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First Peek with Joe Kelly Edition Date
2-02-04
VIEW ARCHIVE
 
 


Supercar Collectibles "Mr. Norm’s" 1968 Dodge Dart 440 GSS
Supercar Collectibles "Little Old Lady From Pasadena"
1964 Dodge 330 Super Stock
AutoArt 1971 Jaguar XKE V12 roadster

 

"Mr. Norm’s" 1968 Dodge Dart 440 GSS "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" 1964 Dodge 330 Super Stock
 
     
 
Joe Kelly
Joe Kelly
 

Welcome to 2004, and to First Peek. Here’s wishing you all a great year, full of balance and harmony, lots of beautiful, shiny things, and the time to enjoy them all.

Speaking of time… all right – it’s been a while. Sorry, folks. But if truth be told, it was a hell of a busy holiday season, followed by some commitments that I couldn’t turn my back on. Not if I intended to see the lights burning brightly, my kids in clothes (not to mention college, someday) and food on the table.

Okay.. okay. Wanna know the truth? Nothing new came in. Hey, it happens.

But, I’ll do my best in the coming weeks to give you all the news as it happens, the cars as they arrive, and an unbiased, honest review of what’s going on in the 1:18 world. So, without further ado, here’s the first First Peek of 2004.



Jim Thoren and Scott Dahlberg love cars. No, really, really love cars. I’m talking an affinity for muscle that borders on obsession, a knowledge of things hi-po that verges on savantism, and an ability to rattle off even the most intimate details of a specific model’s trim and options – often to the months that these gadgets and go-fast goodies were available to the public, all those years ago – that speaks to an almost otherworldly talent for retaining and disseminating motive minutia.

This is a good thing, because Scott and Jim run Supercar Collectibles. And now, through some old buddies at Highway 61, their latest disseminations are upping the ante in the custom-spec, built-to-order 1:18 diecast world. Last time, we cruised in their exceptional pair of ’70 ‘Cudas. This time around, as promised, we’ll look in on their soon-to-be-released 1968 Dodge Dart GSS and "Li’l Old Lady From Pasadena" 1964 Dodge 330 Super Stock. Then, we’ll wrap up with AutoArt’s sweet, sanitary image of a fine Brit – the 1971 Jaguar XKE V12 roadster, done as only they could do it.
 

Click thumbnails to see larger images
 

 

 

 

 

  "Mr. Norm’s" 1968 Dodge Dart 440 GSS

It was 1967 when Mr. Norm – a/k/a Norm Krause, owner and man in charge of Chicago’s Grand-Spaulding Dodge – oversaw the installation of a 383 engine into the belly of a Dodge Dart, and it was shortly thereafter that Dodge themselves began repeating the miracle on their own production line. Dodge called their version the GTS. Mr. Norm, who repeated the swap again in 1968, went the factory one better that year by shoehorning the 440 Magnum motor into the same space. He called his car a GSS.

It looked like a showroom-spec Dart GTS at first blush, and only the GSS badging - if you were savvy enough to look for it – was a tell. But when the skinny pedal met the carpet, a 440 GSS became as subtle as a midnight hammer blow on a big tin sheet.

And so it goes with Supercar’s version. In stance, scaling, and sculpting, this is the latest example of the talent behind the scenes at H61. The body lines are impeccably finessed, and echo the Dart’s blunt-faced sweep perfectly. This is the shape we all knew and loved – even if ours were, more often than not, green econoboxes motivated by nothing more threatening than a slant six and a three-speed slush box.

That’s certainly not the case here. In Supercars’ hands, the Dart becomes a menacing mauler, black on black, with a red tail stripe that does for the GSS what stripes of that hue do in nature – send out a warning to creatures lower on the food chain.

The paint and finish on my pre-pro are great, with no runs, pits, or errors, and the chrome foil around the model works out just fine. Ditto the foil-based transfers that round out the model’s badging. Aside from the too-thick antenna, the model passes a walkaround with flying colors. That is to say, it looks fairly real.

The interior’s bucket seats are split by a neat console, and the Dart’s comparatively lavish level of trim hold up really well under a close eye – not an easy thing to do in a black-on-black model. I really dig the headliner detail and the tilt ‘n’ slide seats – bonuses like these make the model a fun find, and an engaging purchase long after it’s been in your collection.

Engine detail – and there’s a boatload of it – is another big attraction here, mostly by virtue of the fact that H61/Supercar hasn’t missed a trick, right down to the half-full washer bottle on the fender. There’s a wired coil atop the manifold, as well as a killer rep of the Magnum 440’s crinkle-finished air cleaner, perfect to its decal-based silver insert. But my favorite detail has to be that deeply cast, perfectly modeled Chrysler Corp. alternator. The details are so well done, I’d bet that if you got close enough, you’d hear the "Chya-chya-chyaa" of a Mopar starter.

