Talking Cars - Back by Popular Demand!
Wow, I can't believe it's been almost
TWO YEARS since the last installment of Talking Cars. The main
reason for its disappearance has been the popularity of the forum. In
the forum, not only do you get an immediate response to your queries from
myself, but from other knowledgeable collectors, as well.
Nevertheless, the e-mails continue to pour in from all over the world, and I
do my best to respond to all of them as promptly as I can. Here now is
a sampling of some of the more interesting e-mails I've gotten over the past
few months. The topics are, well, too diverse to mention here.
You'll just have to see for yourself. Click on KITT above for the
long-overdue latest edition of Talking Cars.
Death Race: My Review
Fans of Roger Corman's 1975 Death
Race 2000 might be upset about this remake that pretty much disposes of
the original's storyline and uses only the title (or part of it) and retains
a few character names. Personally, I can't imagine a remake that
includes drivers running over pedestrians to rack up points. Instead,
the premise involves a former racecar driver (the always terrific Jason
Statham) who is framed for murder so that he can compete in the prison
warden's (Joan Allen) sensational and lucrative Death Race. "Win and
get your freedom or die trying."
Now, I've complained in the past about
movies that have the look and substance of a video game, and Death Race
goes as far as having drivers seek power-ups to activate weapons and
defenses. So why didn't I hate this movie? I think it's because
the cars were REAL and not computer generated abominations. The cars
were driven by real STUNT DRIVERS, which made the action feel real. It
was exciting to watch the speed and carnage of real cars and not just
imagery created by some guy on a computer at his desk (I hope the Wachowski
Brothers are paying attention.) This movie had the look and feel of a
movie created in the 80's, which is a huge compliment. Take a heaping
tablespoon of 1987's The Running Man, add a dash of The Road
Warrior and sprinkle in a little The Fast & The Furious, and you
start to get an idea of the feel of this movie. It's a
testosterone-infused, high-octane, adrenaline rush of a movie.
Jason Statham is terrific in this
movie. I love most of what he's done so far, and I think this movie
may rank among his best, right up there with 2002's The Transporter,
and maybe even better. Ian McShane, who was remarkable in HBO's
Deadwood, portrayed Coach in the film. I enjoyed his character and
he perfectly delivered some great lines, but I was hoping for the same
intensity he showed as Al Swearengen on Deadwood. Newcomer
Natalie Martinez provided some nice eye candy, but it was tough to swallow
the idea that she and her fellow supermodel inmates were bused in from the
women's prison. But hey, she was nice to look at.
In conclusion, I found myself loving
this movie early on and never lost my enthusiasm and excitement until the
credits rolled. It was very stylish, with its grey-scale palette (it
could've EASILY been a black and white film) and enormously entertaining and
fun. You'll root for the hero, utter a few "WOWs" at the stunts, and
cheer the ending. What more could you want from a movie?
On a side note, there were two
trailers before the movie that are worth mentioning. Vin Diesel and
Paul Walker are together again in Fast & Furious ... and I couldn't
be happier! The trailer was awesome. Click
HERE to see it. The movie will be in theaters next June, 2009.
There was also a trailer for the
latest teen sex romp comedy. The unfortunately-named Sex Drive
tells the story of a geek who "borrows" a '69 GTO Judge (above) and drives
across country to meet the hot blonde he's been chatting with online.
(I may have to sue for copyright infringement, because that pretty much sums
up MY love life lately.) Click
HERE to see
the official trailer and you be the JUDGE (pun intended.) Sex Drive
arrives in theaters in October.
This is a little off-topic, but
regular visitors to this site know that I occasionally like to hop into my
car and take a drive somewhere I've never been. Well, would you
believe I've never been to NEW YORK? That situation was remedied when
I received a phone call from a representative from The Late Show with
David Letterman telling me I had tickets waiting for me for the August
25th taping. I cleared my schedule, hopped into my car and headed east
early Sunday morning. Click HERE
for the story and photos.
I've added another amazing collection
to the Collectors' Collections Gallery.
Eduardo from Costa Rica collects a wide variety of TV and movie die-cast,
but sent me pics of his World of Cars display, made up of Mattel's
playsets alongside some well-done customs. It's a very creative and
impressive way to display one's Cars collection. Head on over
to the gallery to see the photos and all other submissions to-date.
Speed Racer HO Scale
Today I found four of the five cars that make
up Hot Wheels' 1:87 scale (HO Scale) Speed Racer set. Pictured
above, from left, are the Mach 5, Mach 6, Racer X and GRX in die-cast metal.
I didn't see the "Race Wrecked Mach 5." These things are tiny, but impressively detailed. They've been added
to the Speed Racer Movie gallery.
I popped into Wal*Mart during
lunchtime and saw a bunch of empty boxes in the toy section that told me
they were restocking. I walked down the die-cast aisle and scored
Kathy Copter, Petrol Pulaski and (ugh) Tar McQueen, which may rank among the
lamest repaints since Bug Mouth McQueen. However, I didn't find the
CHASE Lightning McQueen. You read that correctly. Apparently,
Mattel decided that finding new Cars wasn't frustrating enough.
