January 2010
News Archive




1/31/10 - Metal Heroes!
I saw the first reports today of die-cast metal versions of Transformers RPMs hitting stores!  As you may remember, the RPMs (Robot Powered Machines) that hit stores in 2009 had plastic bodies.  Apparently, Hasbro decided to release a Metal Heroes Series. I found the above photos on eBay and they include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Barricade, Jetfire and Soundwave.  Pictured at left is a "NEST" version of Bumblebee, whatever that is. 




1/31/10 - Hey, Hey, He's a Monkee!
On Saturday night, Davy Jones was in Tecumseh, Michigan for a concert performance.  Mel, the owner of the Monkeemobile, was asked to bring his car out for display.  Mel got to meet Davy and have him sign under the hood.  He's the second Monkee to be reunited with the car since Mel bought it at Barrett-Jackson in 2008.  Micky was the first.  Thanks for the pics Mel.  I wish I could've been there!




1/30/10 - Talking Cars!
As I sit here bored on a Saturday night (it's 13 degrees outside people!) I decided to go through some of the e-mails I've received over the past few months.  I can't believe how long it's been since the last time I posted a Q&A session.  I try to reply to e-mails as quickly as I can (sorry, but sometimes I forget.)  I also encourage visitors to post in the Forum, where you can get responses from experts other than myself.  Topics in this edition of Talking Cars include: Miami Vice, Torma Slot Cars, 1:18 scale Hot Wheels, The Prisoner, The Rockford Files, Batman Beyond and MORE!  Click on the image above and enjoy.




1/29/10 - Holy Restoration, Batman!
On Friday, during my lunch break, I got a tour of Classic & Exotic Service, Inc. in Troy, Michigan and discussed the possibility of doing a segment for my series Auto Focus.  Alan led me on a tour of the facility, showing me incredible rare cars in various stages of restoration.  My heart skipped a beat when we entered a room where a Batmobile replica was being restored!  Alan told me the owner bought it about 6 months ago at a charity auction to add to his collection of classic cars.  It was cast from a mold of the original car and built on a Lincoln chassis.  The owner brought it in for some modifications and the addition of some fun gadgets before it goes on display at a local children's hospital for 6 months.  I hope I get a chance to meet the owner and convince him to bring it out for the Woodward Dream Cruise in August. 

Below are some finished cars waiting for their owners to pick them up.  Among them, the one-of-a-kind 1932 Bucciali TAV12, body by Soutchek (below, left.)  First shown at the 1932 Salon 'de Automobile in Paris.




Replica MFP Car Badges / Decals1/27/10 - Another Movie Car from Mattel?
A keen-eyed collector spotted another interesting entry on the list of new Hot Wheels from Mattel.  Under the heading of "All Stars" the list includes a '73 Ford Falcon XB.  I dare you to copy and paste that into the Google search above and see what comes up.



1/27/10 - The Brave & The Bold
As I was visiting the Hot Wheels Collectors website, I noticed Mattel posted a list of upcoming mainline releases.  Of course, Ecto-1 was listed at #25, but as I continued down the list #42 caught my eye:  Batmobile (The Brave & the Bold.)  There's also an image that shows all the cars, but it's so small you can barely make them out.  If you look closely, however, you can make out an image similar to the toy pictured at left.  I'm not sure of the release date yet, but I'll let you know when I find out.




1/26/10 - As You Wish.
With the release of Ecto-1 in 1:64 scale, it's time to update the Wish List.  If you've seen the Top 20 Wish List, you know that first ten cars I personally would like to see produced someday (I'm selfish that way.)  The next ten were voted upon by visitors to this website.  Ecto-1 received the most votes and ranked #11 overall on the list.  Now it's time to add a new car to the list.  But instead of just moving everything up one slot, I figured it's time to re-examine numbers 11 through 20.  So, I'm going to create a new poll that includes the cars on the list as well as 11 new nominees.  The ten cars that receive the most votes will rank #11 through #20, but I need your nominees.  So either send me an e-mail or post in the forum the cars you would like to see in 1:64 scale that haven't been produced yet.  I'll post the poll in a week or so.




1/24/10 - Going Once, Going Twice ... SOLD!
As the 2010 Barrett-Jackson Auction comes to an end in Scottsdale, Arizona, I like to go back and take a look at what the Hollywood cars sold for.  Here are some of the notable cars sold over the past few days:


On Friday, Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters sold for $88,000.  Based on a '59 Cadillac Ambulance, this car is one of three original cars used in the 1984 movie.  I thought it would've sold for far more.