There’s a bonus out back, too. Supercar has included a red tool box that looks neat next to the model, or parked on display on the trunk mat. There’s body bracing in here, too, as well as that crazy fuel filler tube angling across the Dart’s boot. Underneath, the car’s got plenty of appeal, with a working hidden-coil spring suspension, a rotating driveshaft, and a belly pan loaded with cast-in details.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, these suckers are sold out at Supercar, so you’d better have had your order in already, or have a good friend somewhere in the distribution end of the hobby. If you love muscular Mopars, keep an eye peeled – and now. Very highly recommended.

"Little Old Lady From Pasadena" 1964 Dodge 330 Super Stock

Book lovers get all atwitter when a favorite novel or play comes to life on the silver screen or the stage. And so it goes with car folks, when a bit of our particular brand of folklore is made real.

This time around, the story behind the car was first told in song, by the group who almost single-handedly put hot rodding onto the radio and into the hearts of millions of kids – the Beach Boys. "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" hit the air at around the time Dodge was campaigning their monstrous Super Stock 330’s, and told the tale of a sweetheart of a granny who would roll her 330 out of her rickety garage and drop the hammer on you as soon as bake you brownies. So it’s with great pleasure that I see the Supercar interpretation of this same legendary granny mobile parked on the desk top.

Based on H61’s Dodge 330, the riotous red Supercar has mags up front and steelies out back. This makes the big model an eye grabber, and along with the broad, flat hood scoop and drag-spec grille, really sends home the Super Stock’s no-bull image. Paint and build are top-notch, as is the fitment of all of the opening panels. Chrome trim – what there is of it, on this lo-frills roller – is done in the H61 style. That means laboriously applied chrome foil trapped under a smooth, deep clear coat. Ditto the neatly applied, foil based badging all over.

Interior detail is sweet, with a carpeted floor that extends to where the back seat once sat. There isn’t a whole lot of creature comfort here, but that’s just what you’d expect from a car made more for hysterically quick trips in a straight line than for pleasure cruising. That deeply detailed dash is a pip, and holds out the only discrepancy between model and song – a push-button tranny. Despite what the Beach Boys had to say, Super Stock Dodges never had four speeds, but relied on a beefy Torqueflite to get twist to the rear wheels. Hey - don’t blame Supercar for being more astute than a bunch of fellows in pressed, matching shirts.

The trunk-mounted battery is wired in, and the car’s chassis has a rotating drive shaft and neatly cast and painted exhaust bits, all the better to imagine the thunder these monsters produced – and just how comical the very idea of a wheel-spinning spinster surviving a hot pass in one of these rockets really is.

Massive motive force lies in wait under the scooped, cut out hood. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – few model makers can twist up a motor like these guys, and the Hemi under Granny’s bun is one of the best. The paint and assembly here are close to perfection, and details like the fuel lines, spark plug wiring, and those slick chromed valve covers will leave little doubt in your mind where a car like this had its priorities.

And even less doubt as to where H61 and Supercar have theirs. This is one sweet model, and I can’t wait to see the packaging these fellas are planning to drop it into. In the meantime, I’d suggest you drop a dime, and get your order in. At around sixty-five clams, all I can say is go, granny, go.
 

Click thumbnails to see larger images
 

 

 

 

 

  "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" 1964 Dodge 330 Super Stock

Book lovers get all atwitter when a favorite novel or play comes to life on the silver screen or the stage. And so it goes with car folks, when a bit of our particular brand of folklore is made real.

This time around, the story behind the car was first told in song, by the group who almost single-handedly put hot rodding onto the radio and into the hearts of millions of kids – the Beach Boys. "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" hit the air at around the time Dodge was campaigning their monstrous Super Stock 330’s, and told the tale of a sweetheart of a granny who would roll her 330 out of her rickety garage and drop the hammer on you as soon as bake you brownies. So it’s with great pleasure that I see the Supercar interpretation of this same legendary granny mobile parked on the desk top.

Based on H61’s Dodge 330, the riotous red Supercar has mags up front and steelies out back. This makes the big model an eye grabber, and along with the broad, flat hood scoop and drag-spec grille, really sends home the Super Stock’s no-bull image. Paint and build are top-notch, as is the fitment of all of the opening panels. Chrome trim – what there is of it, on this lo-frills roller – is done in the H61 style. That means laboriously applied chrome foil trapped under a smooth, deep clear coat. Ditto the neatly applied, foil based badging all over.

Interior detail is sweet, with a carpeted floor that extends to where the back seat once sat. There isn’t a whole lot of creature comfort here, but that’s just what you’d expect from a car made more for hysterically quick trips in a straight line than for pleasure cruising. That deeply detailed dash is a pip, and holds out the only discrepancy between model and song – a push-button tranny. Despite what the Beach Boys had to say, Super Stock Dodges never had four speeds, but relied on a beefy Torqueflite to get twist to the rear wheels. Hey - don’t blame Supercar for being more astute than a bunch of fellows in pressed, matching shirts.

