April 2009
News Archive




4/28/09 - Gotta Get Back in Time!

Jason (AKA Hollywood Detective) posted some amazing photos in the forum.  Hollywood Show hosted a Back to the Future reunion on April 25 & 26 in Burbank, California.  Jason posed with Lea Thompson, Doc Brown himself Christopher Lloyd, and Claudia Wells, who played Jennifer in the first film.  There was also a jaw-dropping collection of Delorean Time Machines.  I read Michael J. Fox made an appearance on Sunday, as well.  Sounds like a GREAT time.  I wish I could've been there.  Maybe next year.





4/24/09 - The Motor City Comic Con is Coming!

The Motor City Comic Con is just weeks away and boasts an impressive lineup of celebrities. The headliner is Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia herself, who I believe is making her first appearance at this event.  I'm looking forward to seeing her in person.  Also, I'm hoping to add to my Auto-Graph collection as John Schneider and Catherine Bach of The Dukes of Hazzard are scheduled to appear as well.  For the complete guest list, click HERE.  I hope to see you there!



4/22/09 - No Speed Racer, NO!

Things sure have been quiet lately in the world of die-cast cars.  So to help pass the time, Eric Primeau sent me a link to an entertaining yet informative article about the Hot Wheels Speed Racer line.  Click HERE to check it out.  Speaking of Speed Racer, there has been a thread going in the Hobby Talk forums that refuses to die.  The first comment was posted on February 8, 2008 ... more than ONE YEAR AGO, and it's still going strong.  Everything you would ever want to know about the Hot Wheels Speed Racer line has been posted in THIS thread. 



4/14/09 - Beam Them Up

Rodney at Movie Car Mania sent me an e-mail alerting me to the arrival of his first shipment of Hot Wheels' Star Trek ships.  They look great.  Click on the link in the right column for more info.




Stills from The Young in Heart (1938)


4/13/09 - The Flying Wombat?

Fernando da Nobrega Ubarana of Brazil sent me an e-mail alerting me to a movie car I didn't know existed.  The 1938 film The Young in Heart features a "car of the future" known as The Flying Wombat.  In real life, the car went by the much-cooler name of Phantom Corsair.  The car was designed by Rust Heinz and Maurice Schwartz with the goal of putting it into limited production.  Unfortunately, those plans were scrapped following the death of Heinz.  Only one working car was produced and it now resides at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.  In 1999, Mattel reproduced the Phantom Corsair as part of its Hot Wheels line (below.)  Click HERE to see a clip of the Phantom Corsair in action. 






4/10/09 - The Car That Became a Star

As I watched a Love Bug marathon on TCM on Saturday night, I caught this interesting short shown between movies.  This newsreel short tells the tale of the real star of the 1964 film The Yellow Rolls Royce.  It just goes to show, the public has been fascinated with star cars for decades, even to the point of inspiring a fashion line. 




4/5/09 - Fast & Furious Opening Weekend

Fast & Furious posted summer-blockbuster-like numbers in its opening weekend.  According to the website Box Office Mojo, the fourth entry in the franchise netted over $70 million, shattering previous records for April and ALREADY outgrossing its predecessor Tokyo Drift.  The movie also had the biggest opening ever for a car movie, beating out 2007's Cars ($60 million.)  At this pace, Fast & Furious should easily become the highest grossing entry of this franchise.  Visit Box Office Mojo for more info.




4/3/09 - Fast & Furious:  My Review

"New Model. Original Parts" is the tagline for the fourth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, and I couldn't be happier.  The return of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker is so welcomed that the cars actually take a back seat to the on-screen presence of the stars.  Welcome back guys. I've missed you. 


Three minutes into the film and I already felt like I was getting my money's worth of action and adrenaline in the opening truck hijacking scene.  As the movie progressed, all the obligatory elements were there:  candy-colored cars in edge-of-your-seat race scenes, beautiful women and, of course, our heroes.  But this time, the movie has a different feel to it; a grittier and edgier feel to it.  The movie has a bit more weight to it as Brian and Dom, each with his own agenda, infiltrate a smuggling operation that eventually takes them into Mexico.  At times they're competing against each other, other times working together.  All this leads to a climactic chase scene that takes place in tight confines.  The action is fast-paced, but a heavy dose of computer-generated imagery is a bit of a letdown, considering the nail-biting real world stunts of the previous entries of this series. 


Now, as for the cars, it was a pleasant change of pace to see such a heavy emphasis on American-built muscle cars.  Throughout the film, Dominic is seen driving a '87 Buick Grand National, a '70 Chevy Chevelle, and, of course, his black '70 Dodge Charger, among others.  One of the villains, Fenix Rise (Laz Alonso) is behind the wheel of a green '72 Ford Gran Torino GT, similar to the one featured in Clint Eastwood's movie. (9 were built for Fast & Furious, only one survived.)  Oh, and keep your eyes open for a '70 Camaro known as F-Bomb.  Brian's choices were a little underwhelming.  He's seen driving a blue '02 Nissan Skyline GT-R and a '08 Suburu WRX Sti.  There's nothing wrong with the cars, they're just not as memorable as the cars he drove in the first two films.  Unfortunately, all of the cars mentioned above were slated to be included in a line of cars from Johnny Lightning, but due to the movie's release date being moved up, the official word is that the line is "on hold."  Let's hope the powers-that-be come to their senses and allow us to add these cars to our die-cast collections.


In conclusion, Fast & Furious re-energizes the franchise due to the presence of its original stars.  But not only is it an entertaining sequel, it holds up as an enjoyable film even if you haven't seen the first three movies.  And the cliff-hanger of an ending suggests they all may be back for another go-round!





4/2/09 - "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"

In this case, I found this wonderful toy at Toys R Us.  Mattel is slooowly adding new releases to this awesome 1:50 scale line of Bat-Vehicles.  This time, it's the Batmobile featured in the 1989 version of Batman.  The canopy slides forward to reveal the interior ... a nice touch. 



Y'know, it's an interesting coincidence.  Five years ago, on April Fool's Day 2004, I doctored up the above photo (left) claiming that Mattel had gotten the license to produce the 1966 Batmobile and was releasing a then-and-now 2 pack.  A lot of people fell for the gag until I revealed it was my little joke.  Fast forward five years, almost to the day, and I can now put these two beautiful cars side by side.  It's a great day to be a collector and that's no joke!


By the way, Movie Car Mania has received a few of these '89 Batmobiles.  Click on the link in the right column if you're interested. 



4/2/09 - What happens in Vegas...

More news from the Knight Rider Festival in Vegas.  Johnny Lightning was the VIP sponsor at the event and gave away a 1:64 scale chrome 1984 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.  There were only 150 made with a few White Lightning chase cars. 




4/1/09 - Chasing Cars

I went to that out-of-the-way WalMart store again and had some good luck on this April Fool's Day.  The pegs were freshly stocked with the latest case of Cars.  I scored Andrea and Milton Calypeer.  As I dug even further, I discovered the Chase Package Chuki (right.)  There's nothing unique about Chuki, but the card has some Japanese text on it.  Forgive me Mattel, but this has to rank among the lamest releases to date.  How can you argue these toys are for children when you're releasing chase packaging? Please get back to including unique features, like wheel boots, on our chase cars.  The above photos have been added to the Cars Gallery.