They decided to release Cars that are even MORE difficult to find
than regular new releases. So far, Lightning McQueen with bumper
stickers has been released as a chase car (below.) It'll soon be
followed by a newly-rescaled Fred with stickers. Personally, I think
it's an awful idea. I've never liked the idea of chase cars, White
Lightnings, Treasure Hunts, or whatever you want to call them. It
brings out the greedy side of people. Store stockers keep them from
even getting onto the pegs, forcing collectors to pay inflated prices.
I feel chase cars do NOT benefit the collector in any way. But that's
just my opinion.
Life is but a dream ...
This past weekend was arguably the
biggest weekend of the year in the Metro Detroit area. The 14th annual Woodward
Dream Cruise took place, with an estimated 1.4 million attendees and 30,000
to 40,000 classic cars making an appearance. The cruise begins at 8
Mile Rd. and runs 16 miles into the City of Pontiac. I spent some time
at the intersection of Nine Mile Rd. & Woodward in Ferndale. I shot
some video and hope to post it in the next day or two. Mike Serrico,
who heads up a group of Hollywood car replica owners from the Metro Detroit
area, sent me some pics from the event. It looks like Mel turned some
heads with his original Monkeemobile!
Rarest of the Rare?
Dave Nicholson brought to my attention
an incredibly rare version of the General Lee in 1:18 scale. Here's
what Dave had to say:
"The model is based on the RC2
Authentics mold and was commissioned by Supercar Collectibles, who also did
the 750-piece limited edition of the Black General Lee with graphics. Only
150 were made without graphics, and Supercars is already sold out. The
original price was $99.95, but I've watched several sell for around $200 on
eBay. Four of them sold last week for $199.95 each and a couple others have
gone over $200."
HERE to see a current auction on eBay that features the car in Dukes
of Hazzard packaging.
The ELITE Batmobile is here!
I had to go to the UPS office at
lunchtime to pick up a package, and I couldn't wait to get home from work to
share pics with you. Coming from my sponsor Movie Car Mania, the Elite
version of Mattel's 1966 Batmobile has arrived! At first glance, the
car is breathtaking, with so much more detail than the standard version.
I hesitated to remove it from the box, but I felt it was my duty:
I tried to get the hood and trunk
open, but I couldn't do it and feared I might damage the car trying.
So I went online and looked at the
posted on YouTube by
www.pimpmybatmobile.com. Apparently, you have to remove the car
from its base and remove some restraints that protect the hood and trunk
from flopping open during shipping. I just couldn't bring myself to do
that just yet. For now, I'm keeping this one on its base. If
you'd like to see a more thorough examination of the car, check out the
video I mentioned above. Unfortunately, it's a pretty harsh criticism
of the car. Among the many complaints is that the car is based on the
version that exists today, with all of George Barris' modifications, rather
than the car as it appeared on the '66 TV series.
Personally, I think it's spectacular
and it's the jewel of my 1:18 scale collection.
HERE to see detailed pics of the Elite Batmobile with its hood and trunk
Mach Go! Go! Go!
Arriving in the mail today from Hong
Kong is a new addition to my Speed Racer collection. Tomica's
die-cast 1:64 scale Mach 5 is well done, even though the wheels are sadly
generic. I can't complain too much, though, considering I got it on
eBay for a buck plus shipping.
'67 Plymouth Belvedere GTX
"Melted chocolate inside the dash,
that really ups the resale value." Thanks to a tip from a fellow
collector, I've finally added another "Holy Grail" to my collection.
Pictured above, left, is Johnny Lightning's '67 Plymouth Belvedere GTX.
Pictured above, right, is a still from the 1995 movie Tommy Boy.
Notice any similarities? Black top. Similar paint job. And
even the wheels are very close. Johnny Lightning's version was only
available in a fairly pricey Mopar or No Car 10-car boxed set.
Luckily, I was able to bid on and win the car LOOSE from an eBay seller.
In 2003 Johnny Lightning had planned on including the car in a Hollywood
on Wheels series. For whatever reason, the car was dropped, but
two years later, it sort of snuck into the boxed set. Yeah, I know, I
know, Reel Rides produced the car in 2007, but the scale is SO far off it
doesn't display well with my other 1:64 scale cars. Johnny Lightning's
version will do nicely. Now if I can find a really small deer to
Heroes of Horsepower!
As I write this, it's late Wednesday
night (or early Thursday morning) and I just got home from the 20th Annual
Induction Ceremony of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Held at
the Fillmore in Detroit, it was a great night as I got to meet many racing
celebrities and witness the following people get inducted into the Hall of
- NASCAR Driver Buddy Baker
- Funny Car Racer John Force
- Motorcycle Racer/NASCAR Driver and
Indy 500 Racer Paul Goldsmith
- Pilot and record-breaking driver
- IRL Driver & CART Champ Michael
AMA Superbike Champion and World Road
Racing Champion Wayne Rainey, as well as Sports Car Driver Richie Ginther
were inducted as well. Rainey was unable to attend and Ginther passed
away in 1989. Click on the MSHF logo above to learn more about the
museum and the inductees.