The trunk-mounted battery is wired in, and the car’s chassis has a rotating drive shaft and neatly cast and painted exhaust bits, all the better to imagine the thunder these monsters produced – and just how comical the very idea of a wheel-spinning spinster surviving a hot pass in one of these rockets really is.

Massive motive force lies in wait under the scooped, cut out hood. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – few model makers can twist up a motor like these guys, and the Hemi under Granny’s bun is one of the best. The paint and assembly here are close to perfection, and details like the fuel lines, spark plug wiring, and those slick chromed valve covers will leave little doubt in your mind where a car like this had its priorities.

And even less doubt as to where H61 and Supercar have theirs. This is one sweet model, and I can’t wait to see the packaging these fellas are planning to drop it into. In the meantime, I’d suggest you drop a dime, and get your order in. At around sixty-five clams, all I can say is go, granny, go.

 

Click thumbnails to see larger images
 

 

 

 

 

  AutoArt 1971 Jaguar XKE Series III V12 roadster

I had an uncle who used to show up at my house driving the damndest things. One weekend, it was a Mercedes Saloon that was missing its entire front end bodywork. Another time, it was a 911 Porsche with a mysterious predilection to sudden ignition failure.

But one time will forever stick in my memory. That was the time Uncle Bill showed up with a V12 Jag. And it ran – big time.

As an adult, I wince at the memory of how fast we traveled through Massapequa Park that afternoon. Had a single Agent Of The Law been on patrol on those Sunday-sleepy streets – God forbid an unlucky, inattentive pedestrian – I do believe that I’d be writing this from a prison-issue typewriter. And justly.

But at the time, as a newly-licensed driver, the offer to hunker down behind that magnificent dashboard and fire the Jag up was taken on the first asking – as Uncle Bill, shrewd dealer of exotic automobiles and lover of all things mechanical – knew it would be.

In my hands, the car was a beautiful boulevardier, a low, powerful machine with dark potential hiding just under my right foot. And I kept it that way. Bill took the helm for the really good stuff. Uncle, wherever you are, I’ll never forget that ride - the way the wind pushed our faces back, the whoop we let out as we slid out onto Sunrise Highway, or the percussive whoosh of the car bouncing back from those storefronts as we flew by.

It’s a funny thing about a really good model car... they bring back memories. Maybe that’s what I love the most about this five-star model from AutoArt. It is, on all accounts, a perfect model of a 1971 Jaguar Series III V12 roadster. I didn’t say most detailed, or feature packed. Just… perfect.

The car’s stance, on slotted steel wheels, is exactly right, as is the rake of that windshield and the taper of the car’s shape – part predatory fish and part serpent. The glazing and chrome are world-class, and the surgically-clean assembly of this model makes it a feast for the eyes – even more so if sporting British machinery of the non-breakdown kind strikes your fancy. The doors, hood, and trunk all fit precisely, as do the ancillary castings dedicated to the chrome and lensing.

And what lensing! The Euro-spec bifocal headlamps are a kick, as are the parking lamps slung beneath the front bumper, complete to the "screws" that hold their lenses in. Out back, the amber-over-red lenses join some of the coolest badging in the 1:18 world – AutoArt’s trademark hi-rise chromed foil spells out "Jaguar E Type" in an underlined appliqué hovering over that marvelous V12 insignia. Twin exhaust tips bark just below.

The interior is carpeted and dominated by scale-section steering wheel riding on photo-etch spokes. Tiny – really tiny tampos call out the multifarious switches and dials that inhabit the Jag’s dash and binnacle, and the elegant chrome parking brake handle and shifter punctuate the fuzzy floor between the deep-silled, "real"- hinged doors.

AutoArt’s ability to cast metal is evidenced by the delicacy of the louvers atop the lift-up clamshell front of the car, and their ability to wow is evidenced beneath. The motor of the Jag is a feast of silvers, grays and blacks set in a monkey’s jungle of struts and braces. Closer inspection reveals full wiring and plumbing, and a brace of neat "Jaguar" logos on the 12’s cam covers. The battery and ignition module are clearly labeled, and the heater blower and twin vents beneath the hood are fitted with hair-thin screening. There’s even a photoetch screen at the rear of that long hood. What a killer job.

Trunk and chassis detail are limited – by the design of the real car – to a shallow carpeted area and a mostly flat topography. But despite the lack of frame detail on this monocoque design, a suspension of whip-thin front-end bracing and a foursome of coil-overs at the rear join the neatly metallized twin pipes bolted to the Jag’s metal belly. Even in simplicity, AA has made sure that the images have been done right.

An included up top would have been welcomed, but it’s a small gripe, as the beauty of this Jag sans top is breathtaking. Available in green, silver, or this red, expect to pay under seventy dollars – a true bargain for the level of build and engineering at work here. Add a star if you pronounce the name as "Jag-YOU-Are".

Happy Collecting.
 

Next week:

 

I promise – Maisto’s ’63 Dodge – Ricko’s amazing BMW "Dixi" – Lane’s Evening Orchid Chevelle

 
     

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