroker Ace, to name a few.  There are five nominees in seven categories.  It's up to you to vote for the winner in each category:  Best Car Movie of 2008, Best Movie Chase/Race, Best Movie Car (stock/slightly modified), Best Movie Car (custom/heavily modified), Best Actor, Best TV Car and Best Die-Cast Line of 2008.  Click HERE to vote.  The results will be announced around the time of the Academy Awards. 

 

UPDATE:  Be sure to cast your vote in each category separately.  I noticed the last category has more votes than the others, which tells me some people marked the ballot, but only submitted their vote on the bottom one.  Cast your vote, submit it, then hit BACK to cast your vote in the next category.  Thanks.

 


 

 

1/25/09 - Gran Torino:  My Review

Well, I finally got around to seeing Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, a story about change, tolerance, acceptance and sacrifice, told with humor and heart.  Clint Eastwood portrays Walt Kowalski, a gruff, bitter man who makes Archie Bunker look like the model of tolerance.  I have to say Eastwood's performance ranks among the best of his career. As difficult as it is to hear him spew racial epithets, it all serves a purpose.  Having seen the movie, it's shocking that Eastwood didn't receive a Best Actor nomination for an Academy Award.  Unfortunately, Eastwood is surrounded by actors who seem to have little or no acting experience, and this may be the reason the movie was snubbed by the Academy.  But the movie is worth seeing for Eastwood's performance alone.

 

Since the movie was filmed here in the Metro Detroit area, it was great to see the streets I'm so familiar with on the big screen.  The homes and neighborhoods depicted in the movie were very much like the ones I grew up in and walked through to and from school.  I even spotted a few familiar faces who snagged small roles as actors or extras. 

 

Although the story revolved around the Gran Torino of the movie's title, Walt Kowalski's '72 Ford F-Series Pickup Truck was featured more prominently throughout the film.  I'm told the truck is owned locally and I'm hoping to get in touch with the owner soon.  Below are some photos I took back in July of 2008, of scenes filmed at a barbershop in Royal Oak, Michigan.  These scenes provided some of the biggest laughs in the movie.

 

 


 

 

1/23/09 - To Boldly Go ...

Apparently, Mattel will boldly go where ... well ... where others have gone before.  Under the Hot Wheels brand, Mattel will release five Star Trek ships in what they call 1:50 scale.  Now, if they were truly 1:50 scale, they would be freakin' HUGE!  What they mean is, they will measure approximately 4" long.  They are expected to ship in May.  Here's what's on tap:

 

USS Enterprise NCC-1701 Refit (The Motion Picture)
Klingon Bird of Prey (as seen in Star Trek III)
USS Reliant NCC-1864 (Star Trek II)
USS Enterprise 1701 D (The Next Generation)
USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (TV series)

 


 

1/23/09 - Have You Never Been Mellow?

I finally got caught up on my Mega Size Cars when I popped into Toys R Us and found Dustin Mellows hanging on the pegs.  Lately, though, there has been a bit of a dry spell as I wait for stores like WalMart and Target to replenish empty pegs. 

 


 

 

1/21/09 - Holy Blu-Ray, Batman

For those of you unaffected by the state of the economy, where money is no object, here's another rarity to add to your collection.  George Barris is offering ten autographed blu-ray Batmobiles through his website.  The prices range from $300 to $750.  These Batmobiles were originally offered at the annual Dream Halloween charity event, which benefits the Children Affected by Aids Foundation.  Click HERE for more information. 

 


 

 

1/20/09 - Faster & Furious-er

As you may or may not know, the fourth installment in the The Fast & The Furious franchise arrives in theaters on April 3.  This one is called ... um ... Fast & Furious.  Vin Diesel and Paul Walker return to reprise their respective roles from the earlier films.  As the tagline says:  "New Model.  Original Parts."  Wait! There's even MORE good news.  Apparently, Johnny Lightning will be releasing a line of Fast & Furious die-cast cars.  At one time RC2 offered a very successful line of cars from the earlier movies (you can see my collection pictured below.)  Now, RC2 owns Johnny Lightning, so apparently, they will re-release some castings under the Johnny Lightning brand, along with some castings from the newest film.  I'll post updates as they come. 

 

 


 

 

 

1/18/09 - Just a Good Ol' Boy

Bo Duke himself, John Schneider, had a little too much fun destroying ten 1:18 scale General Lees to create the rarest of the rare General Lee collectible.  Click HERE to see John smash, crash, and dirty up these cars to recreate what actually happened to the General after it completed a jump.  Each car is numbered and, of course, #01 is commanding TOP DOLLAR on eBay.  I would love to add one of these to my collection, but I have a feeling they'll all leap well beyond my price range. 

 

UPDATE:  The auction for #01 closed with a winning bid of $910!!!

 


 

 

1/18/09 - Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD!

