Rally ‘Round these Hot Hatch Models

Over the past two years, we’ve contributed articles to Die CastX magazine for publication on their website and in their quarterly print edition. We hope you enjoy this story about the miniature versions of a couple of pioneering hatchbacks.


Sun Star Ford Escort Kyosho Lancia

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Not long after the invention of the automobile, someone figured out that stuffing a bigger engine into a smaller car would make that car exponentially more fun. One modern variation on this concept is the Hot Hatch , transforming pedestrian hatchbacks into screaming rally cars. Add a turbo, tweak the suspension, strip out heavy options, and add a body kit, and you’re in business. From early Mini and Fiat 500 rally cars to the modern Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, these cars offered crazy factory performance on a relative budget. If you lived in Europe in the late 80’s to mid 90’s, you may have seen examples of these two: The Lancia Delta Integrale and the Ford Escort MkIII XR3. Here are a couple of 1/18 of these cars to consider.

The Lancia model shown here is from Kyosho, so you know you’re in for some insane levels of detail. The bright yellow exterior is offset by lots of separately cast details, such as the black door handles (which themselves features tiny chrome keyholes), badges, turn signal repeaters and so on. Every little badge is legible. Heck, there’s even a tiny loop under the rear bumper, the designated hook for pulling the car our of a ditch when you hoon it just a bit too hard on a dirt road in the country.

Kyosho LanciaThe opening parts are hard to access, as the panel gaps are precise and tiny. When you open that rear hatch, (marvel at the defroster detail before you do) there is a movable cargo cover, showing the donut spare tire. In a rare feat of miniature engineering, all four doors open, and are sprung so they snaps securely shut. The interior is sparsely appointed like the original, but what’s there is impressive: flocked seats, red buttons on the seatbelt retainers, and readable gauges.

Kyosho LanciaUnder the hood (it’s hinged at the front, by the way) the engine detail is remarkably well done, with flexible wiring harness, readable warning labels, and a structural support beam connecting the fenders. The whole car feels tight and precisely engineered.

Sun Star Ford EscortThe Ford, from Sun Star, is also well done, especially considering the original price of the model was about half that of the Kyosho car (about $40 vs. $100). The paint is chalky yellow hue (Subaru offered a similar color on the WRX). Like the Lancia, there are gobs of separate black plastic bits, including mudflaps and bumper parts, giving it that signature ‘80s-on-a-budget look.

Sun Star Ford EscortAlso like the other model, it features the moving cargo cover in the back, as well as even more detailed seatbelt clips and gauges. The seats are rendered to represent vinyl, striped in two hues of gray. Underhood, engine detail is about what you would expect, but Sunstar took care in replicating the tiny, hidden sheet metal details like weld spots in fenders, something you never see in a model at any price.

Both cars have working suspension, and have all windows rolled up, which is kind of unusual (it also makes it hard to open the doors). The different sheens from paint, chrome, flat plastic lend an extra air of realism to both cars. There aren’t a lot of models of these cars made in any scale, so if hot hatches are your thing, grab these two.

Sun Star Ford Escort Kyosho Lancia

Comments (1 Comment)
Karl

Cool cars!

Read all comments

Auto-Archives Car of the Month — 1975 Porsche 911 RSR

Throughout the late 1960s and early 70s, the factory Porsche race team was extremely successful with their 908, 917, 917/10 and 917/30 models. However, these larger capacity prototypes were extremely expensive for the small Porsche factory team to build and develop, and, as a result, Porsche did not have a competitive car ready for the new, 1973 endurance championship class being run for 3.0-litre cars.

Up against the prototypes such the Ferrari 312, the Matra-Simca MS670, and the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, the old Porsche 908 and the aerodynamically handicapped 911 had no real chance, so Porsche Racing concentrated it’s efforts on the next generation 911, and it’s development for the upcoming world endurance championship for Group 5 cars. Amazingly, 1973 would however, see two outright victories for a 2.8-litre Porsche RSR in the World Championship for Makes. Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood took victory at the Daytona 24-hours, and later in the year, the pairing of Herbert Müller and Gijs van Lennep scored an historic win at the Targa Florio race, held on the tortuous, 45-mile circuit that wound its way round the mountains of Sicily.