Also on Friday, a replica '89 Batmobile sold for only $66,000.  Built on a '95 Caprice Classic frame, this car is street legal and has rotating machine guns and a flamethrower. 

On Sunday, some lucky bidder went home with a beautiful replica of the 1966 Batcycle.  Based on a '66 Yamaha just like the original, the cycle and sidecar sold for only $6,600.

On Saturday, I watched on the Speed Channel as John Dillinger's getaway car went up for bids.  The 1930 Ford Model A actually has a bullet hole from a gun battle.  The car was also driven by Johnny Depp in the 2009 movie Public Enemies.  The hammer price was $165,000.

A '67 Shelby GT500E identical to the car used in 2000's Gone in 60 Seconds sold for $110,000 on Saturday.  Last year, one of three surviving cars from the movie sold for over $200,000.

Sonny & Cher's pair of '66 Mustang Convertibles were sold together as one lot.  Customized by the legendary George Barris, the set sold for $75,000.  They're a striking pair and I hope they end up in a museum. 

A replica of a '55 Porsche Spyder 550 sold for $36,000 on Sunday.  As you may know, this car is similar to James Dean's final ride.  He was killed driving it on his way to a race.

This '53 Ford Woody Wagon was owned by Jay North, also known as Dennis the Menace on television.  The car sold for $35,000.

And finally, this 1926 Hudson has an interesting history.  It was once used in the 1940 movie The Grapes of Wrath, starring Henry Fonda.  It fell into a state of disrepair over the decades.  When discovered, it was too cost prohibitive to restore to its movie incarnation, so it was converted into the race car you see at left.  The car sold for $55,000 on Saturday.



1/22/10 - Who Ya Gonna Call?
During my lunch break today, I drove out to a Target store with one thing in mind ... TO FIND ECTO-1, DARN IT!  It looked like they restocked the Hot Wheels pegs and I nervously rifled through them, to find nothing.  I started to walk away when I noticed a few Hot Wheels hanging on an end cap.  And THERE, among the few cars was ol' #25 - Ecto-1.  Upon close inspection I noticed the roof piece wasn't quite sitting on the car correctly, so I knew this would be an opener.  After getting home, I took a few pics then ripped into it and fixed the roof.  After taking a few loose pics, Ecto-1 made its way into my display (below, right.)





1/21/10 - Holy Mall Walking, Batman!
Enjoying a rare night off, I swung by my local mall.  (Yeah, that's my idea of fun.) After a bite to eat I decided to do a lap around the mall.  I stumbled across a Toy R Us Express that wasn't there the last time I was at the mall.  The cashier told me the store had only been in that location for a week.  Wandering around the store I spotted a peg full of Mattel's 1:50 Bat-Vehicles, INCLUDING the Batwing and Bat-Pod, which I haven't seen in stores before.  I also snagged the battle-damaged version of the Batmobile from The Animated Series.  Then I spun around and saw a full display of 1:87 scale Hot Wheels.  Poking around I found the 1:87 scale '66 Batmobile (right.)  It was only the second time I've seen it in a store.  Pretty lucky for a random stop.


1/22 UPDATE:  I got an e-mail from sponsor Movie Car Mania telling me he's received a case of 1:50 scale Bat-Vehicles, INCLUDING the newly-released Bat-Missile!




1/19/10 - "Wait'll they get a load of ME!"
Coming from sponsor Movie Car Mania is Mattel's Elite version of the '89 movie Batmobile in 1:18 scale.  It's a beautiful piece, but seeing it in person I have mixed feelings about it.  Comparing it to the  regular version (right) you can see the Elite version is considerably more gray.  The interior is slightly more detailed than the regular version, but other than that, there aren't many more differences.  I think I actually prefer the original. 




1/19/10 - "Your move, creep."
Thanks to sponsor Movie Car Mania I'm able to add the Motor Max Reel Rides diorama from the 1987 movie Robocop.  The diorama includes Robocop, his 1986 Ford Taurus, and a perp.  I don't normally collect 1:43 scale vehicles, but this is the first time EVER this car has been offered to collectors, so I had to add it to my collection.




1/15/10 - Chasing Cars
While hitting a couple of Target stores looking for Ecto-1 I came across something else.   I found the two newest additions to the Cars Final Lap Collection:  Pit Crew Member Sarge (without blinky eyes) and Muddy Lightning McQueen.  The above pics have been added to the Cars Gallery.


