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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date

GMP 1:18 Don Garlits Swamp Rat VI Dragster
GMP 1:18 Peachstate Special Salt Flats Roadster
Jadi 1:18 TVR Sagaris


GMP 1: 18 Don Garlits Swamp Rat VI Dragster GMP 1:18 Peachstate Special Salt Flats Roadster
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley

Three hot models this week. Let's get right down to business.

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  GMP 1: 18 Don Garlits Swamp Rat VI Dragster

When it comes to models of cars driven by racing legend/force of nature Big Daddy Don Garlits, 2005 been a good year. Not only has it seen the release of his rail that went over 300 mph (4.72 sec ¼ mile) by Milestone, the first one to go over 200 mph, the Swamp Rat VI has been launched by GMP.

The Swamp Rat VI is one gorgeous piece of precision model making. Dragsters are deceptively simple models, but if you have an eye for detail, your experience is richly rewarded. One warning – taking this model out of the box, the set screw removes easily enough, however it leaves a long mounting post under the chassis which is T-anchored in the frame rails. My suggestion: take the protective wrapping off of the model and lay it flat out on the table. Take out the set screw, remove the model from the box…be very careful of the linkage mechanisms. Remove the cowl from the front portion of the dragster, place on the soft cloth. Gently work the mounting post free of the frame rails, working from above.

Then breathe a huge sigh of relief. And smile, because before you is a marvel of engineering that is uniquely American. That would apply to the model and the 1:1.

Since you’ve taken the cowling off removing the model from the packaging, it’s an excellent time to look at the micro-anatomy of this model. There’s no better place to start then at the front of the model, where the intricately crafted front suspension is rendered with mind blowing delicacy. Look at the photographs of the wheels and you’ll realize like I did that we are talking CMC level detail here. Rich spoke to hub detail, polished rims and scuffed tires. Go ahead and whistle like you would if one of the Jimmy Flintstone figurines came alive.

The chassis rail and internal systems are scrupulously replicated. Stance is perfect from those tender front wheels to the massive slicks. Re-attaching the cowling, visitors to your collection might never know they exist as separate pieces because the shutlines are so tight. The trademark Garlits black paint is a rich gloss with tampo graphics spot-on accurate.

GMP is known for putting drop-dead amazing features on some of their models (I love rolling the windows of my Fairlane up and down) and here the marvels du jour are the working linkages, both steering and throttle. The Dodge power plant is armed and dangerous – fully plumbed. The headers look ready to shriek. The working blower is whipped topping on an already sweet model.

In the cockpit you'll find every accoutrement you can imagine, from detailed steering to the axle assembly Garlits would straddle just to sit down. It’s all here, working pedals, photo etched seat belts seamlessly attached roll cage, all of this capped off by a cloth chute pack.

There seem to be two types of race car collectors: those that collect most everything in a given category and those that collect icons. This model is a true icon. Of all the Swamp Rat chassis models, one could argue this is the one to own. The Swamp Rat VI enabled Garlits to win his first ever National Championship in the chassis in 1965. Limited to 1,000 pieces, this model is a great addition to any collection.

Purchase your Don Garlits Swamp Rat VI Dragster at Legacy Motors.

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  GMP 1:18 Peachstate Special Salt Flats Roadster

It must be great to own a diecast company. Oh sure, you have worries like the cost of labor, unstable supply lines and slow inventory but at the same time, you could theoretically make any model, with any livery you desired. How about fantasy racers like a Marlboro McLaren M8A? A Gulf Lola T-70? A Jagermeister Corvette?

Well, there is that little matter of royalties – but let’s say you could make the hot rod of your dreams – wouldja do it? I would. And apparently, judging by the license plate of this model so would someone with the initials “TL” would to. Gee, who could that be?

What TL has inspired here is a vintage salt flats racer with the name Peachstate Special. Funny, I don’t remember any salt flats in Georgia. But if there were, this rod would rule them.

This model is dripping with attitude, from its Indy –inspired custom chrome grill and bullet front nose to its wide rear set racing tires. While GMP models always have a first class finish, this model is particularly striking. The gold and burgundy paint with just a hint of flaking has a vintage look and feel, like the colors belong on the Washington Redskin uniforms of the time. Separating the two colors is a black pinstripe as fine as frog hair. The scripts for “Peachstate Special” and “47D” as well as the painted wheels (interior burgundy, exterior gold) really help set this off.

The ready to rock rod features a riveted canvas tonneau cover. There is a separate cockpit cover, Lifting off either the small or large cover, or you’ll see well crafted spartan detail of the interior. This car is a racing shell and every part has a specific purpose, or it’s been stripped away. The door panels are aluminum to the dash simple plate metal. Soft wiring and hoses are expertly threaded. Steering is functional (though use the tires to watch the steering work, not the wheel). Another nifty view of the car's interior detail can be obtained by opening the trunk – it allows you to look through the model. I couldn’t get the camera to take a good picture of this angle but it’s almost like tunneling in. The suspension is incredibly well engineered.

The engine compartment is a visual treat; raise the vented covers and the flathead V8 power plant is in full view, ready for your inspection. It’s wonderfully miniaturized. The undercarriage is minimal, mainly more gorgeous red paint, but the intricate front suspension is worth another look from this angle.

There have been several salt flat/lake bed racers out there on the market, but this one really captures the spirit of those pioneering days. At a limited run of 1,000 pieces, 999 other people have a chance to be as lucky as TL is proud.

Read another positive review and buy this GMP Peach State Special Salt Flats Roadster on Legacy Motors.


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  Jadi 1:18 TVR Sagaris

TVR is a British car builder that builds powerful reptilian-looking cars that are comparatively unique among the genreally genteel English sports car makers. The Sagaris follows in that tradition, looking like what might happen if Lamborghini and Mazda had a love child together.

The result ain’t all that bad, and for $24.99 or so, this model is a real steal.

The model has great stance and a wicked look. Though the rich red paint has a bit of orange peel when closely inspected, probably from a somewhat thick application, it has no runs, drips or errors.

Upgrades from the previous Jadi TVR Tuscan effort include hollowed out exhaust pipes and a visible engine. When I say visible though, I mean just that – the hood is inoperable, but an engine representation can be seen through the unique cantilevered air management system. The interior is well formed – overly plastic – but everything is where it should be and execution is crisper than one expects at this level. For example, on many models in this price range, dog leg hinges are used for doors – here the latching system is remarkably transparent.

Other than the doors and the rear hatch there are no opening parts. The scalloped fender venting appears less defined than it should be. But for each “Oh darn” moment there are ten “Wow neat-o” ones, such as the rear window defroster, clear rear spoiler, expensive looking lighting and a thoroughly detailed chassis. The detailed wheels and deeply treaded tires, just as on the Tuscan, are remarkably well done.

Put this one near the top of the list of candidates for sub $30 model of the year. Jadi is starting to really establish their brand. Someone hide my wallet.

How To Get your Models Featured in First Peek

If you are a representative of a diecast manufacturer and wish to get your products featured in First Peek, please contact me directly at rhurley@mn.rr.com.

Check the Archives for previous reviews.

Next week:


Aa 2005 Ford GT vs Beanstalk 2004 Concept;: show me the money!!


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