 

 

For 1974 Porsche developed a 3.0-litre version of the RSR, and in 1974 and 1975 they built 59 examples of the Carrera RSR racecar that would be sold to privateer race teams while the works were developing the new Group 4 and 5 racecars, the 934 and 935. The car on display here is RSR chassis no. 005 0005 (1975, fifth car), amongst the most successful of the RSRs built and raced in that two year period. The bright-orange, Jägermeister sponsored car, designated an RSK (K for Kremer) by the team, may look like any one of those 59 RSRs, but it is actually a very special chassis, one of two cars developed for the 1975 racing season by the famous Kremer brothers, Manfred and Erwin of Porsche Kremer in Cologne, Germany. Built to race in the German Rennsport DRM Championship the three main drivers of the instantly recognisable, bright-orange car were Helmut Kelleners, Hans Heyer, and Bob Wollek. Kelleners drove in all but three of the 19 races the car competed in during 1975, taking one race victory, two second place finishes and three third places. All three drivers were in the car for a hugely significant class win at the Nürburgring 1000km in June, and Heyer also took second at the Nürburgring Super-Sprint race in September. Josef Brambring, who drove the car just the once during 1975, finished third at the final race of the season at Hockenheim.

For the 1976 season, 0005 was sold to Edgar Doren, repainted white with red and blue striping, and driven by him throughout the year. He finished the 1976 DRM season in 15th place with 55 points. The car then passed through the hands of several other European teams before being sold and shipped to a US-based owner Charles Slater in 1994. After having owned and raced the car for 18 years, in 2011 Slater decided to end a long and successful relationship and the car moved to a new owner and underwent a full, bare-shell restoration. In 2014 this significantly historic, and now highly-valuable car passed into the ownership of Colorado based collector Andrew Larson. He has raced the car at several Vintage events throughout the country and in September of 2015 the car was seen at Rennsport V with none other than works Porsche driver and winner of the 1977 Le Mans 24-hours, Jürgen Barth behind the wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

Be the first to leave a comment!

Challenger Joe Has a Great Store and a Cool Story

Challenger Joe RothpearlChallenger Joe is one of the newest sellers on hobbyDB, and his hobby DB store is a bit different. So is his story. Challenger Joe (Joe Rothpearl, but he prefers to just use the nickname online) is a car guy… he likes all kinds of interesting rides, but you can probably guess his favorite, right? Yeah, he loves some MOPAR, but specifically Dodge Challengers.

“I built model cars as a kid,” he explained, “whatever cars caught my eye at the time.” But when he was a teenager, his perspective was locked in forever when his friend let him drive his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. “Cool cars stop you in your tracks when you’re a kid. I was 15, so I didn’t have a license yet, but we did some donuts in that car, and I was hooked.” (He fondly remembers the /66 1/2 Charger owned by his family when he was three.) Like many of us, he went on to own other cars over the years, some more interesting than others, always longing to recreate that initial burst of excitement.

model cars

Joe enjoyed customizing model kits and shooting them outdoors in real lighting.

When Dodge first showed off their new retro styled Challenger concept in 2006, the bug bit him again. “I figured there was no way ever they would really build that car,” he said. But when they came out with a production model a couple years later, his jaw dropped. But he still didn’t get one yet. Then, when his father and father-in-law died not too far apart, he decided life was too short to not drive a cool car. “I went online to look for the exact package I wanted and found one only 10 minutes away…”

Not just any Challenger, though… he bought his with the upgraded RT package (kind of rare), the Super Track Pack (way more rare), the Classic Package (unusual) and in a particular hue (Billet Silver Metallic) that turned out to be very limited. “The tsunami in Japan disrupted the supply of certain colors for all auto manufacturers for awhile,” he said. After that, Dodge moved on to other colors. According to Chrysler, his car is one of only nine ever produced with that exact set of colors and options. Rare as the car is, he drives it daily, including the harsh winters of upstate New York.