1/19 UPDATE:  Making my usual rounds today I found a Chase DJ in Ransburg blue (below, left.)  I was surprised to find it so soon after finding a Chase Darrell Cartrip about a week ago.  I also discovered that the Muddy McQueen I found on Friday is an error.  Compare the pic above to the pic below.  Notice the version below has mud above the eyes.  That area is unpainted in the pic above.





1/14/10 - "Needs some suspension work and shocks."
Browsing eBay, I noticed Ecto-1 has started hitting stores.  eBay auctions began to spring up on Monday. The hunt begins.  I got one report it was found at Target, so I'll start there.  I hope I have an easier time finding this than the Hot Wheels Batmobile.  It took me more than two months to find my first Batmobile after it was initially released.  I'm really looking forward to adding this version of Ecto-1 to my collection!




1/12/10 - "I love it when a plan comes together."
In case you haven't seen it, the official trailer for upcoming movie version of The A-Team has shown up online.  I have mixed feelings about it, but it looks like it could be fun and I'll definitely be there when it hits theaters on June 11, 2010.  If anything, hopefully we'll finally get a 1:18 scale version of The A-Team Van!  That would be sweet.




1/9/10 - The Year of the Bat?
Mattel announced that it will release SEVEN new castings as part of its 1:50 Batman line in 2010.  Most (if not all of them) were seen at San Diego Comic Con.  The lineup will include:  Batmobiles from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, The Penguin Batmobile, Batblade (Batgirl's cycle from B&R), Shields-Up Batmobile, Bat Boat and Bat Missile (from Batman Returns.)  Pics of all the die-cast vehicles can be seen HERE.  Strangely, I've never seen the last two releases in stores, the Bat Wing and the Bat-Pod.  Hopefully, they're still shipping.  I'm really going to have to buy a display case for all these awesome releases.




1/7/10 - Chasing Cars
New Cars product continues to flood shelves after Christmas.  Stopping into a Target store at lunchtime I was looking through the blinky eyes stuff when the word CHASE jumped out at me.  I grabbed it and discovered a shiny new metallic Darrell Cartrip.  Very cool.  I also got a good look at the Color Changing Cars and was disappointed.  They're made of plastic, and pretty cheaply I might add.  And finally, on the way home on snow-covered roads, I stopped into my local K-Mart and found the Mater the Greater 4-Pack that includes Daredevil Lightning McQueen, Lug, Props McGee and Mater the Aviator.  That's THREE new characters in one package!




1/5/10 - It's the Pits!
My first new Cars find of 2010 is this 3-Car Gift Set I found at WalMart.  This set includes Pit Crew Sarge, available for the first time, but unfortunately, it's the blinky eyes version.  But hey, it's always nice to find something new.




1/2/10 - Avatar:  My Review
Happy New Year everyone!  I began 2010 by sitting in a movie theater with family to catch Avatar in 3-D.  Avatar is a breathtaking technical achievement.  I've never had an experience in a movie theater quite like the one I experienced on January 1.  It was the best 3-D effects I've ever seen.  The lush landscapes and forests were so realistic I felt like swatting at the bugs fluttering in front of my eyes.  When jellyfish-like seeds drifted into my field of vision, I felt as if I could hold out my hand and let one land in my palm.  The movie is a marvelous work of art.


The story, however, felt familiar.  A US soldier infiltrates the "enemy" only to learn their ways and culture and begins to sympathize with them.  The US military is then portrayed as the villain and the indigenous race as the victims.  That same description could also be used to describe 1990's Dances with  Wolves.  The story also seemed familiar because we've been watching it on TV newscasts over the past decade or two.  Avatar is a political statement about going to war over a commodity.  In real life:  oil.  In the movie:  "unobtainium."  At times the movie came across as a bit preachy, although I completely understand the point James Cameron was trying to make. 


And finally, although I found the movie thoroughly entertaining, I never completely bought into the blue CGI creatures as living, breathing entities.  The characters never seemed to rise above the video-game-feel that made me wary when I saw the movie's trailers.  Don't get me wrong, these are probably the BEST CGI characters ever to appear on a movie screen, but CGI humanoids always seem to come across as soulless and artificial to me.  However, if there EVER was a movie that you absolutely have to see in a movie theater, Avatar is that movie.  Go see Avatar in 3-D for a movie-going experience unlike anything you've experienced before.