Volume IX, Number 3

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 e-mail.

Cherries Jubilee

Is everyone paying attention? Motor Max Fresh Cherries have proved to be the hottest new models of 2006. While I cannot offer quantitative proof of this statement, we can at least agree that this new series has created a stir.

With their release of the Ford Pinto, Maverick and Mustang II as well as the upcoming AMC Gremlin and Pacer models, Motor Max has made the un-cool cars of the first gas crisis, cool again. Even better, Motor Max has produced these with the quality of a Johnny Lightning but they sell for less than $2 each.

How could this happen? I suspect we can thank Mac Regan for this new and unexpected trend. My guess is that Motor Max saw the success of Johnny Lightning's 1970's compact models like the Vega, Mavrick, Gremlin and Hornet, and decided to follow suit. Mac has had a soft spot for these cars of the common man/woman and clearly he is not the only one. What American family did not own at least one of these cars? We had a Vega and a Pacer.

As collector cars go, these are still so far below the radar that a depth sounder would be more likely to turn one up. You can own any of the few survivors for less than $1,000 with a little shopping. As toy collector cars go, this may be just the beginning of a 1970's love-fest.

Frankly, I'm all in favor of more toy cars from the 1970's. Back in the day, many small-scale diecast companies were so busy doing custom and fantasy cars that they barely scratched the surface for production car replicas. European and Japanese cars from this era seem to be better represented as companies like Tomica, Siku, Majorette and Playart offered realistic models. From Hot Wheels we were given the Poison Pinto, Vega Funny Car, Gremlin Grinder and Packin' Pacer. Some 30 years later, it seems we want a toy version of the real car.

Here are my top ten suggestions for American cars of the 1970's that deserve to be done.

1975 Cadillac Seville
1970 Buick Riviera
1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
1977 Pontiac Grand Prix
1975 Chevrolet Vega Wagon
1973 Ford Gran Torino Wagon
1976 Mercury Bobcat
1975 Dodge Aspen
1975 Chrysler Cordoba
1979 AMC Eagle Wagon

My bias toward station wagons is obvious but then far too few have been done. I also have a particular affection for the personal luxury coupes like the Cordoba, Riviera and Grand Prix. I'm sure you could select another 20-30 cars of this era that deserve to be done in small-scale and as long as it does not include any Mustangs, Corvettes, Camaros or Firebirds, I would be happy to agree.

Will the 1970's be the next big trend in toy cars? I don't see it becoming the next 'tuner' or 'low-rider' wave but if we see cars of the 1970's from Summer, I may re-think that.

1970 Ford Pinto - Motor Max

1970 Ford Maverick - Motor Max

1977 Ford Mustang II - Motor Max