About the store.. You may have noticed he deals primarily in models of Dodge Challengers. Part of that comes from the fact that he collects every possible mutation of those models and has a few extras. The collection includes early models from Matchbox and Hot Wheels (The Rodger Dodger is one of his all time favorite models) as well as newer models in every conceivable scale.

dodge challenger diecast

Besides this wall of miniature Challengers, which is about half of his 1:64 collection, Joe collects records and comic books.

The other thing about the store… all of his proceeds are being  donated to charity. “The money will all go to the Rochester Challenger Miracle Field,” he said. Wait a second, did he get to name this place? Nope, there’s a division of Little League baseball for kids with various disabilities, called the Challenger Division, and these fields are designed to cater to their needs. On top of his donations, hobbyDB is waiving its usual fees for his store so the maximum amount can go to good causes.

Joe deals with his own struggles daily as well. He gets debilitating migraine headaches on a regular basis and has also had a couple of neck surgeries. Despite all this, he’s an unrelentingly positive guy. “I have some good days and some not so good days,” he said. “I’ve tried all kinds of therapy, but when I’m in my Challenger, I feel no pain. It’s the best medicine.

dodge challenger diecastAs we mentioned, he’s a car guy in general. “I like any car that’s interesting,” he said. “I don’t want to get caught up in the negativity of only liking one brand or one model and saying bad things about the rest,” he said. “I’m a positive person. I like to make people smile. It’s my super power.”

His website, as the name indicates, is devoted to the Challenger of the Day. It might be a real car one day, or a model the next. “It’s nice to mix the different interest groups together,” he said. “I just like bringing people together for common ground, making people smile.” Visit the Challenger Joe Store on hobbyDB and you can help do that too.

dodge challenger diecast

Comments (1 Comment)
Rich Warren

Thanks hobbyDB for the great article bringing awareness to this great cause! If you would like more information about how you can get involved or help, please visit the link below.

Hitting Home Runs For A Miracle

Read all comments

Auto-Archives Image of the Month — Raybestos Brake Pad

4/15/1971
News Release from Raybestos

RAYBESTOS Disc Brake Pads taken from Al Unser’s winning car (ABOVE) in the 1970 Indy 500 are contrasted with a new and unused Raybestos disc brake pad. Note the very slight wear on the pads which braked Unser’s Johnny Lightning Special as it raced 500 miles to victory in the 1970 Classic. The minimal amount of wear is attributed to Raybestos’ wonder compound R-4528-19M, a special formulation designed to work more efficiently at the high braking temperatures (as high as 1200 degrees) experienced in Indianapolis type racing. Raybestos disc bake pads have been on the winning Indy 500 car for the last 14 years.

indy500_ticket_1971

Sam Hanks, 1957 Indy 500 winner and a Raybestos consultant, says, “the pads used on my car wouldn’t last ten laps at today’s speeds.” Hanks drove his 350 horsepower car to victory at an average speed of 135.60 compared to last year’s winning average speed of 155.749.

indy_500_1970-05-30

More conservative Warren Jensen, Raybestos Research Director, figures pads made from R-4528-19M perform better and wear about five times longer at today’s speeds than would pads made from the previously used material.

Be the first to leave a comment!

Auto-Archives Car of the Month — 1958 Packard Hawk

The Packard Hawk was the sportiest of the four Packard-badged Studebakers produced in 1958, the final year of Packard production. In 1956, the Studebaker-Packard company was in financial trouble and the Curtiss Wright Corporation was put in charge of management. Everything was consolidated to the Studebaker plants in South Bend, Indiana. The 1957-1958 Packard models were essentially rebadged and retrimmed Studebakers. With a top speed of 125mph, the fastest Packard ever built, the 1958 Hawk was constructed around the 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk 400, with a re-styled fiberglass front hood and nose, bonded to the stock steel fenders.

