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First Peek with Joe Kelly Edition Date

RC2 "Authentics" 1950 Oldsmobile 88

RC2 "Authentics" 1950 Oldsmobile 88 ---
Joe Kelly
Joe Kelly

Welcome to the latest First Peek. Sorry I’ve been so long away, and that my voice is so hoarse. And yes, that’s confetti on the floor.

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  RC2 "Authentics" 1950 Oldsmobile 88

When RC2 – then Racing Champions/Ertl – and Ford announced that the Precision 100 line of 1:18 scale model cars would go the way of the Pinto, many collectors began pining for the outstanding replicas we knew the Dyersville giant would never produce. Gone were visions of ’41 Lincolns, and ’58 Edsels. Tantalus himself would have wept as images of ne’er-to-be-held ’56 Mark II’s with little keys dangling from their dashboards fooped into thin air.

The mourning was not relegated solely to the blue-oval camp; a stab into the Chrysler catalog had dead-ended, as well (but not before we got a stunning ’57 300C). Things looked generally bleak for a while.

But between the repaints of some of those amazing molds, corporate sellboys dangled grapes. It was announced that a new line that would approach the detail, quality, and extremely reasonable price point of those lost, lamented, groundbreaking models.

RC2 began to deliver on those promises earlier this year.

It wasn’t roses and chocolates at first. An ill-timed but well-turned out 1965 Chevelle Z16 was the debut. But despite great gizmos and tidy assembly, it was generally kept at arms’ length by collectors who already had Lane’s fine example – in the exact colors, and with more authentic detailing – on their shelves. There followed a much-improved ’67 Chevrolet Camaro (a spitten image of yet another Lane car), that used its lowball price point and flawless build quality to woo collectors. Diecast nuts (self included) who weren’t concerned about absolute correctness and who loved the lure of the working features responded to the well-proportioned model with something actually approaching enthusiasm.

That left the stage lights idling for the Next Big Thing. And it was to be a corker of a car. For model number three, RC2 had promised to bring their talents to bear on an image that many collectors hadn’t even considered, but nonetheless agreed would make for a must-have piece – the 1950 Oldsmobile 88.


An early car memory: I’m, three years old, maybe four, wearing my visiting suit and standing in the driveway waiting for my folks. It’s probably a Sunday, and summer, and the sun dazzles a chromed world floating at eye level in the soft blue paint on the nose of the car my mom drives. I’ve been told that my mom’s car is an Oldsmobile. I am inhaling the scent of the sun warmed upholstery wafting from the open windows, sweating in my pressed shirt and snap-on tie, staring at the golden continents and chromed seas and trying to understand why it’s old.

Sorry for the narrative, but it’s memories like that which explain the personal allure of this model, at least in part, and at least to me. But the reason I can’t seem to pass within a room’s distance of this bomb without orbiting in for another look can be explained more directly in real time – this is one hell of a model car.

At last, RC2 delivers a full-on heartstopper, maybe the finest thing they have wrought since we waved goodbye to the P-100 series and savored the finned finery of the 300C. Here is tactile proof that someone is awake and breathing at Dyersville, and that they just may have thirty-weight in their veins.

Now, lest I misrepresent myself, allow me a disclaimer. I am not, nor do I pretend to be, an expert on the 1950 Olds. My comments are based on comparing this not-so-little gem to photos and historical documents I’ve accumulated over the years. And I haven’t yet taken the model to my pal’s house to compare it to his 1:1.

But I’ll tell you what. I’m looking forward to that visit, because from what I can see, this is a stunning, accurate model of what was arguably one of the first affordable OHV V8-powered muscle cars for the masses. In profile and from every quarter, the model just looks right. And the fit and finish are amazing; shut lines are exact, and the precision of the model’s build and paint, based on a heavy, perfectly prepped casting, are completely without flaw. The fitment of the chromed pieces, from that gorgeous grille right down to the tiny "88" on the car’s trunk, is seamless. The chrome itself is of the very highest quality, and it’s deep and durable looking. Taken with the delicacy of the castings that adorn this model from front to rear and all points in between, this makes for a great first look and a lingering eye. These are not bad things.

Click thumbnails to see larger images





The glazing and lensing – all separate pieces, including the tiny backup lenses atop the chromed darts atop the rear fenders – are completely flawless and beautifully installed. And the list of working features is long. Opening doors and hood, spring-loaded suspension, steerable wheels, rotating driveshaft, poseable sun visors, tilt and slide front seat, opening fuel filler door, and a poseable antenna not only work, they work smoothly and without incident. The hood is on scissor and spring hinges, of course, and the doors swing on "real" hinges, as well.

Interior detailing is built around gray plastic seats that have been decorated with tampo’d patterns. The shape of these castings suggests subtle, comfortable overstuffing. Nice. The floor is carpeted, and the dashboard is very nicely detailed and festooned with a top-mounted clock, believable radio and gauges, and an opening glove box. The door panels are a hoot, and so are the sill plates, replete with "Body by Fisher" ovals. There’s also a clutch pedal on the floor, so I’m assuming this is a column-shifting three-speed model, despite what the flyer in the RC2 packaging says about there being no such transmission available on a ’50.

The 303 cid engine is a green jewel under that big old hood, and the wiring and painted and tampo’d detailing all ‘round this diecast block make this one righteous Rocket, indeed. It looks to me that every linkage and cable is in the house, as well as a few that wind their way up and through the firewall. Castings making up the air cleaner, radiator shroud, and bits like the battery and generator lurk in the shadows and add a lot to the scenery under the hood. Look up, and there’s cast-in and painted detailing under the hood itself. Pretty cool stuff, at a sub-fifty buck price point.

Out in the boot resides a neat mat, and a full spare. This unit is a little left of true, I think, in that it’s got a hub cap and trim ring, a cost-cutting measure (this is the same unit as those used on the rollers at all four corners – you can see the mounting hole behind) that’s easily forgiven in light of the tiny (and incredibly, completely legible) BF Goodrich sticker. Those who take exception could easily stow a generic steelie in here without too much work, and it’d look great next to the jack and lifting accouterments on the sill above. Speaking of above, take a gander at the sound-deadening and structural motes cast into the trunk lid’s nethers. Again – amazing at under fifty shekels.

The nethers themselves are well done, based on a plastic frame and complemented by different sheens of black, silver, and green. The springs for the bouncy-bouncy suspension are hidden in the monkey’s jungle above each locating arm and the live axle, and they jounce smoothly and without hanging up or causing alarming creaking and cracking sounds. And who doesn’t love a spinning driveshaft?

All in all, this one has me smiling from ear to ear. It’s built like the proverbial brick outbuilding, assembled and painted masterfully, and gives off the feeling of the real car from every angle. Mix in the added bells and whistles, the obvious pains taken to replicate the trim and decoration of the car with separate chromed and painted pieces, and the overall effort that shows in every aspect of the model, and you’re left with something akin to a diecast prodigal son. Welcome back, RC2. We’ve missed you.


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