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1320, Inc 1:24 Dragster Warren-Coburn-Miller

Reviewed by:   Tom Pine
     
  1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster Warren-Coburn-Miller diecast car
 
 
 

Today, when 8,000 bhp, top-fuel dragsters routinely break 4 seconds in the quarter-mile, one has to remember that thirty years ago 5-second runs were the Holy Grail of drag racing. Back then, the Warren, Coburn and Miller Top Fuel team came to be known as the “Ridge Route Terrors”, which referred to the road that ran over the mountains between the San Joaquin valley and the Los Angeles basin. Lead by driver James Warren, just the sight of the team towing their dragster over this “ridge route” to the SoCal tracks was enough to cause the other dragster teams to go weak in the knees.

James Warren drove on the local dirt tracks around his California home in the late 1950’s, but soon was visiting the winner’s circle on drag strips throughout the state. He and his partner, Roger Coburn, drove a series of cars. One was a twin-engine car with one Chrysler and one Chevrolet engine. Another was a lightweight blown dragster that ran with the best Southern California had to offer. Businessman Marvin Miller, who ran a company that provided irrigation systems for the farmers in the Bakersfield area, joined the duo, bringing his company’s sponsorship with him. The team earned another sobriquet—the “Rain For Rent” team. They were winners wherever they raced.

In 1975, James Warren accomplished his long dreamed-of goal, winning the annual Fuel and Gas Championships. He qualified number one, ran an amazing six consecutive five-second runs, and beat Jeb Allen in the final round. A year later, Warren, as defending champion, qualified number six, beat “Big Daddy” Don Garlits in the semi-finals, and stopped Tony Nancy in the finals. This made him the first driver ever to put consecutive wins on the board at Bakersfield. In 1977, Warren put together another incredible streak of seven five-second runs, moved into the finals against Don Garlits, running 5.83 and won for the third consecutive year! Add to the above, a classic final-round win against Don Garlits at Indy in 1967, the “Winternationals” in 1968, and the “Gatornationals” in 1976. Include a couple of national records, and membership in the “Cragar 5-Second Club,” and you have the makings of an impressive legacy for one of the most famous teams in drag racing history.

1320 Inc.’s image of the Warren–Coburn–Miller dragster is the 22nd in a series they call “The Fuelers.” On the box it says it’s a limited edition of 5,000 but the info. card inside says it’s 1 of 1,500. New to reviewing dragster images, I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the box. Let me say I was favorably impressed with this image from the moment I laid eyes on it. A few things become immediately apparent: One, how strange a creation a “fueler” dragster is. Two, how fragile and spindly they look as compared to a “normal” car. And, three, how brave and crazy the men are who propel them to over 300 mph! Driving one of these beasts is definitely NOT on my “to do” list! The driver actually sits with the differential between his legs and that obscenely noisy, blown, monster-of-an-engine right in front of his tootsies. The fact that the fuel tank is mounted up front about eight feet away is little consolation if things suddenly decide to go south while passing triple-digit speeds. Here’s a list of features on this image from the Legacy Motors website: -Aerodynamic, die-cast, 184-inch wheelbase design -removable Hanna upper body panel exposes detailed interior -392 Chrysler Hemi engine that's fully wired with ignition wires and flexible fuel lines -Hollow, simulated, M&H slicks on five spoke Halibrand mag wheels -Detailed tubular framework and fuel tank detail -Fabric seat belts and shoulder harnesses with photo-etched buckles -Color scheme detailed from actual vintage racing pictures and reference data from James Warren and wdifl.com.

What all this means to collectors is an impressive amount of detail and realism that’s amazing in a 1:24 image in this price range ($59.95). With the cowl removed, you can see all the tiny parts that crowd the driver’s space in the cockpit—the tubular frame, pedals, lever, steering wheel (more like steering handles), driver’s bucket seat, harness, and differential. Just behind the cockpit you’ll find the twin drag chute packs with release cables. You can even trace those cables to where they attach to the frame in the cockpit. To either side of the cockpit, are the slicks that, if you squeeze them, are actually hollow, like the real deal. Between the slicks and the body, you can spot the inboard brake discs with their calipers. Moving forward, you’ll see a marvelously detailed, blown, V-8 Hemi (and transmission), with all the hoses and wires in evidence. By the way, the fuel lines and blower belt are done in soft rubber. Flip the image over and you’ll see more engine, frame, and fuel tank details. You can easily see the progression of the steering rods from the cockpit to the fragile, bicycle-type front wheels. The fact that they don’t actually steer isn’t much of a disappointment, considering the sheer amount of fine detail you otherwise find on this image. The paint job is beautifully done, with all the graphics found on the 1:1 fueler. 1320 has done a great job on this piece of drag racing history. I like the fact that it’s also in 1:24 scale—the scale I collect —so it fits in with the scale of my other images. As an added bonus, 1320 also provides an info. card on the dragster, with an archival photo of the Warren–Coburn–Miller team. The image comes in a Styrofoam cradle, enclosed in a typical precision die cast box, covered in drag racing graphics. All in all, this is one fine image, deserving of inclusion in any drag race fan’s collection of rolling stock. With this image, the 22nd in a series, there are surely plenty to collect—so get cracking!

(03/02/2005)
 
 
  1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster Warren-Coburn-Miller diecast car

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster Warren-Coburn-Miller diecast car

1320, Inc 1:24  Dragster Warren-Coburn-Miller diecast car

 
 
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