Instead of the Studebaker Hawk’s upright Mercedes-style grille, the Packard Hawk had a wide, low opening just above the front bumper covering the whole width of the car. Above this, a smoothly sloping nose, and hood—reminiscent of the 1953 Studebakers, but with a bulge as on the Golden Hawk—accommodated the engine’s McCulloch supercharger that gave the Studebaker 289in (4,700cc) V8 a total of 275bhp. At the rear, the sides of the fins were coated in metallized PET (Mylar) film, giving them a shiny metallic gold appearance and a fake spare-tire cover adorned the 1953-style, Studebaker deck lid.Widely spaced PACKARD lettering appeared across the lower section of the nose, and a gold Packard emblem in script—along with a Hawk badge—on the trunk lid and enormous tailfins. The interior was fully equipped with a striking leather design, and a full compliment of instruments was installed in an turned-aluminum dash. A swept-spoke Packard-branded wheel was also fitted. As on early aircraft and custom boats, padded armrests were mounted outside the windows, a rare touch.

The styling which was definitely controversial, and often described as ‘vacuum-cleaner’ or ‘catfish’ by detractors has come to be appreciated much more today, than on its debut. Only 588 examples of the 1958 Hawk were built, with Packard’s impending demise a likely contributing factor, rather than a lack of interest from the buying public. Most examples were equipped with the Borg-Warner three-speed automatic transmission, but something approaching 28 cars were produced with the B-WT85 3-speed w/overdrive manual transmission.

Studebaker-Packard was the first manufacturer to popularize the limited slip differential, which they termed Twin-Traction, and most Packard Hawks came with TT. It was certainly the fastest Packard ever sold, since it shared the majority of its components with Studebaker’s Golden Hawk. The list price with taxes and delivery was $3995, about $700 higher than the Studebaker model, but certainly value for money considering the more luxurious interior. Electric window-lifts and power seats (fitted on the car you see here) were optional extras.

Its rarity and status as the best-regarded of the ‘Packardbaker’ final-year cars have in recent years certainly made the Packard Hawk a highly sought after collectible classic. Values are roughly double those of the equivalent Studebaker, and because a Studebaker drivetrain was used, the mechanical parts needed to keep a Hawk on the road are more readily available. The Hawk is now a realistic car to put serious money into a restoration, and without doubt, is a unique car, worthy of a place in any significant collection of 50s vehicles.

 

Presenting...Portrait of Craftsmanship in Action

 

The stunning 1958 Packard Hawk on display here is owned by Carey and Peggy Dietz of Arvada, Colorado. They have been caretakers of the car since 2007 when Carey’s father, who had owned the car since late 2000 decided it was too much of a responsibility for him to drive his “Baby” any more. Carey tells us the story of how his father came to own such an unusual car. “Back in 1982 my roommate showed me a magazine called Car Collector and Car Classics that featured a beautiful Packard Caribbean Classic on the cover. An eternal optimist, he went on to tell me “That’s what my car is going to look like when it is done.” Considering his car had rust holes everywhere I was somewhat skeptical to say the least. Well he did do it, eventually, and it really is beautiful!

Moving forward to 2000, my father called me and told me he was looking for a classic car to keep at his Florida residence for 6-months a year, and, since Packard had always been his favorite car, that is what he wanted. I pictured him driving a stylish 1930s open car, but before you knew it he had bought the one-owner Hawk from a widow in Las Vegas! The partly restored car needed to be painted and have the chrome re-fitted, but needed little else to bring it up to the sleek, stylish, show standard car you see here. On a visit to Denver my dad happened to stop in an antique store and find a copy of that very same magazine. It features a Packard Hawk on page 19!

 

 

 

 

 

Be the first to leave a comment!