Posts from ‘Automotive Collectibles’
by Don Sikora II
Note: The following story was excerpted from the April 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Back in the Sixties and Seventies, buyers in the market for a small sporty roadster had quite a few choices. Sure, they were mostly British or Italian, but there were choices. Heck, even a decade or so ago, Americans had several reasonably affordable two-seat drop tops to shop. Remember the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky?
At the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ aftermarket division took the wraps off the latest in a long line of special-edition Dodge Challengers. The 2017 Mopar ’17 Challenger commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Mopar brand. It’s a limited-run model that adds a special paint job and other unique trim features to a 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker Challenger with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Shopping for friends and relatives can be something of a challenge—especially if that person is old enough to have acquired a certain amount of fun/frivolous/indulgent stuff for himself or herself.
Jun Imai has one of the best car-guy jobs in the world. As Design Manager for Mattel’s Hot Wheels toy-car brand, Jun gets to make automotive daydreams into reality every day. As always, the current Hot Wheels lineup includes plenty of outlandish, pure-fantasy cars—vehicles designed to stoke the imaginations of children and engineered to zing down orange tracks and off ramps. But over the past few years, Jun and the rest of the Hot Wheels design team have also made the Hot Wheels brand a lot more relevant to full-size car culture.
A rare chance to view the work of participants in the historic Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild (FBCG) model-making program is coming up in Salt Lake City, Utah. A number of advanced-design scale models made for the national competition, which was sponsored by General Motors from 1930 to 1968, will be on display during the GSL-XXV International Scale Vehicle Championship and Convention.
One of my most prized possessions isn’t especially valuable in the greater scheme of things. Fully restored, in mint condition, it might bring $1000 if the right buyer came along. But, like most heirlooms and inherited memorabilia, this item’s cash value has nothing to do with why I hold it dear. And, decades after taking possession of it, I came to realize that it has ties to one of my all-time favorite automobiles, making it even more wonderful.
Some of the graying—or maybe balding—ex-children who once imagined their favorite toys coming to life will soon get a chance to see what that would have been like. The legendary 1970s “Snake” and “Mongoose” Plymouth funny car dragsters—famously rendered in miniature as coveted Hot Wheels toys—will make a short tour in the U.S. in August and September.
If you’re a male of a certain age, chances are you built at least one model car kit in your younger days . . . maybe several. You got a kit from AMT, Monogram, or Revell and some paint and glue from Testors, put down some newspaper on the dining room table, and did your best. Maybe your finished product turned out good enough to occupy a spot of honor on your bedroom shelf, or maybe it ended up being fodder for firecrackers in your driveway.
We don’t know if they’ll actually speed up delivery of your mail, but the latest offerings in the U.S. Postal Service’s “America on the Move” commemorative-stamp series sure look like they could.
Just like sports broadcasts and Donald Trump’s hair, consumer-product packaging is one of those things that changes so gradually that most consumers are scarcely aware of the subtle shifts. Even iconic brands are regularly tweaked, updated, or outright redesigned to look fresh and new in consumers’ eyes. As the years roll by, those original products gradually make the transition from “outdated” to “historical artifact.” If you’ve ever seen the “throwback” cans of Pepsi or Mountain Dew, or the retro boxes of cereal that are issued from time to time, you know what we’re talking about.