The 2009 Barrett-Jackson auction winds down in Scottsdale, Arizona today, with some notable cars having gone up on the auction block.  On Friday, a replica of the original KITT from Knight Rider, made from a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, sold for $44,000.  A 2007 GMC Yukon from CSI: Vegas sold for a reasonable $27,500. The big day came on Saturday.  Here are some noteworthy results:

 

  • 1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am "Bandit" Special Edition - $79,200

  • Batmobile Replica made from a '66 Chevy - $165,000

  • Eddie Van Halen's Pro Street Chevy 210 - $101,200

  • '62 Lincoln Continental used by President Kennedy - $71,500

  • '84 Aston Martin Lagonda owned by Evel Knievel - $71,500

  • '67 Pontiac GTO used in the film xXx - $53,900

  • '94 Porsche 911 owned by Jerry Seinfeld - $101,200

  • The first production Ford Thunderbird sold for a whopping $660,000.

 

I happened to be watching the Speed Channel when the highlight of the auction (for me, at least) took place.  One of three surviving '67 Shelby GT500 cars used in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) went up for auction and the winning bidder was able to take Eleanor home for $216,700.  I was salivating. 

 

Click on the Barrett-Jackson logo above to see pics, more results and the entire 2009 car list.

 


 

 

1/16/09 - Go, Speed Racer, Go!

With Hot Wheels Speed Racer stuff going on clearance and vanishing from toy aisles, I realized there were a few late releases I'll probably never see in stores, so I went the eBay route to add some cars to my collection.  Arriving in the mail today were (from above, left) Kellie "Gearbox" Kalinov, Delila, Sonic "Boom Boom" Renaldi, and Taejo Togokahn.  The first three I've never seen in stores.  Taejo Togokahn was found in Target-exclusive 3-Packs, but this is the first time I've seen it on a single card.  I'm glad to finally be able to add these to the Speed Racer Movie Gallery.

 


 

 

1/16/09 - Same Bat-Car, Different Bat-Rims

I've been hitting WalMart, Target & Toys R Us on a fairly regular basis and having no luck finding the '09 version of the Hot Wheels '66 Batmobile ... UNTIL NOW.  I found a lone Batmobile hanging on a peg of a nearly-empty Hot Wheels section at Target.  The red pinstripe is a little off, but I grabbed it anyways.  I don't care much for the gold rims, but apparently, the wheels make the car FASTER THAN EVER!  The above pics have been added to the Batman - 1966 Gallery.

 


 

 


The now-legendary "invisible" Vanquish by Johnny Lightning

 

1/11/09 - The Hollywood Cars that Never Were!

Sitting at home, watching football, avoiding the snow, I decided I'd work on an article I've been meaning to create for some time now.  Since this website was created, there have been many announcements about TV and movie die-cast cars that never came to fruition.  Prototypes were produced, artwork created, but many, many cars never reached toy stores.  Click HERE to take a look at the Hollywood Cars that Never Were.  If you have any photos or info that you would like to contribute to this article, please send me an e-mail.

 

UPDATE:  Thanks to e-mails from contributors, a few additions have joined the list of Hollywood Cars That Never Were!

 


 

 

1/5/09 - Race to the Finish!

I popped into a local Target store and found a few new things.  There were several new 3-car gift sets.  Two of them just offered re-releases, but one of the sets includes what could be one of my all-time favorite Cars castings.  Finish Line McQueen depicts Lightning as he struggles to finish the race against Chick and The King.  Mattel went as far as to remove his rear tires. This is a great addition to my collection.  I also saw the three new Haulers, but I decided to pass on them.  Lately, Target has been the #1 place to find new Cars offerings.

 


 

 

1/2/09 - Holy New Year's Resolution!

I hereby resolve to try to find the above Batmobile to start out 2009.  Matthew Vargo of Virginia sent me an e-mail telling me he found this at WalMart this morning.  I'm not a fan of the gold rims, but hey, I gotta have it!  Thanks for the info Matthew.

 


 

 

1/1/09 - Happy New Year!

First of all, Happy New Year to you and yours!  What a way to bring 2008 to a close.  Just hours before midnight on New Year's Eve, Hollywood Die-Cast received its official 2 MILLIONTH visitor according to SiteMeter.com.  Of course, it's not entirely accurate, since I didn't start tracking visitors until a few months after this website launched, so I probably hit 2 million a few months ago, but still, it's a tremendous milestone.  I still remember the shock when I found out that my site was receiving 1,000 visitors per day when I first started keeping track in 2003.  I thought that if this site appealed to just a handful of people that would be great.  Instead, I've received e-mails from fans all over the world.  At times, I even had to run an e-mail through a translator so I could read it.  Today, this site averages 1,100 to 1,300 per day and has on occasion reached 7,000 or 8,000 in a day when it was mentioned on other, more popular websites.  I'm so lucky to be able to share my enthusiasm for this hobby with others who have the same interests.  Thanks to everyone who has helped make Hollywood Die-Cast what it is today.  I hope we all have a great 2009!

 

By the way, if you recognize all the wheels pictured above, then consider yourself my brother from another mother.