The highlight of the evening for me
was meeting Mario Andretti, who presented his son Michael for induction.
Of course, I had to take the opportunity to ask him to sign a little item for me:
Star Car Sighting
With the Woodward Dream Cruise quickly
approaching (August 16) there are car shows GALORE here in the Metro Detroit
area. I braved a gloomy, drizzly Sunday to attend the Rock N Rods show
in Rochester and caught a glimpse of Bumblebee from the Transformers
movie. I'm told this car was actually used in the film. I decided to
start a thread in the Hollywood Die-Cast forum to post a pic of YOUR star
car encounter. Did you see a famous car at a show? Passed one on
the street? Saw it parked somewhere? Snap a pic and post it in
Attack Mode KITT
I just found out that NBC unveiled
"Attack Mode KITT" at Comic Con. The official website describes the
car as ... "this Mustang on steroids designed for NBC's new
Knight Rider boasts Lamborghini doors, a top speed of 377 mph and,
most importantly turbo-boost."
The new series is set to premiere
Wednesday, September 24 at 8pm EST. Click
for more pics and info.
- "Star Wars, nothin' but Star Wars."
There is a TON of new Star Wars
toys in stores due to the release of the new Clone Wars line.
Hanging on the pegs among the new figures and vehicles (how about that HUGE
Millennium Falcon?) is the latest wave of Titanium vehicles. I spotted
some interesting ones, but haven't picked any up yet. The green XP-34
Landspeeder (left) stands out, as does the Bespin Cloud Car. Also,
for those of you who couldn't find the Battlestar Galactica Classic
Cylon Raider in stores, it's shipping in this wave. I've seen
multiples hanging on the pegs. For all the pics and info you can
handle, visit the ultimate authority on the subject:
- Finally! The RD-10 Batmobile is MINE!
Okay, here's the story. Let's go
all the way back to January 2007. While looking for die-cast cars at
Toys R Us, I found Mattel's Batman Transporter and bought it. I
noticed on the back of the package a picture of an unusual Batmobile
(right.) Doing some digging, I discovered it was a repaint of a car
from the Acceleracers line known as RD-10. I thought it looked pretty
cool and waited for it to hit stores. But time passed and I didn't see
it. Then in March of '07, I
a few auctions for loose RD-10 Batmobiles that originated out of Malaysia
(left.) I assumed they were test shots, but every time I bid, I got
outbid. Eventually, I stopped seeing them on eBay. Time passed
and I grew frustrated. Then, fairly recently, I spotted something
in stores called Batcave Training Run, and pictured on the box was
the elusive RD-10 Batmobile! But included with the playset was the
strange "Gatman" Batmobile. That's right. If you look closely,
the tampo reads "GATMAN." I thought, "Somebody REALLY screwed
up." I had almost given up hope of finding the RD-10 Batmobile,
wondering if it would ever get released.
THEN ... while browsing
www.batmobilehistory.com I saw a picture of the RD-10 Batmobile!
The description said it was from something called Batman Hero Launchers!
I went to eBay, did a search, and found one seller offering these Batman
Hero Launchers. It was difficult to tell from the photo in the
auction, so I contacted him and asked if it actually included the RD-10
Batmobile I had been looking for. He said it did, so I did a "Buy It
Now." And, well, it arrived in the mail today and I finally, FINALLY
can add the RD-10 Batmobile to my collection. WHEW! It's a
great-looking car and a terrific addition to the wide variety of 1:64 Hot
Wheels Batmobiles. Pics have been added to the
Hot Wheels Batmobiles Gallery.
More Speed Racer
I popped into a Target store during
lunch and found the latest release of 1:55 scale die-cast cars from Jada's
Speed Racer line. Included in this wave are (from above, left) F1 Mach
5, F1 Shooting Star, GRX and Black Tiger.
Cars, Cars and more CARS!
I just stumbled across a thread from
the Cars the Toys Forum showing a BUNCH of photos from San Diego
Comic Con. The photos reveal what we Cars collectors have in
store for us over the next few months. Looking at all the pics, I got
that antsy, squirmy feeling knowing I'll be hunting for these things.
The above photo is just a small taste. Elvis RV? Pizza Planet
Truck? BRING 'EM ON! Click
to start your journey.
Batgirl's Bike has Arrived!
A big thanks goes out to Dan
Canonizado of San Diego who was kind enough to pick up an extra Comic Con
exclusive Batman 3-pack for me. It arrived in the mail today. This has
got to rank among the coolest die-cast sets I've ever seen. Of course
the highlight of this set is Batgirl's Batcycle, something I never thought
I'd see in die-cast form. Even though I already have the Batmobile and
Batcycle, I love how all three vehicles display in the package. Thanks