O F F - T H E - S H E L F

The following editorial reflects the personal thoughts of Doug Breithaupt relating to our common hobby of miniature cars. It is intended to generate discussion relating to 'Tales of Toy Cars'. Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via the 'Guest Book'.

Ertl has done the 1969 Mustang in 1:18, 1:43 and now 1:64 scale. The small-scale Mach I is a gem. The model is clearly identified on the display base.

 Welcome Back Ertl
by Doug Breithaupt

Throughout the 1980's Ertl was a well-known producer of 1:64 scale diecast vehicles. Best remembered for their many TV and movie cars, Ertl's small-scale cars are still very popular among collectors. In the 1990's, Ertl moved their focus to 1:18 scale diecast with American muscle cars a speciality. Several years back, 1:43 scale cars joined the Ertl product lines and now, 1:64 scale cars are again being offered.

Now owned by Racing Champions, Ertl has chosen to offer their new 1:64 scale line in up-scale, limited edition form. Much like Racing Champion's recent Mint Edition cars, the Ertl models are actually of better quality. The packaging and presentation bases are clearly in the Racing Champions mold with a plastic base and display card. The cards are reproductions of the covers from dealer brochures and are two-sided.

The 1969 Mustang Mach I shown here is an excellent miniature with opening hood and trunk. The engine bay is one of the best done in small-scale and the trunk includes a molded tool-box and spare tire. The paint and tampos are excellent, representing the production car perfectly. White-letter rubber tires are well-scaled. One nice detail is the chromed window trim, a unique feature in this scale. A wood-rimmed steering wheel and painted dash set off the accurate interior. Lastly, a fully detailed and painted under-side add to the over-all quality of the model. At $4.99, Ertl is not giving them away but the quality makes the price fair. The new Ertl models are easily superior to the $8-9 models offered from Mattel's high-end Matchbox and Hot Wheel lines.

Ertl's American Muscle packaging includes a plastic base and card that duplicate the front and back of the '69 Mustang dealer brochure.